Van Wert, OH – Since 2007, the 1200 seat Niswonger Performing Arts Center has hosted shows of all various genres and likes. As a part of the Van Wert school system, it has seen it’s share of school activities along with other community events. Along with the season opening RaeLynn on it’s stage, it will also showcase performances by rock bands, college marching bands, tribute bands, broadway performances and magic shows this fall.
On Saturday night, RaeLynn shows why she is a great selection for the season opener as she starts her show off getting the crowd “Rowdy” and on their feet dancing and singing along.
Over the 90 minutes of her set, RaeLynn introduces songs from her two studio albums Wildhorse (2017) and Baytown (2021) that include “Judging To Jesus,” “Lonely Call,” “Me About Me,” “She Chose Me,” “Diamonds” and “Only In A Small Town.”
The show in Van Wert this evening is an all ages show with a heavy showing of young girls excited for RaeLynn to take the stage and sing her popular hits that the young fans have come to love. At the conclusion of the title track of her debut album Wildhorse, a young one was heard singing loudly as the music concluded. As the show progressed, more and more of the young girls were seen congregating at the front of the stage trying to get as close as they could to the artist.
“Raisin’ Me A Country Girl” is a dedication to her own two year old daughter, Daisy Rae, who is spending quality time with her father this weekend instead of being a princess bus gypsy like her mother. The fun song is the product of her final songwriting session before taking time off for her delivery of Daisy.
Having a love for country music and the stories that are told from the lyrics, RaeLynn feels at home with the genre and knows there is no other place she is supposed to be than country music. At 18 years old, she makes it evident with the personal and touching song “Love Triangle.” The song is a reflection of her emotions based on the divorce of her parents and being in the middle of two people that you love and care for.
Upon going through a time of self doubt and feeling afraid of being alone and without love, her husband Josh shows her that she can be a positive person with love and confidence. She later sat down and wrote “Broken One” that has become a recent single release.
Grabbing her acoustic guitar (decorated to pay tribute to her second album and hometown, Baytown, TX), RaeLynn strums her way through a medley of hits that tell a story of her career beginning. It all starts with “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac and “Red Dirt Road” by Brooks and Dunn. Being a contestant on the second year (2012) of the TV show The Voice, she was coached and mentored by her friend Blake Shelton. She sang a small part in his hit song “Boys ‘Round Here.” Working with Blake, he pushed her to be confident in her own songwriting that led to her first release of “Boyfriend.”
With all the young girls in the crowd this evening, RaeLynn makes their day as she performs the song that changed her life forever with the 2014 debut single “God Made Girls.” Throughout the song, many of the females rose to their feet to sing along. Continuing on with the momentum, RaeLynn grabs her electric guitar and belts out what “Queens Don’t.”
Telling all the younger, single crowd to stay away from and not get romantically involved with douche bags, she assures them that breaking up with them is like trying to take her “Bra Off.”
Continuing on with her story telling, she tells of her mother being a pastor in a church back home. Each year as they would prepare for their annual talent show, RaeLynn would be shut down on her selection to perform due to it not being very church friendly. Since she was not able to sing the song for the talent show, she adds “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson to her set every night as it is a song that helped shape her into the person she is today.
With the crowd already standing and having a great time, she concludes her show by asking if they can “Keep Up.”
At the conclusion of the show, the band tears down and packs up their instruments and gear while RaeLynn races around to the back of the theatre to her merchandise table to meet and take selfies with all her little princesses and anyone else wanting to meet her.
Focusing on the young girls at the front of her stage during her performance and then taking time to meet her fans after the show is the reason RaeLynn is a fan favorite from the female artists of today’s country music.
The show was a great way to get the 2023 fall season started for Van Wert Live. With many more shows and events scheduled, there are plenty of chances to catch a show inside the beautiful Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
Photos by: John Reasoner
Words by: Leslie Reasoner
RaeLynn setlist: 1. Rowdy 2. Judging To Jesus 3. I Love My Hometown 4. Wildhorse 5. Lonely Call 6. Raisin’ Me A Country Girl 7. Me About Me 8. She Chose Me 9. Love Triangle 10. Diamonds 11. Broken One 12. Medley: Landslide (Fleetwood Mac cover), Red Dirt Road (Brooks and Dunn cover), Boys ‘Round Here (Blake Shelton cover) and Boyfriend 13. God Made Girls 14. Queens Don’t 15. For A Boy 16. Only In A Small Town 17. What’s Wrong With That 18. Bra Off 19. Redneck Woman (Gretchen Wilson cover). 20. Keep Up
Van Wert Live