Tyler Childers, Robert Earl Keen, And Town Mountain At Red Rocks.

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Oct 112019
 

Tyler Childers – Red Rocks- Sept 30 Red Rocks Amphitheatre 

September 30, 2019

If you’ve not noticed the meteoric rise in popularity of Tyler Childers since the release of his 2017 album “Purgatory”, you’ve missed out on one of the coolest stories in the recent  history of country music.  

The story goes….An unassuming but supremely talented singer songwriter from  eastern Kentucky goes road-warrioring and releases his first independent album at the age of 19.  He gains a rabid following in his local region and seven years later gains the notice of fellow Kentuckian and Grammy award winning artist Sturgill Simpson, who helps produce his breakthrough album.  On the strength of that album and years on the road, he starts selling out venues and winning his own awards, culminating in 2 sold out appearances at The Ryman Auditorium in 2018 with Margo Price. 

Flash forward to fall 2019 and our hero is now riding an even higher wave of popularity thanks to his second major album release, “Country Squire”, and on September 30, 2019, he and his band The Food Stamps bring their road show to the famed Red Rocks Ampitheater near Morrison CO, along with old running mates from North Carolina, bluegrass band Town Mountain, and one of his biggest influences, legendary Texas singer songwriter Robert Earl Keen, to open the show.

I arrive in Denver day of the show, check in to my hotel, then hustle over to The Thirsty Lion, where my shuttle to Red Rocks will leave.  In the outdoor patio, the place is filled with TC and Kentucky shirted folk all heading to Red Rocks for the evening.  I sit with a group of friends that I recognize, and the excitement is palpable.  

After some food and libation, we board the buses and a half hour later arrive at Red Rocks.  In the parking lot, The Wooks, a popular Lexington KY bluegrass band, are doing their Wooky thing, and the folks are loving it.  After a few minutes, I head on up to the top entrance and am greeted with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and desert.  After a quick stroll through the Museum, I head to the concessions area and get my first glance of the stage.  It’s a beautiful natural amphitheater framed in amongst the red rock formation… really a stunning sight.

Next it’s time to stand in the half hour line of hundreds of people to buy merch!  After walking away with a very nice show poster (available for purchase on Tyler’s website), I head to one of the many concessions to grab a snack and a beer, then head to my seat.  I’m fortunate to be on the 16th row, near one end, with a great view of the stage.  Everything around me seems otherworldly, as I’m now surrounded by majestic rock formations, and an awful lot of Kentucky accents. 

After making some new friends with the folks seated next to me, I run into some more folks that I know, then settle in to wait for the show.   At 7:00 on the dot, North Carolina’s Town Mountain takes the stage with their brand of modern bluegrass music.  They warm the crowd up with a 10 song set, culminating with Tyler joining them onstage to sing a song he co-wrote with banjo picker Jesse Langlais, “Low Down”.  Needless to say, the crowd goes crazy when Tyler appears.  The performance of the song is outstanding and when Town Mountain leave the stage after a crowd-please 45 minute set, there is a sense of anticipation in the air.  

After a mere 15 minute wait, Robert Earl Keen and his crackerjack band take the stage to rip through a gem-filled nearly hour long set, hitting highlights from his 35 year recording career.  I have been an avid fan of Keen’s for 25 of those years, and this set takes me on a memory filled journey of that time.  The 11 song set is filled with Keen standards such as “Gringo Honeymoon”, “Feeling Good Again”, and “Comin’ Home”.   By the end of his set, much of the crowd, mostly there to see Childers , and many not familiar with Keen’s music, are on their feet and singing along to “I Gotta Go”.  Keen and band exit the stage to a rousing ovation.

The stage clears and one by one, the individual members of Tyler’s outstanding band, the Food Stamps, appear on stage to prep their instruments.  

For the record, they are:

Drums-Rod Elkins

Bass-Craig Burletic

Keyboards-Chase Lewis

Guitar and Steel Guitar-James Barker Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle-Jesse Wells

and are currently one of the best live bands working stages today.  

The Food Stamps are on stage, the lights go down… and the familiar strains of (surprise!) “Party Line” start up as Laid Back Country Picker (David Prince) takes the stage! An old friend and former school teacher of Childers’, looking bigger than life in his black cowboy shirt, white boots, cowboy hat, and Telecaster, he expertly leads the group through one of his signature songs, culminating with the introduction of Tyler Childers over the “party line” onstage telephone.   

Tyler comes onstage to a roaring ovation and proceeds to preach the gospel of Eastern Kentucky.  In his high lonesome voice, he evokes images of the coal mines, roads winding through the wooded hills of Appalachia, colorful characters from all walks of rural life, one room churches, moonshine runs, the glorious beauty and the shady underbelly of mountain life, and the comforts of family and home. 

Throughout the show we are graced with artwork by Colonel Tony Moore and Jimbo Valentine from the new album jacket, projected behind the band, giving the rocky amphitheatre a down home feel. 

Tyler starts us off with “Whitehouse Road” from his “Purgatory Album”, an ode one of the roads near where he grew up and a nod to his days delivering appliances via van truck.  He then hits us with several songs which pre-date “Purgatory”, highlights being “Deadman’s Curve”, and his near perfect “Shake the Frost”.  This crowd knows its Tyler, and sings along to every song.  

Next he hits us with songs from the new album “Country Squire”, playing them suite-style with no breaks.  We get the title song, “Bus Route”, “Creeker”, “Gemini”, and “House Fire”, which are the first 5 songs on the album in order.  Throughout the show, the Food Stamps are in top form, but they really hit their peak on this suite and the extended jam intro to “House Fire”. 

We then get a few that he’s not recorded yet, before playing one of his more popular songs “All Your’n”.  After that, he goes back to “Purgatory” for “I Swear (To God)”, “Honky Tonk Flame”, “Feathered Indians”, and “Universal Sound”, and finishes off the band portion of the show with their extended version of the Charlie Daniels song “Trudy”.

The band leaves the stage, and Tyler stands alone with acoustic guitar for crowd-pleasers “Nose On The Grindstone”, “Lady May”, and “Follow You To Virgie”.   

At this point he calls his band back onstage, along with Robert Earl Keen and his band, and Town Mountain vocalist Robert Greer, for a rousing show-ending romp through the ever popular REK song “The Road Goes On Forever”.  Keen, Childers, and Greer trade lead vocal duties, and everybody in the bands gets a shot at throwing a solo in.  One of the highlights of this song for me personally was to see drummer Rod Elkins in the background playing maracas with one of the largest grins I’ve ever seen!   

All leave the stage at this point to a tremendous roar from the crowd.  

This is one of the highest profile gigs Tyler has had to date, and he and the Food Stamps absolutely nailed it.  I feel as though I witnessed something very special this night.  And judging from crowd reaction and social media afterwards, I’m not alone.

LBCP and Food Stamps

Party Line

w/The Food Stamps:

Whitehouse Road 

Deadman’s Curve 

Tattoos 

Shake the Frost 

Born Again 

Tulsa Turnaround 

Country Squire 

Bus Route 

Creeker 

Gemini 

House Fire

Redneck Romeo 

Take my Hounds to Heaven 

All Your’n 

I Swear ( to God)

Honky Tonk Flame 

Universal Sound 

Feathered Indians 

Trudy 

Solo:

Nose on the Grindstone 

Lady May 

Follow you to Virgie 

Everybody:

The Road Goes on Forever (with Food Stamps, REK and band, and Robert Greer of Town Mountain)

REK

Dreadful Selfish Crime                                                                     Corpus Christie Bay
Levelland
Over The Waterfall
Shades of Gray
What I Really Mean
Feelin’ Good Again
Gringo Honeymoon
If I Were King
I’m Coming Home 

I Gotta Go

TOWN MOUNTAIN set

Won’t Be Satisfied

            New Freedom Blues
Snowin’ On Raton
Witch Trials
One Drop In The Bottle

            Life and Debt

            Lines On The Levee
Lawdog
I’m On Fire
Down Low (with Tyler Childers)

New Changes Coming To Tumbleweed 2020.

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Oct 112019
 
One of my favorite jobs this year was Tumbleweed Music Festival. I’ll be doing my 2020 pushes for over 200 nationwide festivals here in the next few weeks. I keep in constant touch with directors from all over the nation on their festivals to bring YOU the BEST coverage possible.
Now, this is an email sent to me ( and if you join their mailing list, you got this also) that has some of the changes coming in 2020. At this juncture, I cannot say whether I’ll be there in person or have a team member there. I plan to change up my festival presence for 2020, but I also plan to “tie in” a few that coincide time wise and travel wise.
I mean WHY THE HECK NOT? Wouldn’t YOU WANT ME to cover Bluegrass and Red Dirt in a weekend?
See here is how I look at this…let’s create a LARGE national network of “stops” for ALL local music and ALL genres. Let’s juxtapose all of these scenes, and stop treating them like scenes. Let’s make them a big huge community.
One organization is doing JUST THAT and it’s Mr. Jim Guthrie  and his wife Miss Victoria from the Honky Tonk Hotel out in Missouri. Those two are taking some of the Appalachian artists and bringing them to the Midwest regions, and I applaud them. I mean, this gives people like me easier work and more access to other artists because they pass through. He is closely in connection with Tumbleweed, and he and I talk all the time about ways to improve music functions. He does a LOT for the artists, booking, lodging, and needs people like me to help promote the music. Most importantly to me..he takes NO income from what he does, and that is honorable in my opinion. It costs money to keep the water and lights on!
With all that being said I am currently in contact with 250 festivals to date, and getting information on 2020 dates, times, places, lineup announcements, new stages, less stages, and the whole nine yards. We got info coming for well over 250 festivals for you on this website, as I work with 6 other websites that deal with festivals directly.
The addition of a more intimate stage pleases me, this year Master Musician’s Festival did it. It went over VERY WELL, and gave us the fans more of an opportunity to get acquainted with the musicians and absorb the lyrics easier. Muddy Roots also does this with TWO stages but they are right off the main vendor area, so you still have clamor and loud talking. This announced stage area is WELL OFF the main area and will provide AMPLE QUIET for you..but I have one concern. Cross traffic on foot. There simply was not enough space to facilitate LARGE AMOUNTS of pedestrians crossing to the main stage…unless they move the main stage.
As of right now, the Tumbleweed head director has no more information to share with you via text last week. But he DOES what to say THANK YOU for being there, enjoying the festival, loving the music, and being a patron. HE NEEDS our input to make Tumbleweed the BEST festival possible, and on May 28th- 30th 2020, let’s make it happen….MORE TO COME!

If YOU HAVE A comment, question or suggestion you can contact them, they are good folks!

Based on your valued feedback and our commitment to delivering an outstanding festival experience, we are committed to the following improvements for Tumbleweed 2020.

MUSIC

Introducing a 2nd stage located in an intimate and shaded area (where archery was). This stage will run from about noon to 5pm and pick-up again at about midnight when the main stage ends. It’s a beautiful spot and the perfect size. Main Stage will run from approximately 5pm to midnight.

RESTROOMS

More units, more locations, easier access, cleaned twice daily

TRANSPORTATION

Campers! fixed-price $5 per person, includes camping gear from the parking to camping on horse wagons. Established “taxi stands” at main stage, camping and parking for easy ride-hailing. We’re exploring gear drop-off at the forest for Thursday arrivals!

VIP

VIP-exclusive bathrooms and shade tent at main stage with dedicated bar in that tent serving all levels of VIP. No pre-set chairs/reserved seats in VIP, but able to place personal chairs daily. A late-night VIP dance party will kick-off after the last main stage act goes off – around midnight. The country dance party is held in the VIP Tavern.

GA

The GA+ section will be closer to the stage than this year’s placement, with vendors pushed back to allow more room on each side. GA+ is essentially GA from this year. We’ve introduced GA+ to allow for a lower-price “GA” ticket. The lower price GA ticket is for fans who are tight on funds and don’t mind distant viewing of the stage.

CAMPING

The General Store returns with its essentials, including ice! No vendors will be located in camping, eliminating the generator noise.

TICKETING/AMBASSADORS

To maintain ticket integrity, we’re discontinuing the Ambassador Program. The least expensive tickets are always available online at TumbleweedCountry.com. The ticketing schedule remains in-place, with price increases following the ticket schedule announced and published at TumbleweedCountry.com

Tumbleweed 2020 tickets launch on August 5th for a one-week massive sale… the lowest prices of the year. We appreciate your support of Tumbleweed’s authentic and independent country music experience! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach us at Tumbleweed@bordaproductions.com.

MUCH LOVE,

TW