Four of the leading country bands/artists will perform, but until they take the stage, no one in the audience knows who they’ll be.
“I think the biggest factor in who we book is audience feedback,” said Matty Jeff, the event’s producer. “All year long we hear at GNA artists who listeners would like to see … and favorites the DJs would like to see.
“We mix all the feedback together to put together our lineup.”
The event has been very successful ever since it started in 2014. To date, 46 bands/artists have performed and usually play to sold-out houses. Even for this show next week, tickets are limited, according to a recent press release.
Because of this success, the station has held contests to see if audience members can guess who the acts might be.
“We do video clues before every show for listeners to guess the lineup,” Jeff said. “We make the clues pretty tough but someone always manages to guess our lineup at our website — www.wgna.com. Then we swear them to secrecy when they win.” (Brian of GNA gave the first clue on the station’s Facebook page Wednesday. Hint: It has something to do with Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert and Dolly Parton. Visit Facebook for more.)
But how to get the bands into the venue?
“Some secrets I can not reveal,” Jeff said. “Let’s just say we have out methods and the bands do a great job helping us out. We did just let the secret out one year. Chris Janson’s kick drum had his name on it, but we caught it at the last second and threw a curtain over it.”
The show is always something he looks forward to.
“I think the most magical thing is that all these artists are on stage at the same time sharing their songs and stories. I’ll never forget my first Secret Star in 2016. I was amazed at how four artists could interact with such authenticity, humor and unrehearsed. That is the truly unique thing about this show and country music in general and what makes Secret Star a memorable experience.”
An example of one such Secret Star Acoustic Jam was the April 25, 2018 show at Proctors. Texan Eric Paslay, “American Idol” winner Scott McCreery, Nashville singer-songwriter David Lee Murphy, and Florida Georgia Line college buddy Russell Dickerson took turns playing acoustic versions of their songs in a round-robin format.
Kirsten Ferguson, in a review of the concert for The Daily Gazette, wrote that of the four, Paslay “brought an energy level that was hard to top.
“Dressed in work pants and a baseball cap, he kicked off his first of five songs with ‘Friday Night,’ a song he co-wrote that was a hit for country group Lady Antebellum. The crowd transformed the radio-friendly party anthem about wide-open roads and summertime sunshine into an instant clap-along,” wrote Ferguson.
Musicians WHO have performed in past secret star events:
David Lee Murphy
William Michael Morgan
The Band Perry
Dan + Shay
Secret Star Acoustic Jam
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday
HOW MUCH: $20
MORE INFO: www.proctors.org; 518 346-6204