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Brantley Gilbert, Dierks Bentley + More Reward Fans at 2014 Taste of Country Music Festival – Day 1 Pictures

ToC Fest
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival

Fans covered Hunter Mountain like snow in December during Dierks Bentley‘s set at the Taste of Country Music Festival in Hunter, N.Y. on Friday night. The singer was the last of five singers to take the stage, and was forced to follow a powerful show from Brantley Gilbert. He handled the pressure well.

Every song felt unique, even hits that have played on the radio thousands of time. Bentley pulled from his ‘Riser’ album, as well as earlier projects like ‘Home’ and ‘Modern Day Drifter’ to fill his 90-minute-long co-headlining set. ‘Up on a Ridge’ was a pleasant surprise. It felt appropriate on this night, at this hill side venue.

Both Bentley and Gilbert covered Bon Jovi. The 38-year-old sang ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ while Gilbert included ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ in his encore. The Georgia native’s set included hits from his previous albums, as well as songs he’s co-wrote for Jason Aldean. The highlight may have been songs that followed his three song acoustic set. ‘Take It Outside’ injected a new energy into an already rowdy crowd. Perhaps security wasn’t too thrilled with the surge in adrenaline, but fans behaved, for the most part.

Gwen Sebastian opened the day, singing songs from her self-titled album. The former ‘The Voice’ singer also talked with Taste of Country, saying Miranda Lambert had no problem with her singing the sexy ‘My Eyes’ with Blake Shelton. Blackjack Billy and Eric Paslay also performed, and both visited with Taste of Country during breaks in the on-stage action.

Day two will feature performances from Randy Houser, Jamie Lynn Spears, Craig Morgan, the Cadillac Three and headliner Brad Paisley.

Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival

Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival
Brantley Gilbert
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival
Taste of Country Music Festival
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival
Gwen Sebastian
Joshua Timmerman for Taste of Country Music Festival
Joshua Timmermans for Taste of Country Music Festival
Blackjack Billy
Joshua Timmerman for Taste of Country Music Festival
Eric Paslay
Joshua Timmerman for Taste of Country Music Festival

Next: Interviews From Backstage at the Toc Music Festival

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