O, say can you see… Brad Paisley? Country Jam Colorado

My first trip to Grand Junction, Colorado, will go down in the books as a moment that truly touched my life. I was already excited to be invited to perform at Country Jam Colorado, but I was not anticipating singing the national anthem, much less on the main stage in front of thousands of people!

I was already scheduled to do two shows at the festival--.an acoustic set in the VIP tent and then, later, a plugged-in show after Brad Paisley on the Jack Daniel’s Stage. However, after I performed at the VIP tent, I was asked by one of the festival officials if I would sing the national anthem before Brad’s show. Each year, Country Jam Colorado honors military veterans, and that is what was going to happen that night. Of course, I said yes, even though the circumstances were less than ideal. I had been dealing with several nose bleeds all day (because of the high altitude and dry weather in the desert). I thought, “Lord, I am going to be singing a high note and then comes a nose bleed!” Thankfully, that did not happen! I was extremely nervous and praying I didn’t forget the lyrics to such a revered song. I stood out on the stage and listened to over 50,000 people sing it with me. What an unforgettable moment! It was so beautiful to see the love that everyone had for our country and the respect that was shown as the flag was being waved in the air. I remember walking off stage and was so overcome by emotion, I cried. It was a magical moment.

I was pretty excited about running into Joe Nichols backstage after I sang the anthem. I have always loved his music and he has such a great personality. Neil McCoy performed earlier in the day and it’s funny because I actually ran into Neil at the airport after Country Jam the following day. I guess you never know who you will run into! I am pretty sure I left a little piece of my heart back in Colorado. It is an extraordinary place and so beautiful!  


Abby Downing