I could easily summarize this entire weekend in one word….HOT. Like uncomfortable muggy, and humid Muddy Roots HOT. Now, one of the most ingenious things that this festival could have done was indeed implemented, and that was a hydration station brought to us by the city of Somerset. Miss Tiffany Finley the head of the board told me the new mayor Mr. Alan Keck is awesome, and upon my research of him, I’m inclined to agree.
This festival brings out the ENTIRE community, not just select people or groups. It involves EVERYONE and doesn’t omit anybody from their input or ideas, it doesn’t make anybody feel left out or unwanted, and it gives them all a chance to show the visitors their talents. Some of the artwork that was being produced there was amazing, and auctioned off.
The V.I.P area was once again ample for water and other refreshments for us, and I want to take the time out to THANK Hardees on HWY 27 with delicious burgers and chicken sandwiches all weekend. I contacted Miss Kayla Rider and thanked her as well, she didn’t provide me with the names of the staff, however they were amazing! I’m going to rave about the Gold Star Chili coneys and the pulled pork nachos too. Diabetes be damned I ate this weekend, I love some pulled pork nachos. Thanks to the many volunteers that filled the coolers and kept everything organized, it was extremely helpful to have a safe central place to keep all my things going. I also opted to not bring the laptops into this heat and cover this job old school pen and paper.
In addition to the heat and humidity, I was also having some serious problems with my knee. This was not a perfect time for my joints to begin plaguing me again, so I had it severely wrapped up both days. I was indeed not walking very fast or standing for prolonged periods of time. All of those factors combined, and the fact that everybody was incredibly sweaty made this job very arduous. The medical tent that was provided by Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital was a really nice thing to have this weekend, given my circumstances. I had them check my knee twice for pulled muscles or any major signs of bad damage.
Tucked away inside the campus of Somerset Community College there exists a festival that is older than many of the others I currently have on my roster. In fact, this is the twenty sixth year of the annual event that began when some local musicians got together to hold a festival in order to raise enough money to replace a fiddle that was stolen.
Miss Tiffany told me that there are many different stories about this history, and I shall be delving into the story behind this part of the festival. I mean, this festival has been around longer than my website has or most of the other websites like mine that covers this type of music.
Like last year there were two stages, however this year they arranged the performance times a little better and they barely overlapped. As I went from stage to stage I tried my best to retain all of the information that was being shared, like the Master Musician’s Endowment Fund. They also added a third stage in a more intimate setting called the “Sommersessions Tent”.
Basically the Master Musician’s Endowment Fund is a foundation where people that want to become more involved with the proliferation of this festival can invest money into a trust fund and leave it to a beneficiary. I shall be talking to the board more on this issue at a future time. This provides me with an ample opportunity to make some future MMF articles.
I absolutely enjoyed the ambiance of this stage, and admired how the setting and vibe embellished the feel of this festival. They did an absolutely fabulous job designing the overall concept of this idea, and placed some acts in there that just fit the bill so well.
If you don’t mind me skipping around here on the lineup while I dwell upon the new stage I’ll elaborate on the first band I saw there on Saturday called The Winetree. I featured them this past spring in West Virginia during the anniversary show of W.B.Walkers Old Soul Radio Show. Mr. Ryan Harvey and Mr. Isaiah Muller make up an astounding duo with smooth harmonies and even smoother songwriting.
I caught a few of their songs before I had to wander off to the main stage, one of their songs was “Ramona”. Now, mind you the third stage only transpired on the second day of the festival. I merely skipped around for just a brief moment just for the heck of it. This weekend was full of setbacks for me including the fact I initially forgot about the hour time change between the hotel and the festival….I’m telling you folks I batted a thousand that weekend…not.
This year my website partner who does all of the hotel scheduling for me, booked me at the Sleep Inn in Columbia Kentucky located off the parkway on Dohoney Trace parkway. It was a very nice hotel with plenty of places to eat nearby and it had a nice pool. Most years I stay in about 30 hotel all over America.
I initially got to the festival and got settled in for the main stage on Friday at 5pm, because of the hour time change and I HAD to stop by Donato’s Pizza in Somerset first. Nicholas Jamerson was first for me this weekend, who is fresh on his tour supporting his 2019 album Floyd County All-Star. He in fact comes from Preston burg Kentucky, and began his career as one half of the duo Sunday Best.
“Rhonda” was first from the NJ album, which talks about big Rhonda. The title track to his new album was next which is called “Floyd County All-Star”, a song about his youth. It really painted some beautiful pictures in my head of my own youth playing baseball in my neighborhood.
Along with his band called the Morning Jays which consists of Mr. Wes Smith on electric guitars, Mr. Aaron Smith on fiddle, Mr. Austin Webb on bass, Mr. Lawrence Nemenz on drums and Mr. Thomas Albert on steel, he brought forth his East Kentucky songs to us here in Somerset. It is always a special treat to run across him at Lexington bars of middle Kentucky music festivals like this one.
as he went on into songs like “Let It Go” and “Kitchen” he displayed his unique East Kentucky sound especially on other songs I didn’t recognize on albums like “Wild Frontier”. Some of his songs you will have to delve into his Youtube catalogue to find the true feelings of that song. He closed his awesome set with ” It’s A Long Way To Wheelwritght” were he is from, and it gives a nice vision from his youth.
The Blind Corn Liquor Pickers were an absolute large ensemble from Lexington Kentucky, that play Bluegrass with a more modern flavor to it. They get into some rock and roll with the female vocals too with songs like “Cat And Dog” ( which was later on in the set), from their 2018 album “The Sentence”.
FROM THEIR WEBSIRE:
The songs are highly original, revisionist takes on traditional American music themes. Genre send-ups, fiery political pieces, modern-day murder ballads, existential moodpieces or moonshine-drenched party songs, you’ll hear it all in a Blind Corn Liquor Picker performance that will in turn make you laugh, think, dance and (of course) drink.
Miss Beth Walker (Vocals), Mr. Joel Serdenis (Mandolin, Vocals), Mr. Travis Young (Banjo), Mr. Ben Vogelpohl (Drums), Mr.Will Rush (Bass), Mr. Jeoffrey Teague (Electric Guitar), Mr. Thomas Usher (Percussion, Vocals) and finally Mr. Jory Bowling (Guitar, Vocals) make up this band ( I TOLD YOU it was large).
“Sheltowee” was actually the first song here and it is about the Sheltowee Trace Trail, which starts in the Big South Fork National river And Recreational Area in Tennessee and goes to Northern Rowan County Kentucky. With the vocal trade offs this song is truly fun to hear live. “Pendulum” was next, it was getting hot so I had to head in the back for shade.
“Sing It Proud” was next from them, followed by “Whichever Way The Wind Blows”. This band was a LOT of fun live, and I highly suggest you go check them out in the Lexington area. Some of the new bands I get turned onto each year are well worth the trip out here on a yearly basis. The bands and the festival staff make this a VERY pleasant place to enjoy music and company..and food. Good food.
I had to run over to the kettle corn vendor again and buy some. They did a smart idea last year, and continued that same idea again. I suppose I reveal too many secrets about festival science, and how they can target income but I love to talk about it. Two of the top things to sell by smell and are cheap to make is pizza and popcorn. The theater does it, and so do festivals. This two food items run such a low food cost, that it is ingenious to place one right in front of the main stage. People do not really care about spending money eating tasty food at festivals, and additionally pizza and popcorn can be consumed easily while on the move.
Bluegrass Kettle Masters over in Richmond Kentucky has the entire main stage smelling so good each year that this festival takes place. Now the Tillers I have covered so many times on here, and it’s always a pleasure to cover them further. I ran into them on their home turf this spring at the Southgate House in Ohio. This bands stomping grounds are all over Ohio, and Kentucky. Mr. Joe Macheret on fiddle, Mr. Mike Oberst on guitars, and brothers Mr. Aaron and Mr. Sean Veil make up this four man band.
Their 2018 self titled latest album brought forth their first song called “Revolution Row”. Truthfully their set included many of the songs from this album, like the song “Like A Hole In My Head”. This song speaks blatantly to pretty much everybody at their wits end in life. We all have our problems and demons and we all cry out in anger at times.
“Riverboat Dishwashing Song” was next, which was wrote about his first job he ever had. However, they momentarily deviated away to the Hand On The Plow album to play what I consider one of the finest songs EVER written called “Willy Dear”. That is a poignant ghost story of a young lady that thinks her true love is killed in an accident on a riverboat. He is on another boat, and when he returns he finds out she has committed suicide, and has to deal with her death.
“Dear Mother” was also included on this set as well as “George Street Beat” was next which is from way back in 2010. Next onxthe set tonight from them was “Old General Store Burning Down”, and the last two songs on their set was also from Hand On The Plow album. Those songs were “Tecumseh On The Battlefield” and “Old West Side”. On a side related note, Mr. Mike Oberst released a self titled album out this year, and I’ll be featuring that on it’s own later. I caught him solo at the the Southgate House Revival for Hagfest this past spring.
This wonderful bunch of people is from my area of Kentucky, and are an integral part of my local community of music here. Mr. Paul Priest is one of my online hunting buddies I enjoy seeing his posts of his bowhunting trips and his fall preparations, like I do. Miss Anna Blanton is indeed a champion fiddle player seasoned in her knowledge of her craft. She is well trained on so many genres of music that she can add flavor to any band with her diverse style.
This band is yet another that has recently released a good new album entitled “One Perfect Sound”, and I thoroughly enjoyed this album, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t end up on my TOP 50 list. In fact, the first song on their set tonight was the first song on the album called ” Wrong Things Right Reasons”. Of course I’m talking about my friends over at Jericho Woods.
Mr. Josh Mitcham is on lead vocals here and guitar, Mr. Aaryn Martin is on lead guitar, and finally Mr. Will Johnston is on the drums for this band. The song “Tennessee” was next followed by their version of “Midnight Rider”. They played the title track of the album in the middle of the set, along with “Sinking Creek”.
They closed their set with the song “Love The Way You Love Me”, as I was moving toward the main stage to see the next act, I got to see a small community in the corner of hammocks and a nice rest area where many were cooling off in the shade. There was so many fun things to do here, for people of all ages like bubbles for the kids and finger paints for the older kids.
There were dancing instructors and face painting, all kinds of things going on to entertain kids. Many festivals don’t even allow kids there. This one is not so adult themed, and is more family orientated, also this festival is much smaller than others in the way it is set up. Everything is pretty easy to access and travel to, you only need the golf cart rides to return to your vehicle. I have SO MANY festivals where you need to walk a mile or two from stage to stage!
Mr. Charley Crockett hails from Texas, he is one of the hottest new artists in the Country circuit right now. However he is actually a self taught blues singer, that possesses great reverance for the Legends of Country Music. He recently made his Opry debut, and has a new album coming in September called The Valley.
His band is called the Blue Drifters. His 2016 album called In The Night contains his song “Ain’t Got No Time To Loose”. He plays a wide arrange of classic Country Music covers , with his own signature sound on them. He has a very unique Texas sound along with many other sounds on other songs, like the way he sings the Mel Tillis and Webb Pierce co written song called ” I Ain’t Never”.
From the Lonesome As A Shadow album, he played the song “Lots Of Luck” off the “Lil G.L.’s Blue Bonanza” album. However, the song that stood out more to me was the song he is currently promoting from his forthcoming album called “Borrowed Time”. He wrote this song with the lead singer Mr. Evan Faulkner from the Turnpike Troubadors.
He dropped numerous cover songs upon us tonight including the 1964 George Jones hit called “The Race Is On”, written by Mr. Don Rollins. He followed that up with the hit “That’s How I Got To Memphis”, and the 1972 hit that made songwriter Mr. Bobby Borchers famous called “The Jamestown Ferry”. Ironically Mr. Charley pulls off many cover songs with such new style and modern flavor while maintaining a traditional roots fashion.
Saturday began early in the afternoon with a songwriter round on stage one that consisted of Mr. Tim DeLonjay Mr.John Clay Mr.Darrin Hacquard Mr.Tim Lancaster and lastly Mr.Eric Bolander. They each played a few songs a piece beginning on the far left (facing the stage) and took turns playing.
It was nice to see my Eastwood Records friends again, and you may have heard me mention my admiration for people like Me. Eric Bolander, who recently re dropped his album “The Wind”. In fact, that was his first song on this songwriter swap on the first stage today. I also got to hear him perform the song ” Oh Lord” as he displayed his signature East Kentucky music onto us. I recently wrote a nice article for his album release party, and you can read that HERE, and last year during the Master Musician’s Fest we had a nice chat you can read HERE.
Mr. Tim Lancaster is one hell of a good guy, and I enjoy running into him. He does some really unique stuff with jaw bones, and makes some cool music with them. His first song I caught was called “Can’t You Hear The Sound”, now he was second in line for the song swap. I approached the stage a little bit late because he was playing as I came up.
Additionally he played a song called “I’ve Trimmed Every Strand”, and another called “Fair Walking”. He is one of those people that recognizes everybody after he meets them the first time, I wish I had that ability myself to be honest. I know so many people from so many communities that I cannot keep track in that. I first met him at the V Club as well for one of the many anniversary shows that Mr. W.B. Walker hosted.
Mr. Tim DeLonjay had a REAL Country voice and his song “Knights Of Columbus” was a song that hit me square in the nuts, and had me captivated. I had to tune out all of the people talking and interacting all around me to listen to the words here. This song painted a really pretty picture in my mind, and was perhaps one of the best songs I discovered here this weekend. Just a good old fashioned honky tonk song of booze, boots and women, and you don’t need much else to create a masterpiece like this one.
He also played the Merle Haggard classic “Ramblin Fever” from the 1977 album of the same name. This was the 22nd album that he released, but it is very special to me because it was his first for MCA. See, he recorded for Capitol for many years, and although Mr. Ken Nelson had him record some iconic music after he went to MCA, he hit many higher apogees in his career in my opinion.
Mr. Darrin Hacquard is a fellow lefty that I covered many times as well on Mr. W.B. Walker’s anniversary shows. Later on in the evening when the rain started and cancelled the event, he performed the famous mud slide in the vendor aisle. He played his song “You Were A Friend”.
Mr. John Clay played a new one he told me he hasn’t settled on a title yet, but for now we’ll call it “You Set Fire To my Disguise”. I shall keep in touch with him on the new music. His first song was called “When We Lay him Down Beside Her’. Last year many of these folks played their own sets on stage 2, and I’m sure at one point I’ll run into them once again, no doubt.
The Handshake Deals came to us from the Red River Gorge area, and they are a trio playing Roots music. I call it that, because it really cannot be classified as anything but good music, that incorporates a lot of different instruments into the sound. Much like the Barnayrd Stomers, their drummer Miss Laura Gregory also plays a hand held instruments like an accordion.
Mr. Cory Shenk, and Mr. Casey Papendieck make up the remainder of the trio that resides in East Kentucky, and pays many other festivals like Whispering Beard. This next week on August 15th at the Girl in Lexington Tn, they are hosting their debut album release party along with Miss Senora May and Laid Back Country Picker.
“What’s A Girl To Do” when a handshake deal goes through is a pretty cool song where she flips from drums to accordion, and makes it look pretty easy! Another great song in their set was called “Cheap Beer Is The Best Beer”. So tomorrow night, you should go out to the Burl and catch their album release show.
They played one about a broke down van called “Broke Down In Virginia”, and another off their upcoming album called “Sweat, Swamp, Stomp”. This band fit in really well with this festival, and could easily be placed into pretty much any festival I attend. They don’t really fit any specific genre or roots music theme.
They played a song called a song called “Chainsaw Shavings” THAT WAS A COOL country ass, bass thumping honky tonk song. I mean that took me back home to my own country home I have here! I had to stop and get some pulled pork nachos from my friends at Get Your Smoke On BBQ, who was at this event.
One of the many GREAT things about being such a prominent road dog is the hotels and places to eat at in every city I go to. I always include them on here and I flaunt them on my website in pictures and in details. Folks, these people can smoke some terrific pork and the sauce is one of my personal favorites. I CANNOT come here and NOT have a large plate of it each year.
Miss Chelsea Nolan came buzzing up on a golf cart yelling I’M HERE, I’M HERE, and ran up there in that rabid heat to introduce these three gals. Wonky Tonk is a great gal I enjoy running into on the road.It’s been a while since we crossed paths, so it was fun seeing her play “Stock Market”. She is also from the Kentucky area, and plays around locally, heck I remember her years back doing this stuff when I used to go to Indiana to Crooked Smile festival.
Miss Jen Tackett is another one of my buddies from East Kentucky, who manages some other fine artists. She played a song called “Mrs. James” which was a song for the mother of famous western outlaw Jesse James. The one complaint I did have was the second stage and third did kind of run together, and that purposed a small dilemma for me.
Miss Abby Hamilton was part of the songwriter round we had on stage 2,and she came highly recommended by my good buddy out west Mr. Jim Guthrie at Honky Tonk Hotel …go check out their deal in the K.C. area. She played two songs for us one from her album called ‘Broke Girl” in 2017. The song she played from that was called “50’s Dream”.
She additionally said she was planning a fall new album release and played a new song called “Afraid Of The Dark”. I really love this young lady’s music on her album, and the steel guitar on the song “50’s Dream” was absolutely amazing. This song boasts some truly fine songwriting, and I was very eager to watch her do her thing up there. That is truly a girl power song that every woman needs to be able to relate to, and every man needs to listen to!
It’s now time for me to take some time out to talk about The Mama Said String Band one of the prized awarded bands of the almighty John Hartford memorial Music Festival, who heralds them as up and coming. Their stage presence was amazing and the only thing bad wasn’t their fault, and that was the heat was keeping their instruments out of tune.
Mama Said String Band is:
Kaitlen Farmer – Guitar/Banjo
Katie Didit – Doghouse
Adlai Filiatreau – Guitar/Banjo
Stephanie Kidd – Mandolin
David O’neal – Fiddle
“Up On Terrapin Hill” was from their 2019 album called “Carry The Water”, which I understand their album release party was pretty big. “Eyes On The Road” was one of the songs they played today…the storm was moving in right now. I mean…you could just feel the air changing, now mind you the skies were still blue and it was still HOT. But in a few hours that would ALL change for the worse.
I really enjoyed this band’s tight musicianship despite the technical problems. It’s to be understood in inclement weather, the feedback from stage one was ALL weekend and that also was from the heat additionally.
They played “Outside My Window” from their aforementioned 2019 “Carry The Water” album, as well as their first song they played called “Nameless”. Their song ‘Mountain Life” is a really cool song about California and the mountains, this band displays truly good musicianship and very fun vocals.
It was completely enjoyable to listen to what they brought to the table here tonight folks. This festival is complete with all the nice bells and whistles for a total family fun experience that EVERYONE can enjoy.
I have covered The Josephines so many times, however each time the band performs they just keep getting more and more perfect. I do not believe in any way that they have even come close to their apogee, and it is my onus to continue to report on them until they reach that point. They have new music coming in the near future, but for now they have been amazing people with their wild stage antics and furious lyrics.
Mr. Brad Tabor – vocals, acoustic guitar, Mr. Zach Lindsey – electric guitar, vocals, Mr. Josh London – bass, vocals, Mr.Alex Lindsey – lap steel, vocals and Mr. David Page – drums make up this rambunctious band from my home area of Bowling Green Kentucky. They began their set with “Coal Mine Gone”, the first song from their Sober Up EP from 2017. This band is another one of those that only have one album, and despite that play one hell of a set!
As they barreled right into “So Much Blood” they played a new song called “Lights On Broadway”. I didn’t see any change in direction here for their new album, in fact I see a direct and blatant continuation of their already solid style and loud sound. That’s NOT IN ANY WAY a bad thing here folks, a band like this paints such poignant and gory pictures with their songs.
Bluegrass Legend Mr. Sam Bush helped them on the album with songs like the title song “Sober Up”, and their closing song here which I will get into soon. “Maggie’s Bones” is always a good song that whips up any audience I have been around, and trust me I have watched this band play many venues. “Trucker Song” was on the set list tonight as they blazed through the heat to bring us their brutal music.
I remember hearing one called “Boxes” along with several other songs before playing the song that EVERYBODY loves called “Fireball”. I mean, this band gained so many new fans over the last few months by being so active on the road. This band is extremely tight and is a well oiled machine!
You cannot go wrong with the five of these guys on any stage, at any festival and I highly suggest you go see their show when they play your local dive bar, venue or any place they book a show at. NEW MUSIC coming from this band VERY VERY SOON folks.
Mr. Sean Whiting played a DAMN GOOD intimate set here tonight. He is a rock artist from the Paintsville Kentucky area, and has a new album out now called “High Expectations”. From that album he pulled off the songs S.O.B. , which was a bout the cops pulling him over while being “bad’. Come bail him out of jail for being a dumbass, and hear him say Son Of A Bitch.
Also from this album he played “Harvest The Moon” which sounds good acoustic, but I enjoy it better on the record with guitars and drums here. This is a great song on the album, which by the way is GORGEOUS colored.
He played one for his wife called “I’m Gonna Love You”, from the album “Finally…..The Beginning”, and “Hey There” was his other song he played.
This band The Lost Dog Street BandI got to see live for the first time at Muddy roots in Cookeville Tn. This is another band from my neck of the woods in Muhlenberg County Kentucky, and they recently released their fifth album called “Weight Of A Trigger” in March. Mr. Benjamin Tod provides this band with the vocals and most of the songwriting duties.
He met Miss Ashley Mae, who is one hell of a fiddle player in her own right, and bassist Mr. Jeff Loops make up this wonderful trio of old timey classic music that will warm your heart and captivate your mind. They went right into a song off their new album called “Terrible And True”. The only complaint I had of them live was their songs sound so wonderful with steel guitar behind them, but I do understand a road steel player is VERY hard to come by. This song on the album has one hell of a great steel guitar solo that I enjoy hearing.
From the 2013 album Life’s A Dog-Gone Shame they played “Gaberielle” a twisted and poignant tale of a jilted lover. From the 2016 album Rage And Tragedy they played “Coming Down”, before playing “The Mountain” from the Steve Earle and Del McCourry album that did so commercially well but the tour live flopped due to irreconcilable differences. I just absolutely love the vocal style of this band and the hard driving plots of their songs.
“Coming Down” was another terrific one that sounds so awesome on the record, with steel solos that burn into my heart and give me goosebumps.That song incorporates some drug references, thus the title. Also off the new album was the song “War Inside Of Me”, as the band pointed out that this new album focuses on Thomas Clancy Russell.
The last set that I had pictures of was Laid Back Country Picker, whom I have covered many many times. He brings good old fashioned Country music comedy to the stage along with his wife Miss Honey, whom is always excited to be playing everywhere ( just look at her face!)
“Party Line” was the opening song here, where he always finds himself in trouble for being innocent. he always has someone angry at little old Laid Back, I mean WHO could HATE this man? It’s always so nice to be around these guys, I love him and Miss Teresa to death.
They played “Kingsport (Treatin People Right)”, which is one of the finest songs he plays. Just treat everyone right, I live by that rule myself no matter whom they are. Also included in the set was the song “Truck Stop Sam”. I wandered over to the V.I.P. tent to rest and cool off before the upcoming storm, we had a big bad rainstorm coming. This storm eventually ended being the festival conclusion, and the detriment of the many people that came to JUST SEE Mr. Jason Isbell.
I didn’t take pictures of the storm or anything after the storm rolled in, but I wanted to say this about the head director Miss Tiffany Finley. She and her staff labor many many hours to make the festival the BEST and SAFEST for you and your family, and the storm that came was so dangerous that it damaged the stage and sound equipment to the point of causing possible harm to the band.
She was out there in that damaging wind, soaked to the bone picking up garbage and clearing up knocked over chairs while the rest of us were dry and comfortable in tents waiting on the rest of the show. This year, we had some bad apples ruin our full hearts, that are very daft and ugly individuals. Frankly I hope they indeed do not return, because all they did was talk LOUDLY during bands THEY DEEM “untalented” but they cannot name you ONE SONG they bothered to check out.
Let me tell you this I dislike Luke Combs. But I have delved into his catalog and I know his music well to have based my judgment on my own studies. Those people had never even TRIED to look into ANY of the DAMN FINE bands that preceded Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and they need to be ashamed of themselves, and the vile way they lashed out at her and her entire staff.
I’ll see you on the road my friends. Keep it about the music and the fun..and always remember rule number 1. EVERY festival has it.
” Don’t Be A Dick”.