Last night CMT hosted another one of their epic mashups on another installment of Crossroads. This episode included YouTube star turned pop sensation Shawn Mendes and Zac Brown Band. The concert took place at a small, intimate venue in Franklin, TN last month and aired last night (October 24th). Although the hits that are played on the radio are very different from one another, both acts took the stage and seemed to genuinely enjoy learning and performing each other’s songs.
The night kicked off with Brown singing the opening lines to Mendes’ “Mercy” and the lead singer took turns with the songwriter to put a unique spin on the mid-tempo ballad. Surprising the audience and Mendes, Brown and his band ended the song with an epic jam featuring Jimmy De Martini’s remarkable fiddle playing. The show continued in the same fashion, first, a Mendes hit then a Zac Brown Band smash. They performed “Keep Me In Mind”, “In My Blood”, “Tomorrow Never Comes” and “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”.
In between songs the show cut to Brown and Mendes sitting in a coffee shop discussing their careers, songwriting and what they appreciate about the other. “I feel like you are a part of the future of music as well,” Brown said to Mendes. “Especially for your age, you seem like you are really grounded, so just mad respect for your musicianship, your songwriting, and arrangements and just the dude too so yeah it was a no-brainer it was a privilege for us to get to do this”. The audience members clearly were fans of both artists, singing along to every word of every song. “Having two generations of music connect, allows my generation to be like ‘oh my god how incredible are they!'” Mendes also said.
Although they took turns singing verses for each song, the magic was when they sang together, turning the pop songs country and the country songs pop. Two highlights of the night came when they slowed things down to perform Zac Brown Band’s “Colder Weather” and when they joined together to sing a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”.
Brown and his band have never been afraid of bending the lines of the country music genre, infusing a medley of instruments and production that lean towards the pop world, making this one of the best episodes of Crossroads yet. Quality 9/10