Consider this the precursor to February’s CoralHead Music Festival. This weekend’s Coral Country Road Concert in Marathon features Jerrod Niemann, Little Texas, the Billy Rice Band, Zach Stone, and The Carousers. It’s an all-day and most-of-the-night concert, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Marathon Community Park.
“I didn’t know a damn thing about country music before I started this,” said concert organizer Rich Anderson, a member of the American Legion Riders. Just as with the previous two hard rock concerts, the proceeds from this country music concert benefit charities that support veterans, animals and cancer survivors. Anderson is confident, though, about his ability to pull this off. “No matter how many times you do it, you still get the pre-concert jitters.”
Headliner Jerrod Niemann is just excited about visiting the Florida Keys. He’s familiar with the islands from his visits to the Songwriters Festival in Key West.
“I love Florida. I love the water. I love the Key deer,” he said, laughing. “I wouldn’t say I’ve been to the Keys a million times, but back in the ‘van days’ I had a buddy who showed me the ropes … like the good pizza at No Name Pub.”
Niemann got his first notice in the music industry in 2005 when he co-wrote “Good Ride Cowboy” with Garth Brooks, five years after he moved to Nashville. He said there was no point arriving until he turned 21 years old. “I wasn’t going to be able to get into the bars, the places with live music, until then.”
He’s since had a string of successes and notable moments. His first album, “Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury,” was named one of the top 10 albums of 2010, and his song “Lover, Lover” was a big hit. He went on to appear on national TV shows like “Ellen,” “Fox & Friends,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Today” and “Celebrity Family Feud.” In 2014, he and hip-hop star Pitbull remixed Niemann’s “Drink to That All Night.” (Pitbull was charming and a hard worker, Niemann said.)
His work with the USO (United Service Organization), is probably the most rewarding and spawned its own song — “Old Glory.” At a USO concert, he told the audience it was his reaction to news coverage of the Niger ambush of U.S. troops. He said it is 100 percent heart and 0 percent politics.
“We travel to some of these crazy countries to support people that need it most,” Niemann said of his work with the USO. One of his favorite travel companions? Adam Devine (“Workaholics” and “Pitch Perfect”). “He’s someone that I really get a kick out of and we enjoy staying in touch.”
Niemann, a Kansas native, is a trained musician and studied at a small school in Texas, biding his time until it was time to go to Nashville. So he’s country, but not ALL country. Earlier this year, at a concert in Florida, he stole the show with a cover of Sublime’s “Santeria.”
Don’t miss the show.
Noon: Jen, the singer
1 p.m.: The Carousers
3 p.m.: Little Texas
5 p.m.: Zach Stone
7 p.m.: Bill Rice Band
9 p.m.: Jerrod Niemann
Coral Country Road Concert
Saturday, Oct. 13
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
@ Marathon Community Park
Friday, Oct. 12
7 to 11 p.m.@ Hurricane
featuring Zach Stone