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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘BRELAND & Friends’ brought hope and community to Nashville when we needed it most

BRELAND and other stars performed at The Ryman Auditorium on April 4 to raise money for the Oasis Center during the second annual “BRELAND & Friends” show.
Sara West
BRELAND performs at Ryman Auditorium, as photographed on April 4, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

Though BRELAND only started releasing music a few years ago, he has quickly become a household name that any country music fan should know. The young artist has already racked up certified platinum records, performed on multiple tours and been featured on country radio. 

A year ago, BRELAND hosted the first “BRELAND & Friends” on April 12, 2022, at The Ryman to benefit Nashville’s Oasis Center. The Oasis Center is based in Middle Tennessee and helps support and improve the lives of youth in the area. They provide various services such as leadership opportunities, college and career readiness support and a 24-hour crisis hotline. During that show, BRELAND brought out a star-studded lineup, including Dierks Bently, Kane Brown and Thomas Rhett. The event was a hit, so he returned for round two this year. 

Similar to the first “BRELAND & Friends,” the show occurred at The Ryman Auditorium. Upon entry into the venue, fans were greeted by lovely volunteers and staff from the Oasis Center, encouraging concertgoers to support the organization. 

Before the event officially began, a member of BRELAND’s team came out to explain that the performance was being recorded to release as a live album. After helping ensure the audience was recording ready, they told us to prepare for an incredible night. Videos from country stars encouraging fans to support the Oasis Center appeared on the screens throughout the venue. Shortly after, BRELAND ran on stage in a purple velvet suit. 

BRELAND looks out into the crowd while performing at Ryman Auditorium, as photographed on April 4, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

BRELAND began with his song “Natural” and continued to sing hits such as “Country Line” and “Thick.” Shortly after beginning his set, BRELAND held a moment of silence for the lives lost during the Covenant School shooting. He thanked the crowd for creating community when our city needed it most. 

After BRELAND’s solo set, he began bringing guests onto the stage. The first was Ingrid Andress, and the two sang their song “Here For It” together. After Andress left, singers Emma Salute and Dawson Anderson from country duo Temecula Road took the stage. Following them was a powerful performance with Lecrae of his hit song “I’ll Find You.” 

Danielle Bradbery graced the stage next and sang BRELAND’s “Happy Song” with him. Following Bradbery was the stunning K. Michelle, who wore an angelic white outfit accented with fringe. Even though she dueted BRELAND’s “Don’t Look at Me,” it was impossible not to look at her. 

BRELAND then sang a few solo songs before a short intermission. Mark Dunkerley, Oasis Center’s CEO and president, gave a speech about the importance of the event. Despite the fear in my heart in light of recent Nashville events and legislature, Dunkerley’s speech gave me hope for the future. 

BRELAND holds up a microphone while singing, as photographed on April 4, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

BRELAND then returned in a new outfit and didn’t wait to begin bringing out more special guests. Alana Springsteen was the first on stage during the second half of the show, and the two sang “For What It’s Worth” together. Sam Harris of the popular band X Ambassadors came out next and performed the hit song “Unsteady.” The slowed-down version of one of my favorite childhood songs brought me to tears. However, the two brought the mood back up when the rest of the X Ambassadors band came to the stage to sing an unreleased song called “Alcohol.” 

Tenille Townes came next to sing “Shared Walls,” followed by Ashley Cooke, who sang “Cross Country” — one of my favorite songs by BRELAND. The lyrics have a special shoutout to the D.C. area, my hometown, and it always makes me smile hearing the reference. He then sang “Beers on Me,” an upbeat country song that made the crowd dance along. 

Nate Smith kept the energy high as he performed his song “Whiskey on You” with BRELAND, a song that has been dominating the country music scene recently. BRELAND then instructed the crowd to get up and dance for “Dancin’ In The Country” performed with Tyler Hubbard. If these stars weren’t enough, the next guest brought the energy up through the roof. Keith Urban came out to sing “Throw It Back” with BRELAND. 

The last song of the night was “My Truck,” performed with Sam Hunt. BRELAND announced that he plans to continue the event next year, hopefully making it a big enough show to move to Bridgestone Arena soon.

Since this was my first “BRELAND & Friends” experience, I was unsure what to expect. However, the show blew me away and was a much-needed night of dancing, joy, tears, comfort, community, hope and so much more. Whether the next “BRELAND & Friends” is at The Ryman or Bridgestone, I will definitely be attending in the future and encourage you to do the same.

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About the Contributor
Sara West
Sara West, Deputy Photography Editor
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].
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