As Musikfest 2015 hits its mid-way marker tonight, Reba McEntire graced the main stage in the shadow of the Steel Stacks. The Queen of Country opened with “Can’t Even Get The Blues,“ a song that has some significance for her career. “That song we opened with, the first one we played,” Reba said. “That song was my first number one hit. Back in 1983…oh my.” The crowd laughed along with her. She was trying to make a joke about her age, when really, she hasn’t aged a bit and her music remains timeless. After her opening zinger, Reba quickly became nostalgic. “It’s good to be back in Pennsylvania,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of songs, a lot of stories, a lot of memories tonight. I hope you enjoy the journey with us.”
Before that, though, rising star Caroline Kole set the tone for the night with her opening set. The 18-year-old singer/songwriter played a mix of originals and covers, including her first hit single “Money To Me” and “If He’d Only Look Up,“ title track of her sophomore album. Another highlight of the set was her cover of Miranda Lambert‘s “Mama’s Broken Heart.“ A fine tribute to one of her influences, and really showed that Kole has some serious talent. Before the show, Caroline visited the Martin Guitar tent outside ArtsQuest to chat with reps and check out some of the latest models. The legendary guitar factory is just a few miles down the road in Nazareth, PA. Caroline took the stage with a sweet Martin slung over her shoulder. Barely out of high school, she played guitar and sang with confidence and poise beyond her years. She was definitely worthy of opening for Reba, and may one day return to the ‘Fest as a headliner.
Then, Reba proceeded to dazzle with a 21-song set that spanned her entire career. When your catalog boasts 40 #1 hits and countless fan favorites, putting together a setlist can be quite an undertaking. The country music queen quenched her fans’ thirst this evening, for sure. Highlights from the evening included “Does He Love You,” the riffy rocker “Turn On The Radio,” her smash duet she recorded with Kelly Clarkson “Because of You,” “Little Rock,” and her classic hit “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia.” She mashed up a massive medley of “You’re No Good,” “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” “Walk On,” and “I’d Rather Ride Around With You.” Reba also unveiled two tracks from her latest studio album – “Going Out Like That” and “Until They Don’t Love You.” After the set, Reba returned to the stage in her classic red gown for “Fancy,” her most iconic offering. The Queen of Country reigned supreme.
Reba released her 27th studio album Love Somebody on April 14 via Nash Icon Records, an imprint of Big Machine Label Group. The album’s lead single “Going Out Like That” which debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, her highest debuting single in her career. The album debuted at #1 on Billboard Top Country Albums and #3 on the Billboard Top 200. The album’s second single “Until They Don’t Love You” hit country radio this week. This summer, Reba joined forces with Brooks and Dunn to launch the “Together in Vegas” residency at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Reba is undoubtedly one of the greatest country music artists of all-time. Throughout her career, the legendary singer has sold more than 56 million albums worldwide and her catalog includes 40 No. 1 singles and 14 No. 1 albums. She is the recipient of 15 American Music Awards, 13 ACM Awards, nine People’s Choice Awards, seven CMA Awards, two Grammy Awards and the ACM Career Achievement Honor. She’s also one of only four entertainers in history to receive the National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress. Most recently, Reba was awarded the first-ever NASH Icon Award during the inaugural American Country Countdown Awards.
Reba’s career transcends into film, television, and theater. In 2001, she made her Broadway debut in Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun, which the New York Times hailed as “without qualification the best performance by an actress in a musical comedy this season.” She also starred in her own six-season sitcom Reba (WB Television Network/The CW) for which she garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical/Comedy. – by Matt Bishop