Derek Joseph Gets the Message at Hard Rock Cafe

As Derek Joseph took the stage at the Hard Rock Café on Friday afternoon, he couldn’t resist teasing the fans.  “Do we need to turn up the heat a little bit?” he asked.  “It’s a little cold here in Nashville.”

Maybe it was a heat-induced delirium, or maybe it was just Joseph’s sizzling up-tempo songs, but his half-hour set that followed sparked some entertaining reactions from the crowd.

Joseph launched into a cover of Keith Urban’s “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me,” and two people immediately began a complicated line dance.   They matched each other’s steps perfectly, not caring who was watching.  When the song ended, they walked out of the stage area as if nothing had happened.

“[A line dancing parlor] was the only place we could find Country Music in Europe,” said Roy Copping.  “In the Netherlands, it’s quite keen.”  Copping and his wife Claudia traveled eight and a half hours by plane from Amsterdam to Atlanta a few weeks ago and drove to Nashville for their first trip to CMA Fest, and they won’t forget it any time soon.

At her first CMA Fest three years ago, Melissa Poirer remembers fans holding up giant white boards for the artists to read, and she thought it was such a fun way to communicate with artists that she decided to follow their lead.

Poirer approached the Hard Rock Cafe stage during Joseph’s set and wrote messages on a white board that made the band members chuckle.

When Joseph sang the second verse of Randy Houser’s “Boots On,” including the line, “She got me thinking I just might/Leave here with her tonight,” Poirer scribbled “U Can Leave Here With Me” and held it up for the band to see.

Poirer, a Stratham, N.H., native, said she’d never seen Joseph’s band before but enjoys making the artists laugh.  “I just write silly things on them,” said Poirer.  One of her friends joined in the fun, writing “I Got a 6 Pack” and “The drummer’s hot!”

“I like these girls,” said Joseph in between songs. “I’m glad they came out here to play.”

Joseph’s band also played Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country” and several original songs before they concluded their set.

At the beginning of the show, there had only been a few fans watching along with the Hard Rock Cafe lunch rush.  By the end, the pavilion outside the restaurant was crowded with onlookers —whether they were trying to see the line dancers, the women with the white board or Joseph’s band, this new artist’s show certainly made an impression.

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