Country music's big night out

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The Spectrum

Cowboy hats, mustaches and NASCAR jackets were all in abundance for the fall acoustic show on Wednesday at the Center for the Arts. The crowd was treated to great performances by some of country music's biggest talents.

The sold out show was hosted by country station 106.5 WYRK and featured artists Danny Gokey, Steel Magnolia and The Band Perry. The acoustic concert highlighted each band's twangy vocals and instrumental abilities.

During the concert, all of the artists were featured on stage at the same time. The bands alternated between songs, taking turns wowing the crowd. This allowed the performers to interact on stage and connect with the audience by sharing humorous and personal stories about one another.

Musician Danny Gokey first garnered attention after being a contestant on American Idol during season eight. Despite gaining national recognition, Gokey's life has been full of turmoil and heartbreak ever since the sudden death of his wife in 2008, and his songs, such as "I Will Not Say Goodbye" and "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me," reflect the experiences he has endured.

After he shared his life experiences, which ranged from his childhood to becoming an American Country Music Award nominee, the audience was able to identify on a personal level with Gokey.

During his set, Gokey and his bandmates performed numerous hits, such as "I Still Believe" and a cover of Rascal Flatts' smash hit, "What Hurts the Most."

The Band Perry, a family group based out of Tennessee also performed. Comprised of lead vocalist Kim Perry, backup vocalist Neil Perry and bass player Reid Perry, the up-and-coming band released its debut album in October 2010 and is hoping to garner the attention of country fans all over the world.

The group possesses a mix of rock and country, which was evident from every strum of the guitar. The music reflected the band's vigorous spirit and kept the crowd tapping its feet along with every song.

"I thought it was awesome," said Natalie Fenocchi, a senior accounting major. "I liked The Band Perry the best. I thought they put on the most energetic show."

After singing powerful songs such as "If I Die Young" and "Independence," the trio paid tribute to the iconic rock band Queen. From the moment Kim strummed her guitar, "Fat Bottomed Girls" rang throughout the hall and got the crowd excited for more. The energy, youth, and passion The Band Perry brought to the stage refreshed many concertgoers.

Steel Magnolia, playing alongside Danny Gokey and The Band Perry, is known for its debut on the hit show Can You Duet. This girlfriend and boyfriend duo is made up of Meghan Linsey and Joshua Jones. The group went on to win Can You Duet and received a recording contract with Big Machine Records, which also features country heavyweights Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts.

The chemistry between the two performers was passionate, and it was evident that the love between them is not artificial. The duo shared personal stories of times passed that served as the inspiration for its songs.

Memorable songs of the night, such as "Without You" and "Just by Being You," let the crowd into some of the most personal and heartbreaking experiences from the couple's own lives.

Steel Magnolia's fame has grown steadily since the debut of the group's first single, "Keep on Loving You." A self-titled debut album is set to release in January 2011 and is likely to be a great success for the country duo, but it is still to be seen what will become of this group.

The liveliness that each performer gave made the show truly electrifying. Regardless of a person's musical taste, it is hard to deny the passion and soul that came from every performer. If this performance was any indication of what is to come, these musicians have a future of success and greatness on the horizon.