Performing at the Ryman Auditorium is a bucket list experience for any artist, but headlining?

Brett Young has graced the historic Ryman stage twice before, but Wednesday night (Oct. 10) proved particularly special for him, as it marked his his headlining debut at the renowned venue.

All eyes were on the rising star — seriously, he packed the Ryman from the floor to the top row of pews. It was truly a night of firsts, as Young's first time performing a full, solo set at the Ryman, and, for many in the audience, it was their inaugural visit to the venue, in addition to seeing Young in concert for the first time. He made it worth their while by delivering several album cut favorites, plus new songs and the hits that made him one of country music's staples.

Sure, Young is known for his heartbreak songs, but his set proved to be far more expansive. He weaved in a variety of upbeat numbers — more than you'd would expect from someone who has sent three ballads to the top of the charts. Young brought the audience to its feet and even got them dancing on more than one occasion with songs like "Close Enough," "Makin' Me Say" and current single "Here Tonight."

The one-time Taste of Country RISERS act enticed fans with the promise of new music, and after seeing his performance of the bouncy "Used to Missing You" (as well as one of his personal favorites, "Catch" off his upcoming album Ticket to L.A.), Young should have no problem upping the tempo for future single releases. He was even convincing doing a Motown sound with a cover of the Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," which evoked a particularly enthusiastic reaction from the crowd, becoming a highlight of the night.

But it was Young's stirring cover of "Hallelujah" that forced the room silent. Alone with his guitar and haunting vocals — plus just being in the Ryman — made for a gripping moment. Though fans in the room welcomed covers (Gavin DeGraw's "Not Over You" and "Crazy Love" from Van Morrison), they were most drawn in by Young's hits, enthralled as they sang every word to "Like I Loved You" and "In Case You Didn't Know" before Young left them wanting more with the closing number, "Left Side of Leaving."

He added a little Nashville flavor to his two-song encore by bringing out "Mercy" co-writer Sean McConnell to turn the heart wrenching ballad into a duet, with the two men's voices rising up to the rafters before bringing the crowd to its feet one last time for "Sleep Without You."

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