BWW Review: TY HERNDON Gives Life at Joe’s Pub

BWW Review: TY HERNDON Gives Life at Joe’s Pub

The stage at Joe’s Pub was bare, except for three mic stands. As the lights dimmed, a nearly full house adjusted their seats to prepare for something special: 90 minutes of country music. Wait. Country music… in New York City? At Joe’s Pub nightclub? This isn’t something that happens every day of the week. Is there a market for country music in New York’s nightclub and cabaret scene? Judging by the crowd at Joe’s Pub on August 31st, there is. Or maybe there is just a market for Ty Herndon because this writer has been anxiously awaiting the chance to see the country star live, for several weeks, and apparently so have a lot of other people. Finally, happily, the announcer came over the loudspeaker with a warm welcome for Grammy award nominee Ty Herndon.

An unassuming and handsome man stepped through the curtain and up onto the stage. Dressed simply in blue jeans and a henley, he walked to the center mic stand and stood. He looked at the mic stand. He looked at us. He looked at the mic stand. He looked at us. He pointed to the mic stand. There was no microphone. He looked at the other two mic stands onstage. There were no microphones. Bemusedly, he said “We’ll do that all over again!” and darted offstage, at which point a tech sheepishly ran out with three mics and set them up while a laughing crowd applauded. The Joe’s Pub announcer, again, gave a warm welcome to Grammy award nominee Ty Hendon.

And the show was on.

In a gutsy move some singers would avoid, Herndon started the evening acapella, his two guitarists joining him after a couple of minutes, filling Joe’s Pubwith a classic country singing voice, bold, resonant, the kind of voice that makes you smile, but you really want to cry, such is the emotional trip it takes you on. Out of the gate, he had his audience right where they wanted to be: gazing lovingly at this man who has, for years, moved them with his acts of musical marvel. Looking around the room, all night long, a club full of urban cowboys, middle-aged good-old-boys, Ladies both Southern and Northern, gay men and new fans could be seen either beaming at the charmer or singing along (not mouthing away, singing right out loud), happy, content, satisfied. It was a sight to behold, one that bears witness to the fact that Ty Herndon has still got it.

Mr. Herndon is a funny dude. Laidback and unpretentious, he has nothing to hide, so he opted for humble honesty throughout the night, confessing he had, for days, been in bed with a high fever but, desperate to not miss his Joe’s Pubgig, he chose to perform anyway – and that high fever touched not a note in his head, for Herndon was in prime voice, even stopping once or twice to say he could do that better, and then he DID do it better (once, after three glorious tries). The man’s range is astonishing and the power with which he howls high notes for periods of time that would make a wolf nervous is positively eye-popping. Whether singing the songs that made him famous (and always thanking the fans for making it number one, two or five on the charts), tunes from his new cd “Got it Covered”, or the ones that paid off (“This song bought me a barn”) Mr. Herndon gave his all to the appreciative crowd that had no qualms about getting their phones out to record this special moment in time.

When not engaged in the acts of singing or wrestling with his mic stand, the seemingly shy but contrarily playful Herndon talked lovingly about his Grandmother (“If Jesus ain’t in it, don’t do it”), about being on Star Search with (SS winner) Sam Harris, about the time his mother chimed in from the other room about a song he passed on singing (“You’re an idiot!”) and about the experience of finally coming out of the closet five years ago. Very at home with the crowd, this true troubadour showed genuine appreciation for the audience, confessing he had always wanted to play Joe’s Pub, admitting “I was just hoping people would show up”. Owning up to being a “silly man” who loves to have fun, Herndon poked fun of his fame by referring to himself using the names of other country stars and joking about which of his friends’ hit records kept his singles from reaching number one on the charts.

And he dances, too – wow, the moves on this guy.

Ty Herndon is so free with his physicality, dancing about the stage with pure joy that makes you feel joyful too, that this writer wondered if he were this buoyant before coming out, or if this freedom of movement is something that showed up after he had broken free of the chains, to live in the light. Whatever the cause of this terpsichorean bliss, every bit of Ty Herndon‘s happiness spilled off of the stage and into the arena where fans willingly succumbed to his charms, and those of his special surprise guest, Kristin Chenoweth, who gifted us with a stunning version of “Desperado” as an adoring Herndon stood by, watching, pride and love gleaming from his eyes. It turns out, Herndon shared with us, that Ms. Chenoweth is going with his phenomenal guitarist, Josh Bryant, (his other brilliant guitarist, it turns out, is his cd producer Erik Halbig) — proving that which show business people have, long, known: making art with family is where the good stuff comes from.

Among the songs Herndon sang were “Loved Too Much”, “A Man Holding On”, “I Have to Surrender”, “Living in a Moment” and “Hands of a Working Man” but the biggest two highlights (in an evening of many) were when he hilariously applied “I Want My Goodbye Back” to his coming out and his subsequent divorce, and when he sang his hit song “What Mattered Most” using pronouns he was not able to use when he first released it in 1995. It was, surely, difficult to become the first major male country singer to be openly gay, but the experience has obviously informed Mr. Herndon’s work because the person we saw at Joe’s Pub is living his best life, as an artist, as a role model, as a man; and that man who has wanted to play Joe’s Pub for a long time but was worried people might not show up should consider coming back to NYC and Joe’s Pub, and often, because it is very clear that people will show up again and again, their hearts filled with love and devotion for an artist who not only earned it but deserves it.


Ty Herndon Performs Outstanding Rendition of “America The Beautiful” and “God Bless America” at 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Ty Herndon Performs Outstanding Rendition of “America The Beautiful” and “God Bless America” at 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Award-winning artist Ty Herndon was recently invited to perform at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner where he sang an exceptional rendition of “America The Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”

The event, hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), featured comedian Michelle Wolf (Comedy Central’s Daily Show With Trevor Noah) on the entertainment line-up.

The Association, founded in 1914 to represent the White House press corps, works to maintain independent news media coverage of the president, advocating for access, handling logistics for pools of reporters who stay close to the president and those who travel with him and providing scholarships to journalism students.

The annual dinner has been attended by U.S. Presidents and First Ladies for decades as well as many other senior government officials and members of the press corps. Proceeds from the dinner support the association’s year-round work as well as scholarships for aspiring journalists and awards recognizing excellence in the journalism profession.

The WHCA represents the White House press corps in its dealings with the administration and advocates for journalists’ ability to see and report on the president and his staff. Herndon attended the event with the intention of raising awareness for the “Beyond I Do” campaign which is working to bring attention to the discrimination of the LGBTQ community in the U.S. This campaign is raising awareness of this discrimination by giving real Americans a platform to tell their stories of being fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, or denied basic services because of their sexual identity.

About Ty Herndon: 
Ty Herndon’s career has produced more than four million in album sales, a Grammy nomination, Dove Award and multiple No. 1 singles on the Country charts, including “What Mattered Most,” “Living in a Moment” and “It Must Be Love.”  Among his nine studio albums and 17-charted singles are the Top 10 hits, “I Want My Goodbye Back,” “Loved Too Much,” “A Man Holding On (To a Woman Letting Go)” and “Hands of a Working Man.”  Most recently, Herndon debuted his most ambitious album to date, titled House on Fire. He made history when he hosted the first-of-its-kind country music event, The Concert For Love and Acceptance. The event, designed to bring attention and support to at-risk youth, has received national attention from Boston Globe, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Tonight, and more.

GLAAD and country star Ty Herndon set to bring third Concert for Love & Acceptance to Nashville this June in partnership with CMT

GLAAD and country star Ty Herndon set to bring third Concert for Love & Acceptance to Nashville this June in partnership with CMT

Music legends and newcomers from across genres will take the stage at LGBTQ-affirming concert taking place during CMA Fest

New York, Tuesday March 27, 2018 – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today announced the 2018 Concert for Love and Acceptance set for June 7 at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. The show, taking place the night after the “2018 CMT Music Awards,” and on the opening night of CMA Fest, will feature a coalition of artists and celebrities appearing and performing to accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ community. Ty Herndon and CMT’s Cody Alan will host, and the event will feature performances by Herndon, as well as Terri Clark, Cassadee Pope, Michael Ray, Calum Scott, Brandon Stansell, and more. Additional appearances and performances to be announced. CMT will return as the event’s media sponsor and will amplify the event and line-up across its radio and social platforms. Additional support for the event is provided by Nissan.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit:

“Music has the power to uplift, empower, and change hearts and minds across the country,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “GLAAD is honored to present the third Concert for Love and Acceptance to help drive forward acceptance with an amazing lineup of talent and messages of support for the LGBTQ community.”

“We’re proud to once again lock arms with our friends at GLAAD to lend our voice and support to an event that champions love and acceptance through the power of music,” said Frank Tanki, General Manager of CMT and TV Land.

The inaugural Concert for Love and Acceptance was held in 2015 to kick off GLAAD’s Southern Stories Tour and the second iteration was held in 2017. The event has been supported by artists like Reba McEntire, with a lineup of performances has included Chris Carmack, Crystal Gayle, Billy Gilman, Dana Goldberg, Kree Harrison, Mickey Guyton, Levi Hummon, Runaway June, Ryan Kinder, Meghan Lindsey, Street Corner Symphony, Thompson Square, and Trent Harmon. GLAAD’s Southern Stories initiative tells the stories of LGBTQ people and their allies in the South to create a cultural shift towards LGBTQ acceptance and understanding in the region.

“I’m thrilled to partner with GLAAD once again for this show that has broken so much new ground and started so many important conversations over the past three years ,” said Herndon. “Letting our LGBTQ friends, family, and neighbors know they are accepted and loved just as they are isn’t just making the world a better place – it’s literally saving lives – and I’m so proud to be a part of it.”

In recent years, country music has become a more affirming environment for the LGBTQ community with chart toppers like Luke Bryan and “Most People are Good” following in the footsteps of Garth Brooks, Kasey Mugraves, and The Dixie Chicks sharing inclusive messages through their lyrics. Furthermore, CMT host Cody Alan came out publicly in late 2016 in People Magazine with the help of GLAAD and received an outpouring of support and love from the country music community and his fans. Stars like Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, and Dierks Bentley all voiced their support on social media. Ty Herndon, a Grammy nominated and Dove Award winning artist with album sales of more than 4 million, was the first major male country music star to come out, when he shared his story with the world in 2014.

“As we fight attempts to roll back equality and compromise the ground we have gained for acceptance, it is important for our community to continue to tell our stories and for allies to stand up and be counted,” said Ellis.

The 2018 Concert for Love and Acceptance occurs during the legendary CMA Music Festival, running from June 7-10 in Nashville.

“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.


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