Morgan Wallen made a surprise appearance Wednesday night to at Kid Rock’s bar in Nashville, marking the first time he’s performed live in the three and a half months since the controversy over a racial slur caused him to be blackballed by media and drove him into seclusion.
The embattled country star sang “Whiskey Glasses” and “Wasted on You” at Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock ‘n’ Roll Steakhouse in Nashville’s tourist district, following an appearance by the bar’s namesake, who sang “Picture.”
“Everyone was just floored,” a patron at the bar, Daniel Kensy, told the Tennessean. “Morgan really wanted to be playing his music for the people. Definitely could sense it … the overall feeling was tremendous.”
Wallen has not played a public performance since he headlined the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in January to herald the release of “Dangerous: The Double Album,” which has gone on to become the biggest album of the year in any genre. It currently still stands at No. 2 on the Rolling Stone album chart, despite having virtually zero radio airplay or television visibility in nearly four months.
Wallen was supposed to be on tour this summer opening for Luke Bryan in stadiums and arenas. In a public letter he released April 13, he said he would not be doing any gigs this summer as he continued to reflect and try to better himself in the wake of the controversy. His appearance at Kid Rock’s bar is not thought to augur an immediate return to doing shows, but does suggest, at the very least, that cabin fever may have set in, and at most, that he no longer wants to appear to be subject to the blackout imposed on him.
The singer was barred from competing in as well as performing at last month’s Academy of Country Music Awards, and when nominations went out last week for the CMT Music Awards coming in June, the network released a similar statement saying that Wallen had been nixed from eligibility for the honors.
— morgan wallen (@MorganWallen) April 13, 2021