May 132017

At this juncture I am not sure if this coverage will be in two parts or four, but right now I am at the Chicago South Loop Hotel on State Street in downtown Chicago. My room is VERY NICE and although the price was a bit high, the amnesties are beyond my expectations. This bathtub was the biggest one I have EVER encountered wow, so far I am waiting on some Chicago pizza that I have been informed is actually tourist food but I could careless. I’m having some Giordano’s deep dish pizza delivered to the room this afternoon, I’m not heading over to Reggies until a little later tonight for today’s festivities, I’m telling you there are already people reportedly hung over all over the city! The buzz here is something you don’t encounter at every festival nationwide.

So if you ever come to Chicago and stay at the South Loop you MUST say hello to Miss Jackie at the front desk, she was SO NICE and made my check in and check out VERY pleasant and welcoming. The staff there was impeccable and very presentable, it made the price WELL WORTH the stay there. The room was gorgeous, everything¬† was perfect. Honestly there wasn’t one complaint from me and it made my job all that much more easier to complete.

You know folks I do NOT post negative things on here, and I usually do NOT complain very much, but this company treated me SO poorly in the beginning and almost made my trip NOT POSSIBLE. This NEEDS to be shared on a mass level thousands of people will see.

Initially I started the trip with Enterprise car rental. Needless to say that did NOT go well, and until just recently when I found a proper employee in Bowling Green and another even better one in Glasgow, I would highly recommend staying away from this company.

If you ever have to call corporate, they will not be very helpful, they will try to solve your problems but at a great expense to you time wise and money wise. I paid a pretty high price for my car rental although they did claim to honor a cheaper rate, I found and even cheaper rate at another Enterprise location.

First off THEY DO NOT PICK YOU UP that’s a false statement, I was only offered a pick up five hours AFTER what I needed. My initial reservation was made at the Clarksville Tennessee location because route wise it’s what I needed to hop on 24. Well, to my dismay I have an out of state license and couldn’t rent. The employees there just pushed me off to the side, and actually I was told to move my vehicle…then I was told to leave. Before I came down to the Clarksville location I called and while on the phone I was placed on LONG periods of hold times, hung up on twice and told that they will make me a parking spot because they would not come get me…mind you..I live twenty five minutes away.

So I called corporate and FINALLY got someone who told me Oak Grove and Hopkinsville had NO cars available, and I HAD to go to Bowling Green, which is two hours away. The employee there Mr. Will made my last part of my dilemma pleasant, and he did do some things for me. He truly was a great asset to this company but I think their policies are bad and their customer service was even worse.  The Clarksville Tennessee location on Wilma Rudolph is for sure one location I implore you to avoid, they will do everything in their power to make sure you do NOT get a vehicle and corporate will not only back them up, they will applaud them.

I already met up with Brittany Avery AKA Six Gun Britt and her boyfriend in the hotel bar for a little while..It’s been quite a few years since we have seen each other as with many of the festival patrons here. This is my very first Moonrunners Music Festival ever, so let me quit yapping and tell you all about the music.

Mr.James Hunnicutt I mean honestly WHAT can I say that hasn’t already been said about his heart and soul he puts into his music. He allows his many influences to shine, like his adoration of vintage metal and punk all the way to his love of Faron Young.

It was actually at Country Legend Porter Waggoner’s funeral where I met him in person for the first time. I mean anybody will tell you that you can sit for hours and nerd out to any subject with him. That is by no means time wasted to one of the most gentle and kindest men I ever met, in ANY music scene. And I involve myself with a LOT of them.

He played two different sets here this weekend and some songs I have never heard before but as always he is a sure fire bet for entertainment and like he always says…We are all the same, there are no rock stars here.

Mr.Jimmy Swope was my very first victim tonight as he opened with “This Old Town” and followed up with some new songs called “Highway Mind” and one I actually have heard him perform at other festivals called “Tip Jar”. The mighty man from Maryland displayed classic guitar playing in his song called “Garage” as he furiously went up and down the neck.

He is a seasoned veteran of festivals in the mid west and I first encountered him at one in Indiana shortly after the death of our close friend in common Mr. Owen Mays. Initially I had heard of him until Mr.Owen gave me more insight into his album and got me to check him out.

He played one off his album “The Wages Of Sin” called “The Wolf” before playing one called “Ray Of Sun” and another called “Another Town” that he closed his set with. I look forward to running into him again at other festivals this year.

ALL VIDEOS courtesy of Mr. Scott Mithun at Hellbilly and Outlaw Radio. Link to that HERE.

Mr.Gary Moore II played an amazing set complete with steel and fiddle tonight by Miss Despina Pefinlides. I tell you what I got treated to some amazing steel guitar already! He opened with “I Think” and followed it with the title of his album “Tin Man’s Blues”.

I got to share some open mic sets with him at another festival last year and we all had a wonderful time admiring one an other’s music and songs as we played the Cracker Swamp open mic on stage 3.

“Tresspassing” was next on this set along with “Livin And Lust” which displayed the guitar talents of the steel player Mr.Mike Pentz as well, followed by “Ain’t My Lady” and “One Bottle At A Time” which was the only song not on his album he played today. I highly suggest you go over and pick up his album “Tin Man’s Blues”, he closed his set with “Gett’n Over”.

Viva Le Vox was in the main rock room tonight and they displayed some truly wonderful roots music tonight as they opened with “Lov Dirge #1” off their album “Luv Hungry” and went into “Cardiovascular And Otherwise” off the album “Dirt For Sale”. I loved the way Mr. Tony Bones had the mic hooked up to himself tonight as they went into Y.B.@ Human”.

I want to point out that these fellows aren’t Country at all, but you know what that’s what makes my website unique and how I cover festivals that veer off that initial path. These guys are like Smokestack Relics and S.S.Webb and many more that are in their lineups in that they have embraced a special sound that nobody mimics. It’s little punk and a little hardcore mixed with ragtime.

Upright bass monster Joe Buck played some upright bass for them on their past albums and in 2016 they released a small EP you can get by clicking on their website up there. I’ll be seeing them again at other festivals I’m quite certain, and hopefully I’ll get to visit with them further. Other band members were Johnny Tugboat on drums and Scarecrow Jenkins on bass. They will be touring around like most bands do this year before returning to their home town of Florida.

Meek Vs Roaches” was off their album called “Luv Hungry” and they played one called “Down At The Laundromat”. “Checking In With Myself” was next along with “Basking In The Twilight”. “Wayward Ones” was the last song they did that I caught before making my way into the side bar for Pearls Mahone.

Miss Pearls Mahone played an absolutely exceptional set tonight in the side bar. As always her band was absolutely stunning and on point, this young lady is indeed a Moonrunners staple act having performed every year but one. She’s an act I have covered many times at many other festivals and being an Illinois native I cannot just jaunt up to one of her weekend shows, so this is what makes festivals so special.

She began with “Blow Your Top” and a song called ‘6 Pack And Cigarettes” both of those were off her very first album. She played a song called 50 Ford Truck” about a vintage truck, and her traditional brand of Country Music mixed with Hillbilly Western Swing never fails to entertain the entire crowd here or any other festival she’s at.

“Greasy Love” and the classic song “Big Rock Candy Mountain” with her own signature twist. The same with the song “All Of Me” that equally has her own twist to her presentation of it. “Flash Your Diamonds” was also next followed by “Saints And Sinners”.

“Old Time Religion” was next and after that was “Little Girl’s Gone”. She closed her set with “San Antonio” and “Nashville Bound”. She never fails to pull out the old classics you just cannot go wrong on having in a set list, and trust me her vocals and her steel player make every show all that more enjoyable. If you enjoy throwback vintage music and attire you will heavily enjoy this young lady’s music.

What can I possibly say about Stump Tail Dolly that I haven’t reported on yet? These four assembled about a year and a half ago, and have successfully juxtaposed Country and Heavy Metal together on a large basis.

Mr. Ryan Clackner and Miss Lucy were both on stage at Muddy Roots during the Red Simpson set which is what spawned their pairing for me, I’m not quite sure how long the prototype had been in the works. They do have a new full length album hitting the market very soon and you can surely bet I’ll be featuring it.

“Cumberland Gap” was in their set list tonight as well as ripping guitar poundage and fiddle solos complete with bass duties from Mr. Jamie Garry and Mr. Brian Weinberg on drums. Trust me until you have heard “I’ve Endured” you truly haven’t endured. And this band is another one that burns up the miles across the United States to bring STD to YOU! They closed their set with “America”.

The Mystery Actions were a hometown all female punk metal band consisting of Nikki- Vocals Lucy- Guitar Mary Rose- Drums Sarah- Bass Guitar. They played in what was called the Music Joint which was the smaller side bar, which still sounded pretty damn good!

“Never Needed You” was first along with a song called “Drive”. “Count Me Out” was next along with “What I Live For” and they followed that up with a song called “A Line In The Sand”. “Fire In My Eyes” was next and they closed their set with “No Luck” and “Teenage Kicks”.

Folks I’ll admit I really don’t know Punk music like I know Country and I can usually tell you what’s a cover and what is an original. I know nothing of these songs origin however the sound they brought was very retro and reminded me of the late 70’s punk sound. I’m not quite sure if they are purposely channeling that influence but they are doing it right if they are trying.

Mr. Jesse Dayton was one of my TOP 50 of 2016 last year and I’m going to say this right now outright, he KILLED IT up there. Honestly he was probably the best set of the weekend to my liking. Everyone has their own opinions and after day two I was talking with Shooter and even he said Mr. Jesse puts on one hell of a show.

His latest album entitled “The Revealer” made my TOP 50 OF 2016 this past December and I went on many interviews supporting my decisions and choices. In fact pretty much all of his set list for Moonrunners was from this latest album, and that’s not necessarily a complaint.

He began with barrels blasting that Honky Tonk music mixed with Rockabilly as he opened with “Daddy Was A Bad Ass”. That song contains some of the album’s finest songwriting lines within it’s time length. “Holy Ghost Rock And Roller” was next which also contained some heavy Rockabilly riffs, that got this crowd swinging to the beat…the beat…the beat…the beat.

“The Way That We Are” was next as he readily displayed his empowering vocals tonight before us in that dismal rock club filled with stage lights and smoke billowing from the sides of the stage. As people danced up above in the catwalk cages that line the top of the stage he power housed his way into the slow paced “Possum Ran Over My Grave”. Which was a poignant song about George Jones in which Mr. Jesse makes many references of within his new album. He closed his set with a Black Sabbath cover “War Pigs” and “I’m At Home Getting Hammered”.

Mr. Jeff Shepherd And The Jailhouse Poets are another album on my TOP 50 OF 2016 and I happily featured his set at other festivals last year, and I’m pretty sure I’ll run across him this year at more festivals.

He opened his set with “Wayfaring Stranger” and equally displayed his own unique vocals on his song “California” followed by another of his originals “Katie”. I often times identified with his own songs on this last album that touches on past drug abuses and life’s hard lessons learned, as we embellish our future being clean while recalling places in life such as “Sink Down Low”. He closed his set with “Gone”, and as I look forward to dwelling within his world once again soon, it was time to move into the main stage area for the next band.

The Hooten Hallers have a brand new album out now on Big Muddy Records and they recently had an album release party which I wrote a small piece on, and they also recently visited Nashville.

Miss Kellie Everett, Mr. Andy Rehm and Mr. John Randall make up this Missouri trio of blues, rock and many other styles all rolled into one unique sound that is usually always included on many Roots Music festivals all year. “Missouri Boy” was first along with “Hard To Trust”.

“Coming Down The Mountain” was next which is off their iconic album “Chillicathe Fireball followed by “Sticks And Stones”. “Charla” was off of their new released album you can buy by clicking on the label up there on CD and LP. “Gaelic Storm” was another off my favorite album Chillicothe Fireball.

Next they closed their set “Mountain Of Pain” off the album of the same name and “Rhythm And Blues” ,overall I’d say I was truly satisfied with their set tonight and I look forward to seeing them again soon and writing more articles for them through the years.

That O’l Coondog was a duo that brought a mix of old timey fiddle,banjo and guitar tunes to us and they were strategically placed well to break up the heaviness of the acts within their time range today. I was well waiting for this set as I have been eager to see them for many months and I briefly got to chat with him.

He started with “Train,Train,Train” and went into “High On The Homestead” and another called “Until The Dust Settles”. As one of them quickly swapped his fiddle for his banjo, the other played vigorously on his acoustic while belting out old mountain tunes like “Old Joe Clark” and “Wildwood Flower”.

“Laugh And Grow Fat” and “River Rat” were two more that were played tonight as they left us with a down home feeling afterwards. It was musical comfort food for the ears. I can easily ascertain why this band has been a staple portion of Moonrunners for many of the past festivals.

Mr. Scott H Biram offered up an entire set from his entire catalogue of songs tonight from his MANY albums. The Dirty Old One Man Band has been around for perhaps longer than any of the bands on this article save for a few. He played many songs from his new album available now on Bloodshot records called The Bad Testament, like his first song “Swift Drifti’n”.

He swapped guitars,stomped on pedals and pounded his way around the room tonight and took us om a rocket ride through “Going Home”. He played older songs like “Graveyard shift from 2006, as well as “still Drunk, Still Crazy” also recorded by Whitey Morgan.

The new album was on proud display with “Set Me Free”, “Trainwrecker” and “Still Around”. He displayed his rough and raunchy vocals and seasoned guitar licks with songs like “Plow Under” and “Hell Yeah”, as he went into “Truck Driver” he brought the crowd back to ‘Another River” and into his “Victory Song”. He played “Still Drunk, Still Crazy” towards the end I do believe as I made my way into the side bar stage for my next Buddygirl.

Miss Brittany Avery AKA Six Gun Britt was my very first Myspace friend along with Mr. Bandana. Since then I have had the privilege to get to watch her make life mistakes and accomplish life goals. I got to share with her loss of her Grandparents and the birth of her two kids, truly a gift through meeting within music.

I think for now she has met a good man and had things under wraps from a life standpoint, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what she brings to the table musically in the next upcoming years. “Midnight In The Garden” began her set tonight along with “Oh My Love” and “I’m Done”.

She played some old SGB tunes called “Jack Daniels And PBR” and also “Six Bullets” after she went into to more original songs like “Something Better” and “If I Can’t Have Him”. She produced a truly sultry and soulful voice tonight at Reggies and this was one I have been waiting many months in anticipation. She closed her set with “Every time You Look My Way” and “Under Control”.

Colonel J.D. Wilkes, Mr. Rod Hamdallah, Mr. Fuller Condon, and Mr. Preston Corn make up this quartet called Th Legendary Shack Shakers from my home area of Paducah Kentucky, and they absolutely killed it tonight up there.

I truly enjoyed the Colonel’s solo set in the past as he brought an old piano from Tin Pan Alley and played some really interesting songs on it. One thing nice about Mr. J.D. Wilkes is you can LEARN A LOT from him, he is a walking encyclopedia of music much like people claim I am. People you can learn from are VERY valuable to me, all you need to do is listen.

I caught them perform “Hell Water” off the album “Swampblood”. They also played “Sugar Baby” and before I ventured over to the other stage for the final act of the night I watched them play “Dump Road Yodel”.

The Urban Pioneers are Miss Liz Sloan, Mr. Jared McGovern and Mr. Martin Sargent and this trio absolutely burns up the roads RED HOT constantly touring all over the world bringing their string band music to YOU…BUT it’s MUCH MUCH more than just string band music. I mean you cannot truly place them in any one category as they display so many influences.

They are all seasoned veterans of the stage having played with many bands and they have many hours of road under their belt. Toward the end of the month they will be once again reunited with Mr. Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band for a one time only appearance. Until then they will be playing you some new songs even after the fact they recently released their third album “Feat Or Famine”.

They opened their set with “Ain’t Gonna Work” and “78 Southbound Blues”. This band plays and always has played like a well oiled machine and makes a monstrous presence on the stage no matter they play. This band has the entire capacity to wake the dead and they sound like thunder rolling at you.

“Something That’s Never Been Done” was next and “Don’t Know My Name” was next followed by some new songs called “Run Rabbit Run” and “Fast Money”. They played a few off their new album like ones called “Chocolate Easter Bunny” and “Never Had A Waffle At The Waffle House” before closing their set for the night with “High On A Mountain”.

Well folks that was pretty much my story of day one of Moonrunners Music Festival in downtown Chicago, so let me wander on back to the South Loop hotel and rest a spell and I’ll be back to you soon for Day 2.
Stay tuned folks.

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