Jewly Hight

Laura Partain/Courtesy of the artist

Each year, the CMA Music Festival annexes seemingly every square foot of downtown Nashville, but only one of the eleven official festival stages is positioned on Lower Broadway, an area packed with kitschy honky-tonks and discount boot stores that caters to country-music tourists year round. Though Lillie Mae, the fiddle-playing singer and songwriter born Lillie Mae Rische, is still in her 20s, she's been plying her trade on this strip for a decade and a half.

One day in late February, the five members of Front Country were warming up for their record release show at the renowned bluegrass club the Station Inn, in their new home base of Nashville, Tenn. They'd never played most of these songs live before.

To older country fans, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn are the ultimate examples of superstars who stayed true to their humble roots. Tara Thompson, 28, happens to come from Parton's mountains and Lynn's bloodline. The younger singer, typical of her oversharing generation, translates their down-home pride into tell-all songs.