I have so many people to thank right off the bat and I have only been here for a half hour. So many people labor effortlessly to bring us these types of events. Companies and groups of people like Mr. Jim Guthrie and his wife Miss Victoria that run the page called The Honky Tonk Hotel. They not only support the shows in the Kansas City area they BOOK THEM. See Tumbleweed Music Festival is essential to the local music community for MANY reasons, and what Mr. Jim does ties in with the festival in many positive ways.
All of these people and all of these groups play small or large parts in creating a trail of opportunities for the bands and artists we report on. Honky Tonk Hotel isn’t exactly a media outlet in the fashion that I am, they are a media outlet in their OWN fashion…but if you PUT US TOGETHER ,we stretch from K.C. to Nashville and West Virginia with those artists. We have Texas and the Okies here, with bands like Reckless Kelly based out of Texas but formed in Idaho.
I need to THANK my friends Mr. Doug and Miss Piper and Mr. Kevin Bordegon from Borda Productions for putting this on every year, and for inviting me to the initial festival he decided to change directions on the format of the music. I have a lot of respect for him on a personal level because he honestly LOVES ALL the music he promotes. He loves the DJ and dance music that some of this community may not totally understand, or like. But I ask you, if it makes people happy why be against it?
The weather here is GORGEOUS tonight I mean absolutely PERFECT I am well rested and it’s 70 degrees and I’ll be commenting on the ENTIRE event from the medical tent to the front gate staff. These festival articles have become quite articulate from a different point of view than “the other guys”. You know you got the bigger websites doing REALLY NICE reporting on the bands…but who reports on some of the things YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU COME? ME! I shall have you well informed about all things from the food to the places you need to go get medical attention.
South and North off Hwy 69 you have 399th ave, which your GPS will say “Your destination is not a paved road”. THEN AND ONLY THEN you know it’s festival season. The parking area for daily parking is EXTREMELY ample and spacious, and I have my little nook set up where I can hear the music from my space here, I don’t need to have my computer near the stage. I can wander and not worry about leaving any equipment lay around, there is also a very nice VIP lounge with air conditioners and it is manned with people at the door and he was kind enough to watch my computer for me when I needed to implement my media pass for photos and such.
All around I’m hearing staff member asking “Do you need some help?” There are golf carts buzzing around that will take you down to the stage area for a nominal fee, and you can DAMN SURE BET I’ll be taking them up on ANY offer they throw at me. I have been contemplating buying my own golf cart for this type of thing, more on that later. The guys that ran the VIP lounge were VERY nice,in fact I’ll give him TWO shouts out. I had some initial problems with some of the stage staff in the beginning, but we got those issues resolved and I didn’t let them ruin my visit one bit. People make mistakes, and I have taken it up with that person privately.
As I do with EVERY festival I tour not only the bands and the venue, but the food also, and I’m going to tell you about the places I was shown and the vendors that were here, as I’m writing this on day 2. I want to give a HUGE shout out to the staff at the V.I.P. lounge for letting me keep my computer in there, and not worrying about it when I was taking pic rounds. The food vendors were well placed and great at suggestive sales, like the man that had a fried lasagna sandwich. Now folks THIS WAS unlike ANYTHING I have EVER tried or tasted. This particular cuisine has flatbread Paganini bread with homemade lasagna rolled in breadcrumbs, seven cheeses instead of JUST ricotta, and homemade sauce. This is Sam And Louie’s Pizza in Iola Kansas, selling me their masterpiece of food truck cuisine that to be honest as of yet NOBODY has topped at ANY festival I have EVER attended.
The back vendor with all of the polish sandwiches and fried chickens I deal with at three other festivals, they are good people with some damn fine go to food that can please everybody. Everything was reasonably priced accept for water, nobody should be price gouged for water. Drinkers need access to cheaper water or a refill station for water, it encourages pacing them and prevents medical tent traffic. It’s always nice to HAVE a medical tent but not NEED one. I would like to shout out and honor the wonderful folks that ran the medical tent, for giving me a NICE place to take my insulin and keep my supplies so I didn’t have to carry needles around.
The merchandise booth was easy and readily available to accommodate any order you had, very nice attendants and you could buy multiple people’s merch in one card swipe, instead of three or four if you buy more than one artist’s merch. It was quick and easy to spend my entire paycheck on shopping items, like the CBD oil tent, that offered non THC choices for people like me, for nominal prices. There was just SO MUCH to do besides JUST music, so if your kid has a less than five second attention span, there is PLENTY to do for everybody. The pool looked amazing, as did the cabins that can be rented during the festival as well as canoes and fishing.
After we had a wonderful national anthem we were introduced to our emcee of the festival accept for the main acts that have their own recorded intros, and it was none other than my buddy Mr. Mustang Mitch from the Mustang Mitch Radio Show in East Tennessee. I thought he did a well studied job of digging up info on each act as he ushered them on for us.
He and I first met each other during the Ameripolitan Awards in Memphis Tennessee, and since then we have become really wonderful friends. We talk as much as we can on and off the record as people. I admire his character and what he has created to embellish the local music scene, he CARES about the music he promotes.
The first act was actually a rotating cast of school kids playing cover songs called The School Of Rock. Let me tell you what, these kids were dynamite. The guitarists were amazing on songs like “Hot For Teacher” from the Van Halen album 1984. Not only that song but others like “Black Betty” had some truly fine guitar work among the kids.
They rotated singers like the young lady that sang the Rush song “Closer To The Heart” from the 1977 album ” A Farewell To Kings”. She pinpointed the high notes with a lot of accuracy and grace, and although cover songs usually make me yawn, these were unique and enjoyable. I think it was due to the youthful appreciation of classic music from the rock of the 70s and 80’s like Bon Jovi’s “Bad Medicine from the “Slippery When Wet” album.
The various combinations of band members played the song “Twice As Hard” by the Black Crowes, along with “Hotel California”, and I’m going to add that the lead guitarist and rhythm guitarist nailed the notes on that song. The intro is not easy to play right off the bat, these kids were just young teens, so I was actually quite impressed in their studies and care for notation and precision.
My old buddy Laid Back Country Picker brought his entourage all the way from East Kentucky out to Kansas to play his good Country Music for us and treat people right. His wife on the guitar Miss Honey was in rare form today avoiding wrecks and writing checks as her says, along with Mr. Bartholomew Dixon on drums and Mr. Asplundh Truck on bass.
He opened with his version of Waylon’s song “Are You Ready For The Country”, and his song called “I Live In The Now”. I have been blessed enough to cover his set many many times in the last few years, in many different states and I look forward to many many more. And as he taught us all about the ever popular “Party Line” , the entire festival was filling up and getting ready to party all weekend. Even I was getting ready to have a few good pulls of moonshine myself.
He has a second album in the works and plans to record it in Nashville sometime this year. One of the songs off that fortthcoming album is called “Treat’n People Right”, a song title more people could take a little lesson from on manners. I know, you may point fingers…sure, but this song makes even me look in that mirror and take a good look at my own self. How do YOU treat people?
“Truck Stop Sam” was a song by an old classic truck stop comedian named Mr. Gene Tracy, who did some adult material in history. I began to delve into what his act was, and this guy puts Mr. Redd Foxx to shame. Everyone that enjoys adult comedy needs to go check his videos out.
LOOK FOLKS MISS HONEY GOT EXCITED TO BE IN KANSAS
They went into playing the ever popular “Kathy With An 8 Ball” before going into an instrumental filled song to close with their rendition of Go Go Godzilla by the Blue Oyster Cult from 1977. So as he was finishing up his set I went down food vendor row to see everyone and meet new friends, and find my go to coke cola refill place. And maybe do a little early shopping from the vendors there, as they played “Okie From Muskogee” and also “Magoffin County Cadillac”.
Many of the vendors here this weekend selling wares and handing out information were from all over the United States, and I got the chance to talk with many of them during the weekend. Hunt Of A Lifetime is a non profit group that helps children 21 and under with terminal illnesses have a hunting or fishing experience.
Red Dirt Lifestyle
This Or That Food Truck
Miss Senora May has been making a name for herself out in the East Kentucky area, and with some booking help out here she has been playing some shows as well. She was the third act on the first day at Tumbleweed and began her set with “Only Want You” from her debut album “Lainhart”.
She played a few of her songs dedicated to her brother who left at an early age to join the military like the song called “Semper Fi” , where she showcased some growth vocally in her songs from the last time I watched her set. Her band tonight was Wayne Graham along with the very talented Mr. Josh Nolan, brother of Miss Chelsie Nolan.
“Dogs Of Mexico” was a new one I had never heard before either recorded or live, along with a song she wrote about her broken down van named Gertie called “Big Old Bag”. Also another song I had never heard called “Natchez Clean” was included in her set. I really enjoyed this round here with new promising material from her, and a direction all her own.
From her album she pulled out “Milk And Honey” and her signature song about her family and where she came from called “Lainhart”. The only other new one I caught was called “Intertwined” before she sang the song called “Elusive” which she wrote about addiction, and people that hunt and do not eat what they take.
The last two songs of her set again we’re pulled off her debut album and they were called “California King” and her last song she closed with was called “Country”. This was truly a divine way to begin a three day marathon of all types of music here this weekend, and Tumbleweed never ceases to please my appetite for national acts along with regional openers.
The energetic and eclectic Town Mountain Bluegrass band from the great state of North Carolina that possesses a modern sound while maintaining a strong respect for tradition and historical facts. Their new album called “New Freedom Blues” proves that by adding a drum kit, and still playing old time based tunes like “Down Low” which was in their set without Mr. Tyler Childers.
They opened with “Up The Ladder” from the “Leave The Bottle” album which was a good way to begin any set as fast as that song is, it woke up this crowd pretty damn fast. Their next song was the tightly sounding “Struck It Rich” from the “Heroes And Heretics” album.
Their cover of the song “I’m On Fire” was pretty good and they followed that up with “Coming Back To You” was a song about the road and coming back home to his woman. Town Mountain is Mr Bobby Britt, Mr. Zach Smith, Mr.Jesse Langlais, Mr. Phil Barker, and Mr. Robert Greer.
Next up was “Lawdog” and that was followed by “Tick On A Dog” from the “Southern Crecent” album. They then presented us with the title track from thier new album m called “New Freedom Blues”. Also from the Southern Crecent album was a song called “Whiskey With Tears”.
They closed their set with the song called “Deadman’s Cove”, and they left the stage hot this evening for the next act M r. Ritch Henderson. He was very gracious on the messenger with me about the set, and expressed his utmost gratitude to the directors of Tumbleweed for having him.
I thought he did a BANG UP JOB up there to finish off night one, and go back to my NICE hotel for the night. He played one called “Is Lonesome All I’ll Ever Be” and played the song “Decoration Day” by the Drive By Truckers. He kind of went into other songs in a medley format.
He had a true sense of honor up there and a passion for signing his songs with Grace like the song called “Autumn Moon” and later on in the set he played one called “One Other Way” and went into the Sturgill Simpson song called “Turtles All The Way Down”.
He played one of my favorite Alex Williams songs called “A Little Too Stoned” followed by “If It’s Only For Tonight” and others called “The incarceration Song”, and finally a Tyler Childers cover called ” Shake The Frost”. I applaud the people of Tumbleweed for having some of these up and coming artists on the roster to enjoy all placed into the day and evening so others can find new music to enjoy.
My Suburban extended stay hotel was absolutely HEAVENLY and my right arm Mr. Joshua Wallace booked me a perfect hotel room. This room had a full kitchen and a full fridge for extended stay guests, and will now be my GO TO HOTEL for Tumbleweed. Now, there were others in this area that were VERY NICE with more options for kids. HERE is the website for Lenexa Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, it was beyond 5 stars for me.
I want to point out my barbecue experience brought to me by Mr. Jim Guthrie and that was Joe’s In Kansas City restaurant near my hotel. I had a combo meal of Brisket and Kansas City ribs. I didn’t like any of the sides they offered, and the gentleman that took my order said they couldn’t do anything else for me, so I went without sides. The staff was kind of fast to get you in and out, and I thought that was sort of rude, but the food made up for that.
I would DEFIANTLY go back there and eat, those ribs were absolutely marvelous and done PERFECTLY. The sauce was REALLY GOOD, and the perceived value of the atmosphere of the restaurant makes you want to spend more to get better food. It has a nice country theme to it, and is adorned with cool decor. I HIGHLY SUGGEST you go, if you ever visit Kansas City.
The very first act I got to see on Saturday was Mr. Chad Vaughn also a Missouri native who brought along Mr.Will Wails on guitar, Mr. Jeff Nickolson on bass and Mr. Tom Winborn on drums.
I finally got to meet him this weekend, as we have correspond many times in the past when there was a large auction and fund raiser held on his Son’s behalf in the past. He is a hard working musician, that often travels with many of these other pickers. His music is a little bit Country and a little bit other genres, if you really listen to his music you’ll see MANY influences.
The song “Pretty Mama” is basically about hot women, and I mean who doesn’t know a pretty mama? he and his wife and family were very nice folks and it was a pleasure to be able to meet them all. I got the chance to hang out with a lot of their families all weekend, I had such fun.
He played a song called “Bootlegger” about a man in southern Missouri he knew ( you make the deduction as to exactly WHO it was) as he mentions his mother as well. Nowadays Moonshine is legal in some parts of America now, and that way of life is a long lost story. But I’m going to tell you this….I don’t drink much anymore but I DO buy Moonshine and I will drink it at times.
He is the father of this brave young man here Mr. Aaron Vaughn who is one of the bravest people I myself have ever met. He is awaiting a heart transplant, and gets to have fun and play like all kids do. But I watched this young man enjoy music all weekend, and swinging his drumsticks around all weekend.
Mr.Chris Stewart came out this weekend to entertain us with some great original music. He is making a name for himself in the Missouri area with the help of the Honky Tonk Hotel and other groups in the area, and does some really great local shows. These artists that are just starting out, you mark my damn words people…they care more than the mainstream people do by far.
He opened with a song called “Time Won’t Wait For You”, which presented his vocal style and abilities. I was told that he is currently working on recording his first full album of original material and will be releasing it soon, and displayed some of the songs that will be on it like “Settle”, and “Sweet”.
This man is Mr. Al Enzian and we met in Mississippi at Outlaws Across The River just a few weeks ago.It sure is fun running into all of these people in different states and different environments but still playing the same music. Different crowds and more new people getting exposed to good music and good musicians.
He continued on with a song called “A Song About Me”, and sang one about being jaded called “Jezebel”. That particular song had some lyrics in it that he wrote about my ex wife I do believe. “He Tried And She Tried” was another good song that is very well written about classic love gone gone wrong. Man I tell you what the line “Ashes and two rings of gold” is just damn good classic Country Music…Jesus. He concluded his set with a song called “Take The Blame”.
Next up was a young lady I featured MANY TIMES on my website, the most recent being during Hagfest in Ohio at the South gate House Revival. Miss Chelsea Nolan came out first by herself to play “Rock Bottom” which she wrote about an ex boyfriend. That is on her EP she just released recently.
She played “Build A Fire”, and a new one called ” Camel Wide Blues”. She then brought out the Wayne Graham Band, and her brother the multi talented Mr. Josh Nolan to play “Drunken Poets Dream” and others.
“I’m Not Her” was next followed by another new song called “The Serious Song” which I first heard at The Southgate House , and although she enjoys joking and laughing through her set, she does indeed sing some very serious lyrics. And the next song she played was called “If You Think It’s About You It Probably Is”.
She closed her set with the cover song “Me And Bobby McGee”, and I took the opportunity to go wander around the campground to the lake and petting zoo.
I just finished watching Sarah Shook And The Disarmers, if you remember her latest album “Years” released on Bloodshot Records earned a high spot on our TOP 50 OF 2018. Her band, The Disarmers are absolutely amazing in their own right. Each member contributes greatly to a unique Country stomping sound, that spotlight her vocals well. She stands at the helm of this band with poise and authority, as she belts out songs like “Parting Words” and “Fuck Up” which are both gloomy songs with poignant lyrics that she pulls off well.
From her 2017 re issue of “Sidelong” she actually opened her set with “Heal Me”. They went into songs like “Nothin Feels Right But Doin Wrong”, and other songs of dark deep pain in relationships that have gone to complete shit like “Lesson”. Her band is growing in strength and is tighter than ever, especially Mr. Phil Sullivan on the pedal steel.
The rest of this North Carolina outfit was Mr. Aaron Olivia on the upright bass, and Mr. Eric Peterson on guitars. ALSO SHE JUST GOT MARRIED SO IF YOU SEE HER CONGRATULATE HER. “Good As Gold” was also included in her set tonight as well as the song called “No Name”.
“Misery Without Company” was another one of those hardcore hurting songs, “Keep The Home Fires Burnin'” was included in their set tonight, as well as “Dammed If I Do, Damned If I Don’t”. “The Bottle Never Let Me Down”, was on here included also was “Dwight Yoakam”, and one of my favorites “New Ways To Fail”.
Mr. Ben and Mr. Noel Haggard are two of the four sons of famed Country Music Legend Mr. Merle Haggard who play their father’s songs and sing just like he did. They played the 1982 release of “Are The Good Times Really Over”, from the “Big City” album.
From the 1980 album called “Back To The Barrooms” they played “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink”. That actually was one of my favorite albums he did for MCA, and some of producer Mr. Jimmy Bowen’s finest work. It featured the entire band the Strangers each in their prime. They also played “Workin Man’s Blues”, from the 1985 album “Amber Waves Of Grain”.
“Swinging Doors” was a 1966 album f the same name on the Capitol label produced by the immortal Mr. Ken Nelson and the followed it up with “My Favorite Memory” once again from the “Big City” album. One of the biggest hits Mr. Merle Haggard ever had was the song called “Mama Tried” from the same album of the that name.
Now then, the song called “California Blues” is from a 1969 album called “Same Train Different Time: A Tribute To Jimmie Rodgers”. As we all know Mr Merle Haggard idolized Mr. Jimmie Rodgers and regarded him as the ultimate hero. They finished their set with the well known song “Today I Started Loving You Again”.
Reckless Kelly man what all can I say about this band? Where do I even begin to articulate what I want in words? I have never had the opportunity to ever cover their set before, and I was perhaps the most excited about them out of anybody else, even the mighty Alabama.
In my opinion they are well on their way of becoming Red Dirt Legends, with a strong fan base that cannot be reckoned with. They have been at this for over twenty years now starting with “Millican” in 1998. They have a June 21st release of the 10th anniversary of Bulletproof LIVE, with some videos they have already released.
Now off that album their set list was adorned with songs like “Ragged As the Road” which is always a staple of their live show, and according to them, always will be. This band is ramped up for a big big year, and will be sure to deliver. They opened with their song “Passin’ Through”.
“The Champ” was from the 2026 “Sunset Motel” album and that song was followed up by the song “Wild Western Windblown Band” from their first two albums like Live At Stubb’s and others. They played one of their signature songs called “Seven Nights In Eire”, and played it well.
This lineup tonight was Mr. Joe Miller on bass, Mr. Jay Nazz, and Mr. Willie and Mr. Cody Braun. Mr. Dave Abeyta left the band in February to spend time with family, I had it wrote down who took over for him tonight, and I lost the information…. I mean I only had 40 pages of junk from this festival.
They did play a song from Mikey And the Motorcars simply because their two younger brothers Mr. Gary and Mr. Mikey Braun play for that band, now the four of them play yearly in Idaho at the Braun Brothers reunion…GOT ALL THAT? Their last song was called “Crazy Eddie’s Last Hurrah” which is always their last song many times.
The mighty Georgia juggernaut called Blackberry Smoke was here tonight and opened with “Nobody Gives A Damn” about fake people with fancy clothes and perfect looking dates. This band don’t give a damn for sure, they just apologetically assault your ears with wonderful Southern Rock…or Americana or whatever YOU call it.. nobody gives a damn.
They followed that up with a song called “Six Ways To Sunday” off their classic album “The Whippoorwill”. I consider that album to be one of finest Southern Rock albums in the last few years. They played their old song called “Good One Comin On” from their first album called “Little Piece Of Dixie”, followed by “Workin For A Workin Man” from the “Like An Arrow” album.
The band consists of Mr. Charlie Starr, who sings, and Mr. Paul Jackson who does guitar work as well and sings. Mr. Richard Turner on bass, Mr. Brit Turner plays the drums and Mr.Brandon Still plays keyboards. They played the title song from 2018 album “Find A Light”, and also “Medicate My Mind”.
I know on this band I skipped around on the song list a lot because quite frankly this concert was a tough one with wanting to enjoy it as a fan too, with songs like “Waiting For The Thunder” that has some great stops and clapping. It’s a great middle set list staple that you can bank on being played until they retire, because it’s such a heavy hitter with great harmonies.
“Let it Burn” was on tonight as well, which almost made me think they were going to play Like An Arrow in order since those two songs go together, but nope because they played “Sleeping Dogs” and of course they played their first hit called “Ain’t Got The Blues”. They drew quite a large crowd here tonight, and many of the one day people chose not to camp.
I asked many of them just why they chose to do a one pass and got mostly the same answer…kids, which I can surely understand of course. “Time Ain’t Gonna Wait” was on their set tonight as I went back and caught a late night bite to eat before I watched the last two sets of the night.
Mr. Jackson Taylor is another one that is well on his way to becoming a local Legend among independent music communities. He possesses a strong reputation for adult themed shows full of language and actions that may be offensive to some and liked by others. Oftentimes people attempt to compare him to Wheeler Walker Jr…well I do not because he was a novelty act. Mr. Jackson means everything he says….which isn’t always good to the major media.
But to sit here and say that he hasn’t been busting his ass for over twenty years on the roads playing Country Music I would be remiss. I’m not going to get into this whole “Outlaw” crap with anybody, and it makes me yawn to be honest. I’m just going to say this man is just Plain out COUNTRY, and he can put on a show like no other. He has people that love him and hate him because of his outspoken and in your face mannerisms with no signs of slowing down, in fact he has a new album forthcoming from Sun Records in Memphis.
With that being said let’s talk about what he brought to the table musically shall we? He started out from way back in 2003 from the album “Hollow Eyed And Wasted” with “Long Legs And Long Necks” and followed that up with “Maria”. Both songs about drinking heavily and raising hell, two of which he proclaims to be good at, and displays it ever so well, causing a history of detriment from some and a history of praise from others.
Mr. Earl Hinton on the bass here tonight as well as Mr. Brandon Burke on drums who must have been filling in, although that could be wrong there. I have always been a big fan of his 2014 Live At Billy Bob’s album, as I am a collector of all of them and own some of them on vinyl. Now one thing I dislike about his huge catalog is that he has recorded MANY covers. Covers are GREAT live but I’m just not hip on them on studio albums, however the fact he did do his “He stopped Loving Her Today/ Purple Rain” combo was nice.
From the 2011 album “Let The Bad Times Roll” they played “Boys In The Band” the groupie anthem, and believe me being a journalist and I SEE EVERYTHING good and bad I see a LOT of female (and male) hang arounds that get the free crap and sleep with the band. Don’t think I don’t see it…THERE ARE passionate fans, yes, but there are “extra” passionate fans too. Also, “Dark Days” from the 2007 album of the same name was played tonight. I had to stop over at the medical tent and partake in some bolus insulin real fast and I came back into it all to hear ‘Angels” followed up with “Cocaine” and finally the “Whiskey Drinking Song”.
Mr. Bryan James was the final act on Friday night and he ended the night in prime shape. Along with Mr. Chad Vaughn on bass, and Mr. Al again on slide, they played some originals and some covers for us. The first original I remembered hearing was called “Give A Damn” off of the 2016 album ‘This New Ways Getting Old”.
The other three songs that I caught were covers and they were “American Way” by Hank Williams Junior originally on the “America The Way I See It” album, “Ballad Of Curtis Lowe” from the Lynyrd Skynrd album “Second Helping”, and the Sturgill Simpson classic “Shit Mtn” from his iconic debut album.
The remainder of his band was Mr. Duncan Butts on drums, Mr. Don Rowe on bass making up this lineup here. And as I made my way back up the gravel to the parking lot I was so exhausted I paid one of those bike drivers to get me back to my truck, a 40 minute hotel ride was NOTHING for having a hot tub in my room…I NEEDED THAT!
Sunday morning my day began with Mr. Doug giving me a ride down to the stage to see my buddy girl Miss Tommy Ash begin the day’s exciting lineup under the hot sunny weather. I’m telling you what this has been an EXTRAORDINARY WEEKEND for weather, and NO RAIN or flooding or mud. It’s just a little breezy and there is ample shade during the afternoon hours side stage, where I am working.
Miss Tommy Ash is an Arizona native that came to Nashville to create her own sound along with her wonderfully talented husband Mr. Ben, who adds spice to her vocals with some serious guitar twang. I arrived in the middle of her set where she was performing “Sugar In A Bottle” and had the early morning crowd going wild.
Now to be honest, there were many fresh new faces here today, that bought one day passes or weekend passes and didn’t arrive Thursday. Also, they didn’t camp. They were more familiar with cover songs like “She’s In Love with A Rodeo Man” that Mr. Johnny Russell made famous, but at the same time this crowd was treated to original music ALL DAY or ALL WEEKEND. We turned MANY new fans onto people like Chelsea Nolan and her brother Mr. Josh Nolan, and THAT is important to us.
She played a divorce song called “I’m Keeping The House”, where she got rid of everything else but the house, and she played “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line” from the 1968 album “Only The Greatest” by Mr. Waylon Jennings. One thing many people do not know about this song written by Mr. Jimmy Bryant is that Mr. Jim Alley originally recorded that song first.
After her set I went around exploring more because today was my last day here to really relax, I had a 9 hour ride ahead of me Sunday all day and I didn’t have time to screw around at all. I went on down to the pond and watched them have canoe races, archery range shooting, and dying while going up what they call “Buzzkill Hill”. My old decrepit ass wasn’t about to even try to go up that hill ( I think I said that earlier).
We had a full day of powerhouse acts coming up on today’s roster, and I wanted to see every act on today’s bill for SURE, so I made damn sure I was well rested and brought along all the essential meds I needed to pull the rest of this job off this weekend. I’ll post the backstage area for you on here along with a few great artist pictures I got while mingling with the people.
One thing I would like to illustrate here is this. I do get to hang out backstage and side stage with “the famous people” but I want to say THIS…THE REAL PEOPLE ARE YOU READING THIS! YOU make my website known, not them. I am usually out shaking hands in the crowd more than I am backstage, and I value YOU more than ANYBODY because YOU make the band roll on to the next gig.
Miss Jaime Wyatt is another act I covered in Ohio during Hagfest this past year.As I previously stated, she is working on a new album and is playing a few new songs from it about whiskey and coke. I’m not revealing any names right now, because I’m not sure if I can to be honest.
From her “Felony Blues” album she played many of her songs including “Wishing Well” and another about jail called “Stone Hotel”. See, much like me she is a reformed addict only I was on heroin, I think her choice was different than mine. But we both share past histories and we are both clean now, and we help others cope with the demon. I have LEAGUES of respect for her and her music, she is SO NICE to her fans!
“Giving Back The Best of Me” was her next original followed by two covers one by Mr. Merle Haggard and Miss Bonnie Owens called “Today I Started loving You Again” from the 1968 Bonnie And Clyde album, and the Waylon classic “Lonesome Onry And Mean” written by Mr. Steve Young.
“From Outer Space” was next followed by “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Little Ways” and she finished her amazing set with “Your Loving Saves Me”, and when I say it was amazing I’m NOT lying. She is growing by leaps and bounds, gaining new fans daily because of websites like mine and a few others that cover her music. I’d pick her show over many mainstream acts ANY DAY because she is a true entertainer in every sense of the word.
What can I say about Texas man Mr.Randall King, well let’s take a look and see, shall we?He came to us from The West Texas plains, now claims Lubbock Texas his home. he just recently released his second album, which was his first full length album as his first was an EP.
His band was extremely connected to him and enthusiastic to be here this afternoon, however we had some nasty weather rolling in here that cause some detriment to the stage times tonight. But as he opened with “Her Miss Me Days Are Gone”, and went into his most commercially popular song called “Dent In It” which throws the term into credit cards and vehicles.
“Keep Her On Line” was a good slow pining for love ballad that most men can relate too when they say and do stupid shit we regret saying in a few seconds. One thing I like about him is that many of his songs are under four minutes, now that may not mean much to you, but to me it does. You can fit more songs into a 45 minute set at that length. If your set at a festival is 30 minutes and you have 3 minute songs you get a nice full set of 10 songs…see?
He played a wonderful version of Mr. Randy Travis 1987 hit “Forever And Ever Amen” that Mr. Don Schlitz and Mr. Paul Overstreet wrote for his “Always And Forever” album. “Cool Under Pressure” was next, about a high school boy that has his first date. Cleans up his truck and goes to pick her up, I can easily remember my first time doing those kinds of things.
“Tuggin’ On My Heartstrings” was in this set as well as two others that sadly I missed because I was talking to some new folks I met from Maryland that were telling me info on another festival I have my radar on up there called DelFest. So right now as the storms rolled in for a brief period of time we were moved into shelters for about a half an hour, which gave me some time to recoup and get ready for what was perhaps one of the biggest acts I have ever covered on here. But as I left the stage area I do remember him closing with “Another Bullet”.
Whiskey Myers based out of Texas has been covered on here MANY TIMES, and guess what…coming September 27th is their NEW album since the 2016 “Mud” album. Their new single called “Die Rockin” is out now all over. Their set was cut way short tonight because of the weather, which was alright with the band. You cannot argue with public safety or mother nature.
They came out both barrels firing “Frogman” at us heavy and loud exactly like Whiskuey Myers usually is. Out of all of the bands here this weekend, they are the most well known for over the top and loud shows…with cowbell…more…cowbell. Off the “Mud’ album this set included “Deep Down In The South” with long instrumentals as well.
This band consists of Mr. Cody Cannon is on Lead Vocals, Guitar, Mr. Cody Tate plays Lead Guitar, Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Mr. John Jeffers plays Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Lap Steel, Vocals. Mr. Jeff Hogg plays – Drums, Mr. Jamey Gleaves plays Bass, and finally Mr. Tony Kent Percussion, Cowbell, Keys.
From the “Early Morning Shakes” album they played that title song, as well as “Stone”. More notably they played their tribute to the south and to the Dixie flag with “Ballad Of A Southern Man”, which usually has entire crowds of people singing along to them. This band is well on it’s way to independent superstardom, and they are going to do it THEIR way, WITHOUT mainstream help.
Speaking of MUD, this rain brought in a large amount of mud down here and the aisles and walkways were just getting trampled on and slicker by the minute. My old clumsy ass went to sit down in a safe spot so as not to roll an ankle of throw out my knee. People were slipping and sliding all over, on purpose and on accident.
This area was filling up with the one day ticket holders, many of them were what I call “Normies”. You know your everyday mid 40’s man and woman with cursive initials on the windows and creed tattoos, most mainstream people like Alabama as well as die hard music snobs like yours truly.
Well now let’s see, where to start with The Marshall Tucker Band or let’s say the current lineup of this band.The original singer still valiantly remains upon the forefront Mr. Doug Gray, and I will admit that he moved slow but could still get the high notes pretty darn good. He possesses a very humble and warm demeanor like he was HONESTLY HAPPY to be here performing for this large Kansas crowd tonight.
As the band assembled and dusk began to arrive Mr. Doug said “Well boys let’s get it out of the way”, and right off the bat we were treated to their signature song from the 1975 “Searchin For A Rainbow” album the almighty “Fire On The Mountain”. This band does indeed do an alright job of keeping the spirit of the Caldwell brothers alive, but with any band like this, with only one member it can easily become just a tribute band. I think the only reason they have not is because of Mr. Doug on vocals, without him, if he ever gets replaced, this band would fade into history as the once colossal Southern Rock pillar it once was.
Today the band consists of Mr. Marcus James Henderson on the keys and other instruments, Mr. Chris Hicks on guitar and vocals Mr. Rick Willis on guitars, Mr. Tony Black on bass and finally Mr. B.B. Borden on drums. Original member Mr. Tommy Caldwell died in an automobile accident in 1980, and brother Mr. Toy Caldwell died in 1993 at home peacefully in his sleep.
They are most notably remembered for performing at President Carter’s 1977 Presidential Inauguration, and gave the world of music 14 studio albums and several live albums. The band is named after a blind piano tuner in Spartanburg South Carolina, where the band originated from.
From the first self titled album they played the six minute long “Take The Highway”, and also the song called “Dog Eat Dog World”. The song ‘Midnight Promises came off the 2004 album “Beyond The Horizon”. Also from the first album they played “Hillbilly Band before ending their set with “Can’t You See?”.
In 1969 three cousins Mr. Randy Owen, Mr. Jeff Cook, and Mr. Teddy Gentry formed a band called Wild Country. They toured the southeast bar circuit in the early 1970’s, and in 1977 became the mighty Alabama band. Through the next few years they released a large catalog of albums and songs that left everyone in anticipation for their set.
From the 1985 album “40 Hour Week”, they opened with the song called “Cant Keep A Good Man Down”. From the 1984 “Roll On” album they played “If You’re Gonna Play In Texas”, which actually was a B Side for the song “I’m Not That Way Anymore”. This was one of two cases with Alabama that their B Side drew a number one hit. It references “Faded Love” by Mr. Bob Wills and “Louisiana Man” by Mr. Doug Kershaw.
“Tennessee River” came from their fourth album called “My Homes In Alabama”, with no other songs on this set coming from that album, although they did indeed dig deep into their catalog. Their twelfth album boasted the song “High Cotton” and their cover of the Bobby Bare classic “Song Of The South”.
Their harmonies remain absolutely flawless and unaltered with age, and aged they were looks wise but they still maintained a magnetic stage ambiance. Oh my childhood memories of this band made me cry many times during their set. I remember sitting with my mom watching this band play, as they stomped out “Mountain Music” which holds true to family and pride in America and pride for the South.
“Born Country” was originally intended to go on a studio album and was shelved at the time for other songs, and it ended up being included as a new song on one of their Greatest Hits Vol II. They played the 1983 song ‘The Closer You Get”, along with “Roll On”. Also included was the 1981 song “Love In the First Degree” from the “Feels So Right” album, “Dixieland Delight” from the “The Closer You Get” album, which incidentally was the second B side song to become a number one hit.
The 1981 CMA Award single of the year “Old Flame” was included tonight as well, now mind you these songs were not in order. I kind of jumped around on the set list here, as I jotted them down while wandering around getting crowd shots. Then I made my way back down to the media pit for the next two bands…and trust me the fun hasn’t ended, still to come THE STEEL WOODS!
The Steel Woods consist of Mr. Jason Rowdy Cope, Mr. Wes Bayliss, Mr. Johnny Stanton and Mr. Jay Tooke on drums, and they were assembled in Nashville. I have covered their set many times…MANY TIMES in the past, and in August I will be bringing you coverage of their set in the Caverns in Bluegrass Underground.
Their music is growing exponentially across the United States and among the many online fan groups they have are helping them GROW THE WOODS. I actually have not witnessed them play a bad set ever, usually bands sometimes have bad days and I just simply haven’t witnessed this with these four.
“The Rock That Says My Name” is the song that opened tonight’s show, followed by MY FAVORITE ” Wild And Blue”, and “Jezebel”. The loud and rowdy rumble of their guitar tones and hardcore drum beats whipped the entire campground into a frenzy, as many of us were feeling the effects of a day of imbibing in some refreshments….if you know what I mean?
From the “Straw in The Wind” album they played “Uncle Lloyd” which is a cool song about a friend a young boy’s father brought home who lost his family to his poor choices. It is a sad song of loss and alcohol abuse, but it is so well written that despite it’s poignant message it’s still enjoyable. “Whatever It Means To You” was next from the same album, as well as “Better In The Fall”, and the cover of “Hole In The Sky”.
They still play a rousing version of ‘Whipping Post” that the Allman Brothers made popular in 1969. They played the title track of their new album called ‘Old News”, which in my opinion is by far their most well written song as of yet. They closed their set with ‘Axe” and finally they played “Let The Rain Come Down”.
The very last band on the entire festival roster were The Comancheros whom are out of Columbia Missouri, and they are made up of four guys Mr. Tanner Jones – guitar, vocals, Mr. Bradley Hutchinson – guitar, Mr. Kyle Imgarten – bass, steel guitar, and finally Mr. R. Michael Cook – drums.
They were an energetic bunch that came out with a song called “Train Bridge” and went into the Don Williams 1978 classic “Tulsa Time” from the album “Expressions”. They have a pretty intense sound of their own, and to put them on so late at night was just what we needed to close the entire festival out.
“Shoot Me Down” was next followed by the Merle Haggard classic “Workin Man’s Blues”. This band was essentially difficult to photograph because of their constant moving about the stage, and movements. “Saturday Night” was next followed by their cover of the “Boys Are Back In Town”.
They played a new one called “Caffeine, Nicotine And Weed” and followed that one up with a song called “Down In Flames”, and as I began to pack up all my belongings they finished their set up. I made my final rounds and said goodbye to a few older friends before leaving.
T Moe’s Pizza in Illinois is right off Hwy 57 as you merge onto it from St. Louis, and go a little south. I stop there EVERY TIME I go up or down 57. I’m telling you they have the absolute GREATEST local food in that area, it’s a nice little hidden place with a HUGE menu. I usually get a big pizza and eat it on the road while driving. Y’all KNOW I have my go to hotels and places to eat in EVERY CITY in America when you go to Southern Illinois you MUST STOP here.