Notable names in country music recently exchanged their Whiskey on the rocks for a neat glass of wine at CMT’s annual Live In The Vineyard event in picturesque Napa Valley, California. Country newcomers and award-winning musicians escaped the hustle and bustle of Nashville to slow down and appreciate the pristine estates that makeup wine country. While testing their taste buds and expanding their palate – they mingled amongst music supervisors, radio programmers, label executives, and corporate partners.
The dream-like intimate affair was brought to life by CMT and the all-genre Live in the Vineyard. After 12 years of working their magic, Live In The Vineyard has found the perfect blend of how to incorporate music, delectable bites, and the rich history of Napa all into three days.
“We are beyond excited to be bringing live music back to our second home in Napa Valley and to get the chance to showcase and support all of those in the Valley. We could not have asked for better partners than CMT or a better lineup to return back to in-person events,” shared Live In The Vineyard President Bobbii Jacobs. “CMT is excited to again partner with Bobbii and the LITV Team, who have created a one-of-a-kind, experiential event that showcases our amazing country music talent with the spectacular backdrop of Napa,” added Leslie Fram, Senior Vice President of Music & Talent for CMT.
Attendees that were lucky enough to score a spot on the prestigious guest list and received the opportunity to relish in the luxury getaway each had a specific goal in mind. For instance, radio programmers were on-site seeking fresh talent, label directors were toasting to the hard-earned success of their signed musicians, and the artists were present to encourage the industry guests to take a chance on them or to give thanks for the endless support throughout the years.
Budding singer-songwriter Chris Bandi exclusively shared with Country Now that the élite invitation to perform marks a career milestone and gives him a once-in-a-lifetime chance to network with individuals who have the power to elevate his craft.
“It’s just such a laid-back atmosphere. We kind of do this thing, and it’s called a ‘radio tour’ in country music. We would take a bus or fly three times a day to go meet all these program directors in their respective cities. Now, here there are so many program directors, and it is a laid back environment,” he shared about socializing with wine in hand at intimate venues throughout Napa. “They don’t have a desk full of things that they need to get done that day. So, you get to hang out, and you get to drink some wine. Everybody kind of lets their guard down, and this is where you make lifelong connections and relationships with friends in radio,” he adds.
To seal the deal and to win over the industry giants in the room, the musicians break down their moving melodies by revealing the inspiration behind each of their chart-climbing tracks. Without any bells or whistles to go along with their setlist, the artists showcase their raw sound with just an acoustic guitar and with breathtaking vistas as a backdrop.
“It was really cool to share some music with radio and then also try to make some news fans out here too. I’ve got a new song coming out on Friday [Nov.5,] so it was awesome to get to tell the story behind that and play a sneak peek for everybody,” shared rising artists George Birge. While the man behind “Someone Somewhere” with crossover artist Nelly utilized the star-studded affair to reveal an unreleased single – TikToker turned music sensation, Priscilla Block declared that it was nice to perform in-person and meet the individuals who believed in her music from the moment she went viral.
“It’s really cool because my career kind of took off during the pandemic, and a lot of the time I had with radio and the people here has been over Zoom. So, I feel like being able to get in front of people and show them like, ‘hey, this is what I got.’ I totally do think that today could have an impact on my career,” Block expressed to Country Now reporter Tiffany Goldstein following her performance at Round Pond Estate Winery.
Throughout the three days, Live In The Vineyard paired state-of-the-art wineries with musicians that would cultivate a vibe that each château calls for. For instance, Tenille Townes, Matt Stell, and Old Dominion started the party at Nickel & Nickel during dusk. As VIP guests walked into the breathtaking property, Tenille Townes and Matt Stell shared their unmatchable vocals. However, as the sun slowly tucked away behind the mountains and the sky began to resemble cotton candy – the men that makeup Old Dominion got everyone up on their feet to dance the night away.
A select few were invited to a castle-like vineyard for a delightful meal prepared by The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone to top off the grand evening. As music-goers allowed their entrée to melt in their mouth under palm trees and string lights – SONY musicians Kameron Marlowe, Morgan Wade, and Adam Doleac blessed their ears with buzz-worthy tunes.
When Wednesday [Nov. 3] quickly arrived, numerous attendees kicked off their day by sipping on smooth wine from Round Pound Estate and singing along to hitmakers like Block, Parker McCollum, and Darius Rucker.
In true Napa fashion, everyone in attendance continued their winery hopping into the wee hours of the night to hear Lainey Wilson, Cole Swindell, Chris Janson, and Zac Brown Band at Regusci Winery. Concert-goer’s also witnessed, label executives surprise Tenille Arts with the life-changing news that her fan-favorite single “Somebody Like That” went platinum.
View this post on Instagram
To conclude the extravagant visit to wine country – the group was shuttled to an enchanted cellar called Calmer Estate Winery. Tierra, Hannah Ellis, Mackenzie Porter, and Clare Dunn from CMT’s Next Women of Country took center stage to put their name on everyone’s music radars.
Similar to the CMT’s Women of Country class, Carrie Underwood, Lindsay Ell, Ashley McBryde, Maddie & Tae, Mitchell Tenpenny, Eric Paslay, Parmalee, and more all utilized Live In The Vineyard to help gain traction in the country music space.
The rapid success of the Live In The Vineyard alums that have come before them should instantly instill confidence within the newcomers, as they have reached new heights since sharing their voice in the vineyards.