By Lora Kaelber Special to Published Jul 06, 2015 at 3:16 AM

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There’s a ton to say about Brett Eldredge, but I have no idea where even to start.

How about this?

That boy can bring it. Seriously bring it.

On the last night of Summerfest, before a packed house at the Uline Warehouse, Eldredge brought his A-game and then some – a whole ton of then some.

My legs are sore. I’m sweaty. And I think I speak for 99.9 percent of the people at the Warehouse on Sunday night: We could have gone hours more with Eldredge.

The kid just knows how to work a crowd. Add in his buttery warm voice with just a touch of gravel to make it authentic country, and you have yourself one heck of a show.

Heading into Brett Eldredge’s concert tonight, I expected really good things. He’s known for his spark and songs that get stuck in your head. Still, given that he’s a relative newcomer to the country scene with just one studio album under his belt, I wasn’t sure he could deliver.

He blew all doubts out of the water.

He opened on fire with "Fire" and never let up. His 14-song set plus a crazy awesome encore mash up was visceral. You could feel every verse, every chorus. Every everything. He included songs everyone knows ("Don’t Ya," "Lose My Mind," "Mean to Me," "Beat of the Music"). He included songs that haven’t seen much, if any, radio play ("Tell Me Where to Park" and "Signs"). He played a song from his upcoming album called "Just a Taste."

Even on the songs that haven’t seen radio play, the crowd was with him singing along – something that Brett Eldredge didn’t miss noting that he really appreciated that they knew the songs that most people didn’t.

I feel like I’m not doing him justice. But here’s the thing about a masterful performer: You don’t necessarily know how to describe that certain something that he has that just grabs the crowd and doesn’t let them go. Part of it is just being smart and reading the audience – when you do a slow song and they stop swaying and singing, then pick up the beat. He did. Part of it is personalizing, really personalizing, to the crowd. He did that with a story about walking along the lakefront and riding the ferris wheel earlier in the day.

Every great artist has so much more than just an ability to read a crowd, though. And whatever it is, Brett Eldredge has it.

Not only is Eldredge an outstanding live performer, he’s also a guy who knows where he came from and how he got where he is. Even more endearing is that he appreciates all of it. He noted as much in his down home, country way, he played Summerfest four or five years ago when he was just starting out in front of a few hundred people and that tonight it was in front of thousands. He followed up with, "Thank y’all for making my dream come true." He also thanked WMIL FM 106.1 for their loyalty and radio play ... several times.

Also, you know if you’re from Milwaukee, you’re hands down going to love a guy whose piano player has a bar in his piano. Brett and his piano player, Alex, happen to be such guys.

Eldredge has seen a lot of radio play since his debut album, "Bring You Back," dropped in 2013. His country music career started long before that, though. A native of Paris, Illinois – he’s a Cub fan, but after tonight, no way I can hold that against him – he hit talent show after talent show as a young man.

By age 15, he was performing regularly and was in demand. After college, the singer-songwriter took the next logical step and moved to Nashville. His third single, "Don’t Ya," hit number one on the Country Air Play Chart the same month "Bring You Back" debuted. The album would ultimately reach number two on the U.S. Country Chart.

Eldredge’s style is a great mix of neo-traditional and country pop, just enough of both to keep it interesting. Nowhere is this better showcased than in his "Couch Sessions," Eldredge’s online video shorts. It’s just Brett, a guitar, a camera and, of course, a couch (always a different one). The sound is very bare, very acoustical and very awesome.

I wanted more tonight, but only because Eldredge was addicting. I’ll wait, but only until his new album, Illinois, drops in September.


On & On
Beat of the Music
Tell Me Where to Park
Fly Me to the Moon (Frank Sinatra cover)
One Mississippi
Lose My Mind
Mean to Me
Gold Digger (Kanye West cover)
Just a Taste
I Wanna Be that Song
Don’t Ya

A mash up of: Red Dirt Road (Brooks & Dunn cover)
Modern Day Bonnie & Clyde (Travis Tritt cover)
Baton Rouge (Garth Brooks cover)
Hanging Around (Counting Crows cover)
Georgia on My Mind (Ray Charles cover)
Your Body Is a Wonderland (John Mayer cover)
Roxanne (Police cover)

Lora Kaelber Special to
Moving to Milwaukee in 1998, Lora quickly adapted to and embraced big city living. A graduate of Carthage College and Marquette University Law School, Lora clerked for the Hon. Diane Sykes at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, worked as a litigator in private practice, and most recently was employed as a development officer for the MACC Fund.

In all of her experiences, time was focused on writing which has been a passion since junior high school. A series of food service industry jobs both before and after law school taught her that bringing out the human side in any story is key to great storytelling and good writing.

A die-hard east side girl, you'll usually find Lora down by the lake or on the Oakleaf. She's an avid photographer, and sometimes storm chaser.

Hobbies include biking, gardening, cross country skiing, swimming, blogging, and of course working on her fictionalized autobiography--fictionalized, because whose life is really interesting enough to fill 400 pages?

She's in IMDb. Look her up.