Thomas Rhett, More Surprise Fans at Georgia on My Mind Concert
Georgia's finest music makers joined forces Tuesday night (May 16) in Nashville for the fourth annual Georgia on My Mind country music show.
The event, held at the historic Ryman Auditorium, was hosted by Georgia natives Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip, a renowned Nashville songwriting trio known as the Peach Pickers. Together the three Georgians have exceeded 70 No. 1 songs, and they performed a variety of their hits at the Ryman including Blake Shelton cuts “Honey Bee” and “All About Tonight” and smash Luke Bryan singles including “Play it Again” and “Huntin’, Fishin’, and Lovin’ Everyday,” all of which were penned by at least one member of the group.
The crowd was invested all evening as special guests peppered the lineup — most of them with Georgia roots — including Lauren Alaina, Michael Ray, Kip Moore and Chris Janson, all of whom played their latest singles except Moore, who played an acoustic version of “That Was Us” from 2015’s Wild Ones to an incredible ovation. He garnered a huge laugh before the song started as he halted a sort-of unison crowd clap.
“Wait, I know what’s gonna happen,” Moore said. “You can’t get this many white people in a room at one time and expect them to keep time clapping.”
Dexter Redding and Otis Redding III, Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie, T. Graham Brown, Drivin’ N Cryin’ and a quartet from music school Georgia Pick and Bow rounded out the expected lineup.
See Photos From the 2017 Georgia on My Mind Benefit Concert
Throughout the nearly three-hour show, each performer found a way to equal or top his or her predecessor and at one point, Hall followed an electric performance by the Redding brothers and said into the microphone, “I’m supposed to follow that?” as the crowd joined him in laughter. Hall then proceeded to nail the Wet Willie classic “Keep on Smilin’,” even giving a shout out to Nashville’s Broadway strip in the bridge, changing his lyrics from “You’re just hanging out in a local bar” to “You’re just hanging out at Tootsie’s bar!” to the crowd’s approval.
Unannounced guests included Billy Currington, who sang a rendition of the event's flagship song "Georgia on My Mind," as well as Jon Pardi and Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. Superstar Thomas Rhett was the last of these artists to perform, crooning his hits “Star of the Show” and “Die a Happy Man.”
Rhett, who recently adopted a baby with his wife Lauren, told the crowd he’s been a father for five days and has barely slept since, so he jokingly thanked his father, Rhett Akins, for getting him out of the house for an hour to perform at the show.
Most of the artists pandered to the Georgia-heavy crowd, dishing out Peach State references that led to many “hollers 'n' swollers.” In the end, each performer had his or her own highlight, but Atlanta rock band Drivin’ N Cryin’ stole the show with their two-song set of “I See Georgia” and “Straight to Hell,” blasting solos, layering harmonies and sharing an explosive stage presence reminiscent of yesteryear rock bands.
Live performances aside, the Peach Pickers also honored Georgia governor Nathan Deal and his wife Sandra with the annual Flame Keeper Award for their contributions to the Georgia music scene. The award is presented to those who either make music, support music or preserve music; Deal was a contender for the award because of his past contributions and recent involvement in the Georgia Music Investment Act, which is expected to grow Georgia’s music industry.
Proceeds from the show benefit the Georgia Music Foundation, which has distributed approximately $150,000 in grants to music education, preservation and outreach programs across Georgia over the past three years. Jameson Irish Whiskey, which has sponsored the event for four years since its inception, also presented a check to the Georgia Music Foundation for $50,000 during the concert.
2017 Georgia on My Mind Concert Full Set List:
Opening acoustic set by Trea Landon, Jon Langston and Cole Taylor
The Peach Pickers — “All About Tonight” by Blake Shelton (Akins/Davidson/Hayslip)
The Peach Pickers —“Play it Again” by Luke Bryan (Davidson/Gorley)
The Peach Pickers — “Honey Bee” by Blake Shelton (Akins/Hayslip)
The Peach Pickers — “Huntin,’ Fishin,’ and Lovin’ Everyday” by Luke Bryan (Bryan/Akins/Davidson/Hayslip)
Georgia Pick and Bow — Three-song set including “Pretty Bird” by Hazel Dickens
Amy Ray — “More Pills”
Otis Redding III and Dexter Redding — “Hard to Handle” by Otis Redding
Otis Redding III and Dexter Redding —“Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding
Jimmy Hall — “Keep on Smilin’” by Wet Willie
T. Graham Brown — “I Tell it Like it Used to Be”
Lauren Alaina — “Road Less Traveled”
Michael Ray — “Think a Little Less”
Drivin’ N Cryin’ — “I See Georgia”
Drivin’ N Cryin’ —“Straight to Hell”
Kip Moore — “That Was Us”
Chris Janson — “Buy Me a Boat/Fix a Drink” compilation
Billy Currington — “Georgia on my Mind” by Hoagy Carmichael
Jon Pardi — “Dirt on my Boots”
Thomas Rhett — “Star of the Show”
Thomas Rhett — “Die a Happy Man”
The Peach Pickers — “Anywhere With You” by Jake Owen (Hayslip/Yeary/Murphy)
The Peach Pickers — “That Ain’t My Truck” by Rhett Akins (Akins/Shapiro/Waters)
The Peach Pickers — “Boys ‘Round Here” by Blake Shelton (Akins/Davidson/Wiseman)
See 10 Pics That Prove That Thomas Rhett and His Wife are Meant to Be
Thomas Rhett on What It's Like Getting Ready for Two Kids
Thomas Rhett + Lauren Show Off Her Baby Bump on the Red Carpet