USO Nashville team greets special military guests at the concert. | Photo credit USO Nashville

By Sandi Moynihan

This Monday, to kick off CMA Awards week, USO tour veteran and award-winning artist Hunter Hayes partnered with the USO to host a late-night street party and concert outside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The concert, which was free and open to the public, honored service members and their families.

USO Fort Campbell, which is located an hour north of Nashville, sent over 100 service members and their families to event as special guest of Hayes, including USO Solider of the Year Army Spc. Christian Sheers.

At one point during the show, Hayes, who’s been a USO supporter since 2014, invited Sheers and his wife on-stage and introduced them to the crowd.

“Spc. Sheers and his wife, Jess, had the best night ever, singing every word to every song,” wrote USO Fort Campbell Center Director Kari Moore in an email. “I watched about 120 troop and family heads bobbing and swaying to ‘Somebody’s Heartbreak.’”

In addition to honoring the military community, the high-energy concert featured special performances by artists Dave Barnes, Danielle Bradbery, Charles Kelley, Will Hoge, Chris Janson, Eric Paslay, Striking Matches, Cole Swindell and Phil Vassar. Hayes even invited fellow USO tour veteran Zac Brown to help him finish off the show with a guitar duel to the classic Allman Brothers Band hit, “Midnight Rider.”

Even though it was only a Monday, Hayes wanted people to party like it was the weekend.

“We’re going to pretend like it’s a Friday or a Saturday night and keep rocking,” Hayes said.

CORRECTION: The story originally stated that 150 service members attended the concert. Over 100 service members did attend, but not 150.