Concert Reviews

Country Jam 2017 Brings Out The Crowd and New Artists


The country music fans come to the Country Jam every year with one thought in mind – to enjoy some great live music in a setting that offers food, attractions and the chance to meet some of their country music idols. The 26th installment was no different, except that maybe this year more up and comers graced the stage than ever before.

In the past the event has presented artists including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean and Chris Young. This year the Jam took a turn presenting new acts like The Stickers, Morgan Wallen and Dylan Scott. Of those acts Scott, who released his self-tiled EP last year, has already scored a #1 with his song “My Girl.” Other notables included Thompson Square, who inked their major label recording contract in 2010 and soared to multi-platinum status with their #1 single “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” a year later.

The line up did include Josh Turner, who has been to the Country Jam several times over the past, and was definitely the veteran country music act on the bill. Turner, made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 2001 with what would be his first #1 song in 2003, “Long Black Train.” Since then he has hit the top of the charts four times and sold millions of records.

Even though the Jam had the star power and name recognition of Turner, he would not be the headliner on a day dominated by new music. The headliners of the show were Dan+Shay, who released their first single, “19 You + Me” only four years ago. The duo of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney have had the most recent success of any artist on the Jam line up though, scoring three #1 hit singles in a row beginning in 2015 with “Nothing Like You.”

Local favorites, The Caliber Band, opened the Jam for the eighth year. Their run of appearances at the event started before all but Turner was ever a known commodity in country music.

But, the fans who come out to the Country Jam come for the celebration, and that is what they got. Even though much of the day was spent listening to new music by artists that may not have been household names. Those who attend like to plop down their blanket or lawn chair and listen to great music and just simply enjoy what has come to be one of the last festivals of the summer.

If you did want to take in some of the other attractions at the Country Jam, you could visit the food and beverage booths with everything from fried veggies and elephant ears to lemonade and beer. The many vendors that lined the corridor offered sunglasses, t-shirts, cowboy hats and folks who were ready to schedule you for some home improvement work. In addition, the autograph tent and the Thirsty Cowboy Saloon offered another chance to get up and stretch your legs. The Thirsty Cowboy also had country dancing and music from the Battle for the Jam winner, The Styles Haury Band.

The Country Jam did put on a good show and if it weren’t for the lack of the highly publicized video screens, would have scored higher marks across the board. The video screens were apparently the casualty of early morning showers and were unable to be replaced by the time the event started. The other low marks come from the lack of a schedule until the day of the event. In year’s past, the roster and times were announced weeks, and sometimes months, before the day of the show. I attend numerous different music festivals every year and they all have a schedule that fans can plan their day around that is announced in advance.

The one big difference this year, and another category for high marks, was the return to the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, after moving the Country Jam to Black River Landing last year. The fans voiced their opinion on the venue and the organizers were listening and moved back to the place that has been associated the longest with the Country Jam.

For more photos from the Country Jam check out our full Photo Album.

2017 WGAR Country Jam


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1 Comment

  1. Rachel seese

    August 24, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    I enjoyed the country jam and enjoyed spending time with my sister and brother in law and other family it was a great time with great country music me&my sister both agree that Dylan Scott was awesome along with the other artist that was there including Dan&Shay

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