“Concert for Love and Acceptance” Draws Big Crowd at the Wildhorse

“Concert for Love and Acceptance” Draws Big Crowd at the Wildhorse

Ty Herndon’s “Concert for Love and Acceptance” Draws Big Crowd at the Wildhorse

Thompson Square, Billy Gilman, Mickey Guyton, Michael Ray Among Headliners

Ty Herndon’s “Concert for Love and Acceptance,” staged Thursday night (June 8) at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon, appeared to have achieved both goals.

The event filled the main floor and first balcony of the cavernous venue and, apart from Herndon, who opened and closed the show, featured performances by Thompson Square, Billy Gilman, Michael Ray, Runaway June, Ryan Kinder, Trent Harmon, Kree Harrison, Kingston, Street Corner Symphony, comedian Dana Goldberg and a few last-minute drop-ins who simply wanted to show their support for LGBTQ community.

CMT’s Cody Alan hosted the three-and-a-half hour songfest, of which CMT was a corporate sponsor.

Between acts, Herndon, Alan, Goldberg, Gilman and others all spoke of the liberation they felt when they finally came out as gay after years of concealment.

The crowd greeted Herndon with loud and sustained applause when he emerged to open with “Living in a Moment.”

“I love my mama. She’s here tonight. I love my sister. She’s here too tonight,” Herndon announced.

He then sang his breakthrough hit from 1995, “What Mattered Most.” It earned him a standing ovation.

“I promised [my partner] Matthew I wouldn’t cry,” said Herndon, drinking in the applause. “I lost that bet.”

There were so many acts to showcase that few of them gained enough momentum to fully engage the crowd, although Kingston, Runaway June and Ryan Kinder all earned respectable applause.

Between acts, Alan spoke of the support he received from the music community when he came out.

“It showed me country music was a lot more open and accepting that I thought it was,” he said.

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 08: CMT's Cody Alan (L) and singer Ty Herndon attend the 2017 Concert for Love & Acceptance on June 8, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Love & Acceptance)Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Love & Acceptance

He specifically cited the “thumbs up” he’d received from Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, Dierks Bentley and Dan + Shay.

“I’m probably the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been,” he said.

Street Corner Symphony, the five-man a cappella group that came to prominence on The Sing-Off talent series, had the crowd rocking with their flashy takes of “Johnny B. Goode” and “Voodoo.”

After opening his set with “Kiss You in the Morning,” Michael Ray took time out to praise the concert and its purposes, calling it “the most important event going on at CMA Fest.”

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 08: Singer-songwriter Michael Ray performs onstage during the 2017 Concert for Love & Acceptance on June 8, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Love & Acceptance)Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Love & Acceptance

“You’re making it easier for kids growing up,” he continued. “Damn it — it’s 2017! I want to help you make this stance.” He signed off with his most recent single, “Think a Little Less.”

American Idol star Kree Harrison gave a riveting set with her two songs, “This Old Thing” and “Drinking for Two,” the latter of which she performed with Sonia Leigh.

Trey Pearson, who formerly sang with a Christian rock band, explained that he came out after having married and had two children, both of whom were with him at the concert. He sang “The Good Grief,” from his album Love Is Love.

Among the other unannounced drop-ins who performed were Noah Guthrie, a cast member of Glee; Swiss singer Bastian Baker, making his first appearance in Nashville; and Ken Block, lead singer for the rock band Sister Hazel.

Herndon introduced comedian Dana Goldberg, who had to calibrate her jokes — some unquotable here–to an increasingly noisy crowd. She observed that, unlike most women, she was not impressed by Herndon’s good looks.

“I’m a lesbian. I just see a sperm donor,” she cracked.

Mickey Guyton was luminous in her two offerings, “Pretty Little Mustang” and “Better Than You Left Me.” She projected an emotional engagement and sense of excitement that lit up the room.

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 08: Singer-songwriter Mickey Guyton performs onstage during the 2017 Concert for Love & Acceptance on June 8, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Love & Acceptance)Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Love & Acceptance


Well past the cuteness that helped make him a child star, Billy Gilman strode the stage like the master showman he’s become. As impossible as it sounds, he made “Anyway” into a more ringing pronouncement of determination that even Martina McBride had done in her original operatic rendering of the song.

He continued to ratchet up the crowd with “Clueless” and “I Surrender” and left the stage to a sustained standing ovation.

Thompson Square kept the crowd — or what was left of it — swaying as they breezed through “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About,” “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” and “If I Didn’t Have You”

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 08: Shawna Thompson and Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square perform onstage during the 2017 Concert for Love & Acceptance on June 8, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Love & Acceptance)Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Love & Acceptance


Herndon used the last 15 minutes of the show to express his appreciate to the crowd and debut selections from his new album, specifically the title tune, “House on Fire” and “Fighter,” both of which were accompanied by dancers performing in front of the stage.

Thompson Square returned to sing with Herndon on the high-voltage finale “Living in a Moment.”

A part of the proceeds from the concert, Herndon said, will be donated to the Oasis Center, the Nashville charity that helps at-risk youths.







CMT joins as media partner, GLAAD returns as nonprofit partner

Ty Herndon’s 2017 Concert for Love & Acceptance, hosted by Cody Alan, announced its initial artist lineup, with more to be announced in the coming weeks. In addition to Ty Herndon, this year’s talent lineup already includes Billy Gilman, Kree Harrison, Ryan Kinder, Runaway June, Lorrie Morgan, Michael Ray, Street Corner Symphony, and Thompson Square. The event, created to support at-risk youth, will be held on Thursday, June 8th starting at 7 p.m. at Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tenn.

‪Grammy-nominated and Dove Award winning artist, Ty Herndon created and co-hosted the first Concert for Love & Acceptance alongside GLAAD in 2015, when his 20th anniversary fan club party turned into a coalition of artists gathering in support of Nashville’s at-risk youth. The driving force behind the benefit is Herndon’s desire to foster positive cultural change and encourage Nashville’s youth to live to their fullest potential.

‪This year’s partners include media partner CMT and nonprofit partner GLAAD, as well as local sponsors Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Wade Weissmann Architecture, and Retief Skin Center.

‪The first Concert for Love & Acceptance received national attention from Boston Globe, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Tonight, People Magazine and more. A philanthropist at heart, Herndon has also donated his time to organizations such as the Trevor Project, Make A Wish, St. Jude, GLAAD, HRC and Feed the Children.


Ty Herndon to Appear on Oprah’s Where Are They Now? Airing Feb. 4

Ty Herndon to Appear on Oprah’s Where Are They Now? Airing Feb. 4


Christy Walker-Watkins – AristoPR – 615.269.7071 – christy@aristomedia.com
Dakota Lindstrom – AristoPR – 615.269.7071 – dakota@aristomedia.com

Ty Herndon to Appear on Oprah’s Where Are They Now? Airing Feb. 4

Enjoy a sneak-peak performance of “House On Fire” from the episode here

 (Nashville, Tenn. – January 31, 2017) – Grammy-nominated and Dove Award winning artist, Ty Herndon will appear this Saturday, Feb. 4 on Oprah’s Where Are They Now?, airing on The Oprah Winfrey Network at 10/9c p.m.

The country-recording artist will share stories about his journey; a reflection on the personal challenges and struggles he’s faced and conquered, and how he’s continuously bettered himself as a musician by telling his truth through his music.  Herndon will also discuss his latest studio album, House On Fire.

Herndon released his latest and most ambitious album to date, House on Fire, in November of 2016. The album is a collection of 12 songs, co-produced by Herndon and Nashville stalwart, Erik Halbig, that shows a deeper, greater strength from a man who has been there and back and lived to tell about it.  Herndon is credited for co-writing six of the 12 tracks. The album has received critical accolades from the Nashville music community and beyond including USA TodayPeopleHuffington PostRolling Stone CountrySounds Like Nashville and more.

A philanthropist at heart, Herndon has donated his time to organizations such as the Trevor Project, Make A Wish, St. Jude, GLAAD, HRC and Feed the Children. “Fighter,” a focal track from House On Fire, has garnered attention for having benefitted The Trevor Project, a national organization close to Herndon’s heart that provides crisis intervention and prevention throughout the LGBTQ community.

Herndon’s 20-year career has resulted in an impressive string of hits, including four No. 1’s (“What Mattered Most,” “Living in a Moment,” “It Must Be Love,” “Loved Too Much”), as well as numerous Top 10 hits, including “I Want My Goodbye Back,” “Loved Too Much,” “A Man Holding On (To a Woman Letting Go),” and “Hands of a Working Man.”  He’s acquired 20 Billboard charted singles to his credit, numerous industry awards, and more than five million albums sold.

 For more information on Ty Herndon, please visit www.TyHerndon.com or follow onFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Review: Ty Herndon – House On Fire

Review: Ty Herndon – House On Fire

House on Fire is Ty Herndon’s eighth career studio album. As I listened to the album for the first time, it was like meeting up with an old friend and listening as he told me about his life experiences. He always was able to convey a lot of feeling with his compelling lyrics and charismatic voice. As I listened to his new album, I was reminded of another time, in another place.

It was during an interview back in 2004, I asked him if he could change anything in the music business, what would it be? His instantaneous reply was, “That everyone would be heard.” The compassion in his voice, and the determination on his face as he responded, lead me to believe he wasn’t only talking about music. He was a man on a mission, one soulful voice, hoping to make a difference in the world and considering his previous tenacity and resolve, I predicted he would succeed. Judging by the things we know about him now, and after listening to his newest album, I’m thinking I may have missed my calling as a pschyic.

The album, co-produced by Herndon and Erik Halbig, with Drew Davis as co-producer on six of the songs, gives a voice to Herndon’s wish that “everyone would be heard”. He takes full advantage of his powerful and marvelous voice to deliver lyrics that are destined to be meaningful to everyone who hears them. How is he able to deliver so much reality and passion via a song? The answer is simple, “If I haven’t lived it, I haven’t sung it,” he says.

Herndon addresses that feeling of brokenness on the title track, House on Fire, his first release since publicly coming out in late 2014. “I still replay those words / Only ten years old and hate is what I heard from that loving church / and there’s no salvation on the road you’re taking / and a kid like you ain’t worth saving,” he sings. “It took me two days to write that song because I kept getting so emotional that I had to walk out of the room,” he recalls. “Halfway through the process, my co-writers were feeling it too. I knew at that moment that I was not only writing my story, but I was writing a lot of people’s stories with these songs. All the pressure I’d felt just flew out the window at that point because I knew that my truth was a lot of people’s’ truth.”

“Stick With What I Know” is a stand out track for me. His voice on this track is the one that first caught my attention all those years ago and this song is one of those melodious tunes with simple lyrics that encourages you to sing along. Yep! I’ll “Stick With What I Know”.

Another stand out track for me is “Fighter”.

Between 1995 and 2002, Herndon charted seventeen singles, including his three No.1s and numerous top ten hits. He topped the charts again in 1996 with the single “Living in a Moment” and again in 1998 with “It Must Be Love.” In 2010, Herndon released the album, Journey On. It was his first venture into songwriting and not only did he receive a lot of critical acclaim, he earned a Grammy nomination and his first Dove award.

Longtime fans will love the new album. His dramatic vocals and heartfelt lyrics are what took his debut single, “What Mattered Most,” to number one and that same genuine passion for life and love is discernible on each of the twelve tracks. He told Rolling Stone, “I’m a country artist. And I’m a country artist who happens to be gay and some days I feel like I’m walking very thin line with it,” he says. “But I’m just trying to stay true to who I am and the music I’m making.”

Well Mr. Herndon, I was smitten by your incredible voice back in 1996 and I still am. I think I’m like the majority of your fans. We get it. We get you. And we are comforted by your voice, your lyrics, your music, your songs, because you are singing our lives.

I want anybody, from any walk of life, to hear this record and put their own stories into it while still hearing mine.” Ty Herndon


REVIEW BY: NutsAboutCountry.com

Review: Ty Herndon Comes Full Circle with ‘House on Fire’

Review: Ty Herndon Comes Full Circle with ‘House on Fire’

It’s been a memorable two years for country singer Ty Herndon. He has joined only a handful of country artists who have been brave enough to publicly come out as gay — a secret he hid through the height of his career in the early and mid-1990s. He also hit No. 1 with his debut single, “What Mattered Most,” and charted over a dozen songs during that decade. Eventually, he disappeared from the airwaves and battled with some personal issues that landed him in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Now, with his past behind him and his own personal truth in the open, Herndon has crafted an album that truly signals his return to country music.

House on Fire is Herndon’s eighth career studio album, which reclaims the magic that was sprinkled throughout his first three records. Overall, the project has a more polished and obvious Top 40 production behind it. That isn’t a complaint, though. Herndon’s pure yet twangy voice has always been the main element that has infused the country sound into every song.

From the first note of opening track “That Kind of Night,” listeners are taken through an uplifting and purely joyful mix of love songs, biting anthems and unapologetic goodbyes. It’s one of his strongest collections of records since 1998’s Big Hopes, which produced three Top 5 tracks.

Of course, country music has changed a lot since 1998 — and so has Herndon. But the themes ingrained in these songs are likely to connect just as strongly with country fans as his earlier works. That’s likely in part a result of Herndon’s efforts to shy away from specifically referencing males or females in the songs. Although he happens to be a gay man, Herndon’s music is for everyone.

“What’s different about this record is that it’s gender-free,” Herndon told Wide Open Country earlier this year. “If you’re a diehard country fan who’s married woman with nine kids in Des Moines, or if you’re an LGBT person in Chicago, you’re going to hear your life in this record.”

Instead of focusing on gender, Herndon chooses to dial into the situations we’ve all been in. From the rush and fear of taking the next step in “Just Friends,” to the satisfaction of telling off an awful ex in “If You,” Herndon becomes the narrator of our lives.

It’s hard to pinpoint a handful of standout tracks, because like any great album, this one is meant to be heard all the way through.

by Lorie Liebig for Wide Open Country


Scroll Up