It was one bright and sunny day at this year’s “Country in the Park” festival held in Sacramento, Ca. It was an extremely warm day at Cal Expo but the festival offered plenty of locations with shade as well as drinks to stay hydrated. This was the twenty fourth year that New Country 105.1 KNCI was putting on this event. I was attending day one of the festival which featured headliner Brantley Gilbert alongside an impressive lineup including Dustin Lynch, Brian Kelley, Drew Baldridge, and Bryan Martin. With this power house line up, I was hoping for a full day of country music and festivities.


The day started off with a Salute to the military and that the event is held to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project. The festival is separated into basically three sections. The grandstands, the general admission, and the VIP pit area surrounding the stage. The setup of the stage was raised so that there wasn’t a bad area to view the artists.



Bryan Martin was the first to hit the stage and kick off the festival. Martin is a rising star in the country music scene who showcased his raw, powerful vocals and storytelling ability. His authentic country sound and heartfelt lyrics resonated with the crowd especially when he played “We Ride”. It became a sing along chorus and Bryan spoke about his journey not being an overnight success but he hopes those in attendance would be part of his journey going forward. He definitely earned more people to his fan base.



In between acts we would get KNCI radio personalities Cody Robinson and Tom Maily of the Pat, Tom & Cody Show to entertain the crowd. Sadly this was the first in 24 years that Pat Still would miss the show for health reasons.



Next to hit the stage was Drew Baldridge. Baldridge brought a unique energy to the stage with his vibrant performance. He spoke to the crowd about his early days in the music industry with “BYOB” and the hardships of losing his record deal and band members. He spoke about the turning point that made him start his own record label and how reimaging a song from his part gave him a top twenty hit with “She’s Somebody’s Daughter”. Drew also played a couple classic tracks from artists like Alan Jackson. For the amount of time he was on stage, I only wish he would have stayed with playing his original tracks. Baldridge was entertaining and fit well with Country in the Park’s Day One line up.



Brian Kelley, known for his work as part of Florida Georgia Line showcased his solo talents with a mix of familiar FGL hits and new material that highlighted his versatility as an artist. To say that Kelly was well-received by the crowd would be an understatement. Kelley brought is beach cowboy vibe with its laid-back energy to the dirt floors we were all sharing. Kelly also knew how to turn it up the energy to really get the crowds on their feet dancing. Kelley had just released his studio album ‘Tennessee Truth’ a week before the show so I was looking forward to hearing a few of the tracks played live.



You would think after being part of a duo for so long that being a solo artist on stage would be difficult. I have to say that Brian Kelley owned the stage was a great performer on his own and I look forward to seeing what his future continues to hold for him.


As the Sun and the heat finally started to come down, Dustin Lynch was the next to take the stage. Dustin has a real country boy swagger with a million dollar smile. Lynch has the ability to connect with the audience through his storytelling as he explained the inspirations on songs like “Chevrolet”, “Stars Like Confetti”, and “Ridin’ Roads”.



The high point of the set for a lot of us was when Dustin told the story of writing a song about the love his grandparents share called “Cowboys and Angels”. Although I’ve always been more of a rocker than a country music lover, my admiration for the music has grown considerably over the years. I bring this up because that song Dustin wrote about true love is so heartfelt that I have part of the lyrics tattooed across both my forearms (I’d die for her, she lives for me). Lynch closed out the out the evening with “Small Town Boy” and it was the perfect way for him to finish his set.


For the headliner Brantley Gilbert, his full show review is at the link below his photo





Mayhem Music Magazine