Stagecoach Roundup: Saturday Sizzles with Sam Palladio, Chris Stapleton, John Fogerty & More …

Although temperatures cooled quite a bit in Indio, Calif., for day two of Stagecoach,Saturday’s lineup of country music artists sizzled.

Nashville‘s Sam Palladio Pursues Real Life Solo Career

Sam Palladio was a hot press item over in the festival’s media tent during the afternoon, thanks in large part to his starring role as heartthrob Gunnar Scott on ABC’s hit drama Nashville. On the show, his band The Exes with Scarlet O’Connor seems to be on the verge of breaking it big, and the Brit actor/musician is hoping to find equal success with his own solo career in real life.

Palladio recorded his first EP right before Christmas this past year, and gave festival attendees a taste of his new music and style with a late afternoon set on the Palomino stage. And just like his media session, Palladio drew an avid and extensive audience.

But it was an interesting juxtaposition. For fans of the show – and based on the number of collective female shrieks, there were loads in the Stagecoach crowd, Palladio’s real-life look and music seem much edgier than the sappy and moving love duets that he’s well-known for in the television drama.

Dressed in a flowery Hawaiian shirt, black jeans with a handkerchief hanging out of his back pocket, and noticeable silver hoop earring, Palladio delivered a fun, high-energy set at what was apparently his first-ever American festival.

He used the short set time wisely, highlighting his new material, like “Heartbreak Blues,”  “Headed to the Fire” and “Faster Than a Bullet,” while also serving the Nashville masses with fan favorites like “Fade Into You” and “You Can Count on Me.”  Since his co-star was absent, Palladio kindly invited all of the ladies to sing her parts.

While actress Clare Bowen may have been absent, Palladio’s other former television ex, Zoey Dalton, played by Chaley Rose, was there to cheer him on.

Not that he was short on adoration.

Stapleton’s Star Continues to Shine

Chris Stapleton has swept just about every awards show in the last year, including picking up two Grammys for Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance. His star is so bright, and with such crossover appeal to boot, that the Kentucky-born singer/songwriter/guitarist was invited to play both Coachella AND Stagecoach.

Indeed, Stapleton’s solo album Traveler really doesn’t have a throw away song on it, making his early evening set time a must for most Stagecoach goers.

He kicked off the set with “Nobody to Blame,” getting a mega assist from an enthusiastic audience ready to sing along.

Stapleton was outstanding, per usual, on “Traveler,” “Might As Well Get Stoned,” “Fire Away,” and of course “Tennessee Whiskey.”

And while one festival-goer insisted that Justin Timberlake was going to be a surprise guest (remember that epic CMA moment when the two paired up?), Stapleton kept things in-house.   He used the song’s melody to instead introduce his tight band, including his wife Morgane (tambourine and vocals) whom he sang to: “Love me, love me, love me my wife. Love of my life.”

The married couple shared many tender moments between them onstage. With the wind in full force, Morgane stole his cowboy hat for herself before passing it off to a tech. She tried to then keep her husband’s long locks at bay, and although a futile effort, the subtle interplay did not go unnoticed.   As one person commented, Chris Stapleton and his wife = #lifegoals.

I Hope You Dance

For more than 15 years, Lee Ann Womack has heard stories about how her song “I Hope You Dance” has changed lives and marked pivotal milestones.  It’s got to get old. But, we’re not going to lie. We sprinted over from Chris Stapleton’s set at the Mane Stage to the Palomino tent, just hoping to catch this ONE song.

Played second to last, Womack was joined by thousands of voices for a truly epic sing-along moment.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance. I hope you dance …

I hope you dance.

Rodney Crowell Rolls Through Set

Just next door to Womack, Rodney Crowell was holding court in the Mustang tent and we were able to catch a bit of “Even Cowgirl Get the Blues” and his excellent cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.”

Crowell is always masterful and tonight’s set seemed no different.

Fogerty … Still Fantastic

Prior to John Fogerty taking the Palomino stage on Saturday night at Stagecoach, a mini documentary about the legendary singer/songwriter and his journey with Creedance Clearwater Revival aired on the side screens.

Anticipation built throughout the film as Fogerty recalled his experience at Woodstock and how 1969 was such a monumental year 1969 for him as a musician and influencer of his generation.

Finally, as Fogerty kicked his set into high gear with “Travelin’ Band,”  fans began rushing over to a tent that was already bursting at the seams. That didn’t stop fans from spilling wide and far into the fields, or erupting into the chorus for “Green River.”

“Who’ll Stop the Rain” was a set highlight, a song he introduced by explaining that he wrote it right after coming home from Woodstock. Throughout the tune, psychedelic ‘60s images flashed on screen, along with shots of places like San Francisco’s Haight/Ashbury, which perfectly captured the essence of the song.

There was also no shortage of Fogerty’s soaring guitar solos over long stretches of purely instrumental pieces, thanks to his very talented band.


The Band Perry Invites Crowd to Get Wild, Crazy & Loud

Playing Stagecoach festival for the second year in a row, the Band Perry brought their pop country performance to the Mane Stage Saturday night, making every attempt to turn the evening into a dance party with their hit songs and a few unexpected covers.

Kimberly and her brothers, Reid and Neil, have mastered their highly-choreographed set list and the fine art of interacting with their fans. The sibling Perry trio launched their hour-long set with  a dramatic drum roll to intro “Better Dig Two,” and a few songs in, Kimberly insisted that her audience “Get a little bit crazy. Get a little bit wild, and get really, really loud!”

They rolled through “Chainsaw,” “You Lie” and new songs “Best One Yet” and “Stay in the Dark” before transitioning into a series of covers. All three member’s voices came together in harmony for Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” and then a unique mashup of the Eurthymics “Sweet Dreams,” Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” and CeeLo Green’s “Crazy.” Naturally, the fans were singing along and getting loud, just as Kimberly requested.

Following the series of covers, the band played another new song titled “In It Together,” which interestingly, was written on their tour bus the night they left Stagecoach a year ago.

Of course, the band performed their famous hit “If I Die Young,” but Kimberly started it off with a twist, slowing it down and softly singing the chorus line before her brothers joined her on the same mic to sing it the way fans know and love.

The slow, heartfelt number is a bit somber, but the Band Perry soon cranked it right back up with a countrified version of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” which through the well liquored up crowd in dancing frenzy.

Get a little bit crazy. Get a little bit wild. Get really, really loud? Mission accomplished.