Part of the thrill of CMA week in Nashville is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see things like Jake Owen playing a honky-tonk. That's what he did Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 5) at Honky Tonk Central right in the heart of downtown Nashville.
But even better than hearing a brief set from an artist whose career outgrew honky-tonks a long time ago was his interaction with the fans there -- and one who was virtually there.
After playing his new single "Days of Gold," Owen noticed that a woman in the crowd was having a video conversation via FaceTime on her iPhone.
"Who you talking to over here? Your daughter?" Owen asked.
Then he grabbed the phone and started his own conversation with the girl on the other end.
"Whasssssup, girl?" he said. "Say hi, everybody. Where are you right now?"
When she said she was in West Virginia, he immediately started singing "Anywhere With You."
"I'll go anywhere ... West Virginia ... baby, I don't care," he sang into the iPhone, then telling the crowd of about 200. "She is freaking out."
And, man, was she ever freaking out. Her name is Avery Ives, an 18-year-old college student. Her mom was there at the Nashville show.
"My mom was there in the front row, and she kept FaceTiming me," she said. "I was in my dorm and had just gotten out of the shower. But when he was on the screen, I didn't recognize him because I couldn't even believe it.
"But I had about six friends in my room, and they recognized him before I did, so then we were all freaking out. When he asked where I was and he started singing to me, it was unbelievable."
Owen went on to sing another new song, "We All Want What We Ain't Got," with just a pianist backing him. Then he did two cover songs from the '80s -- Merle Haggard's "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink" and T.G. Sheppard's "I Loved 'Em Every One." For someone as young as Owen, that's old-school country.