Ladies and Gentlemen, this year has been an absolute roller coaster ride for me. I attended many different music functions and so many festivals I cannot recap if I tried, hell I bought that 2003 Blazer in January and it’s been to 21 states with me this year alone! I already wore out one set of brakes on it and tires, and this weekend I am going to Indianapolis for the Titans and Colts game.
However I have indeed had my share of misfortune as well on my health, I did indeed indulge in deer hunting and apparently as I was dragging a doe out of the woods I suffered a small stroke. I haven’t recovered the feeling in my big finger or thumb of my left hand yet, and my new cardiologist is running more tests on me. Also, apparently my gall bladder may need to be removed soon, so I’m NOT SURE what 2020 will hold for me. I may need to rely on my three disciples to do the field work for me next year as I tend to myself.
Needless to say this article is obviously two months late when compared to other sites like our friends over at Capture Kentucky who always does a bang up job covering this event alongside me and many others I’ll touch on further on into this article. As always with every job I attend I have compiled an amazing cache of memories and moments I have. It sure was nice to once again catch up with my precious friends over at Pickup Country 104.9FM which plays the recorded version of this event on Saturday nights from 9pm to midnight.
I kept in touch with Mr. Byron and Miss Kelli Roberts and let them know what was transpiring with me, so they will were in the know of my late work. I know MANY of the bands and artists were eagerly awaiting my coverage, and you can REST ASSURED when you read MY account of this event you WILL SALIVATE for a ticket in 2020.
Actually I don’t need to add any fever or excitement to the already existing NEED for tickets to this event. People are driving long lengths to JUST TRY to acquire tickets to this festival here. Now, the difference here is that you are NOT spending money on a corporate event with greedy suits and ties full of cupidity, that do not care about the MUSIC. NO SIR, in fact WE donated SO MUCH MONEY to the local fire department, they were able to buy A WHOLE NEW TRUCK. Now I ask you to name me one other festival that carries that much love with it’s name?
I worked my third shift job middle week and I got off at 6AM and set out for Irvine Kentucky, with all of my camping gear in my Blazer. See, this is one of the few festivals I do not get a hotel for because getting out of the Robert’s ranch late at night is not easy, unless you KNOW the roads…and I do not. But my man Mr. Luther Center had a room, and was with me this weekend, and he will be popping on here with me covering sets throughout the duration of this article.
ALL of the media, the vendors, the bands and the staff is ENTIRELY handpicked by the Roberts family.Hargett Volunteer Fire Department and MANY others donate their time to assist in running this festival, and provide parking spot help, first aid and any other things we may need to enjoy our time here. Throughout this article I’m going to talk about the sound company and the security people, and many more. You will soon see JUST WHAT differentiates my articles from all of the others out there, when you read our coverage.
With a mid-day clear blue sky and bright sunshine, the 2019 festival started with the following words from Roberts’ farm owner and festival organizer Byron Roberts (along with rest of the Roberts family), “How y’all doin’ out there today? Welcome to the fifth annual Kickin’ It On The Creek!”
And on that note, the festival was off and running. To open the festival, Byron introduced lifelong friends BBC Troy Estes and Buck Cooper, two local Irvine, KY area musicians who shared the stage.
This duo of guitarist/vocalists started the festival off with well-chosen and performed covers of rural roots materials. They finished with a fine original tune opining the difficulties involved with coming back home after having been away for many years. The song is titled “One Side of the Tracks.” This set, being a very likable local duo, was the perfect way to start KIOTC 19.
1 Soulshine (Warren Haynes)
2 The Gospel According To Lane (Chris Hennessee)
3 Long Monday (John Prine)
4 Angel From Montgomery (John Prine)
5 Blue Side Of The Mountain (The SteelDrivers)
6 One Side Of The Tracks (Estes-Cooper)
The story goes that a commune of hippies from California settled in early 70s in the valley that is now the home of Roberts’ Farm and KIOTC. They ran a co-op and lived and farmed together as one large extended family. Tom Cool, the second artist to perform in 2019, was part of that group and his songs reflect the ethos of that time and place.
His original songs in a roots style guitar/harmonica/vocal featured good natured humor and fit in beautifully for this festival. He gave a real feel that we might all be sitting around a fire after a good day’s work passing around a guitar and perhaps some sort of mind expanding substance, while singing about peace, love, and the wonders of Mother Nature.
1 That River
2 Salt and Pepper
3 Six Pack Of Trouble
4 Five Legged Horse Interlude
5 Solo Harmonica Interlude-Oh Susannah/My Old Kentucky Home/Camptown Races
6 Going Down To The Country
7 A Damn Good Night To Get Drunk
8 Make Sure You Bring Yourself
In the mid-afternoon of day one, Chloe Edmonstone, a member of the band Locust Honey as well as a player in John R Miller’s band, hit the stage with John R on guitar and Chloe on fiddle.
Opening with a rousing fiddle instrumental “Georgia Railroad”, got the growing crowd on their feet and clapping their hands. The next two tunes feature the duo with Chloe on vocals and includes an outstanding version of “My Love Never Sleeps”.
Next, John R straps on a bass, and they are joined onstage for the remainder of the show by William Matheny (guitar), and John Clay (drums). Talk about a great band!!! Chloe switches back and forth between guitar and fiddle as the band performs Locust Honey songs, leaning heavily on their newest album “The Low and Low” (available at www.locusthoney.com), as well as some new songs of Chloe’s.
It’s outstanding performance after outstanding performance until they finish up with the single from the new album “Remember When”. A wonderful set featuring top musicians at the top of their game. All four will reappear several more times throughout the weekend, but this was a MORE than welcome introduction to all of them!
Georgia Railroad, My Love Never Sleeps, He Caught Me, Gold And Bones, Louisiana, Remember When +3 unidentified titles
Mr. John Clay is a Kentucky songwriter that I also featured on Master Musician’s Festival this year. And it was there he introduced his intention to release a Blaze Foley tribute album, and he has shelved that idea for a bit to release some new music soon like the first song I heard him play which was “$34” ( and that is exactly how it’s entitled) on Spotify now. Upon writing this I learned that HE IS INDEED dropping singles soon:
For 18 months or so, I’ve been sitting on this record. Thinking about how to roll it out. Touching and retouching the production. I think it’s finally ready to meet the people. This has been a labor of love for me and my engineer @barrera3206 and I hope that that comes through in the reimagining of these tunes. A lot of amazing musicians were a part of bringing this thing to life and I will be forever grateful for the time they spent doing so.
.One of my favorite artists on earth, John Haywood(@haywoodarts) was kind enough to throw me something together that felt representative of Blaze’s influence all the way out here in Kentucky and the collaborative effort involved on this thing. I’m pretty geeked about it.
.Shooting for the first 2 singles to drop on December 18th. If I can manage to get all the ducts in a row. Get it…ducts…
“Running Away” was song from his 2016 EP called “Now It’s Time”, but another reason I really enjoy him and admire his music is because he plays one called “The Ballad Of Spider John” by a Texas Legend named Willis Alan Ramsey. True, he was born in Alabama but raised in Texas and to this date he is one of the most overlooked Texas Legends I could name you. I heavily study Texas music in every avenue and I LOVE to study this man and his impact on Red Dirt Country.
“Melwood Nights” was also included in his set today from the aforementioned EP. Today, he brought fiddle player Miss Blakely Burger and Mr. Jeremy Short to play with him in his set. One of the songs he played today was on The Dawg Years 1975-1978, and was released in 2010. It was called “Cosmic Doo Doo”. A lot of early work that Blaze Foley recorded was either confiscated by the authorities during drug raids, or just lost in the annals of time itself. Even historians like Mr. Marty Stuart have tried to locate his TRUE early recordings and nobody can find them.
The last song I caught of his was the Townes Van Zandt song called “Black Jack Mama” you can find off the 2009 compilation of “In The Beginning”. Mr. John is always fun to watch perform because of the songwriters that he idolizes, and the classic overlooked songs he plays…they are not overlooked by people like ME!
My next act I caught myself was a young lady from Monkey’s Eyebrow Kentucky that will most likely be up on my TOP 50 of 2019 list with her SPECTACULAR new release called “White Noise/ White Lines”. It’s always a pleasure to see her, and its cool that she always remembers people when she re meets them..in this business that is hard to do.
Miss Kelsey Waldon is a powerful addition to any lineup for certain, and her songs are top notch talent that boast some special messages in them if you really sit back and listen. Today, she brought Mr. Mike Khalil on the Steel Guitar and lead guitars, and Mr. Alec Newnam on upright bass.
This year the weather was much more moderate than last year’s heat. It was really awful last year and brutal to endure all day, this year it was only hot for a few afternoon hours, and the evening was actually chilly. I remember wearing duck waders in my sleep both nights and using a tarp for a blanket.
The opening song she played was the title track to her new album called “White Noise/White Lines” and this was her FIRST album on Mr. John Prine’s Oh Boy Records. The opening song on her new album called “Anyhow” is a positive song that inspires you to get off your butt and dust your knees off, and keep working on your goals.
“Run Away” is a great song about asking a man why he would want to run away from her love. I think many people can easily relate to many of the songs on this third album of hers.”Lived And Let Go” was another song from the new album that was about everyone getting along when you die.
She also played the song called ‘The Heartbreak” which closed out her second album before going on to close with “All By Myself”, you know the gals really shined at Americanafest this year and Miss Kelsey lead the way along with others like Miss Carson McHone and Della Mae. I had a REALLY GOOD TIME enjoying the showcases this year.
Miss Kelsey has truly grown as a songwriter and a performer as one time years back I saw her and Mr. Tyler Childers open for her at a smaller venue that both of them have exponentially outgrown in sales. From her 2016 album she played “Dirty Old Town” and “All By Myself” was her closing song. Now I’ll be honest, her first album was my favorite one she put out so far, because I LOVED “Town Clown” and I wished she played live more often.
Morgan Wade And The Stepbrothers barreled right into their powerful music today as I partook of the newest addition to this year’s improvements..the big side tent for shade. The first song they did was a heavier song called “High In Your Apartment”, and I enjoyed how closely she interacted with the audience and joked with her band. Her band included Mr. Logan Fritz, Mr. Noah Betton, Mr. Joseph Brink, and Mr. James Noah Deaton.
“Reality” was on the set today, as well as a solo acoustic song called “Crossing State Lines”. Her past reminds me a lot of Miss Jaime Wyatt in many ways. Another song she did I really enjoyed was called “The Night”. I thought she would be a little more Honky Tonk Country than the edgy Country that she truly is, however I was NOT disappointed one bit!
The album “Puppets With My Heart” boasted a few songs she played about battling her demons like “Songs I Won’t Remember”. I know she told us she was over 800 days sober and how happy she was in life now, and she has a vibrant glowing ambiance around her. I tell you what, this gal is absolutely beautiful, and I have high expectations for her future in local music.
As with any other year I have been there, the friendships were being renewed and new ones forming. Some of these artists and bands only see one another during times like these, and it’s always fun to walk around to take pictures of the social interactions going on.
Another one of my good friends that released a good album this year was Mr. Joseph Huber, who’s fifth solo album was simply amazing. I first found out about him while attending all of the Muddy Roots music festivals throughout the years, with that one being one of my first I ever attended.
Joseph Huber in my opinion is a Roots Music Legend, and I cannot say enough good about him on here. There are a LOT of blogs that cover this event, but none of them know him on the same echelon that I do as a musician. See this young man comes from MY stomping grounds of Milwaukee Wisconsin where I was raised by my adopted parents. If you had to ask me of MY favorite song he does it’ll be “Playground/ Battlefield”, because our old neighborhoods we once frolicked in safely aren’t safe anymore.
16-10 was from 2017’s “The Suffering Stage” , but the real fun of this set was where he played “When The Waters Were One” from his new album “Moondog”. He continued his old time mountain sound on this album, and maintained his fabulous true to heart songwriting along with Mr. Pat Otto on mandolin and Mr. Easton Bennett on upright bass.
As I previously stated he is a Roots Music Legend having been a founding member of the .357 String Band (If YOU have never heard of them check them out) but his solo music NOW took a different direction that enabled his inner self to pour out and captivate my heart with his heart. “After You” was a masterpiece of an old bar scenario of thirsty men pursuing bar women. But the song has a few other meanings as well, if you truly listen to the lyrics and allow the melody to warm your soul.
2014’s “Hanging Road” was by far his finest work boasting the song “Coming Down From You” and his album “Tongues Of Fire” gave us a CLASSIC called “Old Mountain Tune”. Many of the songs in his arsenal have a true old time sound and old time meaning, he is just a plain and simple boot stomping good time musician.
The gigantic 15 track new release “Moondog” gives his set list so many good options like “Hardwired”and “Rivers Of Smoke”. Also being from Wisconsin I GREATLY ENJOY the song called “A Northwood Waltz”, which triggered vibrant memories of my childhood of going “up north” on muskie fishing trips with my adopted dad….oh my I miss Rhinelander.
He played “Walkin Fire” and also “Same River Twice”, “Shovel On Your Shoulder”, a GREAT sobriety song called “Fell Of The Wagon” at my age I feel RAGGED if I drink too much. He closed with his title track of his third album called “The Hanging Road”.
As the evening settled in over the high tree sides, and it grew colder I returned to my camp to cook some supper, while my buddy Mr. Luther was valiantly posted in the middle of the crowd to catch stuff I missed. I tell you what, cannot do this website without my three helpers.
Another album on my possible TOP 50 OF 2019 is none other than the mighty band from the Cincinnati area called Buffalo Wabs And The Price Hill Hustle.
Mr. Bullseye Bill Baldock on upright bass, Mr. Casey Campbell AKA The Deacon on drums, Mr. Matt Wabnitz AKA Buffalo Wabs and Mr. Scott Risner on all kinds of things make up this four piece band of Bluegrass fury. These boys are super tight on stage and sound GREAT LIVE.
They opened with a cover of “Four Walls Of Raiford” ( Or at least what I heard) then they played “Long Gone ( From Bowling Green)”. This current lineup of the Price Hill Hustle is now on it’s third year together, and even though they have just released their third album, they have their sights now set on another album.
“O Ramona” was their own original song included in this set tonight, as well “The Very Best At Missing You” which this band defiantly IS ONE OF THE VERY BEST local bands around, their harmonies and stage presence is exceptional and tight.That is a song written by Mr. Willy T Tyler. “I’m Going Home” was also on their set list tonight, and as the night air set in we stomped into the night.
“Buffalo’s Cannon” featured a guest appearance by Mr. Jeremy Short. Many of the artists and bands get up on stage and play with each other on songs, whether it’s planned or just impromptu it happens! Much like this picture of Miss Montana Hobbs from the Local Honeys, who got up and played with them. Also they were joined by Mr. Arlo McKinnely.
“You Gotta Move” was a cover song of a Gospel band called The Gospel Keys who recorded that one in 1946, and it was later done by Mr. Fred McDowell, but they play it well and injected FIRE into it. They also played “Hello Mary Lou” and more I missed.
They played “Stewball” which got the whole place going NUTS, but I was beginning to run out of gas having worked all night and up working on this all day. As good of a time as I have here, sleep catches up on my old body and I need to stop. And stop they did after playing “Stewball”.
The Bedford Band from Eastern Kentucky is relatively new and comprised of Mr. Tristan Frazier- Drums, Mr.Trevor St John- Guitas, Mr. Samuel May- Lead Bass and Mr. Kolby Swiney-Guitars/Keys/Vox. They began their set with “Midnight Rider” and went into a Sublime song, now mind you I never cared for Sublime but I truly enjoyed it.
“Got To Go” was played and they played their own version of “Ramble On”. After those last two bands of the night I had to go back to camp and get some rest for the next few days of work, and to do something I didn’t get to do last year..explore some of Mr. Byron’s property.
Folks, I GOT TONS of merchant news for you and I have A TON of special friends to introduce you to that I MET. I STILL have A TON of gushing to do on Mr. Byron Roberts, and his family. I STILL have TONS of bands to tell you about and tell you how to enjoy.
One of the things that sets me apart from others is that Mr. Byron lets me loose on the property to catch little moments in the audience that might be special to people other than the bands. And find them I DO, I am well trained in moving my eyes ALL OVER to see things going on around me. I caught a couple rekindling some flames and taking in the spirit of the creek here. The copious amount of love and welcome here is absolutely indescribable and words often fail to come to me when I tell others about the Roberts Family.
ONE THING about Ross’s Creek is that all kinds of stuff is simultaneously transpiring while the music is going on. You have miles and miles of trails and camps cooking and resting for their favorite set later on. Some of the people enjoy resting and drinking all day and coming to the stage for limited sets. Actually you can hear the music throughout the holler JUST FINE.
I woke up and cooked a big breakfast and gave out coffee to whomever wanted it. I took great pride in sharing my food and drinks with strangers or old friends. Because Sunday when I ran out of cash a LOT of friends stepped up and supplied me with coke colas. Mr. Byron said WE WILL DRINK EM UNTIL THEY RE GONE BUDDY!
I did some exploring and HAD to move over to my friends at Roll ‘N’ Smoke food truck. Friends, I have my special vendors and cuisines I salivate over at times and certain festivals I know they reign over. Their pulled pork nachos are SOO GOOD, the chips are hand made and fresh. I don’t care for their HOT barbecue sauce, but the mild is good.
On Sunday I ran out of cash and I had a debit card, and many people helped me get through the day without an ATM machine and a flat tire on my truck, which happened the first day. But the crew in the Roll N Smoke van helped me out with my dilemma as did many others, because this is NOT A SCENE it is a HUGE community of love. Man I needed a tire change and a jump start in the field Sunday, and I was given both no problems.
If you will, I would like to take some time out to tell you about some of the wonderful crew that helped make our festival experience even more astounding. There were more port a potties this year, however that means they emptied them more often, which left a mephitic smell across the creek, but not for long. They did a great job of maintaining them.
This is my friend here Mr. Robert Brown who does security at Muddy Roots and the Exit In, and many other places. he works tirelessly for our cause and keeps us all safe from bullshit. He manned the cabin for a few of the bands all weekend and was WASTED on Sunday ( not from drinking he was tired) I’m telling you he was EXHAUSTED.
But this man enjoys OUR MUSIC just as much as he works to keep everyone from getting hurt. I’m WELL TRAINED to see pickpockets and theft, sexual assault and any other things that could happen at events like this. Fortunately WE DON’T HAVE THAT HERE, but it’s always nice to implement preventative measures. The whole company that provided security did a GREAT JOB.
We also had one of the best stagehands ever, with Mr. JRay Gooseman, whom in my opinion is one of the greatest roadies that has been around the game. We lost Mr. Ben Dorsey not long ago, but we have one the roadies from Goose Creek Symphony to help the bands get on and off the stage in a timely manner. Another addition to this year’s festival was the lights and lasers, and smoke machines from the sound company ( whom I’ll touch on soon).
Safety was also heavily taken under consideration, as I suggested at other festivals to use swimmy noodles on the anchor ropes of the tents for people at night. People are paying attention to the music or chatting among each other and you need safety, food you can carry and easy access to chairs. Also, when people party hard at night the tent ropes and steaks get tripped on, or can cut ankles.
The side tent was HUGE and provided some excellent shade for us in the hot afternoons, because it wasn’t DEAD HOT like it was last year but it WAS hot for a few hours in the afternoon. Lots of people were enjoying that new addition to the festival.
Believe me, Miss Kelli and Mr. Byron want EVERYONE to enjoy this festival, and they want us to be safe and party responsibly. You are welcome to do what you want here but you have to be within reason here. You respect them and they respect you BEYOND ANY OTHER FESTIVAL EVER. Americanafest can give me free food and free booze, and it doesn’t replace the Roberts family. I’m very adamant on the fact that nobody could ever replace Mr. Byron on that stage between EVERY ACT, giving them introductions from his heart. He oftentimes holds back tears as he explains how they met the bands or what the bands mean to him, and about mid Saturday he looses his voice, but warriors on like the rest of us in that heat.
Who Bieny Bath And Body Soaps was one of the vendors there ran by my friend Miss Bec E Bien, who hand makes all of her wares. You can click on the link there and it’ll navigate you to her Etsy page to buy her soaps. As I previously said ALL OF THE VENDORS are personally hand picked by the family, and all of them represent the integrity and honesty of the Appalachian Music that is played here.
Speaking of vendor booths there was also a VERY INTEGRAL group here called the ACLC or Appalachian Citizen’s Law Center. Here is directly from the website what their mission is :
The Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center is a nonprofit law firm that fights for justice in the coalfields by representing coal miners and their families on issues of black lung and mine safety and by working with grassroots groups and individuals to protect the land and people from misuse and degradation caused by extractive industries. The Center handles individual cases and engages in strategic litigation and policy work in the areas of mine safety and health, environmental protection, legacy costs of extractive industries on the people, land and economy of the Central Appalachian region, and sustainable energy.
Black Lung is a disease caused by breathing coal mine dust. It is incurable and it often gets worse over time. Treatment is limited to relieving symptoms and preventing complications. Black Lung includes clinical coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) caused by coal mine dust exposure.Pneumoconiosis is diagnosed by X-ray, CT Scan or biopsy. COPD is diagnosed by symptoms, including shortness of breath, cough and sputum production, and by evidence of reduced respiratory function. The 1969 Coal Mine Safety Act created a federal compensation program for miners disabled by Black Lung and their survivors. The program is administered by the U.S.
Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). To win benefits, a miner must prove that he has Black Lung and that he is totally disabled due to a breathing impairment caused at least in part by Black Lung. A widow of a miner whose death was due to Black Lung is entitled to benefits.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 contained important changes to the Black Lung Benefits Act. Under these changes, a miner with at least fifteen years of underground coal mine employment or surface mine work with similar dust exposure who has a disabling breathing impairment is entitled to the presumption that the disability is due to Black Lung. For a widow, there is a presumption that the miner’s death was due to Black Lung. The operator can rebut the presumption by proving the miner did not have Black Lung or by proving the miner’s disabling impairment or death was not due to his coal mine employment. The widow of a miner who was disabled by Black Lung at the time of his death is automatically entitled to benefits. These changes apply only to claims filed after January 1, 2005.
The Affordable Care Act could not have come at a more crucial time. Just this year, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that the rate of the most severe form of black lung among Appalachian coal miners has resurged to the same rate it was before the federal government started regulating coal mine dust levels 45 years ago. In other words, the risk of catching severe black lung is actually worse for miners today than it was in 1969. However, seeking benefits in light of this evidence is not so easy. In 2013, an investigation by The Center for Public Integrity revealed the specifics of how the coal industry spends millions of dollars to employ doctors and lawyers to defeat black lung claims. Coal miners often lack the resources, money, and access to legal representation to counter these efforts.
ACLC works with other attorneys and advocates to trade knowledge of the black lung benefits system. This past spring, ACLC sponsored and hosted its first Black Lung CLE (Continuing Legal Education), designed to update fellow attorneys on what we and others have been seeing in black lung law. These efforts have been supplemented by our black lung blog, Devil in the Dust, which discusses the policies, laws and medical literature surrounding the disease.
ACLC, along with the National Black Lung Association and others, advocates for changes in legislation and regulations to improve the Black Lung benefits program. In addition, we have worked for years to advocate for regulations that reduce the allowable level of dust in mines in an effort to eliminate Black Lung. These efforts paid off in May of this year, when MSHA reduced the nationwide coal mine dust standard for the first time since 1972.
Apollo Pizza from Richmond Kentucky and also Steam Engine Pizza Pub were here all weekend satisfying our palate with GREAT pizzas, I even caught Laid back Country picker taking one to go. You know there folks support independent and local music VERY heavily, with live music on weekends and also weeknights as well.
MANY of the acts featured on this article this week have been kind enough to play shows there in the past. I have heard many many good stories about the acoustics and the overall ambiance of this eatery. House Of Cue was on hand as well with some MIGHTY FINE Cole slaw, no people I AM PICKY about my mac and cheese and my Cole Slaw if its weird or watery I HATE IT. What I like to do is stop at different food trucks and combine what I like…I know that sounds weird but I am strange on food.
Before I get to the music of Day 2 I want to go over loving on my friends that come here. Some of these functions are the only times I get to see some of these people because we are so regional, and travel can be hard during the festival off year ( like now). I’m not sure how my health will allow me to travel in 2020, or my medical bill situations, so I cherish EVERY TRIP like it could be my last.
I’m going to “flip” around to my friends that are here as I run across them on my camera roll in my folders if you don’t mind, ok?. I took thousands of pictures from this event so I will go over each one thoroughly and evaluate all of them worthy of this article, and post the rest. Mr. Byron IS COMING I assure you, he is the heart and soul of this festival and this family, being a Christian like I am the father is discipline and the role model, and the mother is the LOVE and the nurturing…that’s what this festival has.
Mr. Arlo McKinley will be talked about later on as well as this young man Mr. Abe Partridge whom I have been DESPERATELY WAITING to talk about on an article of a festival format. Both of them played this weekend, and both of them were astonishing in their own rights.
Mr. Jim And Miss Victoria Guthrie from the Honky Tonk Hotel out there in Missouri. Now, I’m not exactly sure WHAT to call them other than awesome supporters of the local music community. They aren’t really a website but they give out ticket prizes and cover events with videos and photos. BUT HERE is where they are actually more integral than people like me…they book shows at powerhouse venues in many states.
Without people like them I cannot do what you read here day after day, without events my job becomes scarce in public. I cannot do booking I’m not good enough to do that legal stuff, and I don’t know prices or politics of booking, I’m good at other ways of helping local music.
They open up their home to so many artists and bands on a regional basis, and allow them to network and travel into regions they normally wouldn’t be able to get to on their own. Mr. Jim has a similar vision as I do to cross integrate many kinds of local music into other “scenes” if you will.
Just like any year, the merch crew did a bang up job taking care of our shopping needs this weekend by selling us the official Kickin It On The creek merchandise and other band merchandise that we wanted. I’m glad my camp was pretty close to the main stage area so I could return and dump off all my stuff I bought, at various times of the day while wandering around and taking pictures, and gathering information.
See this website is different from any other that covered this event. TRUE I’m WAY LATE, but I’m more thorough and I’m going to take you on a personal tour of the property later on in this article. After YOU SEE this…you’re going to be BEGGING to come down and buy a ticket to this event. And if you are a first timer in 2020 MAKE SURE you come see Mr. Byron and Miss Kelli, THEY WANT to meet you!
This next band came with a pretty unique story, WATCH THIS VIDEO because THIS IS how this event works. This portion of the festival was so special I HAD to embed the actual video instead of just writing a bit about these guys. I just couldn’t get the video to position sideways instead of upright.
Mr. Michael Shave, Mr. Will Sinkula and Mr. Tom Bensleburg all formed a Bluegrass band are from all over like Paris Kentucky and Georgia and other places. I remember their couch last year in the crowd and people loving their campfire performances before and after hours.
Alex Wright came to us from Louisville to play some music for us early on in the day before the heat settled into the yard and the morning dew left us. His 2017 album called “What Is Real” left us with his song called “Church”, which to my knowledge was indeed his first song.
“Weight Of The Day” was a song I found on his 2014 album called “Starlight Navigator” , as well as a song called “Live To The Bottom”. This festival always brings me a few new artists I never knew about before coming out there, and I usually buy most of their albums that I can find. Sometimes I find myself searching Amazon or EBay.
I found three albums total and got two of them so far. Next up was a great band I have covered MANY times on here called Luna And The Mountain Jets whom have a rich history in this area. I have encountered then at Hagfest, Master musicians Festival, W.B.Walker’s Anniversary Show, and MORE.
Also, Laid Back Country Picker was here as well, whom we will talk about in just a moment here. Many of their songs they played were from the “Telling Stories” album accept the last song they played I recalled called “Number Two”.
It’s fitting I’m on my Thanksgiving Day weekend break writing this as I come across the song called “Thanksgiving Day” on my notes from the event. Anybody’s Thanksgiving can turn into a huge fiasco with family around to ruin things. Fights, politics and all sorts of crap ensues. But there are also some situations where spouses keep one another from Thanksgiving functions as this song describes.
“Lies And Envy” was included in their set here, as well as “Walking Away” which is one of my personal favorite songs they play, I like many of them that feature the guitar solos Mr. David pounds out onto the audience on a daily basis. The rest of the songs they played were “Pepsi Girl”, “That Thing You Said” and the last one I remembered was “Number Two” and “Silent Sunday Morning”.
Mr. Kyle Crownover has a famous role in being the tour manager for Mr. Tyler Childers but his music is fabulous in it’s own right, and his performance today proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt. His album is simply called Crownover so if you look for it do not put the Kyle in the search bar.
“One More You” was one of the first songs I heard him play today, and I admired the passion in his vocals. Some of his songs are pretty well done like “Wasting Time” because I felt myself in his shoes upon that position before. “Sweet Jeanette” is a TERRIFIC song that paints a vivid display of my own youth with my young girlfriend as I discovered the outside world on my own terms.
“Every Day This Week” was another song on his set today along with “Almost Right” and one other one I didn’t catch the name of. We ALL enjoyed the mighty comical antics of our favorite Laid Back Country Picker who taught me all about that trash talking truck driver.
“Kingsport” and of course he pulled out that “Party Line” for us today. Tyler Childers has been paying him back for influencing him early on as his teacher. THIS IS WHY this music is becoming ever popular and taking over the market as big as it is, because these artists are NOT FORGETTING where they came from.
“Kathy With An 8 Ball” was of course part of his show today folks, and then he poured on his guitar licks upon us with his rendition of GO GO Godzilla by Blue Oyster Cult. I’m telling you if you have never experienced the guitar ferocity of this man’s show you need to!
“Truck Stop Sam” was about a filthy mouthed comic Legend that he turned me onto a long time ago, “Magoffin County Cadillac” was next and he played others like “Live In The Now” and a cover of “Okie From Muskogee”.
Friends again here, here are some more friends enjoying the music and the drinking we did there that weekend. There was so many fun things going on all over, people playing cornhole and cooking things. Hell even I fried fish and made some steaks one night, ask Mr. JJ Waters about my rib eye steaks I make.
As long as it isn’t illegal you can have a fun time here on the creek. We don’t have any really bad trouble here like you do at those corporate BIG festivals. Mr. Byron will PERSONALLY handle ANY potential problems here and I have NEVER SEEN ONE person kicked out of Kickin it. Mr. Byron doesn’t want you to have to leave, he will personally help you to your camp if you need help. He and his family personally check on every person they can, and you can come to ANYONE for HELP. EVERYBODY IS SAFE HERE.
I missed the Green Genes performance but my buddy over at Capture Kentucky got it pretty good. Mr. Don Rogers, Mr. Todd Copeland, Mr. Brandon Bowldes and Mr. Roddy Puckett apparently reformed this band from a hiatus.
My next band I got to see was my GOOD friends called Jericho Woods from out here in Breckenridge County Kentucky. If you remember I covered them out at Master Musicians Festival this year. Their new album called “One Perfect Sound” was a fabulous album indeed.
“Wrong Things, Right Reasons” was first today, and featured Miss Amanda’s beautiful fiddle work as always in true form. “Love The Way You Love Me” is another of my favorite songs they do. There is just so much joy and happiness on the stage when they come play, and you can easily ascertain they are here because they LOVE what they do.
“Sinking Creek” is another good song from their 2017 “Bonfire Songs” EP and this was a perfect introduction to how the evening sun was beginning to sink down from the high trees on both sides of the creek property here. The moonshine was rampant out here this weekend and the stars were out in full force.
They played ONE HELL of a good instrumental before playing “Orange Blossom Special” and another called “Weep No More”. And as they amazed us with their showmanship, they blazed a path for the other bands of the evening to move forward with like the song “Clear Cut”.
The two cousins my buddy Mr. Paul Priest and Mr. Josh Mitcham formed this band some time ago, and along the road they added members Mr. Kyle Daniels and Miss Anna Blanton and Mr. Aaron Martin.
The Hi-Jivers ARE YOU A FAN of Muddy Roots, or the Nashville Boogie? You a fan of Rockabilly? Can you believe that this place has Rockabilly bands? Well…THEY DO! I been a HUGE HUGE FAN of these guys ( and gal) for some time now, as myself met them through Muddy Roots.
They bring a HUGE high energy rocking vibe to the mix with their songs like “Hotwire Woman” which is actually the opening song for my buddy James Riley and his radio show called The Rockabilly N Blues Radio Hour. The album called “Always Talking Down” brought us the song called “blood In My Mouth” from 2017.
Miss Dawna Zahn – Vocals, Mr. Austin John – Guitar & Vocals, Mr. Hank Miles – Upright Bass & Vocals and Mr. Jason Smay/Tony DeCurtis- Drums makes up this four piece band from Nashville. Their 2019 album they put out had the song called “Just One More Time” on it, as well as the songs “It Takes Time” and “I Smell A Rat”.
“Any Woman You Please” was included in the set as well as my personal favorite called “Something’s Gotta Shake” and they played a few more before turning the stage over to Vintage Pistol.
Magnolia Boulevard is simply energetic and amazing, especially the vocals on the song “Sister” when Miss Maggie hits those high notes toward the end…simply amazing. Mr. Ryan Allen on keyboards, Mr. Todd Copeland on drums, Mr. Gregg Erwin on that guitar Miss Maggie Noelle on vocals and finally Mr. John Roberts on bass make up this band.
They actually opened with a song called “Planting Seeds” and they played a song called “Smooth Sailin'” while Miss Maggie twirled and danced on into the night. She truly cuts a hole into the carpeting up there and is quite a fashionable entertainer in her own right, as the guitarists in this band display some other talents.
Another song they played they said was called ” 3 For 5″ and another called “Without You”, all before playing a rousing cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic “The Chain”. And they played “Gold Dust Woman”. They closed their set with songs like “Strong Willed Woman” and another song called “Ride”.
Town Mountain is just a powerhouse band. They began with “New Freedom Blues” and went into their 2016 album called “Southern Crescent” and played a song called “Arkansas Gambler”. Mr. Phil Barker – Mandolin, Vocals, Mr. Robert Greer – Vocals, Guitar, Mr. Jesse Langlais – Banjo, Vocals, Mr. Bobby Britt – Fiddle and finally Mr. Zach Smith – Bass make up this North Carolina band.
“Whiskey With Tears” was a good song from the same album “Arkansas Gambler” came from in fact on the album they are together as well. They played the “Road Goes On Forever” and they played their soul rousing cover of “I’m On Fire”.
The hard working song called “Up The Ladder”, is a song I CAN relate to because I’m wore plum the hell out from years of working. This place makes me forget my hectic job and issues in life, we all try to use music to forget the outside world, especially since none of us have a signal!
The top part of their entire set is when they yell out “LAW DAWWWWG” and the whole place goes absolutely insane and starts dancing and chugging beers. They then brought out former Wooks banjoist Arthur Hancock to plays some of his own special songs, including the NOW OFFICIAL Kickin It On The Creek anthem called “Wolfpen Branch”.
More Friends again folks while I skip around and combine days and times here. More people in the audience dancing and having fun, and my buddy JJ Waters who operates The Honkytonk Heroes Facebook Group.Through the years we have turned each other on to some great bands.
After I talk with y’all about my good friend Mr. John R. Miller down below, I’ll take you into the property a little more and BEYOND the initial camping area. I knew I was free to explore, but I don’t know his property lines yet and out there I didn’t want to trespass or end up in a place I didn’t belong!
I really wanted to encounter some wildlife out there, but also I followed some of the dry creek and I KNEW that snakes are plentiful out there. I’m NOT afraid of snakes but I’m not partial to getting bit either.
Mr.John R Miller is an awesome act by himself and his band the Engine Lights. Now tonight, he had Mr. John Clay on drums, and Miss Chloe Edmonstone, Mr. John Looney, Mr. William Matheny and Mr. Adam Meisterhans.
As most of you know, he plays bass guitar for Mr. Pat Reedy And The Longtime Goners, who is releasing new music this year on the Muddy Roots label. You’ll be hearing more about that album on later dates here. He opened with “How It Feels In The Light”. “Old Dance Floor” and “Borrowed Time” were next.
“Been Here Too Long” was up next and I can relate with him…I don’t wanna go to work today! It’s a true road dog song about being a traveling musician like he is, I never realized how hard this life was until I began following them around and watching what they do.
“Red Eyes” was released as a single first from the “Trouble You Follow” album in 2018. With a haunting and poignant melody about it, that song sets the scene for a classic masterpiece of an album. That song and “Holy Dirt” both display some over the top songwriting, and he grew to whole new echelon from his previous album “Service Engine”.
“Ghosts” and also “Back And Forth” came before “Holy Dirt” here today. He did a few more before closing with “Whale Party”. Actually I just realized I swapped this up with Town Mountain time wise but it’s OK with me. I was getting incredibly tired, and had to head back to camp for some rest!
I’ll be honest here, I have been here for two years of music now, and I STILL haven’t met everybody, and been to every part of the property. Some of the trails on both sides of Ross’s creek ramble on for miles and go to places I am not familiar with, and to be honest I was writing down songs the bands did as I hiked.
If I do go in 2020 I won’t be able to do any exploring I know that. Especially if I’m not supervised by an able bodied person with my heart in the condition it’s now in. So this is probably my last chance to go do any sightseeing on the property.
So now on to the final day on the creek with Mr. Brett Ratliff and his band called The Giant Rooster Sideshow. On guitar they had Mr. David Prince ( this band is one of their side projects), and Mr. Kenny and Mr. Hayden Miles from Wayne Graham.
They played MANY old school classics like “Cow Cow Boogie” which was a 1940’s classic originally recorded by Miss Ella Mae Morse. He played a solo set, and others like the “Old L + N” and “Gospel Plow”.
Well now, I have been waiting for what seems to be a lifetime to bring you coverage of a live set from this man from Alabama Mr. Abe Partridge, whom has been on my radar for some time now. He sent me an album a while back, and it had some DYNAMITE songs on it…but I’ll be honest folks, I cannot always feature everything I get. Time wise I simply cannot do it alone.
Now, I may get some of these songs here out of order on the set lists because I have so many papers and notes of so much information. So I can say he played “Ride Willie Ride” , which is a tribute song to Willie Nelson. You know, I have always said that “Red Headed Stranger” is the greatest Country Music album ever recorded. He references himself to many of his musical heroes in this song, as well as friends from his youth.
He pushes out sharp and edgy lyrics that isn’t really Country and really isn’t ANY kind of genre, it’s just good music. period. He isn’t trying to be like anybody but Abe Partridge, and he isn’t trying to look like anybody else..but he does print “This Machine Kills” like Mr. Woody Guthrie did.
“Colors” I’ll tell you WHAT, I cannot even rave highly enough about his well written lyrics on this one! You can take this song and interpret it in many ways, I saw my old drug addicted youth in this song where my love went wrong, and I lost a very special lady in my life…it didn’t happen like we planned it. Colors are all that matter when you’re already outside the lines..is amazing.
“No Teacher Blues” was one he played and another called “403rd Freakout”, and one of his last songs was “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down”. I must honestly say I haven’t seen passion and attitude as raw and real as his on ANY stage, and I’m upset I haven’t discovered him sooner.
My buddy Mr. Joe Macheret who originally plays for the Tillers, also has a side project called Joe’s Truck Stop, and they came out today to play some great tunes for us. I truly enjoy sharing my nerd facts with Mr. Joe when we get together, which isn’t often enough!
“Banjo Pickin’ Tobacco Spittin’ Gal” was one of the songs they played, and the brought a real traditional flare to the already Country lineup. They incorporate comedy into their mix, while juxtaposing real and honest Country with nostalgia.
Mr. Joe and I share a very close common love for the Country Music underdogs that have been omitted from the annals of Country Music journalism like Mr. Eddy Rabbit and older artists like Mr. Spade Cooley ( even though in his personal life he was a piece of shit, I always add that disclaimer). To be honest, Mr. Joe is one of my friends I am most fond of even though we don’t see each other very often.
While Joe’s Truck Stop was playing I went around again for ANOTHER ROUND of greeting friends and catching moments of the crowd. The afternoon of the last day was a very special moment for me, because I ran into a small dilemma, and if YOU know ME like many of you do…it was a BIG problem. I ran out of cash, no mind you folks this is NOT a corporate festival with a plethora of ATMS lineup up by the merch booth.
I had no money to buy cokes to drink and I wanted to thank my friends at Pickup Country and Mr. Byron for helping me out with that. That truly meant a lot to me that I got that kind of special attention, and YOU WILL TOO if you go.
The next act was called Padre Paul Handleman and I’ll be honest folks, I never met him or heard of him until today. But if YOU encounter him in the wild PLEASE say THANK YOU to him for serving our Country in the 82nd Airborne Division. He spoke highly of his service through his wonderful set here today.
He had Mr. J.T. Thomas and Mr. Dan the Banjoman with him today up there, to play songs like “Gypsy Home”, and the song “Broken Chariot” from his 2018 album called “Unbridled”. Now, Broken Chariot was one of those military songs I just spoke of, where he acknowledged his fellow military personnel.
“Southside Of Heaven” was next followed by “Six Dollars”, which showed me some really raw and untamed folk type Country. It was plain stripped down straight up COUNTRY in my opinion. His combination of guitar and hard blowing harmonica soul blended together made some bone chilling music.
His last songs were called “Long Gone” and “Hard Water”. Many of these acts you would have not heard of if not for this festival here, unless you are somebody like me that scours the bars for pickers like this signing for tips. And most times the people you find doing that have more soul and heart than the acts that are filling football stadiums.
Speaking of veterans here are some friends that made a cardboard cutout of their beloved family member whom could not attend this event due to his being deployed. They wanted me to include him into my article, and I promised to do so. Here is the picture of him and his wife.
Up above that is my good buddy Mr. Luther Center who helped write a bunch of this article here. If you love what I do PLEASE stop and say hello and THANKS to Mr. Luther for writing so many great articles for me. Right now I another thought I had in my head…I pretty much mentioned EVERYONE BUT one of the MAIN ingredients to this equation of fun..the SOUND MAN!
EVERYONE PLEASE say a big ol THANK YOU to Mr. Marvin Gilbert from Angry Baby Productions Mr. Matt Polashe, and there were others that helped make the lights, smoke and visual effects all that much more astonishing. It brought LIFE to bands like Magnolia Boulevard and the Wooks, whom played in the PM hours. The smoke and lasers were a top notch effect, and beast last year’s.
Mr. William Matheny was next up today, and he had Mr. John R. Miller with him as well as Mr. Adam Almister today to help him play songs from his albums “Moon Over Kenova” and “Strange Constellations” from 2017. In fact, “Moon Over Kenova” was one of his opening songs as well as “God’s Left Hand”.
The last song I recall him playing was “Living Half To Death”, as he closed with instrumentals and other songs as I went and did a little merch shopping. I went back to camp to drop off notes and papers, and got to chat with a few more people before going back to the stage area.
Miss Senora May is busy as all get out and is out in the world making a name for herself, on her own rights as a top notch artist among the Appalachian community and on a national scale as well. She had a full band this time, which was a first for me as she played “Semper Fi” for her brother.
Veterans are very appreciated here on Ross’s Creek, and there were giveaways for veterans whom were called up on stage to announce the winner. MANY TIMES Mr. Byron THANKS them for their service and there are many places for them to be appreciated here.
I recall her playing one called “Dogs Of Mexico” and that one was followed by “Lainhart” the title of her album, and a brief introduction into her family, and upbringing in East Kentucky. She played a few songs that I have never heard her play before tonight, like one called “Intertwine”.
“Milk And Honey” was one from her album that I recall her playing, as well as “California King”. She always stands so special and proud up there at the Creek, because she is a product of that very environment having been a family friend for all of her life. See, this goes deeper than just the music. The Roberts family has known many of these performers their whole lives, before they even picked up their guitars.
‘By My Lonesome” was another song played tonight, as well as ‘Silver Lining” and another called “Elusive”. The action was beginning to get more heated here tonight, as we all were getting geared up for the main acts of the night ( not that the first bands were less important) in ANY fashion. The later acts were enjoyable because of the sun finally setting for us!
This weekend was NOWHERE NEAR as hot as 2018, but BY GOD it was hot before that sun sank into those high tree sides of the holler. Ona was next, whom also have a new album out now called “Full Moon Heavy Light”. I had to go back to my truck for some things, and take a dinner break and I didn’t get to see them much. I do recall them playing “So Much Better Now”.
As I was previously saying, right before we all got to do the Wookie Foot Shuffle, Mr. Byron came out and explained that through all of our donations the local VFD was able to buy a BRAND NEW fire truck! they bought it out front and blared the siren for us all. MORE PROOF that this event not only promotes and proliferates the local music scene here, it stimulates the economic growth of East Kentucky as well. When love is involved in ANY event it makes it just as tangible as one that generates money.
what can I say about The Wooks that I haven’t already said? Mr. CJ Cain | Lead Guitar, Mr. Harry Clark |Mandolin, Mr.Roddy Puckett | Bass and finally new member Mr.George Guthrie | Banjo began their epic set with “Sang” a great song about buying a little lady a wedding ring from a miner’s view. It’s off their 2018 album “Glory Bound”, and this was the first set I have seen with their new banjo player.
“Out Of Mine” was next followed by “White Lines And Neon Signs” both off their 2016 album “Little Circles”. The latter of the two being a decent travel song when you are cruising down the interstate driving to a music job, or anywhere really! They posses that appeal to the most finicky of Bluegrass traditional fans, with their smooth harmonies and their old timey sound on songs like “The Few Or Far Less Fortune”.
“Let it ride” and another called “Learning To Fly” (Tom Petty Cover) were both included in their set tonight before they dished out upon us songs like ‘Dear Prudence” which starts out with a really unique bass line intro and brings the banjo into the mix. BUT THEN they broke out the “Wookie Foot Shuffle” man…I just cannot explain in words what the hell that REALLY is, you just got to go witness it for yourself live. You know the Beatles song “Dear Prudence” has some terrific instrumentals added within the lyrics, and displays their ability to jam as well as play good originals AND covers.
“Atlantic City” is probably their most well known song as well as one I don’t believe I ever heard live, and that was the song called “Night Bird” from the “Little Circles” album. They played a few more and busted out a bunch of more instrumentals before turning things over to our good friend Mr. Arlo McKinely And The Lonesome Sound another BIG NAME ACT around these parts.
Mr. Aaron Cordell on drums, Mr. Tyler Locard on bass, Mr. Zac Roe on guitars, accompanied Mr. Arlo tonight to make up the band the Lonesome Sound. They started with the wonderful song called “Time In Bars”.
‘I Don’t Need To Know” sets a great scene of a typical hometown in anyplace U.S.A. that anybody from small towns can relate to. You know the deal, people talk about one another and gossip profusely about who’s doing what, and who’s doing what….same old shit.
One of the last songs I remember him playing tonight was “Iv’e Got Her” which is the opening song on his album, as well as the song “Waiting For Wild Horses”. Also included in the set was “Bag Of Pills”, and “We Were Alright”.
One of the main acts that many of these people come to see is this man Mr. Tyler Childers, one of the two local music phenomenons of the last few years. He immediately commands the stage, and whips people up into a signing frenzy with songs like “White House Road”. One of the first songs I remember hearing him play on the first encounter I had with him.
“Cinder And Smoke” and “I Swear To God” was part of the show tonight, hell, I remember last year he played a few of these songs off “Country Squire” as new songs. I recall he played “Bus Route” last year as a new song before the album was out. “Charleston Girl” was next foolwed by the song “Country Squire” which is about a camper he is renovating for him and his wife.
“Shake The Frost” was on the set list as well as the song “Bus Route” I was telling about earlier. All the bus driver needed was that nasty glare and his paddle he had! “Creeker” was played tonight.
“Banded Clovis” is a damn fine song about hunting for arrowheads and murder, while getting drunk off their ass, his sifting buddy found a very rare banded clovis and he killed him over it. The song about his wife was next called “Lady May”, that he played on the Opry.
The middle portion of his set was choked full of his older more stripped down songs on record. Meaning they were more of the under produced songs he has like “Nose On The Grindstone ( Mind Off The Pills)”. “Bottles And Bibles” which is the name of one of his earlier albums, as well as “Follow You To Virgie”. Other songs that he did were “All Your’n” and “Matthew”
“Feathered Indians” was another one of the songs that got us all whipped into a party tonight, and as he banged on late into the night with all of his Honky Tonk hits, and kept us all up late with songs like “Honky Tonk Flame” and his Charlie Daniels classic cover of “Trudy”.
BUT IT WASN’T OVER YET! We STILL had a Bluegrass LEGEND up next in the name of Mr. Larry Keel and the Larry Keel Experience. They played from an extensive amount of back albums tonight like the song “Psycho Hell River”
He played covers like “After Midnight” and “Runnin Down A Dream” along with others. I began to head back to my camp to turn in for the night, after saying goodbye to a few people I knew were leaving tonight. I had a lot to pack up and take care of like the flat tire tire I had, and the next morning I learned my battery was dead. ugh.
From the 2005 album called “Natural Bridge” they played a rare one called “Groundhog Grease” that I have only heard him play a few times live. Along with the Allman Brothers classic “Whipping Post”, that song always has terrific instrumentals in the middle and the end.
The next morning I wandered around and picked up a few bags of trash for the Roberts family and helped clean up some chairs and other things. Everybody pretty much always does a GREAT JOB of cleaning up their mess, and putting out their fires.