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Review: Jake Owen Brings Big Band, Bigger Stage Presence to Nashville [PICTURES]

Jake Owen performed before several thousand of his hometown fans on Thursday night (April 27), during a tour stop at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater. In a refreshing switch from the usual solo-act show, Owen preferred to let his band — including an amazing horn section — take center stage with him, allowing for one unforgettable night.

After opening performances by Lanco and Eric Paslay, Owen (barefoot, naturally) kicked off his set with a string of singles, and one cover: “Beachin’,” “Summer Jam,” “Real Life,” Johnny Cash‘s “Ring of Fire” (including an ad-libbed second verse) and his brand-new single, “Good Company.” The country star took command of the entire stage — including a platform behind his band, which allowed Owen to see even those seated in the back of the venue — and illustrated his abilities not only as a singer but a confident performer.

One of the many stand-out songs of the night was Owen’s recent single “If He Ain’t Gonna Love You;” although the song, co-written by Chris Stapleton, barely cracked the Top 40 on the charts, onstage, the singer made it come alive. Throughout the night, Owen also sang through “Tall Glass of Something” (with an unforgettable drum solo), “Alone With You,” “Eight Second Ride,” “Days of Gold” and “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You.” He also covered Merle Haggard‘s “Footlights.”

Jake Owen @jakeowenofficial #jakeowen #nashville #country #americancountrylovesong

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The Thursday show was a milestone for Owen, whose debut album, Startin’ With Me, was released almost 11 years ago, in July of 2006.

“This is a huge night for me and the guys in the band,” Owen shared from stage. “My family [and] my little girl is here tonight. I moved here 13 years ago … I called my dad and my mom on the phone, from Florida State University, and I was like, ‘Check this out: I know I only have nine hours of school left, I know, but I gotta move to Nashville.’

“To my parents’ credit, they weren’t the happiest parents in the world, but they have always been encouraging, and they’ve been supportive,” Owen added. “They said, ‘Well, if you believe in your heart, you’ve gotta do it.’ Next thing you know, 13 years later, I’m here at Ascend playing for a bunch of people singing my songs.”

Owen closed out his set with “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” and invited Paslay, who wrote the song, to join him to sing it.

A list of Owen’s upcoming tour stops is available on his website.

A little Fresh Prince to start this Friday off! @jakeowenofficial @ericpaslay

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