“This is the perfect location,” Billy Currington commented backstage before headlining the second Coastal Country Jam of the year at Huntington State Beach Saturday night (August 12th).
And indeed it was, as Southern California country fans enjoyed an all-day festival of barbecue, beer, beach, and the best genre of music, starting early in the afternoon with local favorites Kaitlyn Weathers and Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide, before making way for Grass Roots Revival, then Sunny Sweeney, Walker Hayes, and finally the aforementioned Billy Currington, who performed with bare feet and the backdrop of the setting sun. Beach balls were tossed throughout the crowd, and men hoisted their dates up on their shoulders, completing the festival atmosphere.
Audience favorites from Billy’s set included the entirely appropriate “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer,” the sexy “Must Be Doin’ Something Right,” “People Are Crazy,” “Hey Girl,” the brand new “Wake Me Up,” and recent hits “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” and “Do I Make You Wanna,” but his covers of Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Jr., and Garth Brooks‘ “Friends In Low Places” (complete with third verse) were a pleasant surprise. Determined fans of line dancing even found a way to do the “We Are Tonight” line dance with live accompaniment – no easy task to do in the sand.
Walker Hayes, now just two years removed from stocking produce at Costco, delighted the crowd by performing “You Broke Up With Me,” not once, but twice, the clever and infectious lyrics coming through not only in his debut single, but also in his other “deep cuts,” many of which are already well-known his hardcore fans. “You’re Happy” name-checks Tim McGraw, but Walker explained it’s the opposite of “Just to See You Smile.” He described “Your Girlfriend Does” (written with the boys of Old Dominion) as a “rebuttal to haters,” and performed it acoustically, as he did with “Lela’s Stars.”
Married to his high school sweetheart, with whom he has six children, Walker comes by his big family honestly: he’s the youngest of nine kids (four older sisters and brothers) and described the song “Halloween” as being about insecurity.
Sunny Sweeney brought her characteristic Texas drawl and self-deprecating sense of humor to her set, playing most of the songs from her new album Trophy, such as the devastatingly sad “Bottle by My Bed,” written after her own struggle with infertility, “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight” (a Chris Wall song made famous by Jerry Jeff Walker), and “Pass the Pain,” written while she was going through a divorce and found herself sitting at Loser’s Bar in Nashville at 3pm on a weekday afternoon….and possibly getting kicked out. She noted that even though the song was written ten years ago, she was glad it made it onto her current record, as Trisha Yearwood is featured on it.
She invited the audience to follow her on social media, apologizing in advance for anything posted after 2am. “I make my parents real proud with the subject matter of my songs,” she joked before diving into “Drink Myself Single.” Her version of Kasey Chambers‘ “If I Could” became a sing-along for the crowd, who also easily related to “Everybody Else Can Kiss My Ass,” dedicated to her former boss Tammy.
- Don’t It
- That’s How Country Boys Roll
- Love Done Gone
- Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer
- Wake Me Up
- Let Me Down Easy
- It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To
- Do I Make You Wanna
- People Are Crazy
- Workin’ Man Blues (Merle Haggard cover)
- I Got a Feelin’
- Must Be Doing Something Right
- Family Tradition (Hank Williams, Jr. cover)
- Hey Girl
- We Are Tonight
- Friends In Low Places (Garth Brooks cover)
- Good Directions
- Break the Internet
- You’re Happy
- You Broke Up With Me
- Your Girlfriend Does
- Lela’s Stars
- Dollar Store
- Beer in the Fridge
- You Broke Up with Me (Reprise)
- Shut Up Kenny
- Better Bad Idea
- Nothing Wrong with Texas
- Pass the Pain
- If I Could (Kasey Chambers cover)
- Everybody Else Can Kiss My Ass
- Why People Change
- I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
- East Texas Pines
- Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash cover)
- Bottle By My Bed