Jason Aldean, Colt Ford, Joe Diffie, and Tyler Farr - Country Thunder - 4/13/14

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Andrew Pielage
The main stage at Country Thunder 2014 over the weekend.

Joe Diffie, Tyler Farr, Colt Ford, Jason Aldean
Country Thunder 2014
4/13/14

As Country Thunder closes out, the tried and true aficionados remain: They're the groups who've done this before, who have more alcoholic stamina than all your friends combined, who will wake up at 5 a.m. on Monday morning to decamp and head home.
Everyone is slightly more subdued, a little windburned and exhausted, leaving only the diehards to stick it out to the very end.

You'd be right in assuming a lot of the remaining attendees are college kids, as there was a steady stream of families with their trailers and RVs leaving the campground all day long. With just the younger audiences around, earlier acts like Gordon Bamford and Joe Diffie seemed to get a bit of the shaft, but both, especially the latter, still know how to put on one hell of a show.


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Mark Chesnutt, Craig Morgan, Miranda Lambert - Country Thunder - 4/12/14

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Andrew Pielage
Craig Morgan performs at Country Thunder.

Mark Chesnutt, Craig Morgan, Miranda Lambert
Country Thunder 2014
4/12/14

By day three of Country Thunder, most attendees are in one of two states: You're either cripplingly hungover and sunburnt, acting as brothers in spirit with those souls at Coachella, or you've been saving yourself for the biggest two days of the festival so far. With headliner Miranda Lambert and main stage acts Mark Chesnutt and Craig Morgan, Saturday proved to be the biggest and best day yet with some 26,000 attendees throughout the day. Like any other year at the festival, there's a lot of tan skin, catcalling and Bud Light. From the furthest reaches of the campgrounds -- I should know, I seemed to walk them all over the course of the day -- to the main stage itself, day three also seemed to have everyone in good spirits. Country music just has an ability to take most cares away, as evidenced by this year's revelers.

See also: Country Thunder 2014 coverage as well as our slideshow of the best people at Country Thunder 2014.


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The Band Perry, Easton Corbin - Country Thunder - 4/11/14

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Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
The Band Perry takes to the stage on Friday, April 11, at Country Thunder 2014 in Florence.

The Band Perry, Easton Corbin, & more
Country Thunder 2014
4/11/14

Country music fans in Florence were surely pleased with the way their weekend kicked off last night. Friday marked day two of this year's annual Country Thunder festival, and the night's lineup featured up-and-comers Mary Hoffman and Cassadee Pope, along with seasoned musicians Sawyer Brown and chart toppers Easton Corbin and the Band Perry.

When I arrived at Country Thunder, there were campers set up in every direction and thousands of people wandering the festival grounds, browsing vendor booths like Stetson and Jack Daniel's. Finding my first beer was an unforgiving and daunting task in the high afternoon heat, but after going through all the avenues for alcohol, I could settle in.

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8 Cover Songs Made Famous by Jason Aldean

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Publicity Photo
Jason Aldean is scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 13, at Country Thunder 2014 in Florence.
Country megastar Jason Aldean doesn't front a tribute band insofar as we can tell. An argument could be made otherwise, considering the number of cover songs the crooner has performed and recorded during his storied career.

Whether or not fans are aware of it, some of Aldean's biggest hits were originally sung by someone else, which is a testament to the sheer pull and power that the back-to-back ACM Male Vocalist of the Year-winner has as a recording artist.

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Country Rapper Colt Ford Appreciates His Fans and Is Thanking Them In a Big Way

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coltford.com
Colt Ford is scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 13, at Country Thunder 2014.
Rap music and country music -- two distinctly different genres that don't go together, right? Maybe in the past, cuz, but it seems like the hybridizing of the two are happening more and more in recent years. Brad Paisley and LL Cool J collaborated on last year's track "Accidental Racist," Willie Nelson jammed out with Snoop Dogg on 2011's "Superman," or Florida Georgia Line working with Nelly on "Cruise."

And then there are country rappers like Colt Ford, who makes his home in the realm of hick-hop.

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Easton Corbin Keeps It Simple and Stays Effective

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https://www.facebook.com/eastoncorbin
Easton Corbin is scheduled to perform on Friday, April 11, at Country Thunder 2014 in Florence.
Country music is all about the storyline, and the path of least resistance, lyrically speaking, often makes for the best tales-turned-songs. Easton Corbin, the Floridian behind hits like "All Over The Road" and "A Little More Country Than That," is a man familiar with this model, using it to his and his fans' advantages since his debut in 2010.

While he still considers himself a newcomer, he speaks with the concise precision of a weathered professional -- after all, Corbin has moved over 2 million singles in four years. While this year is his first time to Country Thunder, he's a road dog that works best on a large stage setting, putting his aw-shucks charm and melodic sensibilities on display on a grand scale. We spoke to Corbin ahead of his set at Country Thunder this Friday.

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Craig Morgan: "You Don't Want to Change, But You Do Want to Grow"

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Courtesy of the artist's Facebook page
Craig Morgan, apart from stopping every other minute to either express gratitude or share a laugh, can call to mind the archetype of the male country star -- years in the game, a rack of number one hits, a massive song in current rotation. Morgan doesn't run by standards, though: He launched his musical career late, at 35 years old, served 10 years in the U.S. Army and another nine in the Reserves. In the midst of a career revitalization with the success of "Wake Up Lovin' You," his most recent radio hit, Morgan is still wildly humble and youthfully hungry. We spoke to him ahead of his appearance at Country Thunder this Saturday night.

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Thompson Square Focuses on Giving Back and Writing Together

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facebook.com/thompsonsquare
Thompson Square is scheduled to perform on Thursday, April 10, at Country Thunder 2014 in Florence.
Fresh country acts are typically more concerned with gaining staying power, Twitter followers or radio spins above all else.

For Thompson Square, the Nashville-based husband and wife duo composed of Shawna and Keifer Thompson, their first intention was something a hell of a lot more admirable: They immediately set out to give back, turning their good fortune into the same for others.

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Miranda Lambert Finds the Time to Reflect

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facebook.com/mirandalambert
Miranda Lambert is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 12, at Country Thunder 2014.
In an era of canned, saccharine pop country that's characterized by love songs and songs of love lost, there are few musicians that can make a statement quite as well as Miranda Lambert does.

The Texas native has morphed from reality show contestant into superstar over the last decade, releasing one spitfire country anthem one after another. Speaking her mind came easiest to her through songwriting -- a talent she picked up just four years prior to her limelight introduction on the first season of "Nashville Star," honing her voice in a very short time.

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Cassadee Pope on The Voice Dynamics, Embracing Silence and Gut Instincts

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Big Machine Label Group
Cassadee Pope is scheduled to perform at Country Thunder 2014 on Friday, April 11.
You may know Cassadee Pope in one of three incarnations: There's the former frontwoman of Warped Tour pop-punk outfit Hey Monday, the winner of NBC sing-off show "The Voice," or the country act with a gigantic range and a penchant for breaking records only previously set by one Ms. Taylor Swift. Whatever facet of hers you're familiar with though, Cassadee Pope is an Los Angeles-by-West Palm Beach artist that's taken an atypical route with an au natural approach -- if you just go to the heart of country music, good music will follow.

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