Brad Paisley’s Crushin It World tour comes to a close this weekend, with shows in Tampa and West Palm Beach, Florida. It’s pretty safe to say this has been the country superstar’s most interactive trek yet, as he invites 20 to 30 fans to belly up to a fully functional bar behind him on stage — complete with working beer taps and shelves full of liquor. But while the makeshift watering hole is first introduced to spark a party-like atmosphere, it brings on a whole new vibe when opening act Mickey Guyton pulls up a stool.
Guyton was tapped by her tour boss to fill the shoes of one of the most awarded vocalists of all time, Alison Krauss, night after night during the headlining set. The country newcomer takes Krauss’ part on the heart wrenching “Whiskey Lullaby,” but spends the first few verses of the song seated at the bar, with her back to the audience. That visual itself brings dramatic flair to the performance, and when Guyton comes out from the shadows and onto the microphone, the 11-year-old duet is resurrected with just as powerful of a punch.
“Mickey sings ‘Whiskey Lullaby’ as well anyone since Alison,” Paisley told Rolling Stone Country at the start of the tour.
Paisley only has a four-day break before resuming his much smaller-scaled Country Nation College tour October 8th at Florida State University. Guyton will do a November show with Maddie and Tae in North Carolina before wrapping her 2015 travels. And whatever the Texas native’s 2016 tour schedule brings, she’ll take with her lessons learned from the three-time CMA Male Vocalist of the Year.
“[Brad] has taught me so much, just observing and watching how they make their system work,” Guyton tells Rolling Stone Country. “It’s a great system, and he’s a such a good person. He’s so good to the people who work with him, too. They’re all happy, and you can tell.”