As the kickoff of the Freedom Live concert series approaches this summer, organizers have made some changes to the Sept. 20 show at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB).
After country artist Kacey Musgraves dropped from the billing, options were open for a replacement act, said Dawn Powell from JBAB Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), and they booked five-time Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and producer CeeLo Green to accompany the headline act, Little Big Town.
Green has been active in the music industry since 1991, and gained widespread fame as part of the soul duo Gnarls Barkley with the hit, “Crazy.” He also starred on NBC’s “The Voice” singing competition series alongside co-stars Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
“We thought, ‘Why not put a spin on it, doing country and R&B?’” Powell said of the new lineup, hoping the mix would boost ticket sales among fans in the area. “So far, for the most part, response has been really good.”
Some country fans were disappointed about the change, Powell said, but others were excited to see another big name, albeit from another genre, replace Musgraves.
Country quartet Little Big Town formed in 1998, and has kept the original four members—Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet—throughout their career. Their latest hit single, “Day Drinking,” was released June 4 on their upcoming sixth studio album, “Pain Killer,” which is scheduled for an October release.
Little Big Town, a group set apart by having all the members as lead singers, was recently honored as the Academy of Country Music’s vocal group of the year for 2014, adding to their list of annual awards.
The recently-formed Freedom Live brand is currently working on booking more shows for the region in 2015, adding to Little Big Town show as well as the 3 Doors Down and Blues Traveler concert scheduled for August 16 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
“Freedom Live is all about value, quality and entertainment,” said Lee Bell, regional program manager for Naval District Washington MWR. “The brand will provide customers with predominately concerts and comedy shows that are based on the desires of our loyal MWR fan base.”
Freedom Live shows are open to service members from all branches, as well as DOD contractors, civilian employees and family members. Customers will have the option to purchase VIP tickets, which include perks such as prime seating, meeting the bands, special food and beverage options, and better parking. Regular ticket holders can still expect good seats at a discounted price compared to other venues in the area, Bell said, along with the convenience and security of being located on military installations.
As booking for future shows opens, Freedom Live organizers plan to get feedback from customers of the early shows, as well as customer surveys, to determine which performances patrons would like to see come to the region.
“Freedom Live will provide A-List entertainers that our very best customers want and deserve to see close to where they work and live,” said Bell.
During the Little Big Town concert next month, MWR will also be giving away a 2014 Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom. Entry for the raffle is open through September 12, and interested DOD-credentialed personnel can sign up to win by attending other MWR events at JBAB and around the region. For rules and details, visit www.mywfr.com or www.facebook.com/mywfr.
For more information or to buy tickets to Little Big Town and CeeLo Green, as well as upcoming shows, visit www.freedomlivendw.com.