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Country music star Sara Evans will perform in MemAud on Friday at 8 p.m. (PROVIDED via Andrew Holzaepfel)

CMT Next Women of Country Tour to bring Sara Evans and RaeLynn to MemAud

Country music fans will have the opportunity Friday to see three established female performers.

The CMT Next Women of Country Tour featuring Sara Evans, RaeLynn and Kalie Shorr will make a stop at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium at 8 p.m. Admission is $55 for the first 10 rows, $35 for the remainder of the floor and $25 for balcony seating.

The tour, which is in its fourth year, pairs an established artist with women who are on the verge of breaking into the music industry or stars new to country music, Andrew Holzaepfel, senior associate director of student activities, said.

The seasoned artist joining the tour is Evans, who has spent more than two decades in the music industry. Evans has nine top-10 hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, five of which peaked at No. 1. Some of her songs include “Suds in the Bucket,” “Born to Fly” and “A Little Bit Stronger.” 

RaeLynn got her start in country music in 2012 at the age of 17. She auditioned for NBC’s The Voice and made her way to the quarterfinals on country music star Blake Shelton’s team. Since then, she has had one top-10 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart: “God Made Girls” in 2014. She is also known for her song “Love Triangle.”

Shorr is the newest addition to country music of the three coming to Ohio University. She debuted her first single, “Fight Like a Girl," in 2016. The song has more than a million plays on Spotify.

“Once we looked at the package, we were super excited,” Holzaepfel said. “To get them all on one night, it was super fun.”

Ticket sales have shown an interesting mix of RaeLynn and Evans fans, Holzaepfel said. More college students are seeking the tickets for RaeLynn, but Holzaepfel said fans of any one of the artists will enjoy the whole show. 

Abby Stokell, a freshman studying health science, thought about going to the concert to see RaeLynn, and her favorite song by the artist is “Love Triangle.”

Stokell gets excited when she hears women country singers on the radio.

“Especially if I like their songs,” she said.

In recent years, women in country music have spoken out about not being featured on the radio as much as men. One possible reason is the rise of ‘bro country,' which is a subgenre that focuses more on what male artists sing about. Some popular artists include Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean.

With a tour like CMT Next Women of Country, Holzaepfel said it is a chance to highlight some of that talent. 

“All of these artists do not need a separate tour to bring them to this level because they should be at this level,” he said. “You have lots of amazing female artists out there right now doing amazing work.” 

MemAud is one of the large venues on the tour, and Holzaepfel is excited to host the concert. 

“I’m really excited to have all three in the venue on one night,” Holzaepfel said. “I’m really excited to have a big crowd for them ... Athens should be rockin’ this Friday night.”


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