9/4/17 By: Addie Hayes Editor/Lead Writer Regional Music Journal
Jake Jam 2017 (left to right) Midland, Kevin Fowler, Michael Ray, Frankie Ballard, Granger Smith – Regional Music Journal Staff Photographer
Jake Jam 2017, hosted by Oklahoma City country radio station 93.3 Jake FM, saw record attendance this year. Thousands of people came out, despite the heat, and were rewarded with a fantastic show. The event took place on a 400 acre field at the Grand Casino in Shawnee, Oklahoma on August 19, 2017. This was the seventh year Jake FM brought the free concert to fans, and the lineup included performances by Midland, Kevin Fowler, Michael Ray, Frankie Ballard and headliner Granger Smith.
Midland took the stage to kick off Jake Jam 2017 and entertained fans with their laid-back sound; keeping things a little more low key in the Oklahoma heat. The band performed several songs off their upcoming album On the Rocks, due for release on September 22, 2017. They performed a cover of the 1983 Alabama hit “Dixieland Delight” while the crowd sang along. After sending well wishes to ill country legend Willie Nelson, Midland broke into a superb performance of “Altitude Adjustment”. The band wrapped up their set with their hit single “Drinkin’ Problem”.
Texas native Kevin Fowler followed Midland and turned up the intensity. Performing signature songs like “The Lord Loves The Drinkin’ Man” and “Hell Yeah I Like Beer”, he helped create a huge party atmosphere. Fowler incorporates traditional country elements into his dynamic performance, making him one of the more popular figures from the Texas Country Music scene. During his set he also performed a cover of the Hank Williams Jr. song “Family Tradition”, with the crowd singing along. Fowler is a seasoned musician who knows how to work a crowd, and his performance prepared fans for the remained of the evening, which was filled with extremely talented and diverse country artists.
Crowd favorite Michael Ray took the stage in the early evening to an expectant crowd. Ray’s deep voice sounded fantastic as he made his way through songs like “Get to You”, “Real Men Love Jesus”, and the hit “Think a Little Less”. He also performed a montage of songs from artists who have influenced him, including Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes”, Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever Amen”, and David Lee Murphy’s “Dust on the Bottle”. Ray interacts heavily with his audience, enduring himself to country music fans. At one point during his performance, the crowd helped him sing Happy Birthday to a seven year old little boy named Bentley. Ray also stayed on stage after he wrapped his performance and autographed items for several fans.
Battle Creek, Michigan singer Frankie Ballard took the stage leading up to headliner Granger Smith. Ballard has fused country and rock to create a traditional rockabilly sound, with a modern touch. He has a slight rasp to his voice which is showcased throughout his live set. During the show he performed a Johnny Cash cover, along with several of his hits such as, “It All Started with a Beer”, “Sunshine and Whiskey” and “Helluva Life”. Ballard has a magnetic stage presence that cannot be ignored. His dynamic performance thrilled the crowd and prepared fans for Granger Smith.
Granger Smith Headlined Jake Jam 2017 – Regional Music Journal Staff Photographer
The crowd of nearly 30,000 showed their enthusiasm when Granger Smith took the stage and immediately jumped into his hit “Backroad Song”. He delivered a powerful performance with his smooth voice and country charm. His set included songs such as “We Got It All”, “Country Boy Love”, “Remington”, “Bury Me in Blue Jeans” and “Happens Like That”. During his set he thanked our troops fighting overseas, and acknowledged female police, EMT and firefighters. The outstanding performance proves why Granger Smith is loved among country music fans.
Jake Jam 2017 artists (left to right) Midland, Kevin Fowler, Michael Ray, Frankie Ballard and Granger Smith – Regional Music Journal Staff Photographer
Jake Jam 2017 set records and delivered a solid lineup of today’s best country music artists. The radio station has worked hard for the past seven years to deliver the free concert to Jake FM listeners. The annual event will only continue to grow every year as more people tune to the radio station and attend the concert in upcoming years. It will be exciting to see what Jake FM brings to Oklahoma in 2018.
© Copyright 2017 Regional Music Journal