TV

Hot 20: Country Artists Give NFL Draft a Nashville Welcome

Mutual Fandom of Football and Country Music Collide

Nashville, Tenn. is really showing off for everyone in town for the 2019 NFL Draft (April 25-27).

No matter where you go this week, the honky-tonks and bars are crawling with football fans, first-time pros, all-star legends and the country artists who love them.

What makes Nashville the perfect host city for the NFL Draft is the days leading up to the event align with every touring artist’s weekend (Monday-Tuesday). So far, the country music community has proven itself to be a hospital host. The charm is natural. The weather is perfect, and the live music is ongoing.

Draft picks on the 70-foot main stage on Lower Broadway are underway through Saturday. Adding to the excitement is the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon which runs Saturday-Sunday.

Regarding safety and traffic, take it from a local: You’re a loser if you drive intoxicated. That’s why there’s ride-share. Mind your manners. And patience is a virtue when dealing with pedal taverns. Road closures and a full schedule can be found at the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. website.

CMT Hot 20 Countdown is covering all the action for an upcoming episode. New episodes air weekly Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. ET.

Here are CMT.com’s Draft Picks for live music this week:

  • Thursday Pick: Striking Matches

    Embedded from www.youtube.com.

    Say hello to the official soundtrack for most of the Nashville soundtrack. Local musicians Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis are among the city’s greatest music ambassadors and have contributed an insurmountable amount of originals to the ABC-CMT drama. They not only sing like angels, but they also rock and have some outstanding new music on the way. (Time: Location: Draft Experience Music Stage presented by Oikos® Triple Zero)

  • Thursday Pick: Mikky Ekko

    Embedded from www.youtube.com.

    Middle Tennessee State University students will not want to miss Mikky Ekko. Since graduation, he’s been one of the college’s most prolific alums having released new music annually over the last decade and a debut performance at the 2013 Grammy Awards. His most recent album is the 2018 Jay Joyce-produced, FAME. (Time: 4-5pm Location: Draft Experience Music Stage presented by Oikos® Triple Zero)

  • Friday Pick: Jessy Wilson

    Embedded from www.youtube.com.

    This songwriting powerhouse is ferocity personified. She’s been a CMT.com favorite since Muddy Magnolias, and we love her now. (Time:12:30-1:15pm Location: Draft Experience Music Stage presented by Oikos® Triple Zero)

  • Friday Pick: Willie Jones

    Embedded from www.youtube.com.

    There is a connectivity between all music cities in the U.S., but Nashville and Los Angeles are currently having a moment. A Shreveport, La. native, Jones is among those rising bi-coastal creatives looking to make an impact on the Nashville community with his irresistible “Down For It.” (Time: 1:30-2:10pm Location: Draft Experience Music Stage presented by Oikos® Triple Zero)

  • Friday Pick: Tim McGraw

    Embedded from www.youtube.com.

    Whenever country stars headline shows in their hometown, they’ve been known to bring out superstar guests. And there’s an obvious Faith Hill connection who sang the Sunday Night Football theme “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” from 2007-2013. McGraw’s set wraps day two of the draft after DJ Mel’s set at 9:30. (Location: Draft Experience Music Stage presented by Oikos® Triple Zero)

  • Saturday Pick: Ryan Hurd

    Embedded from www.youtube.com.

    An alum of CMT’s Listen Up program, Hurd is bringing a taste of his 2019 tour and his latest single “To a T.” (Time: 9-9:45am Location: Draft Experience Music Stage presented by Oikos® Triple Zero)

  • Saturday Pick: Charles Esten

    Embedded from www.youtube.com.

    Sorry. Not sorry. Charles Esten is going to need more than an hour to get through the stacked catalogue of songs he’s written since he moved to town. As a regular performer on the Opry, he is one of the city’s coolest and multi-talented ambassadors. (Time: 4:30-5:30pm Location: Draft Experience Music Stage presented by Oikos® Triple Zero)

  • Saturday Pick: Charlie Worsham

    Embedded from www.youtube.com.

    Worsham live is like listening to seven bands in one. Ask anyone in town, and they will tell you, he is the future of country music personified. When the traffic hits just right on Interstate 40 and “Cut Your Groove” comes on, there is no better way to experience a drive around town. With the skyscrapers spinning in circles, the city looks like a revolving record player. Take a good look now because there are so many cranes around one can almost zip-line home. But please don’t do that. (Time: 6-7pm Location: Draft Experience Music Stage presented by Oikos® Triple Zero)

  • Saturday Pick: Dierks Bentley with Lindsay Ell opening

    Embedded from www.youtube.com.

    (Time: After Esten’s performance Location: Draft Main Stage)

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.