It is a busy and fun time of the year in Nashville as the CMA Music Festival has officially arrived in town. Tourists from all over the world have begun combing the streets of Nashville in search of filling their hearts with as much Country Music as humanly possible.
Yesterday, I had a chance to talk to Jim Ed about his experiences playing the festival over the years. Jim Ed informed me that before what was once known as Fan Fair, the festival was actually created as a DJ convention here in Nashville. These DJ conventions became so popular that the Country Music fans started flocking to Nashville in hopes that they could meet their favorite stars and watch them perform. As the DJ conventions popularity continued to grow, it eventually made sense to create a separate event known for bringing the artists and the fans of Country Music together. In 1972 the Country Music Association created Fan Fair.
So many legends have played the CMA Festival since its inception in the early 1970s. I asked Jim Ed how many times he’s played the festival. He told me that he played the very first DJ convention, and has played the majority of Fan Fairs, and CMA Festivals ever since. I wonder how many artists have played the festival more times than Jim Ed Brown?
I am officially ready for the festival as I have just returned from previewing Marty Stuart’s new album, Ghost Train. What a fantastic record! Marty and his band, The Fabulous Superlatives, were joined by legends Ralph Mooney and Marty’s wife, Connie Smith to create the album. Ghost Train is packed with nostalgia for Nashville, enhanced by the fact that the record was actually cut in RCA Studio B! After hearing the album, I took the chance to step over and shake the hand of Ralph Mooney, one of Country Music’s all-time great pedal steel players. “Moon” invited me to come see the band perform tonight. Like I said, I am officially ready for CMA Festival to begin!
Among many other performances, tomorrow I’ll be hitting the streets to see the “Classic Country Showcase” on the plaza outside of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Jim Ed will be joined by Lynn Anderson, Gene Watson, Jeannie Seely and Helen Cornelius. After all the years of Jim Ed playing the CMA Festival, I wonder if he still gets any pre-show jitters?