Day three, the final day of Country Thunder Florida 2022, had a significantly different vibe than the day before. The crowd had lost about 30% of it’s numbers and it was almost like a hangover from the day and night before. As the day went o,n however, the fans came to life and finished out the country music weekend strong. Hangovers are meant for Monday morning and there was still a full day of live music to be excited about.
The day started at 2:30pm with North Carolina’s singer/songwriter John Morgan. John sold everything he had and headed to Nashville to seek his fame. After he got recognized from the demos he sent out, he got a writing opportunity with Kurt Allison and Tully Kennedy, two band mates of Jason Aldean who later signed him to Night Train Records, his imprint with BBR Music Group. John also has a number one GRAMMY® nominated ACM Single of the Year with Carrie Underwood, “If I Didn’t Love You”. He also has co-writing credit for “Trouble With A Heartbreak”with Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood. John Morgan is an impressive songwriter and has a very promising career ahead.
At 4:00pm, Lainey Wilson , the shooting star in the country music world since being awarded New Female Artist of The Year in 2021 by Academy of Country Music Awards, was up. She was also awarded song of the year for “Things a Man Oughta Know.” This year Lainey has been nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, Song of the Year – “Things a Man Oughta Know”, Musical Event of the Year – “Never Say Never” (with Cole Swindell), and Video of the Year – “Never Say Never” (with Cole Swindell) by the Country Music Association Awards held in Nashville on November 9, 2022. To top off a whirlwind year, Lainey captured a role in season 5 of the show Yellowstone on Paramount. Her character, Abby is a country singer. With all that, Lainey graced the stage at Country Thunder and just lit up the crowd. She put on an electrifying performance!
The crowd at Country Thunder digging deep to bring this party to a fitting end of a great three day weekend!
The authentic cowboy, Clay Walker from Beaumont, Texas, started his set at 5:30pm. Walker was inducted into the the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2015. With eleven studio albums, and six number one singles, Clay Walker is a true Country Western artist. He played an hour long set that the audience just loved.
Granger Smith , another born-and-bred Texan, also known by his alter ego, Earl Dibbles Jr, started his hour and a half set at 7:00pm as the sun was setting and the stage lighting took over. Granger Smith has released 11 albums to date with his first number one single “Backroad Song” in 2016. He was very engaging and made multiple trips down the runway to autograph cowboy hats and just be in the middle of the crowd who had finally seemed to have awaken and shaken off the cobwebs.
Jason Aldean was the final act of the night and festival hitting the stage at 9:00am. Aldean has been a country singer since Since 2005 and has released 10 albums and 38 singles to date. 27 of his 38 singles have reached #1 on either the Hot Country Songs or Country Airplay charts. Aldean was the sixth artist to receive the ACM Dick Clark Artist of the Decade Award in 2019. This is an award given to an artists who is consistently on top of the charts over the span of a decade. Aldean played for almost two hours and the weary crowd rallied as they cheered one of country music’s best. It was hard to tell the difference in the crowd from the night before even with an estimated 10,000 fans less in the audience.
Jason Aldean– Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Kurt Allison– Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Tully Kennedy- Bass
Jack Sizemore– Rhythm and Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Carl Ray Jackson- Pedal Steel Guitar
Rich Redmond– Drums
After cancelling Country Thunder in 2020 because of the Covid pandemic the festival was moved from a spring date to the fall in 2021. This year, it remained in the fall and it appears this will continue in 2023. The fall weather is a bit more accommodating than the rains in the spring and the temperatures are also mild. Country Thunder is a very well run festival. This means, enough bathroom facilities, enough food and beverage, and the stage performers go on as scheduled. As a concert photographer, this was my fourth time covering Country Thunder and it’s the best festival I cover throughout the year.
Osceola County was settled by the Partin’s moving from Georgia in the mid-1800s. Quintessential Cowboy, Henry Doc’ Partin Co-founded The Silver Spurs Rodeo and died on 2005. At that time, there were still more head of cattle than residents in the county. Kissimmee still holds the annual cattle drive through Main Street every spring. Osceola Country has been changing over the years but the western lifestyle is still alive and well here in Osceola County. There are still ranches in the county, The Silver Spurs Rodeo takes place twice a year, and the best Country Music Festival in the land is held in Kissimmee. I believe “Doc” Partin would be proud!
Day One Country Thunder Coverage HERE
Day Two Country Thunder Coverage HERE
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Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.