Having seen Ray Fulcher in this same venue opening for Josh Abbott a few months ago, we were excited to see what he brought this time around. We were instantly reminded again of his Eric Church vibe, both in look and sound. He told a story of going to see Church in 2006 in Athens, Georgia, and knowing it was a moment that changed his life. He knew then and there that he had to write songs that made people feel the way Eric Church made him feel. Fulcher co-wrote “Doe to Me” performed by Eric Church, and played his version of it, hoping to do his legend justice. He told the story of writing his “Somebody Like Me” hit, which resulted from kind of but not really dating someone, then her moving away to Austin, Texas on short notice, realizing he was never really dating her anyway. Fulcher finished with the classic, catchy “When It Rains It Pours” which he wrote for Luke Combs.
Chris Bandi was up next, and he was so excited to play his first show in NYC. His almost raspy voice was incredibly addicting, and with the beard and sound, he was giving us Sam Hunt vibes. A definitely more pop-country vibe than the classic country of Fulcher, he’s got a fun edge to draw some non-traditional country fans. He sang a new song “Free” as well as covers of “Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects, and a few more rockin’ country songs he hasn’t released yet.
His brand new EP comes out this summer, but until then he is promoting his current country radio single “Man Enough Now”. Bandi moved to Nashville 7 years ago, with the idea of writing a song that can take you back to a memory in 3 minutes, saying, “Nothing else can do that.”
Matt Stell was ready to rock the night, with his full band jamming as he opened with “Sex, Drugs, and Country Music”. You can hear the country influence, but the crowd definitely felt like they were at a rock concert with his show. He kept thanking everyone in the audience and expressing how happy he was to be playing a show in New York City, and that none of this is possible without his fans. He played a cover of Rhett Akins’ “That Ain’t My Truck” which definitely has an old school country vibe, but contrasted it with his version of Ariana Grande’s “God is A Woman”. Stell played a few new songs, “Chase it Down” and “Love You Too”, that definitely got everyone excited for his new music. A cover of Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” was in the mix, with another contrasting of John Michael Montgomery’s “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)”, an awesome display of his ability to slide between pop/rock and country so seamlessly. His last song was what he explained changed his life last year, “Prayed For You”, his single that went number one, and expresses his true emotions.
What an awesome night for male country artists in New York City, and the fans were there for it all.
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