Search Results : ROMP

Mar 232018
 

 

 

 

 

Ricky Skaggs
Sam Bush
Rhiannon Giddens
The Travelin McCourys
Alison Krauss
Doyle Lawson And Quicksilver
Jeff Austin Band
Billy Strings
Parker Milsap
We Banjo 3
Michael Daves
Russell Moore And IIIrd Tyme Out
Robbie Fulks
fireside Collective
The Po Ramblin Boys
Phoebe Hunt And The Gatherers
Love Cannon
Sheriff Scott And The Deputies
Pert Near Sandstone
Mile Twelve
Barefoot Movement

Pre-sale pricing ends Sunday at midnight. 

General Admission and VIP daily tickets are now available! Pick your favorites and plan your ROMP adventure. 
Grab your passes early for the best deal of the year – pre-sale pricing for daily tickets ends Sunday March 18th at midnight.
Planing to camp with us? One tent camping pass is good for one or all four nights of ROMP camping. Learn More. 
Don’t forget: kids 12 & under are free!
Buy Tickets

 

Courtyard by Marriott Owensboro

Ad

$119
3-star hotel
Contemporary hotel with an indoor pool
Free Wi-Fi

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Owensboro Downtown

Ad

$124
3-star hotel
Redbrick hotel with free WiFi & a pool
Free Wi-Fi

Courtyard by Marriott Owensboro

$119
3-star hotel
Contemporary hotel with an indoor pool
Free Wi-Fi

Comfort Suites

$83
2-star hotel
Suite hotel with a heated indoor pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Holiday Inn Owensboro Riverfront

$108
3-star hotel
Informal riverside hotel with a pool
Free Wi-Fi

Super 8 Owensboro

$59
2-star hotel
Budget option with free breakfast & WiFi
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Days Inn Owensboro

$59
2-star hotel
Simple hotel with an outdoor pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast
DEAL 17% less than usual

Fairfield Inn by Marriott Owensboro

$93
3-star hotel
Lodging with free WiFi and hot breakfast
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Hampton Inn by Hilton Owensboro South

$95
3-star hotel
Classic rooms, a pool & a putting green
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Owensboro Downtown

$124
3-star hotel
Redbrick hotel with free WiFi & a pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Motel 6

$56
2-star hotel
Simple budget lodging with outdoor pool

Cadillac Motel

(16)

Motel 1311 W 2nd St

231 Motel

(14)

Motel 1640 Triplett St

Ramada Owensboro

$76
2-star hotel
Simple hotel with casual dining & a pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Wingfield Inn & Suites

$90
$100
2-star hotel
Casual hotel with free breakfast & a gym
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast
DEAL 10% off

Sleep Inn

$89
2-star hotel
Modern hotel with a pool & a gym
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Comfort Inn & Suites

$92
2-star hotel
Basic hotel with indoor pool & hot tub
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Quality Inn

$81
3-star hotel
Modern hotel with seasonal outdoor pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Explore Yellow Creek Park

Beyond the music: Yellow Creek Park offers many activities for all age groups. Located in the park is a softball field, disc-golf course, tennis courts, and basketball courts. Along with these, there are spots for fishing as well as picnic shelters to cool off during the heat. The park also provides an idyllic nature trail stretching farther than two miles appealing to those who enjoy peaceful hikes and great scenery. Yellow Creek is very kid-friendly and includes a spray park and play ground for children, as well as playing home to the Western Kentucky Raptor Rescue Center and the ROMP mascot, Hootie. 

 

 

 

 

Jun 172017
 

It’s time once again to feature the ROMP Festival that is hosted by  ROMP and International Bluegrass Music Museum. This outdoor festival  takes places in June on the 21st to the 24rth at Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro Kentucky.

AS ALWAYS this article WILL include FULL inforamtion on hotels and maps of everything you need to FULLY enjoy this festival. I have compiled MANY emails and researched EVERY angle of this festival, so you can have the ultimate survival guide for this treasure in Owensboro Kentucky.

Folks this one is close to home for me and always a fun time when I cover this festival, and this year’s lineup is super exciting. Here is some history and some information about it straight from their website:

The 14th annual ROMP Festival will be led by the legendary American roots pioneers, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, progressive bluegrass virtuosos, Punch Brothers, innovative musician, Keller Williams and his project blending bluegrass and Grateful Dead songs, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass,Grammy Award winning folk rockers, Los Lobos, and multi-instrumentalist and founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens. Held in Owensboro’s Yellow Creek Park, the four-day music, camping, and art festival will take place June 21-24, 2017, and will feature over 30 top bluegrass, folk and Americana acts.

Additional acts include 14-time Grammy winner, Jerry Douglas, progressive bluegrass jam band, Yonder Mountain String Band, Grammy Award winning group, The SteelDrivers, bluegrass pioneer, Peter Rowan, old-time folk music aficionado, Pokey LaFarge, Celtic folk rockers, Scythian, Galway, Ireland’s We Banjo 3, and 10-time IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year, Michael Cleveland, plus many more. A full list of artists confirmed can be found below.

Daviess County’s Yellow Creek Park, a 150-acre facility famous for its nature trails, winding creek and fishing lake, and sweeping tree-lines, plays host to ROMP each year.

A full line-up of artist-led instrument workshops takes place throughout the day, giving musicians the chance to interact and teach fans and players of all ages and skill levels. Other workshops and forums include songwriting, clogging and flat-foot dancing, yoga (all levels), and healthy living through music.

Additional offerings at ROMP Festival include organic and farm-to-table food vendors, craft vendors featuring Kentucky Proud products, art installations and professionally-led children’s activities.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their instruments and jam throughout the weekend, and dance until dawn at the infamous after parties, featuring national acclaimed acts on the cabin stage in the park’s rustic Pioneer Village.

The International Bluegrass Music Museum, producer of the event, will open new exhibits, host performances throughout the daytime, and present a film festival of documentaries the museum has produced on Bluegrass Music’s First Generation.  Museum admission is free to festival-goers.

Artist additions, single day tickets, volunteer opportunities, vendor applications and daily schedules will be available in 2017. To stay up-to-date with the latest news from ROMP fest, music fans can visit rompfest.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and sign-up to become a ROMP insider.

This park has a playground area for kids and a spray area to cool off with, and camping is available for 15 dollars extra and 70 for RV’s. You are required to vacate the area by 11AM the following day of which you pay. The camping area will open to the public at 8 AM wends some campsites require you to walk a short bit. Here is a detailed map of the festival grounds and you can buy tickets HERE.

Wednesday

After party – Pioneer Village

9:00 PM – Kelsey Waldon

11:00 PM – Driftwood

Thursday

Main Stage – Yellow Creek Park

4:00 PM –Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

5:15 PM – Dailey & Vincent

7:00 PM – Peter Rowan Band
8:30 PM –  Rhiannon Giddens

10:30 PM – Los Lobos

After party – Pioneer Village

12:00 AM – Hogslop String Band

1:30 AM – The Wooks

Friday

Main Stage – Yellow Creek Park

2:00 PM – High Fidelity

3:15 PM – The Wooks

4:30 PM –  Billy Strings

5:45 PM – We Banjo 3
7:00 PM – Jerry Douglas Band
8:45 PM – Punch Brothers

10:30 PM – Yonder Mountain String Band

After party – Pioneer Village

12:00 AM – The Dustbowl Revival

1:30 AM – Billy Strings

Saturday

Main Stage – Yellow Creek Park

11:45 AM – Kentucky Bluegrass Allstars

12:45 PM – Snyder Family Band

2:00 PM – Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys

3:15 PM – Becky Buller Band

4:30 PM – Rob Ickles & Trey Hensley

5:45 PM – Pokey LaFarge

7:00 PM – The SteelDrivers

8:30 PM – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

10:30 PM – Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass

After Party – Pioneer Village

12:00 AM – Scythian

 

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Courtyard by Marriott Owensboro

Ad

$119
3-star hotel
Contemporary hotel with an indoor pool
Free Wi-Fi

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Owensboro Downtown

Ad

$124
3-star hotel
Redbrick hotel with free WiFi & a pool
Free Wi-Fi

Courtyard by Marriott Owensboro

$119
3-star hotel
Contemporary hotel with an indoor pool
Free Wi-Fi

Comfort Suites

$83
2-star hotel
Suite hotel with a heated indoor pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Holiday Inn Owensboro Riverfront

$108
3-star hotel
Informal riverside hotel with a pool
Free Wi-Fi

Super 8 Owensboro

$59
2-star hotel
Budget option with free breakfast & WiFi
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Days Inn Owensboro

$59
2-star hotel
Simple hotel with an outdoor pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast
DEAL 17% less than usual

Fairfield Inn by Marriott Owensboro

$93
3-star hotel
Lodging with free WiFi and hot breakfast
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Hampton Inn by Hilton Owensboro South

$95
3-star hotel
Classic rooms, a pool & a putting green
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Owensboro Downtown

$124
3-star hotel
Redbrick hotel with free WiFi & a pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Motel 6

$56
2-star hotel
Simple budget lodging with outdoor pool

Cadillac Motel

(16)

Motel 1311 W 2nd St

231 Motel

(14)

Motel 1640 Triplett St

Ramada Owensboro

$76
2-star hotel
Simple hotel with casual dining & a pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Wingfield Inn & Suites

$90
$100
2-star hotel
Casual hotel with free breakfast & a gym
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast
DEAL 10% off

Sleep Inn

$89
2-star hotel
Modern hotel with a pool & a gym
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Comfort Inn & Suites

$92
2-star hotel
Basic hotel with indoor pool & hot tub
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Quality Inn

$81
3-star hotel
Modern hotel with seasonal outdoor pool
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Family Friendly: For families with children; no late night parties 
Bring the kids and have a fun-filled family festival experience! Family Friendly camping includes quiet hours from 10 p.m.-7 a.m.

Late Night: The ‘Wrong Side of the Creek’; very close access to the After Party stage 
Feel the need to stay up all night and enjoy live music until sunrise? This is the place for you!

General #1: For those in the middle; easy access to stage and vendors
Camp within a close walking distance to the main stage and the food and craft vendors. Good place for those to camp who don’t want to be in a Family Friendly quiet zone, and don’t want to stay up all night in the Late Night camping area.

Woods: For those in the middle; easy access to stage
Camp within a close walking distance to the main stage. Good place for those to camp who don’t want to be in a Family Friendly quiet zone, and don’t want to stay up all night in the Late Night camping area.

1 Day Only:
A Wednesday Only, Thursday Only, Friday Only, or Saturday Only night camping is valid for that night only, and must be vacated by 11AM the following morning.

Dancin’ Dave’s Festival Camping

Have you ever heard of “Glamping”?  Glamour camping…nothing like having your comforts of home setup and ready for your arrival to ROMP. We’re proud to announce that Dancin’ Dave’s Festival Camping will be joining us for the second time. Flying to ROMP and want to camp? Dancin’ Dave’s has got you covered.

Dancin’ Dave’s is excited to announce that we will be providing 4 nights of cushy camping accommodations for this epic event! Our village only has a capacity of 35 tents, so get in while the gettin’s good! Just show up and we’ll take care of the rest.

  • Small (pup tent) – $100 – Sleeps up to 2 on floor bedrolls. Best for kids. No cots.
  • Medium (8′ x 8′) – $125 – Sleeps 1 on a cot (up to 2 on floor bedrolls)
  • Large (9′ x 9′) – $155 – Sleeps up to 2 on cots (or 3 on floor bedrolls) – Most popular tent for 2 adults!
  • Jumbo (11′ x 11′) – $205 – Sleeps up to 3 on cots (or 4 on floor bedrolls)

*Packages DO NOT include admission to the festivals. To pay by personal check, select the “Money Order” option when checking out. Prices are for the entire weekend, Wednesday through Sunday.

Your tent will come with the number of cots listed above. If you would like a different number of cots or bedrolls, or would like to bring your own bedding (an air mattress, for example) please let us know by sending a message via our contact form.

You can also add the following amenities (you must rent a tent to rent any of the following items):
Solar Shower – $35 Gazebo with Table – $75 Kitchen – $115

Don’t leave the kids at home
We’ve planned the perfect family weekend including tons of kids activities, family camping and so much more! Don’t forget, children 12 & under are FREE!
Kids can enjoy hours of fun including music workshops, arts & crafts, games, face painting and educational exhibits.
Full schedule of activities listed below. You can also schedule your weekend using the official ROMP app. Download now from your app store.
Kids Zone Schedule
Thursday, June 22
8am – 9am: Parachute Fun
9am – 10am: Create your own wind chime
10am – 11am: Create your own cape
11am – Noon: Exploring Rocks & Minerals
Noon – 1pm: Growing a Garden
1pm – 2pm: SKy Science Festival – “Light”
Friday, June 23
8am – 9am: Create your own Mask
9am – 10am: Create your own Fan
10am – 11am: Fiddle Fun with Randy Lanham
11am – Noon: Harmonica with Art the Dude
Noon – 1pm: First Aid Fun
1pm – 2pm: SKy Science Festival – “Celestial Objects”
Saturday, June 24
8am – 9am: Create your own ROMP Owl
9am – 10am: Create your own Pinwheel
9am – 1pm: Fun with Body Zorbs
10am – 11am: Kazoo with Art the Dude
11am – Noon: Meet & Greet with Hootie & friends
Noon – 1pm: Dance workshop with Barry Lanham
1pm – 2pm: SKy Science Festival – “Rainbows”

Welcome, campers!

Gates open Wednesday, June 21st for the 14th annual ROMP festival!
Entry Times:
8:00am – RV camping pass holders
10:00am – Tent campers, all ticket holders 
Upon arrival, let us know in which area you wish to camp. You must have a camping wristband to camp. Wristbands will be checked throughout the festival; be sure to wear the right one for that day. Reminder signs will be posted throughout the park. If you only purchased a single day ticket and wish to stay additional days, just go to the gate to buy the proper wristband. 
One-Day and Two-Day campers will have a specific area in which to camp. You must be out by 11AM the following morning.
If camping in an RV, everyone in your RV must have both ROMP and camping wristbands.
Some campsites require that you park and hike into the area. If you have to park and hike your camping gear into the camping area, it should only be a 2-5 minute walk.
ROMP Camping 101

In preparation for this years festival, we asked our friend and long-time ROMP attendee and camping expert, Kelly Farr, for some ROMP camping tips.

Camping at Romp is an awesome way to immerse yourself in the full festival experience!  The following is a suggested list of things to bring and some tips for enhancing your camping experience.
 
  • suncreen/hat/sunglasses
  • water!
  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • air mattress/cot/sleeping pad
  • pillow
  • extra tarp (can be used under tent for moisture, or above for shade)
  • flashlight/head lamp/lantern
  • fan (battery powered)
  • extra batteries
  • chair/blanket 
  • towel (hot showers available!)
  • bandana
  • rain jacket
  • bug spray
  • citronella candle 
  • hammock 
  • $ for vendors
  • Romp app to create your schedule
  • musical instrument/frisbee/hula hoop/etc
 
Camping Tips:
 
The first thing to do is chose your camping area, for example; late night, family friendly, etc.  Then you will need to chose a campsite.  Somewhere flat, with shade, and that will drain well in case of rain is ideal.  It will be helpful to put a tarp under your tent to protect from moisture.  An additional tarp can be hung over your tent for shade or extra rain protection.  Since it sometimes rains at Romp, it is a good idea to roll up your sleeping bags and clothing and place them in the middle of your tent to keep them from getting wet if you are away form your campsite.  It is also a good idea to keep your food/cooler outside your tent, or in your vehicle to keep animals from being tempted.  A bandana or blindfold can also keep the early morning sun out of your eyes if you need to sleep in a little.  Remember to drink plenty of water, and just ask the friendly ROMP staff if you have any questions!

Explore Yellow Creek Park

Beyond the music: Yellow Creek Park offers many activities for all age groups. Located in the park is a softball field, disc-golf course, tennis courts, and basketball courts. Along with these, there are spots for fishing as well as picnic shelters to cool off during the heat. The park also provides an idyllic nature trail stretching farther than two miles appealing to those who enjoy peaceful hikes and great scenery. Yellow Creek is very kid-friendly and includes a spray park and play ground for children, as well as playing home to the Western Kentucky Raptor Rescue Center and the ROMP mascot, Hootie. 
May 212016
 

Moonrunners Music Festival
Crooked Smile Fall Fest

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OK Folks the time has come for me to unleash my festival fury upon you unsuspecting readers with my series of June festivals that are coming in quick fashion. I’m already covering one next weekend and I have two under my belt in 2016 already and this one is another close festival to me, I wouldn’t be able to run this job from my house but it is still pretty close. I cannot promise whether or not I’ll be down there for one day or two but I’m planning to be there for what I can of the ROMP Fest that is put on by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro Kentucky, and it happens over four days.

June 22-25th 2016 will see the summer heat and the ROMP festival fly into our area for folks to enjoy Bluegrass music and Roots music at the same time. This is the thirteenth annual fundraising event for the museum which is dedicated to the preservation of this precious genre of music. Riverpark Center Complex in Owensboro Kentucky is where this event takes place.

This park has a playground area for kids and a spray area to cool off with, and camping is available for 15 dollars extra and 70 for RV’s. You are required to vacate the area by 11AM the following day of which you pay. The camping area will open to the public at 8 AM wends some campsites require you to walk a short bit. Here is a detailed map of the festival grounds and you can buy tickets HERE.

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The lineup is here”
Old Crow Medicine Show
Del McCoury Band
Sam Bush Band
Jerry Douglass And The Earls Of Leicester
The Infamous Stringdusters
Marty Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives
Steep Canyon Rangers
Lee Ann Womack
Larry Sparks And The Lonesome Ramblers
The Travelin McCourys
Della Mae
Bryan Sutton
Scythian
23 String Band
Town Mountain
Billy Strings
Wood And Wire
Mipso
Jon Stickley Trio
Front Country
The Tillers
Old Salt Union
The Lil Smokies
Bumper Jacksons
Monogram
Breaking Grass
Sheriff Scott And The Deputies
Annabelle Watts

OK Folks so you know the routine here is a link to over 12 hotels in this area I have found and you can search for competitive prices HERE because if you are like me I cannot camp. I’m pretty sure if I go for one day I might just drive home afterwards. I sure would love to see Old Crow Medicine Show.

Feb 172018
 

 

By Joshua Wallace

Brandi Carlile returns with her first studio album since 2015’s The Firewatcher’s Daughter.  Her new album, By The Way, I Forgive You, features production work from both Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings and is sure to be a fan favorite release.  It goes away from the more poppy elements of some of her previous work to feature more country and Americana sounds.  It plays to her strengths as a songwriter and the music helps set the mood for every track perfectly.

The music is varied throughout the record.  From quieter more orchestral moments like “The Joke” to the faster folksy number “Hold Out Your Hand”, this album hits lots of high notes.  Shooter Jennings and Dave Cobb have created a soundscape here that is as varied as the stories featured on the songs.  The songs themselves are all hard hitting and impact and this is quite possibly Brandi Carlile’s heaviest and most emotionally intense record yet.

The album’s opening track is a rather catchy tune about a problem many people can relate to: that one song that comes on the radio that brings about a memory you didn’t want to return.  It also echoes the title of the album in the album as Brandi is forgiving of the person who ruined that favorite song for her.  Another favorite track of mine is the barn burner of the record titled “Hold Out Your Hand”.  It’s a faster acoustic romp with a catchy shouted chorus that is sure to be a concert favorite.

I love the psychedelic bend that the track “Fulton County Jane Doe” takes the album on.  The song has a very 70’s folk quality to it that echos Elton John.  “Sugartooth” is a track that takes on the opioid crisis and how someone can be a “slave to the sugartooth”.  There are more personal tracks on the album like one of the lead singles “The Mother” and album track “Most Of All”.  Both of these tracks reflect on Brandi’s family life and serve as some of the more intimate tracks on the record.

Brandi Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You is an emotional journey through loss and regret and pain and suffering.  It takes a look inward while at the same time examining some of today’s social issues in a way that is not as in your face as other artists can make it.  This is a very enjoyable album on many levels and will be sure to please fans of Brandi’s earlier more folksy records.  Shooter Jennings and Dave Cobb have come together to create a very layered soundscape around these songs and it’s a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.  Brandi Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You is available everywhere Friday, February 16th, 2018.

Favorite Tracks : Every Time I Hear That Song, Hold Out Your Hand, Sugartooth, Whatever You Do, Fulton County Jane Doe

Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You (2018)


  1. Every Time I Hear That Song

  2. The Joke

  3. Hold Out Your Hand

  4. The Mother

  5. Whatever You Do

  6. Fulton County Jane Doe

  7. Sugartooth

  8. Most Of All

  9. Harder To Forgive

  10. Party Of One


Feb 162018
 

By Joshua Wallace

You never know what you can expect from a new project by J.D. Wilkes.  While he has released a couple of old time banjo records under his own name, Fire Dream is the first true debut solo record from Mr. Wilkes.  It has a different sound than what you have come to expect from The Dirt Daubers or The Legendary Shack Shakers.  Fire Dream brings all of the southern Gothic elements of Americana to the forefront and mixes it in with a variety of sounds from fiddle driven hoe-downs to southern Gothic blues.

The opening title track sets the tone perfectly with a dreamlike soundscape that brings about images of devils dancing around a fire to the song.  The same dreamy effect can be heard in the first single from the album “Walk Between The Raindrops” with it’s haunting fiddle that plays throughout.  These’s tracks heavily feature the gothic overtones that are present throughout the album.

I love that J.D. Wilkes has chosen to re imagine two songs from his old projects here.  He has taken “Hoboes Are My Heroes” from The Legendary Shack Shakers and “Down In The Hidey Hole” from his album with The Dirt Daubers titled Wild Moon.  He has reworked these songs to fit the style of this new project and they work well.  This new version of “Hoboes Are My Heroes” might be my favorite version of the song.  It’s a slowed down Gothic blues romp that works for the track.

I love that J.D. Wilkes never seems to do the same thing twice.  Every band he has been in has had a different sound from The Dirt Daubers to the Shack Shakers to this solo record.  I always look forward to what J.D. Wilkes brings to the table on an album because he celebrates southern sounds, but works with them in ways that moves them forward.  Be sure to check this out if you’re a fan of anything J.D. Wilkes does or a fan of Americana music with a southern gothic flair.  Fire Dream is available everywhere on February 16th, 2018.


Favorite Tracks : Hoboes Are My Heroes, Fire Dream, Walk Between The Raindrops, Moon Bottle


J.D. Wilkes – Fire Dream (2018)


  1. Fire Dream

  2. Down In The Hidey Hole

  3. Moon Bottle

  4. Hoboes Are My Heroes

  5. Wild Bill Jones

  6. Walk Between The Raindrops

  7. Starlings, KY

  8. Bible, Candle and a Skull

  9. Rain and Snow

  10. That’s What They Say

 
Jan 172018
 

As I finish operation clean up from 2017, and begin to reflect on what all transpired, I have a couple stacks of albums I missed. I thought it might be a fun idea if I began a small series of articles that elaborate on some of these albums.  Some of them found their way in my email, and some were physically sent to me in the mail.

Brandon Luedtke : Morning Light
Impacting August 11th : Folk – Country – Americana
Hailing from Texas, Brandon Luedtke began writing songs when he was given his first guitar at age twelve. Since then, he has resided in Nebraska and NYC, later settling in Austin where over the last seven years, the singer-songwriter and musician has played in bands like Roosevelt’s Goody Bag, Honey Baby, and briefly with Shane Smith and the Saints on the fretless bass. More than ever, Luedtke has been honing his craft by writing and performing songs centered around his acoustic guitar and voice – carrying the torch of the Texas troubadour forward.

Earlier this year, Luedtke finished his debut LP, Morning Light, with producer, Eric Witthans in Austin’s Mockingbird Studios. The album showcases, Luedtke’s subtle feel for songwriting and musicians from the Austin music scene. Stylistically, Brandon is most easily categorized as a modern folk singer, but the songs on Morning Light will also fit perfectly into the Americana and Alt-Country world. The album features 9 Luedtke originals including the first two singles country tinged, steel driven “By The Light of The Moon” and folky “Can’t Get Away (From The Way of the World)”. Alongside those originals are reworkings of the traditional, “Cuckoo Song” and the gospel song “Soon One Morning”. Several of the songs have already debuted on websites across the country to great reviews. Following that are downloads and streams.

I recently listened to this album and really liked it, I can see him fitting in well with Americanafest lineups as well as a few more other festivals, since he came from the Texas area I was anticipating a more Red Dirt sound. This album was certainty a different twist than  what initially is described, with as much depth as a good Isbell album.

Some of the steel guitar work was pretty good and the songs all accompanied each other truly well, and when I am in the Americana mood this album will certainly be included into my rotation.


Tracklist:

1. Can’t Get Away (From The Way of the World) (2:56)
2. The Cuckoo Bird (3:17)
3. Over The Interstate (2:44)
4. Black Mountain Echoes (3:56)
5. Let it Rise (3:21)
6. One of These Days (2:33)
7. New World (3:06)
8. Stay Gone (3:30)
9. Somethin’ Evil (4:13)
10. By The Light of the Moon (2:10)
11 Soon One Morning (2:21)

Matthew James And The Rust Belt Union: Impromptu Musical For The Skeptic

Now this next album I did indeed dwell very deeply on, I cannot even BEGIN to lump this band into ANY genre really? I mean the steel guitar is phenomenal but it’s THE TONE of it that really gripped my ears..What tuning is this? I plan to SOON reach out to steel picker Mr. Nathan Emerson when I bring back my steel pickers series in the future.

Mr. Matthew James – Acoustic Guitar / vocals, Mr. Wrex Hill – Drums, Mr.  Nathan M Emerson – Pedal Steel, Mr. Larry Kaster – Upright Bass, Mr. Nick Maurer & Brad Hanson – Electric Guitar and Mr. Matt Miller – Organ make up this eclectic band right here. This piece is from their press kit:

Dec 062017
 

Merlefest Announces Artist Additions to 2018 Lineup
Tickets on Sale Now

The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The newest additions to the lineup join over 75 artists that have already been announced, including Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson , Robert Earl Keen, The Devil makes Three, Balsam Rangeand the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble, Mission Temple Fireworks Revival featuring Paul Thorn Band, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, and The Mccrary Sisters, a Midnight Jam hosted by Town Mountainand Jim Lauderdale, and many more.

WILKESBORO, N.C. (December 5, 2017) – Merlefest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce new artist additions to the lineup for MerleFest 2018, which will be held April 26 – 29, 2018: Elephant Revival, Rhiannon Giddens, Rodney Crowell, and Shinyribs.

Elephant Revival – Elephant Revival is a unique collection of multi-instrumentalists blending elements of gypsy, Celtic, Americana, and folk. Brought together by a unified sense of purpose, Elephant Revival communicates the importance of harmony among all living things and uses music to unite us in ways that no other medium can. Elephant Revival is scheduled to play the Hillside Stage on Friday.

Rhiannon Giddens – Singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens is the co-founder of the GRAMMY award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, playing banjo and fiddle. Giddens’ 2014 Grammy nominated solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, blends gospel, jazz, blues, and country, and showcases her dazzling vocal prowess. Giddens follow-up album Freedom Highway, largely comprised of original songs, was released to widespread critical acclaim in February. She performed at the Obama White House and duets with country star Eric Church on his powerful anti-racism hit “Kill a Word.” Last year she received the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Singer of the Year and the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo and in 2017 won the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” award. In 2018, Giddens will be the guest curator for the Cambridge Folk Festival. Giddens also has a recurring role on the recently revived television drama Nashville . Rhiannon Giddens is scheduled to play Saturday on the Watson Stage.

Rodney Crowell – Rodney Crowell is a multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter who has written or recorded 15 #1 songs on the Country music charts. He has also won six Americana Music Awards, including the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting, and he is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by country legends (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, George Strait), to current country chart toppers (Tim McGraw, Keith Urban) to blues icons (Etta James), and rock and roll legends (Van Morrison, Bob Seger). Crowell’s latest album, Close Ties , was released in March 2017 on New West Records to critical acclaim. Rodney Crowell is scheduled to play the Cabin Stage on Friday.

Shinyribs – SHINYRIBS is the continuation of Kevin Russell’s musical journey that began in Beaumont, TX when, at 14, he found his father’s guitar under his bed, along with a sewing machine, a billy club and a box of comic books. Luckily he chose the guitar. Following his family’s oil boom and bust migratory path he landed in Shreveport, LA where he formed his first band. Picket Line Coyotes were a Husker Du meets Elvis Costello hybrid that lived and died between the “Arklatexabamassippi” borders much like their unfortunate animal namesake. That’s what took him to Austin where The Gourds were born from those Coyote ashes. That storied band of pumpkins came to an end after 18 years of good times and hard travelin’. From that point on Russell, has been riding high on the Shinyribs river of country-soul, swamp-funk and tickle. A Shinyribs show is an exaltation of spirit. It’s a hip shaking, belly laughing, soul-singing, song-slinging, down-home house party. Shinyribs is scheduled to play the Watson Stage on Thursday.

“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4 day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2018 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers and we look forward to another successful festival in April.” The 2018 current lineup may be viewed at MerleFest.org/lineup .

Tickets for next year’s festival may be purchased HERE or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 14 to February 18, 2018; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 19 to April 25. Tickets will be sold using Tier 3 pricing at the gate during the festival.

 

About Merlefest
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

 

About Window World
Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with a total of over 14 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR partner, and its window products have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for 10 consecutive years. Additionally, through its charitable foundation Window World Cares , the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which honored the foundation with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, Window World Cares has raised over $7 million for St. Jude. Window World Inc. also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a non-profit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. For more information, visit www.WindowWorld.com or call 1-800 NEXT WINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter .

For more information, visit Merlefest

MerleFest 2018 Announces New Additions to Lineup
Early Bird Tickets on Sale Now
WILKESBORO, N.C. (January 16, 2018) – MerleFest, presented by Window World and slated for April 26 – 29, is proud to announce five additions to the 2018 lineup: The Mavericks, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Mandolin Orange, Alison Brown, and Brandy Clark.
The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest has already announced over 75 artists for 2018, including Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Elephant Revival, The Devil Makes Three, a Midnight Jam hosted by Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale, and many more. The rest of the distinguished lineup for MerleFest 2018 will roll out over the next few months.
The Mavericks – The genre-defying Mavericks are declaring their independence and stepping out on their own with Brand New Day, the first studio album released on Mono Mundo Recordings, the label they founded in 2016. Brand New Day is the follow-up to the widely praised albums Mono (2015) and In Time (2013). Flashing the same exhilarating, beyond-category style that has defined the Mavericks, the new album introduces a collection of taut, energetic, economical songs sure to be embraced by both original fans of their top-10 albums and hit singles of the ‘90s and a new generation of listeners who have joined the party since their triumphant 2012 reunion. It is the mature and timely work of an exciting and underestimated American band that has embraced its own destiny.
“This is the first studio record on our own label, and it is an important component in the band’s history,” Malo says, “but the real goal was just to make a great record.”
The new collection – co-produced like its immediate predecessors by the band’s golden-voiced singer Raul Malo and Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Warren Zevon, Melissa Etheridge), who is partnered with the band in the new Mono Mundo imprint – features the core members of the group since their reformation: Malo, drummer Paul Deakin, guitarist Eddie Perez, and keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden, along with auxiliary members “the Fantastic Four” filling out the set’s brawny sound with their signature accordion and horns. The Mavericks will play the Watson Stage on Thursday night.
Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn – With one eye on using the banjo to showcase America’s rich heritage and the other pulling the noble instrument from its most familiar arena into new and unique realms, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn’s second album Echo in the Valley is simultaneously familiar and wildly innovative. Echo in the Valley is the follow up to Béla and Abigail’s acclaimed, self-titled debut that earned the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album. This time around, the mission was to take their double banjo combination of three finger and clawhammer styles “to the next level and find things to do together that we had not done before,” says Béla. “We’re expressing different emotions through past techniques and going to deeper places.” The results are fascinating, especially considering their strict rules for recording: all sounds must be created by the two of them, the only instruments used are banjos (they have seven between them, ranging from a ukulele to an upright bass banjo), and they must be able to perform every recorded song live. Fleck and Washburn will play the Watson Stage on Friday night.
Mandolin Orange – Mandolin Orange’s music is “laced with bluegrass, country and folk…often wistful and contemplative without being somber, and always firmly grounded in the South” (WNYC). The Chapel Hill, N.C. duo has built a noteworthy catalog of recordings and performances since their founding in 2009. Their live shows are filled with vibrant chemistry, effortless instrumentation, and breezy, fluid harmonies that continue to win over local and far away fans. Recent performances include Red Rocks Amphitheater, Telluride Bluegrass, Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo and Pickathon, with 2018 performances in support of the Avett Brothers at PNC Arena and Josh Ritter at the Ryman Auditorium. Hailed by No Depression as “one of the most talented acts making music today,” Mandolin Orange’s most recent album “Blindfaller” debuted #3 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart, was featured on NPR’s Heavy Rotation and made Rolling Stone’s “40 Best Country Albums of 2016.”
“The musical tapestry of ‘Blindfaller’ is delicately woven with lush threads of acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin and pedal steel, all ever-present without ever overplaying. However, it’s the vocal interplay of Frantz and Marlin that is the band’s most distinctive calling card” (Rolling Stone). Lean in to the album and you’ll understand why. You’ll hear the way it magnifies the intimacy at the heart of the North Carolina duo’s music, as if they created their own musical language as they recorded it. Mandolin Orange will play the Watson Stage on Friday night.
Alison Brown – Alison Brown has taken an unlikely path in establishing herself as one of the most critically acclaimed banjoists in the world. A former investment banker (she has a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Harvard and an MBA from UCLA), she toured with Alison Krauss and Union Station and Michelle Shocked before forming her own group, The Alison Brown Quartet. She has recorded 10 critically-acclaimed solo albums, received 4 Grammy nominations, a Grammy award and the Banjo Player of the Year award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Alison has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She was personally requested to play at the inauguration of Harvard’s first female president, Drew Faust, and was a recipient of Irish America Magazine’s “Stars of the South Award” for her efforts towards the “cultivation and preservation of Irish music.” In 2014 she was awarded the prestigious United States Artists fellowship for excellence in music. Alison and her band have performed at a long list of music festivals in the US and abroad including The Newport Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, MerleFest, Rochester Jazz Festival, Celtic Connections (UK), Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Country Gold (Japan). Alison is also co-founder of the internationally recognized Compass Records Group, which has been called by Billboard Magazine “one of the greatest independent labels of the last decade.” She currently serves on the board of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and on adjunct faculty of Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. Alison Brown will play the Hillside Stage on Saturday and the Watson Stage on Sunday.
Brandy Clark – The Nashville, Tennessee-based Clark received her first of an impressive six career GRAMMY nominations in 2013 in the Best Country Song category for co-writing the Miranda Lambert No. 1 hit “Mama’s Broken Heart.” Her talent as a storyteller has quickly propelled her into critical acclaim as one of Nashville’s best tunesmiths. Subsequently writing songs for Sheryl Crow, The Band Perry, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, Billy Currington, Darius Rucker, and Kacey Musgraves to name a few. In 2015, Brandy independently released her own debut album 12 Stories, which embraced by music lovers and critics alike and was subsequently nominated for two GRAMMYs including Best New Artist and Best Country Album. 12 Stories went on to be named “Best Album of 2013” by The Boston Globe, New York Magazine, NPR, The New York Post, and more. Brandy also won the 2014 CMA Song of the Year Award for “Follow Your Arrow,” which she co-wrote with Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves, and was also nominated for a CMA New Artist Of The Year that same year. 2016 brought the release of her sophomore album Big Day In A Small Town, which also garnered two GRAMMY nominations for Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance (“Love Can Go To Hell”) and once again topped critics’ “Best of” lists including NPR, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, among others thus cementing Clark as one of country music’s most talented artists, beloved by fans, critics, and fellow entertainers alike. Famed music critic and author, Ann Powers, calls Clark, “a storyteller of the highest caliber.” Brandy Clark will play at the Watson Stage on Friday.
WILKESBORO, N.C. (March 20, 2018) – MerleFest, presented by Window World, is pleased to announce the return of the beloved Midnight Jam and the start of the Barn Dance. Following tradition, the well-known, fan favorite Midnight Jam will take place on Saturday night, prefaced by the Barn Dance. The legendary music festival is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans; this year’s festival is scheduled for April 26-29 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina at Wilkes Community College.
The Midnight Jam is one of MerleFest’s most cherished traditions. This very popular after-hours hootenanny gathers many performers from the festival for impromptu artistic collaborations and one-of-a-kind superstar jams that have become legendary in the festival’s history.
For MerleFest 2018, noted songwriter Jim Lauderdale and North Carolina’s own Town Mountain will host the Midnight Jam, presented by renowned music website BGS at the Walker Center, is set to start at 10:30 p.m. and will run well past midnight. The 2018 Midnight Jam will feature a very special Doc Watson Tribute; in addition to Lauderdale and Town Mountain, the Midnight Jam will host a wide array of talent, including performances by Buddy Miller, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, John Cowan, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange, Bryan Sutton, and many more. A separate ticket is required and available for purchase by four-day, three-day and Saturday ticket holders. Town Mountain will also host the Saturday Night Barn Dance, another Merlefest moment not to be missed; the lively and loud event starts at 7:45 p.m. on the Dance Stage.
“Many years ago, Tony Rice and a few others came up with the concept and started the Midnight Jam,” remembers Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager. “From there the Midnight Jam has become a highlight of the MerleFest weekend, bringing together unique configurations and surprising ensembles of musicians gathered at the festival. You never know who may walk out from behind the curtain to take the stage on Saturday night in the Walker Center.”
Jim Lauderdale is a multi-Grammy award winner and  “songwriter’s songwriter,” who has written/co-written many modern classics for iconic artists. As a solo artist, since 1986 up until now, he’s created a body of work spanning 29 albums of imaginative roots music, encompassing country, bluegrass, soul, R&B and rock, as well as helping pave the way for the current Americana movement. Jim has written songs and worked with some of the finest artists in traditional and modern music, including Robert Hunter, Ralph Stanley, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Buddy Miller, Lucinda Williams, John Oates, Solomon Burke, Lee Ann Womack, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Blake Shelton, the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and Gary Allan among others. He also co-hosts a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Buddy Miller, “The Buddy & Jim Show,” and is the co-host of Music City Roots, the weekly live and radio, podcast and PBS series. In 2016 the Americana Music Association honored Jim during the 15th Annual Americana Awards and Honors with the WagonMaster Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by George Strait.
Raw, soulful, and with plenty of swagger, Town Mountain has earned raves for their hard-driving sound, their in-house songwriting and the honky-tonk edge that permeates their exhilarating live performances, whether in a packed club or at a sold-out festival. The hearty base of Town Mountain’s music is the first and second generation of bluegrass spiced with country, old school rock ‘n’ roll, and boogie-woogie. It’s what else goes into the mix that brings it all to life both on stage and on record and reflects the group’s wide-ranging influences – from the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia and the ethereal lyrics of Robert Hunter, to the honest, vintage country of Willie, Waylon, and Merle.
The Bend Bulletin’s Brian McElhiney says Town Mountain, “has serious country and rock’n’ roll DNA.” Town Mountain features guitarist and vocalist Robert Greer, banjoist Jesse Langlais, mandolinist Phil Barker, fiddler Bobby Britt, and Zach Smith on bass. Town Mountain is working on their sixth studio album and was recently recording in Echo Mountain Studios with Producer Caleb Klauder. The forthcoming album will be full of new original material and released later in the year.
MerleFest’s lineup reflects the diversity and quality of performers who are the hallmark of the festival. MerleFest is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles that the late Doc Watson referred to as “traditional plus.”
MerleFest Announces 2018 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Finalists
WILKESBORO, N.C. (April 3, 2018) – Today, the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contestannounces the 2018 finalists that will perform at MerleFest. The final round of the competition will take place Friday, April 27; first place winners will receive $600 cash and a Friday night performance slot on the Cabin Stage. Now in its 26th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. MerleFest, presented by Window World, spans from April 26-29 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, at Wilkes Community College.
The following twelve talented writers were selected from over 1021 entries and will compete Friday, April 27 on the Austin Stage:
Bluegrass:
Frank D. Ray (Hillsboro, Missouri) – “False Hearted Love”
James Woolsey (Petersburg, Indiana) – “Lights of Home”
Vickie Austin (Fall Branch, Tennessee) – “Can’t Hold On To Much”
Gospel/Inspirational:
Andy Owens (Boone, North Carolina) – “The Truth of Love”
Beth lee (Black Mountain, North Carolina) – “Sacred Song”
Bob Hight (Greensboro, North Carolina) – “Heaven Will Be Mine”
Country:
Amanda Fields, Tom Buller (Nashville, Tennessee) – “Whiskey Ain’t Got Nothing on You”
Cliff Westfall (Highland Park, New Jersey) – “More and More”
Marie Bradshaw (Centerville, Utah), Daniel Young, Kiki Jane Sieger (North Salt Lake, Utah) – “These Walls (May Never Come Down)”
General:
Bryan Smith (Dayton, Virginia) – “Nothing Left”
Zander Melidis (Clawson, Michigan) – “Born Again”
Cliff Ritchey (Markleville, Indiana) – “Honey Baby”
This year’s competition will be judged by 2018 festival headliner and Grammy-award winning artistRodney Crowell; acclaimed vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange; and previous CASC winner Johnny Williams of the Jeanette Williams Band. All finalists will also get to take part in a songwriting mentoring session with Lauderdale, Marlin, and Williams.
The first round of the CASC takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, where applicants were narrowed down to 12 finalists representing four categories: bluegrass, country, general, and gospel/inspirational. The first-round judges included Grammy-nominated bassist and Watson family collaborator T Michael Coleman; noted artist Ken Tizzard, bassist of The Watchmen; former CASC winner and critically-acclaimed songwriter Aaron Burdett; and 2018 MerleFest performer CJ Lewandowski of The Po’ Ramblin Boys.
Net proceeds from the contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception, the scholarship has awarded over $41,000 to deserving students. To learn more details about the contest, visit www.MerleFest.org/CASC.
The complete 2018 lineup may be viewed at www.MerleFest.org/lineup and is now available on the MerleFest mobile app.
Tickets for the festival may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 19 to April 25. Tickets will be sold using Tier 3 pricing at the gate during the festival.
About Chris Austin
Chris Austin, from Boone, North Carolina, worked as a sideman for Ricky Skaggs for three years, singing and playing guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle. During that time, he was discovered by executives at Warner Bros. who offered him a recording contract. While releasing singles including “Blues Stay Away from Me,” “I Know There’s a Heart in There Somewhere” and “Out of Step,” Austin also developed his songwriting skills, as evidenced in “Same Ol’ Love,” recorded by Skaggs in 1991. On March 16, 1991, Austin’s life was cut tragically short when the private plane carrying him and six other members of Reba McEntire’s band, as well as her tour manager, crashed near San Diego. Pete Fisher, then of Warner Songs and former general manager of The Grand Ole Opry, and Kari Estrin, previous “Pickin’ for Merle” video associate producer, initiated the songwriting contest to honor Austin’s memory.
About MerleFest
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.
About Window World
Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with a total of over 14 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR partner, and its window products have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for 10 consecutive years. Additionally, through its charitable foundation Window World Cares, the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which honored the foundation with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, Window World Cares has raised over $7 million for St. Jude. Window World Inc. also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a non-profit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. For more information, visitwww.WindowWorld.com or call 1-800 NEXT WINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter.
Oct 122017
 

 

Tickets are available for this event by clicking HERE .

Folks parts of Florida were severely damaged  by the hurricanes this year but The Suwannee Roots Festival will be going on this weekend, and this lineup is wonderful. I believe I have included all of the needed information below including FULL band links and I also researched hotels and area places to go.

As all of you know my website promotes and attends up to 175 festivals yearly, this one is nothing short of stellar, so please if you are out in that area support this event.

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn     

The Wood Brothers
Mother’s Finest
Peter Rowan
Donna The Buffalo
Steep Canyon Rangers
Chatham County Line
Rev Jeff Mosier Band
Jim Lauderdale
Verlon thompson
Shawn Camp
River Whyless
Willie Sugarcapps
Joe Craven And The Sometimers
Seth Walker
The Revelers
The Lee Boys
Amanda Anne Platt And The Honeycutters
Nation Of Two
The Grass Is Dead
Rumpke Mountain Boys
Richie And Rosie 
Grandpa’s Cough Medicine
The Pine Box Dwellers

Dread Clampitt    

Katie Skene    

Belle and The Band    

LPT

The Adventures of Annabelle Lyn    

Quartermoon    

Sloppy Joe

The Walker Family Band    

The Dunehoppers    

Jeff Bradley

Habanero Honeys  

Suwannee Spirit Kids

Tania & Magic Moon Traveling CircusSRR-Schedule-2017-ThursdaySRR-Schedule-2017-Friday

SRR-Schedule-2017-Saturday

SRR-Schedule-2017-Sunday

All Suwannee Roots Revival weekend tickets include primitive camping. The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is over 700 acres of spacious and shaded camping areas. Primitive camping is on a first come, first served system. There is plenty of room for your car at your campsite.

RV Hook Ups & Upgraded Sites

The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park offers hundreds of RV upgrades with power and water hook-ups plus dozens of cabins for rent at the festival. All RV upgrades and cabin rentals are the park’s business, not the music festival’s. Please call the park office for information, rates and reservations. 386 364-1683 You are welcome to bring your RV for free if you won’t need the water and electric upgrades.

Local Hotel Options

holidayinn-liveoak

Holiday Inn Express
386-362-2600, located at 6694 US 129 N in Live Oak, Florida. This lodge includes a swimming pool, fitness center and continental breakfast. In the room there is a coffee pot, hair dryer, cable TV, iron and ironing board; suites include microwave, refrigerators, smoking & non smoking rooms, queen and king beds, data ports, and a Jacuzzi.

bestwestern-liveoak

Quality Inn
386-362-6000, located at 6819 US Hwy 129 in Live Oak, Florida. This lodge includes a swimming pool and continental breakfast. In the rooms there are a coffee pot, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, cable TV, microwave, refrigerator, and many more amenities.

econolodge-liveoak

Econo Lodge
386-362-7459, located at 6811 N Us Hwy 129 in Live Oak, Florida. This lodge includes a heated swimming pool and a continental breakfast. Other amenities include coffee pot, cable TV, double beds, and laundry facilities.

Also as I research this event,I’ll be adding MORE hotel options and places to enjoy your stay.

 

Driving Directions & Travel Info

Located just north of Live Oak, Fla, the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is a one-of-a-kind music park and premier campground nestled on the shady banks of the historic, tea-colored Suwannee River in North Florida. The Spirit of the Suwannee is proud to host a variety of events throughout the year. In addition to these events, the park offers live music during the week in the Music Hall and a natural amphitheater for outdoor music festivals.

The grounds include 700+ acres for camping, hiking, canoeing, bird watching, jogging, observation at the world’s largest bat house, Way Down Upon the Suwannee River Trail Ride and New Year’s Eve Party, putt putt golf and pro-quality disc golf, a honey bee observation exhibit, beautiful rental cabins (and custom built cabins for sale), RV parking with full hookups, electric and water sites, shower and bath houses, full service restaurant, golf cart rentals, the Arts and Crafts Village, Country Store and much, much more. Or, you can just hang your hammock between two trees, put your feet up and relax as you listen to the quiet sounds of nature all around you

Need more information?

The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is conveniently located near Live Oak, Florida, between Interstates 75 and 10.

Festival Entrance GPS Address

9379 County Road 132, Live Oak, Fl 32060

From I-10

Take exit 283 and go north on US 129 4.5 miles.

From I-75

Take exit 451 and proceed south 4.5 miles. Keep an eye out for our sign!

Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park & Campground is centrally located to over 500 Florida Tourist Attractions within 2 ½ hours driving time.



General Festival Rules

  • The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is open 365 days a year. Guests may arrive early to set up camp for additional camping fees. Please note that at high traffic times you may experience a delay in processing your entry. Come early!
  • During music festivals at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and Campground, dogs and other pets create problems. Accordingly, the Park rules prohibit pets. Next time you plan to visit Spirit of the Suwannee for a music festival, or special event, please DO NOT BRING YOUR PET! You will either be refused entry to the Park, or will be required to leave without a refund if you and your pet are found. If you have a legal service dog, you are welcome to bring it so long as it wears a tag showing that it has a recent, active, anti-rabies vaccination. You must also check your service dog in when you arrive at the Park so it can be properly credentialed.
  • No illegal substances or activities will be permitted. Please note that Marajuana usage is illegal in the state of Florida and Suwannee County, unlike some other parts of the country.
  • Re-entry is allowed for Weekend Ticket Buyers as long as you do NOT remove your wristband. We are NOT responsible for lost of missing wristbands. If you lose it, you will pay an additional fee to replace it.
  • NO FIREWORKS!
  • NO SPINNING FIRE/POI! (Sorry we just don’t have the safety program implemented yet)
  • NO WEAPONS!
  • NO NITROUS! (If security finds a tank, you will not be granted entry.)
  • NO GLASS! (Please bring all beverages in cans or plastic)
  • NO FIGHTING! (If you are involved in a fight both parties will be asked to leave)
  • CAMP FIRES ARE ALLOWED WEATHER PERMITTING. PLEASE ONLY START CAMP FIRES IN DESIGNATED AREAS AND BE SURE TO EXTINGUISH BEFORE LEAVING YOUR CAMPSITE
  • A  variety of micro brewed beer will be available for purchase! (Photo ID will be required to consume alcohol).
  • Lost or stolen tickets cannot be replaced.. Keep them safe! We will scan them.
  • Ages 18 and under must be accompanied by a legal guardian
  • All persons, vehicles, and possessions will be searched upon entry.
  • Due to Florida regulations no outside alcohol will be permitted within the concert area.

Campground Rules

  • There will be on-site security at all times as well as first aid stations open 24/7.
  • All camping attendees are subject to search upon entry.
  • Feel free to bring your own food and beverages into onsite camping.
  • Campers are expected to behave in a manner that is courteous to other campers.
  • All general car & tent campers are permitted to visit each others camp sites.

What is the closest airport to the venue?

Jacksonville, FL #JAX

Can I sell my crafts around the site? Can I sell my delicious homemade burritos?

For health and quality reasons, unauthorized food vendors pose a risk to festival goers. Unauthorized food vendors are not permitted and will be shut down to alleviate that risk. Each year Suwannee Roots Revival is committed to selecting quality craft and merchandise vendors. The unauthorized sale of merchandise in the camping area is not permitted, and Suwannee Roots Revival is committing to ensuring a successful event for all authorized vendors.

What is the policy on cooking devices?

PLEASE follow these instructions if you are planning on using a grill. You can use gas/propane fuel sources or charcoal, but scavenging for wood on site will NOT be permitted. No more than 10 pounds of charcoal per grill per car will be allowed. The fire must be entirely contained and off the ground. Air quality is a concern. Please keep the fires as small as possible and extinguish them as soon as you are finished. When you are done cooking with charcoal, put it out with water before going into the show or going to sleep or leaving your camp, rather than letting it burn out over time. In any case, DO NOT DUMP COALS ON THE GROUND (ever) or in the trash until they are entirely cool. After the coals are COMPLETELY DEAD, dispose of them properly as garbage.

What kind of camping is provided? Can we camp with our friends?

Amazing camping!   Primitive Camping comes with your ticket.  Primitive includes Tent or Car camping.  Yes, you may camp with your friends!

What is provided at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park Campgrounds?

There will be bathrooms and hand wash stations. A general store will be selling sundries (personal hygiene products, batteries, film, disposable cameras, ice, water, etc…) Vendors will be selling a variety of reasonably priced foods, beverages and snacks. ATM Machines WILL be available in multiple locations on the site.

What emergency services will be available on site? What should I do if I need emergency assistance (medical, police, towing, locksmith, etc.)?

There will be emergency medical personnel and Security personnel onsite around the clock. If you need EMERGENCY medical or police attention, find a staff person with a radio, go to an information tent, medical tent, or tell one of the security personnel. Make sure your lights and radio are turned off when you park so you don’t drain your battery! Try not to lose your car keys or lock them in your car, we recommend bringing an extra set of keys to be safe. Also, please help us keep the parking areas clear of discarded bottles and other hazards – the tires you save could be your own!

What else should I know?

Pace yourself! Eat enough, drink enough water (it’s really important to stay hydrated), and get enough sleep so that you can enjoy the second day as much as the first. Also, if you can bring patience and a sense of humor, it will be a great gift to yourself as well as those around you, and it will help you to get the most out of your experience. Be a good neighbor – get to know your neighbors, watch their stuff and they will return the favor.

Venue Rules & FAQ’s

WELCOME TO CORNETT’S SPIRIT OF THE SUWANNEE MUSIC PARK AND CAMPGROUND!

Your job is to enjoy the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. Our job is to help you, and everyone else, enjoy the Park. If we succeed, then we will have the most outstanding music-oriented campground on Earth; a place that we can enjoy for many generations to come. These regulations are a special contract between the Cornett’s Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, its employees and guests, and control the duties and responsibilities of all Park visitors. §513.117. Fla. Stat. Because of the tremendous popularity of music festivals, special rules apply during those special events; special rules are indicated in BOLD TYPE. If you violate any of these rules, you may be ejected from the Park without a refund.

ADMISSION TO SPIRIT OF THE SUWANNEE MUSIC PARK. Almost everyone is welcome at the Park. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, physical disability or creed. All guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. We retain the right to refuse services to any person who displays intoxication, profanity, lewdness, brawling, whose conduct disturbs the peace or comfort of others, who damages property, who engages in illegal or disorderly conduct, whose conduct is a nuisance, or who violates any of these rules. All visitors must check in with the Park Office or Gate Attendant upon first arrival, and must pay any required admission fee (additional fees apply for overnight stay, activities, services and events). You may be required to display a vehicle pass or sticker on your vehicle at all times while on the premises. If you require a special accommodation for your visit due to a disability, please advise the Park Office or Gate Attendant when you enter the Park.

Guests during special events must present a ticket, along with a valid photo-identification, for entry into the Park, and will be issued a wristband that must be worn for the duration of the event. Take care with your wristband; if you take it off or lose it you will be required to buy a new ticket. NO EXCEPTIONS! Additional camping fees may apply depending upon your arrival and departure dates, and where you camp.

GETTING AROUND AND PARKING. “River Road” is the Park’s main street. It is one of the few paved roads in the Park and runs from the entrance off Highway 129 to the parking area for the white sandy beach on the Suwannee River. In addition to a few internal roads, the Park contains miles and miles of beautiful hiking paths and horse trails. A map of the Park is available in the Park Office, and is posted nearby. Typically, festival brochures include a map of Park features and venues.

The two most important travel rules are:

*ALWAYS yield to pedestrians – they have the right of way!

*Secondly, slow down and stay alert! The maximum speed for any vehicle (golf cart, bicycle, horse or other means) is ten (10) miles per hour. If children or crowds are present, slow down or stop to avoid them as needed.

There are designated areas for parking cars, trucks, golf carts and RV’s; do not park outside of designated areas or your vehicle will be towed at your expense and inconvenience. Please do not park any vehicle, including a golf cart, on someone else’s space. When in doubt, please don’t risk it. Do not park in a designated handicap accessible space unless you have the proper license plate or other State-issued insignia; your vehicle will be towed at your expense.

Be aware that Driving Under the Influence or “DUI” is not tolerated in the Park. You may be arrested by law enforcement officials and taken to jail if you are observed to be DUI in the Park, regardless of the vehicle, golf cart, bicycle, or automobile you may be driving.

All motor vehicles must be properly licensed and insured and all motor vehicle operators must be over 16, properly licensed and insured. You must display a Park-issued vehicle pass at all times. We will refuse entry to motor vehicles that are loud, stinky, or that have safety issues in our sole discretion. All-terrain vehicles (ATV’s), off-road utility vehicles (ORV’s), recreational utility vehicles (RUV’s), dirt or motocross bikes, go-carts, and dune buggies are not allowed in the park.

Golf carts are a popular and convenient way to get around. Rentals are available at the Country Store. If you wish to bring your own, a trail fee must be paid upon arrival at the Park. We allow gas/electric factory models that do not exceed 14HP: E-Z Go (295 and 350 cc); Club (290 and 350 cc); and Yamaha (357 cc). Also, golf carts can’t exceed 8 inches maximum lift, a 23 x 11 x 12 maximum tire size and meet factory muffler specifications. You must check in your golf cart upon arrival at the Park, present proof of registration and insurance, have your golf cart inspected, fill out a form, pay a trail use fee, and obtain a sticker to be displayed while at the Park. Golf cart drivers must be licensed and over age 16. The driver and passengers must be seated at all times during operation. Be aware that headlights and taillights must be used from before dusk till after dawn. Golf carts must stay on designated roads and trails and be parked at your campsite by Midnight. During special events golf carts should be parked at your campsite no later than one-hour after the concert ends for the night. Trail fees during special events are non-refundable.

Bicycles are available for rent from the Country Store. All bicycles operated from between dusk and dawn must burn front and taillights. Children under the age of 16 must wear a helmet as required by Section 316.2065, Fla. Stat. If you ride a bicycle on designated trails, please respect the environment and be kind to pedestrians, persons on horseback, animals, and other cyclists.

Horses are usually welcome in the Park’s horse camping area and on marked horse trail areas, except during some special events. Horse owners must check in and present proof of a negative Coggins test, along with other required health certifications. Horses are not allowed on roadways, camping areas, or anywhere outside of the horse camping area and marked horse trails. No riding at night. A horse that kicks must be identified by a RED ribbon tied on its tail. No “tie outs” are allowed. See office for details. Horses are not allowed in the Park during special events.

During some special events, free shuttle service may be provided and we assume no risk for your use of such shuttles.

ENJOYING THE PARK’S NATURAL SETTING. We strive to keep the Park a clean, safe place for kids of all ages to enjoy! Please respect the environment, and do not harm plants or animals. Please do not litter. Place cigarette butts in ashtrays. No fireworks of any kind are allowed. Guns, Tasers, and all weapons are strictly prohibited on Park property, and that includes weapons carried in motor vehicles. Properly authorized law enforcement and security personnel may carry weapons as authorized by law, when on duty. Please respect fellow campers by not passing through their campsites. Picnic tables are provided by the Park at some spaces; please keep them clean and free of clutter when not in active use.

The Park maintains a quiet time of 11 P.M. During some festivals, jam sessions and drum circles may last until the wee hours with due consideration of those camping nearby.If weather and other prevailing conditions are acceptable to the Park, properly contained campfires are permitted in enclosed fire rings or in small dirt fire pits.

No bonfires or large fire pits allowed. Do not collect, or cut, trees or shrubs. Do not burn treated wood, plastic, garbage or trash. Fires must be supervised at all times and carefully put out before leaving unattended. Do not use gasoline, kerosene or other accelerants to start fires. Firewood and fire starters are available at the Country Store.

All of the airspace above the Park is restricted and no person is authorized to operate any type of aircraft, drone, radio-controlled airplane or helicopter, kite, Chinese lantern, luminary, sky lantern, fire balloon, Kongming lantern, hot air balloon, or other flying object, except that Frisbees, footballs, and other similar toys may be used when they do not present a danger or nuisance to other guests.

Please use alcohol and medication responsibly and lawfully. Underage drinking and use of illegal drugs is strictly prohibited.

During musical performances, please be advised that you may be exposed to loud sounds, and please take whatever action you deem necessary to protect your hearing. The use of high-quality ear protection is strongly recommended for infants and small children.

The posting or distribution of literature; or the sale, distribution or solicitation of any product or service is only allowed with advance written approval of Park management. Sale or distribution of products or services by vendors during special events is only allowed by approved written contract.

Urgent messages may be available in the Park Office. In case of emergency, call 911 immediately. Report any problem by stopping by the Park Office or by calling the office at (386) 364-1683. If you are injured while in the Park, you must promptly report such injury to the office in person or by phone.

If you lose something, please check at the Park Office. If your personal property has identification with your address and contact information, we will try to contact you to have you claim it. Any such property unclaimed after 90 days will become property of the Park.

Ticket holders are subject to, without limitation, the following terms and conditions:
• No refund will be given on lost or stolen tickets or wristbands of unused tickets. NO EXCEPTIONS!
• No food or beverages may be brought into the festival area; however, please check the Festival brochure to see whether or not you may bring in a new, unopened plastic bottle of water or an empty water container. NO GLASS CONTAINERS are allowed in the festival area.
• No weapons, laser devices, drones, model airplanes, fireworks, luminaries, or any other items determined dangerous by Cornett’s Spirit of the Suwannee, Inc. may be brought into the Park, or in a motor vehicle operated in the Park.
• Management will be allowed into all venue areas.
• All artists and times of performances are subject to change and/or cancellation without prior notice.
• Tickets that are lost, stolen, counterfeit or obtained from sources other than Park or any of its ticket outlets will not be honored.
• It is unlawful to obtain/attempt to obtain admission by fraud. Any such admissions/attempted admissions will be prosecuted to the fullest extent allowed by law.
• Cornett’s Spirit of the Suwannee, Inc. reserves the right to refuse admission and/or revoke any ticketed admission without refund.
• No unauthorized video or audio recording allowed in venue areas during special events.
• Management reserves the right to at its sole discretion to refuse admission to or to eject any person from the premises whose conduct is deemed to be disorderly, vulgar or abusive, and/or who fails to comply with park policies and procedures. Failure to comply will terminate any rights of ticketholder and will be removed from premises.
• Ticketholder agrees to comply with all State, local and Park rules that prohibit and limit alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, weapons, controlled substances, recording devices, cameras, or containers being brought into the Park or venue area.
• The Park reserves the right to search all persons and vehicles entering the property.
• All tickets are non-refundable and do not bear any cash value.
• Cancellation of the event by Act of God, strikes, riots, or any other act/order of any public authority beyond the control of Cornett’s Spirit of the Suwannee, Inc. does not obligate Management to ticket refunds or substitute performance(s).
• Cornett’s Spirit of the Suwannee, Inc. and/or any of its management, officers, directors is not held liable for any personal loss, injury, death, property damage, or any other harm suffered by participants, vendors, lessors, spectators at any special event.
• By entering the Park patrons consent to the use of their likeness for media coverage, marketing, and advertising of the Park or of the event, without compensation or a signed release.
• Tickets and wristbands are nontransferable; tickets and/or wristbands must be worn by the same person for the entire festival.

Sep 252017
 

So a very wet second day of Muddy Roots was well underway, and this time all I had to do was walk on down from the ticket office. This year it sure was nice not to have to drive anywhere for the entire time. Although I really didn’t drink all that much I still didn’t drive much.

We will start this article for Day 2 with Taillight Rebellion which was a two piece band with a very cool sound. We didn’t use the Wooden stage until Saturday so they rescheduled the entire day. I truly did my best to cover all of the bands here but I missed quite a few and I’ll try to do my best to get all this covered.

They opened their set with an intro called Auld Triangle before playing music with their second song called “Keep Your Head Held High” and that’s off the album “Six Strings And Gasoline”. Now off their other album called “Broken” they played two called “You Stole It All From Us” and another called “Withdrawls”.

They had good timing between them and you could easily ascertain they were having an enjoyable time up there today and this was a truly nice band to begin the day with. “Into The shadows” was next followed by the song called ‘This City”.

‘Bottled Crime” was from their new album and the song “Outlaw Waltz” was from their first album, so they had a smaller amount of albums to play from than many of the other bands here this weekend, but overall they played a very nice set. They closed with “Six Strings And Gasoline”.

Vocals/Acoustical Pickin’- Jesse James, Bass/Dirty Vocals- Oatmeal Reed, Resonator/Back up vocals- Billy Mo,
Washboard- Tashia The Don, Drums- Chris Johnson make up this next band called Black Tarpoon, which sings hillbilly horror and punk.

They hail from Texas and even though I didn’t get much of their set list as I was wandering around trying to keep my electronics and papers dry I did sit and enjoy them some. They have an album available on their website so why don’t you go over and support them? Let’s watch a video of them courtesy of Bluedevil Dixie.

My buddy Mr. Lou Shields didn’t get the chance to play “Coffee Song” for me but that’s OK because he did play a damn fine set here this weekend. His usual stalwart way he sits and plays his one man band getup is always enjoyable…especially in the field. Let’s watch MY video of him playing this weekend.

He played the song called “Rustic Road” off of his GREAT album called Bad Axe Country, and another called “Cabin In The Woods”. See folks Mr. Lou is a gifted artist too not just a musician, in fact he drew the cover for the first Urban Pioneers album called “Addicted To the Road”.

He does lots of art exhibits and music shows all over the United States and is a truly talented person in his own right. One show with him and you’ll see why we love him at Muddy Roots. The last song I got to hear him play was called “Back Country” before I moseyed on to see other bands.

Billy Lupton- Mandolin & Vocals, Nick Lupton- Guitar, Eric Miron- Bass,  Jessica Alvillar- Violin, Gilbert Montoya- Banjo & Vocals and David Archey- Harmonica & Vocals make up this band called Wicklow Atwater from Southern California. This was another band I really didn’t get to see the entire set, however I did get to see them play “Skid Row”.

Property of Miss Lisa Wells

They included the song “Inside You” into their set along with “I Wanna Be Your Man”. They have one album that I found as a band however they are all multi instrumentalists themselves in their own rights. They fit quite well into Roots music and also Americana as well.

EVERYBODY forgot about the rain here during this set, perhaps one of the most energetic and vivacious sets of the weekend…and honestly many of them occurred on this very second day. This is the band Dirtfoot from Louisiana and they didn’t come to play games….because…they had a pig on stilts throwing full beers around. Now I ask you…does that happen at Bonaroo?

Matt Hazelton, J Bratlie, Wayne Anderson, Cory Knippers, Spencer Teekel and John Hoffman make up this band which I’ll be completely honest they were so amazing and fun I forgot to list down the songs! This was a pleasant escape here folks and I had FUN.

-Ted Drozdowski, band leadin’, slide guitar, vocals, rabble rousin’ trouble makin’ ..And his accomplices Sean Szwick and Pete Pulkrabek make up this band called The Scissormen another Muddy Roots original band from the 2010 lineup…and dogs, lots of dogs.

Another very energetic band here today that even walked around and played songs into the audience, as they belted us with blues and rock music here. With an opening song called “John The Revelator” that had an a cappella opener then went into a drum roll and the song. They played another good song called “Jumper On The Line”, and went into “Do Wrong Man”.

I got to see them play “Can’t Be Satisfied” before they played a funkier song called “Josh Gibson” while showing off some truly fine guitar solos and another crowd induced guitar romp around the tent. Also included in their set was “Tupelo” and another song called “Black Lung Fever”. So I wanted to stop and add this piece from their website because it awoken my enthusiasm to delve into Mr. Ted further…

For Ted, American roots music is a vital bridge between generations, cultures and the past and the future. And he uses that bridge to not only connect deeply with his fans in concerts, but in the slide guitar and music history workshops he conducts.

Often Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen are about surprises. Not only in the imagination and scope the trio brings to its recordings and performances, but even in the way Ted and the group approach creating music. Check out Ted playing the one-string diddley bow, for example, and consider where he recorded the next Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen album: in a tent in the woods down a dirt road high on a mountaintop behind Nashville’s historic Loveless Café.

“The River” was next off their set and another called “New Catfish Blues” and they closed with the Led Zeppelin song “When The Levee Breaks”. I saw many different types of influence in this band here, and absolute talent in every member of this ensemble.

One of my many music friends to come from Maryland is Mr. Jimmy Swope and his brand of Roots/Americana music. I featured him during my coverage of this year’s Moonrunners in Chicago, and many other times as well. This fall we were supposed to both attend Crooked Smile In Indiana but alas it has been cancelled, so I have pretty much not planned any other major events in 2017.

I got to see him play his song “Tip Jar” and another called ‘This Old Town”. At this time I was going back and forth between stages pretty hard..and I got hungry so I decided to stop to eat after I was done watching Mr. Jimmy play the song called “Highway Mind”.


Video of The Rock Bottom String Band by Miss Delane Chavez.

I did not get a chance to catch any of the sets from the Rock Bottom String Band or the band after them Blackgrass Gospel but I did get to pick back up and see Moonshine Wagon which was another great band.

“My Liver Is Trying To Survive” was the popular notion here as everybody was enjoying themselves like usual, heck even I drank a few on Saturday night, and to be honest it was my first time really seriously imbibing. I had fun doing so with all my friends there.

“Moonshine In Your Life” was next from the “Folk You” album of 2015 and I went off to the other stages for other bands, as the rain finally began to subside to a mist. But it was still really damp and made the bones scream.

Video property of Miss Lisa Wells

Mr. Noah Tyson was another one I just simply did not get the chance to check out as much but let’s watch a video here about him. He’s from Illinois and from what I could hear of him, he was good.

James Hunnicutt made his first Muddy Roots appearance in 2011 and has been a Muddy Roots favorite ever since then. He garners a large crowd every year there and is always a sure bet for fun and wonderful music.

He usually always begins with different songs but the first one I took note of was of course “My Pain” which always has entire tents singing along here. He also played “Never Meant” along with some other new songs that we enjoyed.
As soon as he played “Don’t Let Teardrops Fill Your Eyes” a TON of the regulars all lined up to sing with him.

Rachel Kate I missed as well as RT N the 44’s so that I could see my buddy Sean K Preston And The Loaded Pistols who come from Charm City U.S.A. He and I first met in 2014 at Crooked Smile Festival and we instantly became friends, I was around him in Kansas City for Westport Roots Festival this year as well.

Let’s watch this video of him.

This is him singing his new song called “Barnburner” which he sent to me early this year. He’s been working on many new songs for us and until he records a new album his live shows will have to tide you over. Much like a few other sets I basically just let loose and enjoyed this set. HERE is a good sized chunk of his high octane set!

This was EASILY one of the biggest sets of the weekend by far, I enjoyed the entire set and folks for me to stay and forget to write the set list down is unheard of. This man is a sure bet for a BARNBURNER SHOW every time he is on stage.

Mr. J.P.Harris And The Tough Choices are another surefire bet for REALLY GOOD Honky Tonk Country Music. He killed it at the Opry house during the Nashville Boogie this past spring for sure! His album “Home Is Where The Hurt Is’ is a classic album to me.

He played “California Turnaround” first and then he played “Badly Bent”. His set always has full effect with perfect twang solos and plenty of steel guitar beauty. And as long as he continues to play songs like “Two For The road”, I shall always continue to enjoy his set.

“Oklahoma’s A Long Ways Away” was toward the middle of his set, as I was going back and forth tents to see him and Sean K Preston at the same time. He eventually closed his set with “Gear Jamming Daddy”, I was still going over to film Sean K Preston as well, and still getting ready for them to squeeze Slim Cessnas Auto Club on stage 3. Like I had already explained, they moved all the bands slated for stage 1 to stages 2 and 3.

Slim Cessnas Auto Club is slowly becoming a Muddy Roots powerhouse most years the festival happens as well. This band is quite eclectic and different, nobody sounds like them or vice versa, and they are very weird in their own way..but their fans “GET IT”..I do. I’m proud to be a SCAC fan.

This is yet ANOTHER crazy band here and the night’s only going to get wilder folks, just wait until I finish day 2. They started with “32 Months Gone Dry” and my personal favorite “This Is How We Do It In The Country”. NOW FOLKS I could already see them preparing Stage 2 for the Harmed Brothers, but seventy five percent of the entire attendance was right here folks…here.

They continued on with “Jackson’s Hole” and the last song I heard of theirs was “Fierce Cow” before I went onto get some videos of a few sets I didn’t get total notes for here..They are currently on tour overseas until November and every time I have witnessed them in concert they have exceeded my expectations…that was until Th Legendary Shack Shakers took the stage tonight….

Three bands towards the end of day 2 here I didn’t get the opportunity to see were called A Pony Named Olga, Pinata Protest who brought some Tex Mex Cow Punk into the mix, and The Harmed Brothers whom have multiple albums out. I have actually been listening to them quite frequently now, and I love their music…it just wasn’t possible for me to cover all of this at once.

I suppose with three stages going it was a tad bit easier to set up chairs at all three stages and float from one to another, but what happened was they squeezed all the stage one acts into the tents due to the weather here today. I do NOT BLAME Muddy Roots or Mr. Ronnie Reels from Reelsound Productions for concern of his equipment care. I think Mr. Chris handled this situation BEYOND effectively and ran his ASS OFF this weekend so WE could enjoy this event.

I did get to see some of the set that Also brought some Punk and Roots music here tonight from Oklahoma. According to their website they are brothers, and have a new album coming out later this year. They cover their own version of Dr.Ralph Stanley’s timeless classic “O Death”.

Their set included songs off of their album Wildfire, “Liberty” was the first one followed by “Woodsfolk” and another song called “Ruined”. Their Facebook describes them as Hardcordian  Wonder Hard Punk Rock, each of these bands had their own unique sound and there was certainly something for everyone here this weekend.

“Row” was a song about being lost in an ocean and all you had left to do was ROW. It was a song of positive advice, because whatever your bad situation is in life the only thing left to do is keep trying and row. NEVER stop trying to succeed in life folks.

“Rapture” was next followed by “Bomb Caravan”. The title song of the album called “Wildfire” was next along with “As Close As It Gets” closed out the set here tonight.

Stump Tail Dolly is always a DAMN SURE bet to bring Metal and Country blended together into one bomb of awesomeness. See some of the most EPIC SETS of the weekend were still to come. I defiantly got my second wind here with songs like “I’ve Endured” and “Cumberland Gap”.

Band Members
Ryan Clackner, Lucy Cochran, Jamie Garry, Brian Weinberg are the prominent four that have been playing in this band that began around 2014. Stump Tail Dolly was slowly formed during the Red Simpson set at Muddy Roots in 2013. The ideas were being tossed around and we didn’t hear anything official until late 2014.

When we finally did we received an ass whipping in the form of the small EP album and a rigorous tour schedule, defiantly a hard working duo there. They recently released a full length album you can read about the new album here.

That link up above will take you to the album review and the new video for “Bogaloo”. This basically was a forty minute set full of complete chaos and mayhem, with ripping solos and instrumentals. All four of these musicians are seasoned and championed in their respected areas.

The Legendary Shack Shakers pretty much obliterated any previous set I ever witnessed them play tonight at Muddy Roots. They played a terrific set at the Nashville Boogie and tore up all their surroundings.

This video doesn’t do the antics of Mr. J.D.Wilkes justice, I think by far he is one of the greatest front men in this business and he completely annihilates all law and order on stage. There’s no telling WHAT he’s to pull up there..like hanging upside down on a light fixture and continuing to perform.

The first songs I noticed while they barrelled through their set list were from the Agridustrial album, and they were “Sugar Baby”, “Hobos Are My Heroes” and one of my favorites, the old “Dump Road Yodel”.

They had the crowd whipped into an absolute wild fever with a song they don’t play live as much called “Gipsy Valentine” and another favorite of mine “No Such Thing” from the Pandelerium album. With Mr. J.D.Wilkes you get him hanging upside down like this and swinging around as we encourage his destruction of everything around him.

I cannot forget the Nashville Palace induced harmonica battle he had with Mr. Ronnie Crutcher from Hillbilly Casino during the Nashville Boogie where they both went ape shit and blew us all away again. Their previous concerts have always left me speechless with songs like “Born In The Bluegrass”, and their last song was “Bullfrog Blues”.

The Urban Pioneers hit us up with some NEW songs at Moonrunners AND Muddy in 2017. “Run Rabbit Run” is on the Blue Plate Special CD they have out now..kind of a live album, and will be on their new album. I spoke to Mr. Jared at the Westport Roots Festival and he gave me a couple of tentative names for the new album.

Their set included classics like “Ain’t Gonna Work” and ’75 Southbound Blues”, and one of my favorite songs that attracted me to their band was called ‘Apparition In The Fog”. Their first album which included cover art by Mr. Lou Shields was an instant Roots success, and in my opinion is a classic album.

Mr. Martin up there pounding that upright bass for them for a while now, I always enjoy catching up with him in conversations all over the country. I enjoy seeing all the musicians and getting to know them as people, and I enjoy seeing YOU…yes YOU the one reading THIS. YOU make this work, not me not the bands…without the reader, or the fans…this and ALL scenes cease to exist.

“Till I Get Thrown Out” was next on the set list as well as “Please Give me A Highway”. I think this time they pretty much did a wonderful job of picking a wide array of songs from all three albums tonight. From the new album Feast Or Famine they played “Never Had A Waffle At Waffle House” to the first album with “Lost My Weed Waltz”.

“High On The Mountain” was another song on the list, followed by “Liz’s Reel” and the last song I noticed was “Walk This World” before going over to the other stage to see this next last band Shawn James And The Shapeshifters.

Shawn James And The Shapeshifters is a five piece band that plays blues and country and all sorts of other kinds of music rolled into one. I understand that there was severe sound and light problems due to the storms and I missed a lot of the last two sets of the night.

Video Property Of Miss Lisa Wells

Aug 042017
 

HI Folks

Well once again I am working my butt off for Tumbleweed, ushering in Muddy Roots and also working for the Texas Country Music Awards. As you may know I can NO LONGER do this alone, so I have enlisted the assistance of my friend Mr. Joshua Wallace to help me when he finds jobs he knows he can conquer.

I firmly think you will concur that he knocked it out of the park on this review of Mr. Tyler Childers HAPPY PURGATORY DAY EVERYONE.

Here is a video from a recently covered Tyler Childers show in Nashville you can read more about that one HERE

Whether you’ve been waiting for years to hear a fully produced Tyler Childers album or you just discovered him leading up to this release, Purgatory does not disappoint.  This record was produced by Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson and it was recorded live at David Ferguson’s Butcher Shoppe over 2 days.  They have released a record that I feel will be a strong contender for album of the year 2017.

There is a lot of diversity at work in the sound on this album.  These songs pull from outlaw country, honky tonk and even bluegrass and folk.  The star among these varied arrangements is Tyler’s voice and songwriting, both of which are front and center on this album.  Clever lines like “Well my buckle makes impressions on the inside of her thigh, there are little feathered indians where we tussled through the night” from “Feathered Indians” are peppered throughout the lyrics.  The imagery present in his songwriting often reminds me of Jason Isbell, but with more accessibility.

Some of my favorites include “Whitehouse Road”, “Purgatory” and “Honky Tonk Flame”.  “Whitehouse Road” reminds me of a modern day “Copperhead Road” but in a good way that makes something new while bringing about memories of the old song.  The title track puts the album in full on bluegrass mode and it’s a fun romp that brings about a welcome change of pace to the album.  Finally, “Honky Tonk Flame” brings about that honky tonk vibe and you can hear Sturgill’s influence on this track.

There is truly not a bad track on this album and I’m sure everyone will have their own favorites.  While you have heard many of these songs before, either live or on his previous releases like the Live on Red Barn Radio I & II EPs or the Bottles & Bibles LP from 2011 , this record is his best release to date.  I hope this album finds Tyler Childers the bigger audiences his sound deserves.  The sky’s the limit from here and I’m excited to see what is next.

 

Purgatory Track List:

  1. I Swear (to God)

  2. Feathered Indians

  3. Tattoos

  4. Born Again

  5. Whitehouse Road

  6. Banded Clovis

  7. Purgatory

  8. Universal Sound

  9. Honky Tonk Flame

  10. Lady May

 

Jul 052017
 

I

I been hard at work for Tumbleweed Festival lately, as I have been on vacation from my “normal” job. I have talked with many people and artists. My friend and partner Miss Kristie who runs the vendor company Rebel K Child does what I call “The Back End” of the festival. That’s the area YOU are in as fans and BY GOD IT’S THE IMPORTANT AREA, you see I’m in the “Front End” of the festival backstage making sure the set list is correct, and the band is hydrated correctly. Without the support of the fans there would BE NO local music, I don’t care WHAT genre you play.

It’s MY JOB to be a sober, positive representative of the brand I am working for to bring YOU the BEST coverage of the event from a media standpoint. It’s MY JOB to KNOW every song EVERY artist played and what they said on stage, it’s MY JOB to bring you news and upcoming events that YOUR favorite people are doing.

You know many old tales abound about how all the Outlaw stars hung out at each others  houses partying all night, and it may have happened periodically. But this business is push push push, and if you hang around me long enough you’ll see I don’t screw around. I’m VERY PROMPT and timely, if you are scheduled to call me at 4 or I’m scheduled to call you at 4 you better bet your butt I’ll call.

We don’t always have time to STOP and chat, and that was the case with Miss Sunny Sweeney last week, I DID get to talk with her a little bit and I did get to ask her some things about this event. When I asked her what she planned to bring to the table to Tumbleweed she had just one reply…”Country Music”. Who’s to argue with her, I mean hell she has been hard at work for several years develpoing her own style.

She’s often placed alongside Red Dirt artists which Tumbleweed will be bringing into the mix with Outlaw Country artists out there in Kansas City. But to be honest she’s been around longer than many of the Red Dirt artists, as her first album “Heart Breaker’s Hall Of Fame” was released in 2006 before she signed on with Big Machine. It was re released in 2007 as her debut album and back then many of the primary Red Dirt artists weren’t in the spotlight yet, aside from a few I could name and that’s NOT saying anything negative because I love Red Dirt Country.

She doesn’t consider herself Red Dirt or Texas Country, once again I asked her  what she classified her music as and she quickly replied “Country”. I did get to ask her what writing with Mr. Bob DiPiero was like (he was the co-writer on the song “From A Table Away” on her second album). And she replied that “it was really fun to have that experience, and he was a truly nice guy”.

She broke barriers with her third album “Provoked” which took a totally different direction for her as a songwriter and featured some different vocals. Additionally I enjoyed her third album more because I love the song “You Don’t Know Your Husband” which was co wrote by Pistol Annie member Angaleena Preseley.

I dissected “Provoked”  as an album more heartfelt and personal, however she carried it even further into that personal realm with her new album from Thirty Tigers called “Trophy”. That album is already on everybody’s TOP list already for 2017 I’m quite sure.

When I asked her what she wanted to reflect toward her fans when she made Trophy she had this to say “Well I always try to write songs that let everybody know where I am in my life. And I would presume it would be safe to say that I wanted people to know where I was in my life, and I wanted to reflect those feeling through the songs I’m singing about”.

We chatted for a short period of time about all kinds of things, and I wanted to feature her and let people that didn’t really know her or her music become familiar with it. Unlike  many of the other artists on this bill Miss Sunny and I have never met in person, I have been around her but always in passing. So I think basically she and I had more of a personal conversation and that’s OK too, because one thing I have ALWAYS RESPECTED about Miss Sunny is the fact she is an AVID Opry performer. On August 25th she will play her 50th Opry appearance, and to be honest when you watch her play there you can FEEL the love she has for that institution.

The Opry is special and it is `hallowed wood, and if it wasn’t they wouldn’t have taken the wood from the Ryman in 1974 and placed it into the new stage. Sadly Country Legend George Morgan was the last person to play the Opry at the Ryman AND the FIRST to play the Opry on the new stage before passing away July 7th 1975.

I told her that I would include this in my article for DARN SURE that I have been heavily pushing for her to be inducted into the Grand Old Opry membership, I firmly believe that as often as she performs on that stage and the passion she possesses for the proliferation of Country Music history, she deserves to be inducted as a member in the near future. It is a life goal of mine to make certain my daughter can have the ability to call her a Country Music legend.

 

May 292017
 

My first day of this excursion began late Thursday night when my buddy Mr. Jared McPherson came out to spend the night and traveled with us out there to the Westport Roots Festival in Kansas City Missouri. I believe this year to have been a landmark year for this festival, both on attendance and music. From a music standpoint last year was an epic occurrence with many Legends and happenings, but 2017 knocked last year out of the ballpark. It literally beat anything it’s ever done in the past in every sense of the word.

ALL of the stages held their own relevance to the meaning of the festival,and the arrangement was so well coordinated that everything went pretty well from what I could ascertain. My stage went smooth as silk and there were no problems at all. EVERY ACT had a steel guitar and sounded grand in every sense of the word, BUT you will read about that later folks. Right now you will read about my journey there and how this weekend began.

I work closely with a LOT of people in this business and share good and bad knowledge, contacts information and so much more. I team up with many people to share trip costs and venue promotions, and Rebel K Child jewelry is one I work with many times. I’ll be working with her several times in 2017, Westport was one of them, I’m quite positive that she’ll continue to feature her products there.

We rented an SUV from Enterprise in Glasgow Kentucky, now to be honest if you remember I had a truly negative experience with them on my Chicago trip. But I learned it’s really WHERE you go within the brand, because we were treated like royalty there.Corporate was not involved so I’m sure we were probably treated better because of this fact, because once corporate is involved it turns into a fiasco.

We had a truly blessed trip out there in every sense of the word, it was early and grueling after working most of the night on other ventures, and day 1 was actually a 35 hour marathon of hardcore music and excitement for all four of us. I had a stellar crew of co-workers that drove long hours under extremely tiresome conditions, that stepped up to help me get this job done. Rebel K Child both helped me out so much and I couldn’t have done it without Miss Kristie and Mr. Mike.

I also had another assistant this weekend helping me in any way I needed it, and I’d like to thank Miss Sara Leann Schulte for all of her help all weekend. I usually can maintain control alone but with not having an option to stray far from my own stage, I simply couldn’t do everything I needed without a helping hand. Also I needed photos of myself on stage introducing all of the acts, additionally I had her shoot the video for the FIRST EVER LIVE episode of my “Steel Guitarists Along The Road” series with Mr. KC Steeler as my guest. I run an extremely demanding operation for festivals, when you hire me to cover it, you won’t get second rate National Enquirer subject matter like other “Country Music” blogs. I need someone who will stay awake and do what I need to help me as I concentrate on the set list and song content, and Miss Sara did just that for me.

This isn’t party time for me, and it certainly isn’t fun and games. We have an obligation to those that purchased tickets to see a top notch show, and I have an obligation to those that hire me to provide the BEST coverage I can provide them. With that being said when I need vehicle keys or photos and videos RIGHT THEN, it’s a fact, and she came through for me in a timely manner.

Miss Kaylee Reeder and her absolutely wonderful staff at the Westport Saloon that all pitch in and help this establishment shine. This area is well known for being a Roots Music venue and well known for great food, as well as so many wonderful sponsors that help it carry the torch for the music scene out there in Kansas City. I could just go on and on about the wonderful staff there, and every one of them are always glad to see us there.

So let’s talk about our hotel shall we? We stayed at Crossland Studios In Kansas City and we arrived there in the afternoon after driving all late night and early morning. The area was convenient and appealing but check in is 3:00 PROMPTLY and when I say PROMPTLY I mean do NOT TRY to get room at 2:58….you go at 3 EXACTLY. The rooms are REALLY nice though complete with regular sized fridge and oven, apparently they are designed to be extended stay rooms. For the price I felt pretty satisfied with my choice to book this hotel, I’m doing some more research in this area here for this festival and several more in Kansas City so in future articles I’ll have other options for hotels in this aspect of the venture.

We settled in and got some dinner while preparing to come down to the Westport district for the pre party Friday evening. Even with the pre-party we were treated to the best possible music that Mr. Jody could fiendishly plan, he probably sits up in that office and rubs his hands with malicious delight as he books these main acts. The VERY FIRST night we were treated to one of the most important occurrences to happen in Roots Music in years. If you recall a while ago I ran the story about the last show of the Broken Band as all the members went different ways. Well Friday night we were treated to history in it’s true form.

Greeting old friends and becoming reacquainted with old friends and meeting new people as well as Jo Jo the dog, who sat next to me at my table with his owner Mr. Jay Lev. Networking is what always makes me so excited to venture out here. All the different bars going on at once , It’s a whole district of music going on at once. The Westport district is indeed the epicenter of the Kansas City Roots Music Scene and in just a little bit I’m going to touch on a LIVE album that A.J. Gaither recorded there at the Westport Saloon. I sat and had a nice conversation with my good friend Mr. A.J. about WHY he chose the Westport and what he’s up to now, also I got some insight about his plans for the future. See folks many times when we are just having a friendly conversation It’s actually information being obtained to write about your music, so be sure to tell me everything you would like mentioned.

The very first band I watched were The Culprits as they brought their own blend of Honky Tonk music to the saloon tonight. They are from the Kansas area, and they represented the local scene here very well. I absolutely enjoyed their set tonight as did the rest of my company, the saloon was rapidly becoming packed with people I knew and people I had yet to meet. This weekend remedied that however, and trust me I left with a refreshed palate of newly acquainted website readers and personal friends.

The Culprits were already in full swing when I arrived there and they played “Little Ramona” by BR5-49, which I believe was one of their won originals. See,BR5-49 had an uncanny ability to take rare cover songs and play them convincingly original. Part of the reason was they were so obscure unless you were a music guru, it was believed to be an original song. They did their set really well with the help of our friend KC Steeler, who I’ll be surprising you with later on a little side project I had going…..SSShhhhh don’t tell Mr. Travis I did this he don’t know about this one yet! I brought my “Steel Guitarists Along The Road Series” with me to do some LIVE work, this time it won’t be just in print. I took some time out to get one on one with Mr. Colm and you will get to not only read about him but SEE him on MANY videos from this weekend.

“Sugar Daddy” was next mixed with some great solos and instrumentals all throughout the songs, I highly suggest checking out this band further along with all the other bands I feature on here. They played a long version of a song called “Let’s Get Liquored Up” that involved the participation from the audience. Now mind you this early that was easily obtained, at midnight well that might have been harder…because they got liquored up quite well. It’s Westport Roots Festival and it’s party time, and party we did well into the A.M. In fact I could say like their last song called “Tear It Up” we did indeed tear it up in every sense of the word. GREAT band here to kick things off tonight and I was preparing to work here folks, I got all this covered.

The Ghosts Of Grandad’s Past are another local Kansas City fixture that does some covers of Those Poor Bastards really well.  They began with “Death Came To My Door” and followed that with a song called “Want To Lay Here And Die” about having door people at their funeral to prevent some people from seeing their dead bodies. They played called 99-105 about getting pulled over while driving drunk and high, so apparently they enjoy the fast lifestyle and playing dive bars for the next tank of gas.

“Sun Goes Down, Dark As Night” was next before they closed with a cover of the ever popular classic song “Rye Whiskey”.  They play dark and haunting songs of the other side of life, like the song “Down By The River”.  This three piece band was a great beginning to the festival here tonight, they played songs about whiskey and drugs, all of those wonderful things that local bands sing about!

The Kansas City Bear Fighters absolutely rocked the rooftops tonight, I mean they literally brought down the house. They have a terrific marketing idea on their merch and have an even better marketing idea on their music, it’s different and fresh. It’s unlike anything you have ever witnessed before and you just cannot classify them with anyone really.

They opened with “Spring Break 3035” and went into a song called “Take My Legs Away”, they introduced that one to be about mermaids. Then they went into a song about “Female Parts” called “Smitten with Her Kitten”, and a pretty good one called “Large Marge”.

Many instrumentals adorned their set throughout the entire thing and it was filled with songs like “Ain’t life Strange” and the “Panda Bear Song”. Also there was a song about “The Devil” included as they showed off their different styles of playing and their influences of various directions. “Hello Oblivion” and “Safari” closed out their portion of the festivities tonight, as well as the song “Ancient Ones”. As I learn more about this band you can be sure to catch it here on this website.

Mr.Lorin Walker Madsen is by far some of the finest West Coast Honky Tonk I have ever witnessed. I LOVE that Honky Tonk out there like my buddy Jon Emery whom you’ll be hearing about again soon in my album features articles, all the way up to my friends the Ponderosa Aces.  Now this young man is one I have been communicating with for long periods of time and haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet, well that’s the pertinent thing about festivals..you have that chance.

He brought us songs like “Behind The Wheel” and “Lonely Highway” ,tried and true songs of lonesome heartbreak and despair. But also on the other side of life’s curtain lies a proud working man with ragged hands within songs like “My Collar Ain’t White”.

He played songs like “Robbed” and “Travelin Man” before his musicians anthem “Slave Of The Road”. Man I’ll tell you what I have been following these folks around to various parts of America, in the years past. I couldn’t do this job and ALL the extra stuff involved with it like loading/unloading and social media. It’s a tough tough life, and it’s NOT for everyone.

“Ain’t Getting Caught” was next and he closed his set with “Another Last Call”. Truly a damn fine display of original songs here tonight by a truly gifted Honky Tonk hell raiser here at the Westport.

A.J.Gaither is one of the OMB or One Man Bands here at Roots Music Festivals, I got to stop and talk with him about why he chose the Westport Saloon to make his LIVE album. Honestly as soon as I finally got to see him perform some of his great songs there like “Biscuits And Gravy” the answer was evident.

He played a few other songs like “Long Way To Go”, and always gets a good response at the Westport Saloon no matter when he plays. Often times musicians have their own “home bar” or venue they usually do very well at, this is Mr. A.J’s place indeed. “Don’t Want To Go To Heaven” was part of his set, as he praised us for showing up so early and getting this party started already.

Mr. A.J.is correct NONE OF THIS would be possible without Mr. Travis Fields and what he does with the saloon, and he can also tell you the story of why there are four roses in four roses bourbon and the “Bad Decisions” that sometimes comes along with drinking.

Jayke Orvis reunited his classic lineup of The Broken Band tonight, including original member Mr. Joe Perez, who took a leave from music for personal reasons. We miss him but you know what, it’s awesome to see them make those choices too. I didn’t start my website FULL TIME until my own child was 18, and I had fewer responsibilities in order to do this.

The place went WILD as they opened with “Clinch Mountain Back step” and went into “Bound To Ride”. I tell you WHAT none of the four members lost any of their timing or speed in these few years of not playing these songs, and it was kind of like they just picked up after a week!

Liz Sloan’s stage presence is probably one of the finest in all of local music,and her talent is absolutely impeccable. Their level of professionalism in a sometimes unprofessional realm is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the business side of things. I cannot think of four people I admire more than these four right here, I share a relevant past with Mr. Jayke and it’s quite possible we played in the same area and didn’t know it as children.

Mr. James is quite possibly one of the smartest people you will ever encounter, and will hold a conversation with you about anything from trees and birds to 80’s Heavy Metal. He TRULY enjoys seeing you and TRULY enjoys music fans, if you are there to appreciate the music this man will accept anybody. I met him at Porter Wagoner’s funeral for goodness sake, and it was like we knew each other for years.

“Pick Up The Steam” was another they played I believe that’s a Weary Boys tune, followed by “Streets Wont Be The Same”. “Gone Forever More” was next as they didn’t say much to us, they just kept barrelling out those songs we love like ‘Empty Bottles”.

He DID say if you aren’t a Hank Williams fan he cannot be friends with you, as they did a GREAT version of “Kaw Liga” like they always did do. “Crooked Smile” “Shady Grove” and others filled their set list like “Feelings Like This” and MY personal favorite “Thunderbolts And Lightning”.

They had the whole place roaring to the song “Dreadful Sinner” before doing the instrumental and “Murder Of Crows” which was their logo, followed by “Shot Down” and “Raise The Moon”. One of their most popular trademarks was taking metal and transforming it into the Bluegrass sound as they did with “Battery” off one of the greatest metal abums of ALL time..Master Of Puppets.

Mar 112017
 

I’m going to provide links to all the bands on my lineup on this article and it’s NOT going to be easy! The lineup on this one is a BIG BIG deal folks, this festival is not small time or little in any way.

Merlefest was founded in 1988 in memory of Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College.
I thought at first it had something to do with Merle Haggard but no it was named and founded in memory of Doc Watson’s son who died in 1985. Doc Watson who died on May 29th 2012 often played the festival and provided much to the growth of the festival.

It is held on the campus of the Wilkes Community College in Wilksboro North Carolina and all these bands will play on 13 different stages…I’d have to hire a ton of help to cover this festival I’m going to up front and honest about this festival there is NO smoking or drinking allowed. So if you are coming down there intending to party hard…don’t. Cause this festival is for music lovers that choose not to imbibe in that. You can click on the main link up there for maps and directions to the festival. Here is the lineup to this behemoth festival and TRUST ME if you are just like me and like to enjoy the music in public in a sober fashion this is a GREAT festival and you can purchase tickets HERE.

CAMPING: is again offering fully setup campsites, at any of the wonderful campgrounds in the Merlefest area. We have been offering this fine service since 1999 and have had patrons from most states and many foreign countries as well. Our patrons arrive to their site to a high-quality tent, decked out with carpet, cots, lanterns, water jugs, gazebo and camp kitchen amenities if preferred.
Please check out the website, Dancin Dave’s for all details and of course you can ask any questions you have from there.
Oh…and Doc himself gave me his blessing when I started the business back in 1998…I actually came up with the concept on my drive home to Wisconsin from Merlefest that year. The next weekend I had the supreme pleasure of dining with Doc and Jack before their show in Madison that night…it was an experience I will always treasure!

Festival_Map_2017 that link right there will open a PDF file of the entire festival grounds and some of the nature trails there are to romp around on!

The Avett Brothers
Zac Brown Band
Bela Fleck
Marty Stuart
Del McCoury Band
Leftover Salmon
Sam Bush Band
The Earls Of Leicester
Jerry Douglass
Peter Rowan
Steep Canyon Rangers
The Kruger Brothers
Natalie MacMaster
Jorma Kaukonen
Tift Merritt
Sarah Jarosz
John Driskell Hopkins
Mandolin Orange
The Steel wheels
Mipso
Scythian
Chatam County Line
Sierra Hull
I Draw Slow
Jim Lauderdale
Mountain Heart
Bryan Sutton Band
Mitch Greenhill
Donna The Buffalo
The Waybacks
John Doyle
Jim Avett
David Holt
Pete And Joan Werrick
T Michael Coleman
Banknotes
Roy Book Binder
Andy May
Chris Jones And The Night Drivers
Claire Lynch
Front Country
Wayne Henderson
The Contanders
Happy Traum
The Stray Birds
Darin And Brooke Aldridge
Jack Lawrence
Jeff Little Trio
Carol Rifkin
10 String Symphony
Midnight Plowboys
Locust Honey
Bluegrass Expierience
Pat Donahue
Steve James
The Local Boys
Tony Williamson
Ed Snodderly
Briarhoppers
String Madness
Mark Bumgarner
Megan Nash
Ken Tizzard
Pat McInnery
Todd Albright
Joe Smothers
Charles Welch
Bob Hill
Andy Buckner
Bill Mathis
Mark Brinkman
The Gravy Boys
Steve And Ruth Smith
The Green Grass Cloggers
Eric Ellis
Scott Freeman
The BattleAxe Band
Ted White
Lydia Luce
The hook And Bullet
Dear Brother
Alberti Flea Circus
Counterclockwise String Band
Spice Creek Ramblers
Shadowgrass
Surry Line
Trailblazers
Raonoke
Swift Creek
http://www.virgilhardenmusic.com/band
Uncle Joe And The Shady Rest

Jan 142017
 

I do not really watch a lot of non music related television, I do indulge in the NFL but I sometimes out it on mute whilst I write or research for future articles. I haven’t watched CMT in quite some time for certain, I’m not really into videos or reality shows or crossroads weirdness. I do watch RFD TV and the likes of old Hee Haw and All of those older Country Music variety shows like Ronnie Prophet and such.

I have been diligently eyeballing this ongoing project offering from them for some time now however, and on Feb 23rd this show is set to debut. Honestly I am pondering exactly what to anticipate from them concerning this particular subject, will it be candied up and made to look politically correct or will it be historically accurate?

I mean let’s face it people this whole birth of Rock And Roll transpired during America’s most volatile time which was the Civil Rights Movement. Memphis in the 1950’s was a pinnacle of segregation and division as was the entire south. Music in itself was also on a pendulum of change as of course 1953 said farewell to Hank Williams and Outlaw Country and the Nashville Sound weren’t devised quite yet. In 1950 legendary producer Sam Phillips was concocting this thing called Rockabilly, which basically was Hillbilly and Rock And Roll juxtaposed together. He wasn’t the only one doing experiments with music however he was the most commercially successful with the outcome of his impromptu session that resulted purely by chance.

Initially this show was going to called “Million Dollar Quartet” and I’m not really sure why it was renamed “Sun Records” perhaps so they can expand on Sun Records as a whole and not just limit this series to one particular event? We shall soon see I think, as this show begins to unfold and it could go a whole variety of different directions to be honest. I have studied the Million Dollar Quartet for many years and I have read so many books on this subject from many different points of view.

The Million Dollar Quartet was an impromptu jam session that included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash,Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins and it happened on December 4rth 1956. The recording was first released in Europe in 1981 and soon after more tracks were discovered and released as the Complete Million Dollar Sessions in 1990 worldwide. There were so many legalities involved that the recordings were almost completely silenced altogether and simply archived.

The whole incident happened by pure coincidence as Carl Perkins who already had success with “Blue Suede Shoes” came into the studio that day and his brothers to record some new material. At that juncture Jerry Lee Lewis was an unknown Legend and was the latest acquisition on the label’s roster. He was still in his experimental stages where his real talent was not yet flourished or fed. Sometime that afternoon a young Elvis Presley arrived to just simply hang out with his current girlfriend to observe and schmooze with whomever he could find, as the place was a regular flophouse for it’s own roster. In fact the studio was complete with sleeping quarters and cooking areas for it’s artists to employ when required, as many of them were often vagabonds and broke.

According to many autobiographies about Johnny Cash including his own biography he was already there to witness the actual Carl Perkins recording, as he was one of Carl’s biggest fans and also “Cowboy” Jack Clement was engineering that day. Jerry Lee Lewis was the upcoming piano guru during this time but Elvis was the most nationally known star right then having been acquired by Sam for a large sum of undisclosed funds. In all four of their own rights they went on to blaze their own paths in their respective genres of music and even each others genres as well. Sun Records met it’s Sam Phillips directed demise in 1969 as Shelby Singleton acquired the label and was rumored to have been a recluse within the building and indulging in over 10,000 hours of tape to himself.

This show will be an eight part series and the cast includes Chad Michael Murray as Sun Records founder Sam Phillips; Billy Gardell as Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s manager; Drake Milligan as Presley; Kevin Fonteyne as Cash; Christian Lees as Lewis; Jonah Lees as Jimmy Swaggart; Trevor Donovan as Eddy Arnold, and Kerry Holliday as Ike Turner.

Jan 102017
 

Well HELLO EVERYONE.
WELCOME to my NEWEST series and creation I called it Steel Guitarists Along The road. I gave it this moniker because within this series I shall be visiting with MANY steel guitarists along the road of ALL realms of music. You know I’m going to go out on a limb here and be honest, I know PEOPLE and I know TONES, but I don’t know much about the actual instrument myself. Alas, I don’t pretend to know all about something I don’t and I am learning SO MUCH every day I compose articles. Hell I been laboring nights and days behind this keyboard for so long that I’m developing different styles and methods of allocating my time for everything.

You know one thing I learned from observing this music business for so many years and watching literally thousands of bands play…it’s a business. It’s a HARD tireless and sometimes scary business, it can be lucrative and tangible or it can be non profitable all in the shift of word of mouth. Good or bad your reputation and word of mouth can make you or break you out there, no matter how hard you network and use social media.

Another thing I learned from festivals and venues is the fact you MUST know how to carry a briefcase and conduct your business as a band and a BRAND. You ever notice how the simple R is the difference between BAND and BRAND, quaint isn’t it? Purposely done…I think not, nonetheless it is quite a thing to ponder. All within that scope of BAND and BRAND is how you market your product to ME the guy with the money in my hand. What are YOU going to do to make ME spend MY money on YOUR music? It’s all about HEART and SOUL, and how you express yourself to me, we all like different avenues of music and you aren’t going to please everyone all the time.

One portion of this whole musical journey I have taken is watching that person sitting behind that thing some bands have, called the steel guitar. It’s been one of the staples of Country Music since the 1927 birth of the Opry and the emergence of Hank Williams, heck even before him it’s existed. And today all around the Honky Tonks of the present day and age that I inhabit in order to bring you these articles, there lies a long list of people that bring the music to light.

Country Music has THREE staple pillars of it’s foundation or it’s backbone if you will. Those are in this order the songwriter, the producer, and the steel guitar in my opinion it takes those three to make a classic Country Music album. My point being Willie Nelson “Red Headed Stranger” and “Wanted The Outlaws” as two prime examples that had all three. Shooter will tell you rapidly “Wanted The Outlaws” was the first platinum selling Country Music album EVER and defied the sough it was initially given by Nashville in the 1970’s.

Local music as a whole contains such a plethora of well rounded steel guitarists and pickers waiting for you to discover them if you are willing to wade through the broken beer bottles and travel the worn out back alleys of America to find them. You have to look in the places most normal people wouldn’t, and you have to listen. You have to brave the heat and cold and discomfort of the fields and farms that spew forth these festivals, mostly you have to study and watch for them.

This installment of my series bring me to visit with a man that has been a friend for some time now his name is Travis Egnor and I found him through W.B.Walker’s Old Soul Radio Show. His band is called The Horse Traders and they romp around the East Tennessee and West Virginia area. You can see their video here and this is my wonderful visit I had with him transcribed into print in this article.

Cover photo of Mr. Travis courtesy of Melissa Stilwell Photography

GHC
Why don’t you tell me how you got started in music, and who influenced you the most?

Mr. Travis
Ok those are huge questions. Well the way I got started, I’m actually the only person in my family that’s musical at all and nobody else had any interest in it.My parents had this old console record player and they ended up with all of my uncle on my dad’s side records and there was everything in there from disco to early Alice Cooper, to Stevie Wonder and the Oak Ridge Boys and everyone just listened to what they liked. Again, they weren’t musicians so the music was always there. Ever since I was really, really young I was brought up with music on those records and I can’t really say that one particular artist really brought me up. I remember liking the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band a whole lot and that’s one band that I really look up to.

I wanted a guitar at five years old and I really wanted one badly I had a couple of plastic one for kids I think the company was Symphony and my first real guitar was a Silver Tone and I bought it in Huntington West Virginia at a place called Mac And Dave’s and I think they are still open but just getting ready to close. I just really wanted one and I cannot say one hundred percent that it took off immediately at five years old, and I had some lessons and those fell off as I drew interest in other things. I picked it back up at seven and I think from the time that I was about twelve it’s been a constant in my life.

GHC
So what started you on the steel guitar?

Mr. Travis
You know,I guess just wanting to hear that in my music. And when I played in Nashville there were all kinds of people playing them in the bands that was in but here in West Virginia when I moved back, there’s not a lot of steel guitarists around. I think there’s only me and James Barker who plays with Tyler Childers and the Foodstamps that are the really the only steel players around here, so I just learned how to pick one out.

I don’t play pedal steel I play straight steel and a buddy of mine Chris Scruggs got me into it, and this is a bold bold statement but I’ll make it anyway I would venture that he is one of the top three if not the best straight steel players in Nashville. Because there’s just not a lot of people doing it anymore and he has really mastered the instrument I mean he’s wonderful. He really got me into straight steel so yeah I just picked up the instrument and I ran across a man selling a six string console steel which is basically a lap steel with legs for a hundred bucks and began using it immediately as I created the Horse Traders. From there I just kept going and going.

GHC
When did the Horse Traders come about?

Mr. Travis
There have been a few different versions of the band but we have been together for about two and half years now and it was something that me and Jeremy Roberts we all know him as “Wood” and has been the drummer for the entire time until New Years Eve as he went on to do solo projects. He and I stared the Horse Traders as a continuation of the other bands that had members that lived here and in Nebraska, and that was fine for touring because we got together here or there it was fine. But when we began to work on new material it just got too complicated so we started up the Horse Traders with our good friend Frank Miller who has been in the band for two years until now.

GHC
Your new EP that’s out now, where are you going to go with that, and will you tour?

Mr. Travis
“I Don’t Mind” we have been playing around with that for about a year now and so we are getting ready to release a split ten inch record with a good friend of ours named Reverend Justin Hylton and we are releasing it in April and then in June we will go back and do a full length. So it will indeed be a full year for us because we will have mostly new material on the full length album. We will play with that for a little while and see where we go with that.

GHC
Without giving away any dirty secrets what makes you unique in your sound?
What differentiates you from other players?

Mr. Travis
As a steel player the player I have is a mid-1950’s Gibson Conselette and it has dual 8 string necks and I keep one in c6 tune and the other one I play around with a lot so I keep it in open G tuning. And I do a lot of behind the bar bending so I’ll be holding a chord with the bar but with my fingers behind the bar I’ll bend it so it sounds just like pedal steel. I’m able to bend those strings so well, but I cannot D tune the strings or hit any knee levers. But I do a lot of behind the bar bends so as a straight steel player that would be one thing that differentiates me from other straight steel players is my ability to do that. I’m not a super great player I can get around on it but I’m still learning so anything that comes from me is from a learning background and you never know what’s going to come out of it I think.

GHC
Now, you do other instruments for the Horse Traders as well right?

Mr. Travis
Yes of course I do in some of the songs I play electric guitar and I play baritone guitar. I play bass if needed of course Mooney is a very good bass player and I can play drums if we are recording and it’s needed. Mandolin, Dobro I can handle all of that.

GHC
You guys are a well oiled machine every time I have seen you play and you work well together.

Mr. Travis
It comes from being really good friends and we hang out together all the time.

GHC
Yeah you guys are more of a laid back atmosphere I cannot say that it lacks any professionalism because it doesn’t it’s very precise it’s just you guys aren’t as tense as some bands up there you know?

Mr. Travis
I’m glad to hear you say that and I don’t know what causes that other than our comfort with each other and the fact that we are having fun being with one another.

GHC
You mentioned Chris Scruggs I plan to contact him once I get my method more mastered and I plan to get Andy Gibson and others. I started with you because I feel your band deserved more exposure and do you have any future plans here in 2017?

Mr. Travis
Yes there will be a video coming out in the early spring and we are booking for festivals, we just got a new drummer so we are settling him into the lineup and we going to go from there.

Dec 242016
 

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My dear readers I always use the disclaimer EVERY YEAR and it’s one of the reasons I don’t have a comments section like other blogs NO ONE ALBUM IS BETTER THAN THE NEXT JUST BECAUSE OF NUMBERED RANK ON THIS LIST. I strive VERY hard to avoid “I thought Luke Bell was better than Cody Jinks” or other various comments like Hank Williams Jr. should have made your list, Gary. Pretty much in the trailer article I included about 200 honorable mentions on this category and some of them missed my pick by a VERY slim margin, having some very well written songs. I’m ALSO NOT SAYING your opinions aren’t important to me so PLEASE stop the disbelief and just enjoy the great music, these artists poured their hearts into each recording and each album is a part of them.

You see folks, the mainstream “regular” people out there that either are brainwashed into accepting only what the media has them like OR they are just too damn lazy to research for themselves..do not want well written songs. They want easy and simple boring lyrics, not really saying people like Hank Williams wasn’t easy and simple he certainly wasn’t boring or fake. I WANT a song that paints a picture because my brain is a canvas and you paint a picture with your song which is a paint, like the Tillers did with “Willy Dear” or James Hand does with “Old Man Henry”.

Another subject some of you will bring up after reading this AND my trailer article and ask…Gary, where is Sturgill Simpson and Shooter Jennings on this list? Well I talked to both of them on this subject earlier this year and THEY know why they aren’t on them. THEY BOTH will have their OWN article because the albums were not specifically Country and they were not on purpose, but I do stray off that path at times and I DID REALLY ENJOY both albums. I mean…I get it Shooter, I fully understand your eclectic barrage of different ventures and you do your OWN thing very professionally I might add. And anybody that wants to try to bash Sturgill about using a horn section on his new album SURELY isn’t a Johnny Cash fan, you think?  Huh? They ARE? WOW Because “Ring Of Fire” had harmonicas right?

So folks I been documenting pages of information and notes ALL YEAR anticipating on unleashing my fury upon you readers with my coveted TOP 50 albums of 2016 and WHY I chose what I did and when. Complete with links right to the artist so you can get to them without further searching for him/her/them. If you like what you see, PLEASE BUY THE ALBUM that’s my MAIN reason for doing all this work. Let’s bring the artists some sales!

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1. Billy Don Burns– A Night In Room 8

Black Country Rock (BCR) Outdid themselves this past spring on Record Store Day with this iconic recording of Country Music Legend Billy Don Burns in the very same hotel room that they found Gram Parsons in, I mean WHO else but Billy Don Burns could spill a cup of whiskey in that room? He’s out on tour as we speak at Roosters Country in Arizona as I write this portion of this article with Joshua Morningstar AND he ALSO has a record coming out December 16th (When you read this it will be out) on Rusty Knuckles and it will be called Graveyard In Montgomery. I wrote a huge article on it to help push pre orders HERE however I wanted to touch more on this album “a Night In Room 8”.

I think Mr.Shooter Jennings, Miss Misty Jennings, the late Colonel Jon Hensley and Miss Mary Sparr did a GREAT JOB with recording Billy Don Burns in his rare form of expressing his memories and stories. In fact in my opinion it is one of the most personal and iconic album of the past few years in many ways. It was released on white vinyl in the spring on Record Store Day, and it was opened with “Outskirts Of Desperate”. Now mind you this is only an acoustic album but that is truly what makes it more personal to me, I can actually see Billy Don laying in that hotel room with thick thick smoke emanating out the door.

“Outlaws At The Cross” was one of the songs I got to hear him play at Bobby Mackeys in Wilder Kentucky and once again I got to hear him play it on my own stage in Kansas City at the Westport Roots Festival this past spring. I’ll tell you folks I saw Billy Don play in so many venues and states I cannot remember every show. I DO remember a VERY cold weekend up on Altamont mountain where I got to see Billy Don take part of the “Altamont Seven”.

Stories, this album is choked full of them from having sex at Billy The Kid’s grave to catching his girlfriend cheating on him when he wrote “Where Was Love” right there in front of her, to “When Gram Parson’s Died I Was Playing Hank” because he actually was at Opryland when Gram Parsons died. You know also this past year Mr. Billy had to take a little unplanned vacation in Kentucky and we all wrote him and never left his side in fact I have his letter framed in my home museum for all my guests to enjoy.

Billy Don Burns has produced and wrote for so many people that I could not begin to name them all, he has played on the Opry with Ernest Tubb and is one of our beloved Country Music Legends that deserves this accolade right here as I move on to a couple more Legends we still have with us on this list of my greatest albums of 2016.

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2. Loretta Lynn– Full Circle

Who would have thought that in 2016 someone who is this beloved of a Country Music Legend would be nominated for a Grammy for BEST Country album? Instances like this continue to reassure me that real and honest Country Music is returning much like the vinyl LP.

This album is Loretta’s first new album since her 2004 album “Van Lear Rose” that was produced by Jack White and all of the songs were written or co-written by Loretta herself . The album further went on to win a Grammy for best Country Album of 2004 and garnished further awards for Loretta, in fact she is the highest awarded female in Country Music history.

I must say that this album was so beautifully recorded and mastered that it made her sound and her style absolutely flawless in every way. The album opened with the first song she ever wrote called “Whispering Sea”, and as she stated on the album she had no idea how many songs even went on an album.  It took her husband many years of hard work to assist Loretta become the mecca of an almost 60 year presence within Country Music, many miles driven and once he held a gun to a DJ’s head in order to get her album played on the radio.

This album was released in March 2016 and became Lynn’s 40th album to make the top ten Billboard best selling Country LP’s and debuted at #19 on the Billboard top 200 in one month. This album contains new songs and redone versions of older songs like her classic “Fist City” and “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven”. Even to this day now at 84 she is one of Country Music’s most active Legends playing an astounding amount of shows, and the last thing that makes me love her so much is that she upholds her Opry responsibilities and performs the required amount of shows to maintain REAL membership.

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3. Cody Jinks– I’m Not The Devil

Cody Jinks And The Tone Deaf Hippies pretty much began in 2012 when he released an album titles “30” and another called “Black Sheep” prior to that he was a guitarist in a thrash metal band named Unchecked Aggression. Mr. Cody spent many many years performing in empty bars and places where you would not go in the daytime let alone night. I recently saw him perform in Nashville where he said regarding one of his songs “I played that song in more empty bars then full ones”, you can read the review HERE.

His album “Adobe Sessions” made my top 50 last year so Mr. Cody is the first artist to make my top 50 in two years, and justifiably deserved. This album “I’m Not The Devil” sald a whopping 11,300 copies the first week after he released the album at Grimey’s in October. For the past few months Mr. Cody has witnessed a surge in attendance and this tour has been selling out venues in astounding numbers.

This album contains one song “Church At Gaylor Creek” that was wrote by number one album pick Billy Don Burns and also a fine cover of “The Way I Am” from Merle Haggard’s 1980 album of the same name. Not only is the Merle Haggard cover a damn fine job it is also the shortest song on the entire album at 3 minutes even.

If you get the LP it is actually (almost) a double album with the fourth side actually blank with artwork on the album. “Vampires” is truly a jam in a “Cast No Stones” type anthem song which has a very good crowd response when I studied his set last week. See when I watch a band I study the audience and their reactions, I watch the merch counter (for theft) but also to see what sells and I analyze my reasons why.

This album closes with a truly terrific song called “Hand Me Down” which is one of the most well written songs on the album trumped only by “I’m Not The Devil” which was co-wrote by Ward Davis who has been opening for Mr. Cody, and with great compliment to the ambiance of the show.

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4. Dolly Parton-Pure And Simple

I’ll be honest folks these top 4 were VERY CLOSE in my heart, and it could’ve been a four way tie and I would have worked around it. I mean heck SHE IS pure and simple and lately she has shown us that she indeed has heart of gold for the things she has done for the residents of East Tennessee and The Great Smoky Mountain region, where she hails from.

I’m about to write some details about her telethon she announced and by the time you read this I’ll have it published and might later include a link. But this album her 43rd solo album is absolutely outstanding in every way from every point of view, save for the fact that the Billy Don Burns album reveals so much history it meant more to me as a person that loves history.

The opening song “Pure And Simple” is so upbeat and full of love you can just FEEL the emotion in her timeless vocals which were captured with such grace and elegance. All of the songs on this album complimented each other well and I thought the placement of them was good, like the second song “Say Forever You’ll Mine” which had only acoustic guitar and fiddle but still was a masterpiece.

“Head Over High Heels” was another well written tune that was astounding when I first heard it, and deepened my appreciation for her songwriting all the more, also the soulful ballad “Can’t Be That Wrong” was equally epic. This album sparked a 48 show mega tour that is still garnishing astounding revenue for everyone involved proving that PURE AND SIMPLE Country Music is coming back to the mainstream and in fact…never left!

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5. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band– Circli’n Back 50 Years Of Dirt

Every genre has Icons like the Rolling Stones that have been together for 50 years much like this band from California called the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band which formed in 1966 in Long Beach. Now to be honest this band so many lineup changes within the brand that it sparked more side bands than any other band in history accept Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys.

This album celebrates those many people as for the first time ever they step out onto the stage and together in various forms from a live show at the historic Ryman Auditorium in 2015 that included so many guests it makes this album one of a kind and the memories priceless. In today’s lineup Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter, Jeff Hanna and John McEuen greet people as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band who in fact were just announced as one of the headlining acts for ROMP fest 2017.

Jackson Browne and Jimmy Ibbotson are two of the former members of the NGDB that join the current band with former songs on the album like “Truthful Parson Brown” and the ever popular “Fishin In The Dark”. Also this album pivots toward many iconic songwriters the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker who originally wrote their hit “Mr. Bojangles” in 1970 which was included on their album “Uncle Charlie And His Dog Teddy”.

In addition to the long list of songwriters (who also is on this list as a TOP 50) was John Prine who originally wrote their hit “Paradise” that has been covered by SO MANY people and featured in a number of movies, and “Catfish John” wrote by Johnny Russell and Dallas Frazier. Perhaps one of my favorite portions of the album was the Rodney Crowell “Long Hard Road (The Sharecroppers Dream)”, I have always loved that song. This album is a MUST HAVE on  your shelf of your collection.

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6. Luke Bell– Luke Bell

This is the sophomore album from this Wyoming native that tried college for a little while but quickly gravitated to the Honky Tonks where he felt welcomed in the Austin music scene. He then moved to New Orleans and went back to Wyoming before eventually venturing on to Nashville where now you can see him all over, in fact the Exit/In has him next week out there.

The album opens with “Sometimes” which is already barraging listeners with steel guitar and twang that a TRUE Honky Tonk album MUST have in order to catch my attention…oh yes Mr. Luke you certainly did Sir. Even thought this album is only ten songs they are all truly fine quality songs like my personal favorite “The Bullfighter” and the ragtime some “Ragtime Blues” which sounds like a Pokey LaFarge song.

“Loretta” is a wonderful album in the middle portion of the album that showcased his unique voice off very well along with “Working Man’s Dream” One thing that I enjoy about Luke Bell is one of the things I love about artists of old, you CAN pick his voice out of a crowd of others, like Marty Robbins…YUP That’s Luke Bell!  I’m absolutely looking forward to attending one of his shows VERY SOON!

The album closes with a truly soulful slow rolling song called “The Great Pretender” which features some really good piano work. This album features plenty of steel guitar solos and mighty fine Honky Tonk piano work the likes of the 1970’s when artists like Mickey Gilley were Flying High (yeah all you Mickey Gilley fans will pick up on that).

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7. Margo Price– Midwest Farmer’s Daughter

I MUST SAY Third Man Records outdid themselves on this project from Margo Price And The Pricetags from the opening line on “Hands Of Time” with a powerful line “When I rolled out of town on the unpaved road, I was 57 dollars being broke”.. a long 6 minute story about her hard youth from loosing her first born child all the way up to her battle with drinking.

“About To Find Out” is a bass thumping Honky Tonk gem complete with steel guitar solos and plenty of twang to keep you two stepping and jiving your way to complete happiness. “Tennessee Song” is a well recorded rough sounding tempo dragging song with faded vocals that feature her voice so well, you can smell the smoke and liquor from the depths of the beer joints this gal came from.

Last year I got the blessed opportunity to catch her set at 2015 Muddy Roots Music Festival and even before then I was eagerly awaiting this spring album as we all were. This album ranks HIGH on every Americana Music website I know of that get a lot more traffic than mine, so I hope she loves my piece I wrote.

I LOVE the steel sound on “This Town Gets Around” and the tone of all the twang and that paintbrush pop on them drums, along with the haughty (and honest) lyrics of this song that suggests oral sex helps you become more popular…umm you bet!  There isn’t ANY fooling this young lady and she sure the HELL isn’t fake or plastic on ANY front because she “Don’t write the shit that gets bought and sold” but her LP IS selling in amazing paces.

“Weekender” is a fun little ditty about being thrown in the Davidson County Jail, where you can hear a story about crack binges, domestic violence, and bad jail food. Imagining Miss Margo in one of them orange monkey suits was entertaining this song paints such an awesome story in my mind.

This young lady has a bright future ahead of her as she steamrolls her way on to Europe and other countries overseas where music like hers is highly sought after and salivated over by many. The dobro infused “Desperate And Depressed” closing song on this album is all too true and many can relate to her lyrics. One thing that impressed me was the length of the songs on this album while remaining so relevant to the meaning of the songs and not straying from it.

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8. Kelsey Waldon– I’ve Got A Way

It IS indeed the year of the Americana females on this website, they just keep pouring into my speakers with much sought after style. This is another shorter record with well written songs from a young lady that comes from Ballard County Kentucky (not far from me).

Once again she has vocals that are easily distinguished among her peers and if it was included in a playlist and I was in another room I could easily concede that it’s her. I must say “False King” is probably one of the best songs I have heard in 2016 and I thought the hook in the lyrics was ingenious, as well as the opening song “Dirty Old Town” which had some really cool telecaster licks.

“You Can Have It” was a slower song but still not quite a ballad and it has a great moral lesson to it, and she has really grown a lot as an artist and a songwriter since her 2014 release “Goldmine” which gripped my attention in 2015. She claims that “I’ve Got A Way” is a forward leap in every aspect and I pretty much agree with her in many ways as I myself truly enjoyed this album.

“Traveln’ Down This Lonesome Road” was one of the songs I liked the best off this offering as it gives props to Bill Monroe and many others in her own unique way of vocal delivery. I assure you folks she is one of the real deals in independent Country Music and you MUST BUY this album!

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9. Moe Bandy– Lucky Me

I have to admit these TOP 10 albums contain a lot of songs that made me cry, and Country Legend Moe Bandy succeeded upon doing just that. His voice was captured completely flawlessly on this project from the opening song of the same name ‘Lucky Me”. But it was the second song ‘I’ve Done Everything Hank Williams Did But Die” that truly riled my emotions, because the mere thought of losing him scares me from all that 2016 has taken from us. The tempo that this song uses and the fashion in which it is delivered was astoundingly Country.

This album is Moe’s first full length release since 2005 and 40 years later he is still just as perfect as he was all those years ago. However this album was produced by Jimmy Capps, now what does THAT tell you? I mean with misery songs like “Hell Stays Open All Night Long” that are riddled with regret over leaving your wife THIS IS true real Country Music that graced the airwaves in the 1970’s when Moe Bandy was a household name.

I am extremely enthusiastic about having him on my stage at Westport Roots Festival in 2017, where he and Dale Watson will be two of the featured headliners there. “It Was Me” is another one of the beautiful ballads that bring back his classic voice.

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10. Mark Chesnutt -Tradition Lives

This album is the 15th full length studio album from Mark Chesnutt and his first album since 2010, seriously why did he wait this long to blow our minds? When I picked this LP up from the Ernest Tubb Record Shop this year I dropped the sleeve on the floor in disbelief that this was even made it was so good.

I just cannot believe the ignorance of “Country Radio” and how they insistently ignore works of art this epic. I mean come on people how can you purposely overlook an album of this magnitude? From the opening jukebox anthem “I’ve Got A Quarter In My Pocket” to the rabble rousing ‘Lonely Ain’t The Only Game In Town” this album take you on a tour of heartache.

“Neither Did I” has a more modern sound and I didn’t really care for it as much as the rest of the album, but it was still good. One thing that is different from pop country is that none of these songs are just filler songs to shelf three hits on an album, they are all decent. “You Moved Up In Your World” is quite the toe tapper that was well written and sounds like a classic Mark Chesnutt song for sure with great background music.

‘Losing You All Over Again” was a great steel guitar induced song full of sadness and regret that you would come to demand from one of his albums, in fact this album is his finest in the last 15 years. It easily beats the last three previous albums in every way, he outdid himself and it makes me sad I have “Never Been To Texas”…but I’m trying to change that and I’ll be introducing some more Red Dirt Country to the website in 2017.

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11. Cactus Blossoms– You’re Dreaming

With the white border on the cover of this album I know it looks out of place and weird but it’s not it is actually the same size so I apologize for that. What I do NOT apologize for is including this album so high up with it’s outright gorgeous harmonies in an Everly Brothers fashion, for some reason or other people always try to compare music and they must be used to that comparison.

All of the songs on this offering are pretty decent length and arranged really well, from the self titled “You’re Dreaming” and “Stoplight Kisses” to the slow old timey balled “queen Of Them All” this album is a complete throwback to the 1960’s era radio pop music and that’s NOT a derogatory cut.

“Mississippi” sounded like something Chris Issak would have made popular and had a classic paintbrush drum sound that was quite soothing and pleasant about drinking in dives on River Street complete with telecaster twang. “No More Crying The Blues” was a toe tapping upbeat choice off the album of mine to be one of the better choices here however the entire album truly satisfies my appetite for throwback sound.

The closing song “Traveling Paradise” also included some terrific harmonies and a older tone with a high pitched steel guitar thin clean tone and relaxing vibes. This album was produced by JD McPherson and was one of my favorite albums in my constant rotation on cd.

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12. Don Williams– LIVE In Ireland

From the opening line of “Good Ole Boys Like Me” you know for a damn fact this double live album was destined to be an instant classic. You just do not get any finer than that signature Gentle Giant vocals as he takes the crowd through “some Broken Hearts Never Mend” and many more of his hits from the Garth Fundis produced mega records of the 1970’s.

Perhaps one of my favorite points on the album were the ever popular “Tulsa Time” which put me back to mind of the “Smokey And The Bandit” movie where we all saw him perform and he also mentions Burt Reynolds in ‘If Hollywood Don’t Need You”. Every song on this album is timeless in it’s own right including the song ‘You’re My Best Friend” where the entire auditorium sings the song instead of him, and you can just HEAR the enjoyment in Don’s heart when they sing and you hear that deep growling “Yeah”…

Don Williams has one of the most unique and special voices on the face of this planet PERIOD, it is completely irreplaceable and will never EVER be silenced. I can honestly tell you that 100 years from now Don Williams will still be revered as one of our most special Legends. “Lord I Hope This Day Is Good” and the classic “Amanda” are also on this album.

This album closes with a song made popular also by Mel McDaniel however Don Williams recorded “Louisiana Saturday Night” first in 1978. Ireland truly got to witness an absolute treat this night and I hope with all my heart we have Don Williams around for many many more years. That classic deep growl of his salutes the crowd after the show is touching as he goes into “I Recall A Gypsy Woman” which is a lesser known song of his.

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13. Tyller Gummersall– Long Ride Home

A lot of people have been congratulating this Colorado native young man about getting to work with Legendary producer Lloyd Maines and this album just absolutely blew me away when I stumbled upon it by accident while digging one day. I got to run out to Nashville and See His Set on a binge weekend of shows down there. I ran out to the store called Two Old Hippies across the street from the Station Inn.

“Rocky Mountain Man” was a descriptive journey into where he is from as a man, and the song “Better Than You Found It” was one of the most well written honest songs of 2016. Those lyrics had more heart and soul to them along with family values than anything you’ll hear on the radio (accept XM).

“Country Boy” sounds like just another copycat plastic manufactured song of the new millennium but actually It’s NOT in any way, the line about the fresh cut hay was really inventive and you can quickly tell he’s BEEN THERE and actually LIVES what he writes in every way. “Kiss Me” is a simple and easy song, easy to listen to easy to understand and just plain COUNTRY. I wanted to say how remarkably welcoming his family is to the fans at his shows his own father and mother PERSONALLY COME and THANK every person for coming. Honestly you do not get any more down home than his mom, and you can just feel their family values at this show. I don’t always include my religious beliefs on this but I am convinced God is well pleased with the way they support their son.

The only complaint I have right now is that he has so many other albums out and I first found out about him recently I feel dumb as hell on that one folks, I absolutely IMPLORE YOU TO BUY THIS ALBUM! Now when I got to see him play he had more steel guitar in the music it seemed but the song “Ghosts” was a REALLY GOOD song that prays for release of all his past loves in his broken heart.  The closing song “Long Ride Home” was another descriptive song of his raising that equally paints a vivid and comforting feeling to this album.

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14. – Carolina Ghost

He had been on my radar for quite some time until this past spring when he performed on W.B.Walker’s Old Soul Radio Show Third Year Anniversary Show in Huntington West Virginia at The V Club. Let me tell you I was NOT disappointed with what he brought to the table at that show, and I don’t believe Mr. Brandon was either. We ALL had just a fabulous time together enjoying everyone’s music even though it was a big job for me. It was truly a step forward for me into uncharted waters as I have never been to WV before.

One thing I liked about this LP was just like Ryan Bingham this LP was clear vinyl and it was just as beautiful as the music on it is. One of my favorite songs was the second on this album “Piedmont Sky” I just loved the tempo of it and the fashion that he delivers the lyrics of it.  The song “Carolina Ghost” was a truly pleasant song about his Carolina area where he comes from, the back roads of the Carolina-Virginia borders and it paints a wonderful picture in your mind if you just sit back and listen.

“White Dove’s Wing” is pretty much my favorite pick of this offering of his with some truly pleasant dobro opening up the song, but it’s his vocals that make the song good. It’s just some uplifting GOOD music for a change, I hope I can grow old with grace. The songs are all pretty much evenly matched time wise and compliment each other well with the arrangements, the slow ballad “Uphill Battle” was another best song, VERY descriptive and uplifting. It is one hundred percent better than ANYTHING on an FM radio I’ll say that, truly a gentleman’s ballad if I ever heard one.

“Broken Hallelujah” was a nice uptempo song that makes December in Virginia sound quite attractive and warmer with whomever he wrote that song about. The beginning acoustics of “Tuscaloosa” were nice and the lyrics of this song were equally awesome, I myself like them Alabama girls they are pretty darn nice looking and so is the scenery of the state.  Every song on this album  is extremely descriptive and fun to sing along to, and his live shows are quite fun to see in fact he is one of the most sought after sets at Americanafest.

“Steel And Stone” is a slower song that assists in closing the album nicely with “The Reddest Rose” where once again the dobro work is exceptional and the lyrics are nice, this is one of my favorite driving albums in my truck when I just want to sail down the highway and enjoy the view. If you enjoy cheating and drinking songs this isn’t your album in fact it’s the other side of coin and that’s not a bad thing in any way, this is one of the ultimate “feel good” albums I have ever heard to be honest.

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15.Chelle Rose– Blue Ridge Blood

I have to admit this album is one of the grittiest bad assed albums of the year and like I said in the opening few statements these albums don’t outrank one another simply by numbers on the list. IN NO WAY does this album deserve to be considered lower down on any lists and she deserves to never be overlooked because deep within that grit lies true beauty in her own form. I have always admired Miss Chelle because I know how difficult it is when you are dealing with health issues you cannot pinpoint to treat I have them as well.

She is one of the nicest people you will ever encounter in your life and is engaged to one of the members of the Emi Sunshine Band and released Blue Ridge Blood on her own label. Unlike her previous “Ghost Of Browder Holler” that was produced by Ray Wylie Hubbard, this album was produced by George Reiff.

The East Tennessee and West North Carolina references begin almost immediately within the form of this album in “Paintsville Table” you are already subjected to hardcore misery and poverty from a portion of the United States that often gets swept under the rug. I can tell you this all those people have up there to put food on the table is coal you either go dig or you starve..period. But I’ll tell you what, you’ll never meet a breed of people more proud or more hardworking than east Tennesseans or what are called “Mountain Folk”.

“Dammit Darin” was such a haunting and short song of lovers regret but it doesn’t need to be a long drawn out epic to understand the meaning of it all. The album quickly changes to the more upbeat “Not Your Girl” before once again flipping over to the wonderful story of her family and her “Blue Ridge Blood”. I think she just looks mean in her photos as she states in the song, having grown up in Lenoir City Tennessee one can quickly tell her roots are vividly taking form on this album and it’s the start of something totally different with her.

“Mean Grandpappy” was another haunting song about her family in Knoxville with very powerful lines like “Not a tear in the eye in any of his kin”. In fact it was one of the coldest songs I ever heard in my life, and it must have been damn hard to write and then again easy at the same time as evidently she has many memories of an evil upraising and verbal abuse. This album truly introduces you to the person that she is inside and I thought it was one of the more honest and from the heart albums I included in my list, and I thought “Hiding Hole” was one of the most simple but ingeniously descriptive songs I ever heard in my life. The music world needs to pay more attention to this young lady and I personally wish wonderful things for her, I have always been a fan of hers.

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16. Justin Wells-Dawn In The Distance

Mr. Justin is the former front man for one of my favorite bands Fifth On The Floor who I had the blessing to get to them see their final performance at Cosmic Charlie’s in Lexington Kentucky and you can read about that HERE.

This album is his first solo offering to us and to be honest I wasn’t quite sure what exactly to expect from him as I knew very little of him as a solo artist, but I was indeed excited because I like his music. The album begins with a mid tempo song called “Going Down Grinnin'” that sends a positive message to me as a listener that I myself need to adhere to because I ain’t leaving till I’m done here either. This is truly a song of summoning strength from yourself and every time I am down I shall pull out this record and listen to that song.

“Still No Rain” caught Mr. Justin’s vocal very well and he sounded very stripped down and honest on this song. Some very nice story lyric about lover’s murders and looking to place blame on others for our own troubles. “So Far Away” was a cover song from the Dire Straits album “Brothers In Arms” I think everyone from the era I grew up in loved that album, it came from the “music video” era when MTV came out.

This was one of the shorter albums on my TOP 50 list however the songs on the list are all truly fine quality in every way, “Three Quarters Gone” is the way my body feels man I’m always at the damn doctor for my health issues. This song is about life’s trials and troubles. Adulthood is a hard painful journey sometimes and this song truly helps me relate with Mr. Justin quite well. I felt like he wrote it for me and THAT is what people look for in songs, you need to personally relate to them.

The album begins to close with “Can’t Break My Heart” which was a good toe tapping tune about personal fences and celebrating your own flaws, however the low and relaxed pace of the closing song “Little Darlins” about his loved ones dancing through his mind can paint a pleasant picture in your mind if you just spend time sitting back and opening your mind to creativity and SEE what he is singing…that’s half the true fun of listening to someone’s album!

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17.Charlie Stout– Dust And Wind

Here lately I been a Red Dirt Country research machine, and I found him within my searches. I’m not going to lie this was an acoustic album that had me so excited I had to call people and share him with anyone who had never heard of him. Because let’s face it we cannot know every artist from every scene or genre.

“I See Stars” painted a western cowboy picture in my mind and it may have been inspired by Marty Robbins “El Paso” but if not it was truly an exciting story about a man being killed by Texas Rangers. You can actually envision the gun battles and the action. “The Years That Go By” was well written and a good song to drive to, this album didn’t need anything else other than his lighting quick vocal delivery and his inventive songs.

This was a short album however I can truly relate to songs like “The Hanging” which is a story from a point of view of a murderer about to be executed. This was truly another vivid descriptive venture about a trip to hell, this next song called “Resurrection Day” was remarkable and his finger picking style accompanies his haunting songs really well. “Set Your Eyes On Things Below” had some really good lines in the song that impressed me with his honest and graphic song writing style. I really enjoyed the stories of temptation and the Crucifixion of Jesus in the fashion he wrote about it, a scene of a car wreck and more.

The album closes with “Sinner’s Prayer” where he uses the Lord’s name in a double standard way we can all relate to. I think we all have our demons and have lost our way at one time or another, before it ends with a fifteen minute piece called “Dust And Wind” which contains..crickets. This album is an absolute MUST HAVE in your collection.

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18.The Divorcees– From Labour To Refreshment

This band is from the East Coast of Canada and has been around for about ten years now this new album is their third offering to my knowledge, let me tell you this quartet just absolutely jams. This was another album that I stumbled upon by accident while surfing for new music one night.

At first the album hits you a barrage of twang with an instrumental number called “fender Bender” before going into a jamming trucker song called “5 Million Miles” which pretty much salutes what makes America function. I’ll tell you what there’s nothing fancy about this band and that’s NOT an insult actually it made me love this album SO much more than a highly produced one.

“Crowded Shed” is an outright jamming song about neighbors gathering to have good times much like we do down here in Lickskillet Kentucky. We party all night when the times call for it so we can all take care of each other. Hanging with my buddies in a crowded shed is a terrific way to spend a Saturday night. “Spend My Pay” has some terrific fiddle pieces and it’s a terrific Honky Tonk tune that compliments the rest of the album well.

What’s a Honky Tonk album without a good drinking song like “Beer O Clock” where they aren’t going to quit until at least 4:20. Ha, I enjoyed that song quite a bit I think I’ll bring this album down to the Crowded Shed for everyone to listen to while we drink.

“Saltwater Cowboy” brings a mid album Spanish tinge to the ambiance of the album with quick rolling drums and backing steel. “The Level And The Square” is a toe tapping ditty about something that today’s day and age lacks, honesty. The hammer and hard work has become an absence of youth today but we can bring that back with The Level And The Square. The album closes with a long five minute song called “Riding Off In The Sunset” man I need more than three cups of coffee daily. I enjoyed this song most as the steel pushes along a good tempo with a message you can sit back, enjoy, and let it consume your mind. This album is choked full of beautiful music and is another MUST PURCHASE in your collection.

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19. Tracey Byrd– All American Texan

I’ll be the first to admit I never cared for Tracy Byrd’s music in his earlier years but if he continues to record music of this caliber he will become a Country Music Legend for sure. I didn’t reluctantly listen to it because I knew he had potential to record REAL Country Music like many of the mainstream people of his era do.

I been researching the Texas music scene this past year like a machine and this album was outstanding and a whole new direction for this artist who in my opinion much like Moe Bandy is vastly overlooked. The album starts off with a western swing influenced “All American Texan” which salutes the Dallas Cowboys and everything else Texan, from the get go I could tell this album was going to be full of the things I love and it truly blew my mind that he released such an epic project that I hope continues in this fashion.

The name “Texas Truck” made me yawn until I heard it, immediately you are barraged with western swing steel and twin fiddles the likes of Red Steagall and Bob Wills, every man should own a Texas Truck was not an wanna be song in any way. “Roll With It” was a good acoustic song about his past and some of his bad decisions, the obstacles he had to face to approach this new pinnacle of his musical journey. Roll with it as long as the road rolls on people, because that’s the message here.

“Only Jesus” was a great song, you know I still think that Country Music is the music of the Lord it represents the sinners and weak. Mr. Roy Acuff sang that God Must Love Country Music and he was correct, so what’s a good Honky Tonk album without the glorification of God? There isn’t one in my opinion and this album exalts him in many ways, I applauded his props to the man upstairs.

“it’s About The Pain” was a good upbeat tune shaming the fake Country Singers and correcting the fact that TRUE Country Music is a white man’s blues (sort of move to number 22 and re think that Sir), however it makes NO promise of anything for sure. “Take It To The Bank” was one of the best songs on the album and being the last it just made me want to repeat it and repeat again, this album is WAY UP TOP in my constant rotation. Take it to the bank BUY THIS ALBUM! This album is therapy for a rough week at work and demands a fresh cracked beer.

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20. Confederate Railroad– Lucky To Be Alive

Confederate Railroad is another band I used to love back in the day and I still enjoy their first few albums but I had strong creepy feeling that this album would bring out their Honky Tonk side and their capabilities for being a rowdy beer swilling band of heathens seeking redemption for their past like the song “Lucky To Be Alive” which also boasts the album’s name.

Vocalist Mr. Danny Shirley shines out like a beacon in songs like “If I Ever Cross That Line” which was a good song to slow dance to but it also has truthful good lyrics and some damn fine piano complimenting the style of it. I didn’t care for the modern modern pitch to the re done “Trashy Women” and if you like the new sounding stuff you’ll enjoy the way it turns to that style it just turned me off so I usually skip this song.

“The Man I Am Today” is a really good two stepping song you can grab some gal to twirl around to the steel guitar to. It’s a song about becoming bitter from past relationships which includes clever jokes about women. The BEST song on the album is “Whiskey And Women” which has a deep thump and a Waylon tempo to it. You MUST have a good song about drugs on a Honky Tonk album and this time CRR has truly delivered that to us.

This album includes a fun, live version of Roger Alan Wade’s “Psycho Bitch From Hell” which they consistently play in their eclectic live sets, It’s GREAT to see this powerhouse band back to functioning again and this time they are in prime condition with a mournful past. I also “Don’t Feel As Young As I Used To” in many ways, and yeah I agree this album needed a nice Bluegrass song to close it out.

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21. Jessie Dayton– The Revealer

Man this album just opens all barrels blazing with “Daddy Was Bad Ass” and it cannot get any more specific than that my friends, I mean it’s just an outlaw song if I ever heard one about an hard headed old man from back in them Steve McQueen days when bad was bad and they rolled packs of smokes up in the shirt sleeves. This album has a rockabilly beat with ALL the bells and whistles you can imagine.

It busts right out into “Holy Ghost Rock And Roller” that sounds like the old Memphis Rockabilly music the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis. This man is no stranger to the music scene having his own label for many years and in the past he produced Eddie Spaghetti’s “The Value Of Nothing”.  “Eatin’ Crow And Drinking Sand” was another crude and haughty drinking song complete with some damn fine guitar solos, this man’s live show is NOT ONE to be missed I have been hearing rave reviews of them from his fans that call themselves “Hardchargers”.

One of the best song I have heard in 2016 was “Possum Ran Over My Grave” which of course was about George Jones, and it’s presented with his signature Jones style both vocally and musically. I’m pretty sure almost every artist on this here list has been influenced by George in some way shape or form.  “I’m At Home Getting Hammered While She’s Out Getting Nailed” is a cover song from a band called Banjo And Sullivan from the 70’s…..actually it’s a fictional band from a Rob Zombie movie that I liked called The Devil’s Rejects…you know the Firefly family!

The last song on the album “Big State Motel” has some pretty good guitar licks on it and brought a nice slow close to an epic album that contained twelve good tracks on it. Good balance and good length to a fine recording, with a good feature of his soulful vocals when needed and rowdy ball busting vocals when called for.

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22. Aaron Vance– Shifting Gears

Now this album is VERY short at a minimal seven songs however it made this list in a FLASH, simply because I heard more REAL Country Music in this man’s voice than the last ten I heard before his album. “Outlaw Jones” of course was about George and his influences BUT “Nighttime Is The Right Time” grabbed hold of me and didn’t let me go, what a GREAT fiddle song about honest Country living.

This young man was born and raised in Mississippi and he moved to Nashville in 2014 after a short stint at Ole Miss college, he presents a song called “Good Lord Willing” which contained a reference to Hank Williams famous quote “If The Good Lord’s Willing And The Creek Don’t Rise”.  This album truly shined through other albums that had more money spent on producing and that makes him a “Real Deal” like his song about real women.

“Love Like This” was a really fine song full of warm fiddles and well written lyrics that even George Strait would appreciate like I did. REALLY WELL and upbeat lyrics about new found love, this buckle wearing man is truly an up and comer that once again I stumbled upon by total accident while digging one night. The song named for the album “Shifting Gears” bring you closer to him as a person, where he tells you about his youth as a preacher’s son and going from home to home. He moved to Tupelo at an early age and was heavily influenced by a truck driving grandfather that also shifted gears that brought out his style and structure of his songwriting, and after checking out his previous albums I have concluded that he deserves to be on this list!

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23. Brent Cobb– Shine On Rainy Day

You know I have a pretty good feeling that this album will be included in pretty much every best of 2016 list I can think of. If the list omits this album they are foolish not only because he is related to Dave Cobb but for God’s sakes this album features some truly good songwriting. From the get go “Solving Problems” is a toe tapping “aw shucks” approach to simple Country life that people like me can relate to as I watch the old men at the diner drink coffee and tell lies at breakfast…solving all the problems of the world is all.

“South Of Atlanta” was a really melodic and descriptive song about simple Country life, like I said his songwriting ability just absolutely radiates the warmth of small town culture. “Diggin’ Holes” is a song about one of the backbones of this country that is currently getting shit on…coal. Like I already stated in my portion of Chelle Rose those people have nothing more to do work wise but dig for coal, hard working and proud. But it also references his own ability to mess up things in his life while mentioning digging graves and oil. I think we have all dug our own holes in our lives.

“Country Bound” is equally melodic and the tempo was enjoyable this is truly an outstanding album in every fashion possible save for the one thing that made me chose the one I did…history. He has released two alums thus far and although he has a bright future that will “Shine On Rainy Day” his past history still isn’t strong enough for number one…yet.

“Let The Rain Come Down” is another good song about the curse of a drought with a few hidden meanings that you will just have to find for yourself upon listening to this album. All of the songs on this album were average in length but above average in quality like “Down In The Gulley” which was about moonshine where his family made their living in his youth. Finally we are taken to “Black Crow” where he emphasizes on a terrific finger picking guitar and a story about robbery and guilt.

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24. The Hocking River String Band Wildcat

I first heard about this band from an Ohio based festival I have been supporting for some time now called  The Duck Creek Log Jam,  which takes place in the Hocking Hills region of the state of Ohio twice a year. This band is a staple spot on their band roster as long as I have been reporting on them

Their embarking song on this album is called “Irish Exit” that has some fine banjo licks along with jumping tones that you would expect from any good string band, these guys play like a well oiled machine. ‘Ohio Bound” makes that evident as you hear about corn liquor and rolling hills with a down home warmth and welcome if you come to enjoy the music. The state of Ohio has so many wonderful bands coming out like the Tillers and these guys.

“High On A Minnow” was a song on the mid album that was a good driving song with a toe tapping flow and some fine fiddle licks along with songs like “Tree Stump” this album is a sure fire bet for the blues, if you still don’t feel like buck dancing then you aren’t a string band fan here. The shortest song on the album is called “Color Wheel” was actually the more clever from a song writer’s point of view.

“Trap Door” was a hauntingly good song about the gallows and as this album draws to a close you truly come to realize how talented and overlooked this band truly is,I don’t understand why more attention is not paid mind to them. “Heavy Hearts” was the closing song on this album, nothing like a parting song of true lament for a string band album like this. It is for certain a mixture of good and bad times that can alter your bad mood quickly, just give this band a chance to grow on you and you’ll see the raw talent here.

25. Shovels And Rope– Little Seeds

This album was by far a titanic addition to their collection of already stellar albums for a band that pretty much was formed by accident. Thirteen songs at over Forty Five minutes makes a longstanding epic album full of jams, “I Know” blasted right off into their common Americana sound. It set up a good foundation for songs like “St. Anne’s Parade” which was a four minute piece of fun that featured their harmony in blessed form.

We haven’t heard from them with any new music wise since 2014 but their cover album was really good, and their live shows usually feature some of their solo music as well as their music together. “The Last Hawk” was a good song about traveling all over the place, it’s a true gypsy song for the wandering soul. “Buffalo Nickel” was one of the better songs on the album with clever lyrics.

“Missionary Ridge” was a true story about the Battle Of Missionary Ridge during the Civil War near Chattanooga Tennessee. It’s a pretty cool song that paints a vivid picture in your mind for sure.

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26. John Prine– For Better Or Worse

Remarkable, I don’t believe there is an album that a Legend like John Prine could make that ISN’T good. This album is just stuffed full of so many guests and simple Country music you cannot overlook it. He is very much included in my number five pick, and this album isn’t much further behind it. “Who’s Gonna Take Your Garbage Out” was a simple easy to understand song about men and our shenanigans.

This recording captures John in his glory and despite his health problems he is in total top condition for classics likes “Storms Never Last” with Lee Ann Womack complete with background music that makes this a total grand slam album. “Falling In Love Again” was a beautiful duet with Allison Krauss that combined their voices so very well, John Prine sounds so majestic on this album his soul shines just pure shines out to the world here.

“I’m Telling You” was a great song that is a duet with Holly Williams with a western swing tinge to it.  “Remember Me” was a song I enjoyed on what I consider the greatest Country album of all time Willie Nelson’s “Red Headed Stranger”. Another great song on this album was “Look At Us” made popular by Vince Gill and I could just keep on going at how many classic songs John recorded on this album for us to enjoy.

There is a truly wonderful version of Cold,Cold Heart with Miranda Lambert on this album and “Mental Cruelty” with Kasey Musgraves. The powerhouse combinations just keep coming at you on this album and do not stop until you press the repeat button for the CD to play again!

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27. Randy Rogers Band– Nothing Shines Like Neon

Once again my love for this sound of Red Dirt Country from the Texas and Oklahoma scene have overwhelmed me so heavily here the last few weeks. One of them is the Randy Rogers Band who have several albums out on the market and this album was a fine addition to an already impressive lineup. “San Antone” was a truly jubilant opening tune about his favorite place in Texas.  Bringing us around again for another trip to amazing land is “Rain And The Radio” . Truly a great two-stepping tune about fun living and falling in love, this album also has some wonderful happy messages and great lead guitar licks.

“Neon Blues” is another great drinking song that sounds like it could have been a mid nineties hit but it still facilitates the rest of this album very well. It just maintains a REAL Country meaning while giving us modern people something to relate too as well, the broken heart of a woman done wrong and the fact you can’t pick her up.

“Things I Need To Quit” is a rabble rousing party song about the morning after., and much like the next album on this list this one is some of his finest work to date. You just have to quit letting a love gone wrong trample your heart cause you are just letting her (or him) win.

“Taking It As It Comes” is a fast paced song guest starring powerhouse Legend Jerry Jeff Walker that is a Red Dirt Anthem to it’s fans with a beer swilled message to just roll with life’s punches. The closing song “Acti’n Crazy” guest starred Jamey Johnson and was equally eloquent an anthem as the former song. One of the more beautiful ballad songs on the album was “Old Moon New” that was about new found love and the happiness of new romance.

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28. – Follow Your Arrow

Blackberry Smoke is one of the many bands that have been on my TOP 50 for one year after another. This band from Georgia that went from small clubs to arena shows are one of the many success stories I have witnessed in my tenures as a hobby writer the likes of which now is my TOP pick Cody Jinks. What was once a small venue local show has blossomed into a mighty juggernaut that consistently sells out venues everywhere they roll.

Speaking of roll “Waiting For The Thunder” opens this album just like it’s name thunder. This five piece band is louder than thunder in their true dual lead guitar fashion the like of Skynyrd and the Black Crowes. These boys are truly the modern day Southern Rock champions from the underground that rose to fame. I hope they continue to “Let It Burn” for many years.

“The Good Life” is a good slow paced song about just what it says the good life, don’t cheat yourself out of a truly blessed life. Just do “What’s Comes Naturally” with that good piano sound and classic Blackberry Smoke fuzzy sound on lead guitar. What has become another classic piece of their sound is the bass thump they have. Another good point is this album is a lengthy forty nine minutes and twelve songs.

The self titled “Like An Arrow” is four and half minutes of doomy guitar riffs complete with harmonics and string bends and was vocally recorded well. Things change and time keeps a rolling but the band will fly like an arrow, hopefully those wheels keep rolling from town to town. One of the best song openings was “Sunrise In Texas”, which looks at the world from a darker perspective and at the same time it looks at the world from his lucky standpooint. the point is don’t always be so unhappy because there are always others worse off than you. It kind of makes you look in the mirror and judge yourself for a brief moment.

The last two songs were “believe You Me’ which had some more really guitar hooks and a funk sound to it, man I miss the old funk sound like George Clinton and you just don’t hear much of it anymore. There is such an eclectic array of styles on this new album it showcased their creativity and their influences well. Finally we have “Free On The Wing” which entails the freedom we have and the choices we have to be the best we can be life. This album sends a powerfully positive message to whomever takes the time to really listen to the lyrics.

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29. The Honeycutters– On The Ropes

This fourth installment of the Honeycutters boasts some of the best vocals from front woman Miss Amanda Anne Platt to date. This makes a perfect follow up to 2015 “Me Oh My” as it opens with the self titled “On The Ropes” which proves this album is one of Americana’s finest offering of 2016, and I’m pretty sure that most websites like mine will include it in their year end lists. This song is about getting knocked down and being strong enough to rise back up and swing!

“Blue Besides” displays some smooth vocals and warm backing steel guitar with a steady beat. One great line on this album was Love Aint never black and white it’s pink and grey and blue besides. This is a witty and encouraging comeback album and if you need some self help this album is an upbeat inspiration.

“The Only Eyes” is another steel infused waltz type song with well written lyrics and messages. This is about the world of loving someone through her own eyes a very special perspective to whomever she wrote it about. These are the eyes to follow the telephone wires to come home to you was a VERY good line in this song.

This is quite a lengthy album for sure at a whopping thirteen songs, “Back Row” is another upbeat song that grabbed my ears but the constant references to black and grey brought me to relate to every song the same but different in their own right. “Piece Of Heaven” is a nice little ditty about taking a love for granted and lonliness, pretty much one of the better songs on the album. Great acoustic strumming and once again a shade of white.

“500 Pieces” is another song about heartbreak and woe, Platt has very special songwriting skills to present her own scars and makes them significant to my own feelings and as a listener I find that a remarkable quality. The album’s closing song “Barmaid’s Blues” paints a vivid picture of a loser in a barroom touching on everything lost in his life like they were waiting on the last train home. This album for sure is a loser’s lament in every way.

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30. Kill County– Broken Glass On The Sun

Like many other bands I also stumbled upon this one purely by accident from digging pretty deep one bored afternoon of researching. This whole album just absolutely blew my shoes off when I heard it, forehead slap I never heard of them until just then! I tell you what I am in constant research and networking in order to find and feature every band I possibly can within many genres and this one I was proud to have found if even by accident.

This album was recorded in a basement in a borough  apparently in a mere six days, and it was recorded in a hazy, haunting fashion and their website says they are from Lincoln Nebraska. These five guys fashion a true humble mountain sound with subtle rings of banjo over acoustic and strings with songs like “Beat Up Iron” that makes an old factory rat like me feel right at home as I work in extreme cold and heat and my worn out body carries on.

“7 Million Broken Hearts” is a terrific waltz that has some great harmonies as well as the song “Line Of Sight” which has more than one lead singer, the five band members are Josh James Ringo, Brad Kindler, Joe Salvati, Jon Augustine and Bobby Dale Crawford. Now, this album is a lot shorter than most on my list but what it lacks in length it has in quality in the songs like the self titled “Broken Glass In The Sun” which is a soothing anthem for the lonely.

“Bad Gasoline” is one of more mid tempo songs on the album with good finger style picking. I also liked the “December Winds” ambiance of Iron Working and blue collar work ethic that it entails. Back to a day when the steel and coal mines thrived and the rust belt and trucking made America proud to be a working class….now gone are the picket lines and scars of a beat neck man. I think those times were carried away by the cold December Winds…

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31. Hackensaw Boys– Charismo

I got to cover The Hackensaw Boys at this year’s Muddy Roots Music Festival where they played an amazing set on stage 2 that afternoon. On that afternoon I was treated to a heaping helping of their new album named after their famous home made instrument made from cans and hubcaps strewn about their sixteen year existence.

Their classic string band sound adorn this album of eleven songs all were wonderful tunes that compiled a truly fantastic album of Americana. “Don’t Bet Against Me” has some damn fine fiddle opening sound and is a positive message to listeners and struggling people. “By And By” is one of the fantastic songs on this album with an upbeat toe tapping groove to it. The whole crowd singing Hey Hey By Your Side!

“Flora” is one of the songs that showcase their instrument Charismo very well with a sad song about a gal that wouldn’t care if they died tomorrow that kind of reminded me about some of my past loves that never knew I was there either. “Happy For Us In The Down” was a great song with a low brush shuffle that is one of the middle songs with terrific harmonies and tempo.

“Ol Nick” was a banjo infused rabble rousing song that was good live, along with “Wolves Howling” which was a stomping good mountain song complete with all the tin can action one could possibly want from this bunch. As this album closes with “Worlds Upside Down” the fiddle and strings assault your ears and your mind with music.

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32. William Clark Green– Live At Gruene Hall

Yeah yeah I know this TOP 50 has been loaded with an unusual array of live albums but I felt every one of these live albums deserved to be on this list for sure. Like the name states this album was recorded live at Gruene Hall in Texas and I have been researching quite a bit of Red Dirt Country lately for this website, and this album is no slouchy effort in any way shape or form.

The first album opens with a thumping version of “Next Big Thing” which this album pretty much is the next big thing. Now this album is much too large to include a song by song commentary of the entire album although I wished I could. “It’s About Time” was equally good in it’s own right and style, with rocking backups.

“Creek Don’t Rise” was a really good addition on this album, as he did a wonderful choice on the assortment of songs from his previous albums on this project. “Fool Me Once” was a great song about newfound love and the first album closed with “Gypsy”

The second album was equally full of good choices like my favorite song “Wishing Well” and “Ringling Road” off his 2015 release album of the same name. The closing of introducing Jack Ingram for “Goodnight Moon” was a perfect way to end a perfect album…I cannot think of a better way!

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33. Travis Harris And The West Coast Turnarounds– The Truth And Other Lies

This album the second feature of my good friend Travis Harris And The West Coast Turnarounds, and just as I assumed it was a total blasting jam Country album as you tour the story of “Moonshiner’s Last Ride” where the revenue man wins the gun battle and the Moonshiner is hauled away in a hearse.

“Them Eyes” is a good Honky Tonk honey song about a devil in disguise woman which features some truly good steel guitar licks and a solid Country beat and it is followed with “Bring It On” which welcomes on the hardwood floors and whiskey soaked tables of the corner Honky Tonk. This band writes simple easy to understand waltzes like ‘She Used To Call Me Baby” that just make you want to drink copious amounts of beer, she used to call me baby now she don’t call at all…good hook.

“Burn It Down” was probably the most well written song on this album with stellar Honky Tonk thump that I LOVE to hear, I mean I just love that hard core sound and genius lyrics. Burn it down till it’s ashes is a good way to burn a memory deep down in the holler. Finally one of the songs that stuck out to me was “Million Dollars A Day” which asks what about them steel guitars and prison train songs. Just good solid strumming and a two-step beat.

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34. Joey And Rory– Hymns And Stories That Are Important To Us

This link shall take you to their amazon page where you can buy this album because after the sad death of Joey Feek this past year their websites haven’t been totally operational all the time. This album was available at Cracker Barrell stores and it is filled some truly beloved Gospel songs that glorify the Lord Jesus.

I do not often juxtapose religion or politics on my website nor do I ever argue or debate them much but I do have my own opinions of both and I absolutely adored this album in every way. From the vocals only of “Take My Hand Precious Lord” to the ever popular ‘He Touched Me” this album will enrich your soul with it’s warmth and honesty.

My personal favorite “The Old Rugged Cross” was a perfect rendition of this song as was “How Great thou Art” and another popular song “I’ll Fly Away”. You know you just cannot go wrong with glorifying your religion and if you are a Christian this one will surely warm your heart because “Jesus Paid It All”.

The loss of Joey Feek rattled the entire realm of Country Music in many ways and to be honest there will never ever be another Joey And Rory in the world ever again….period.

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35. Julian Davis– Make Americana Great Again

Muddy Roots Music Festival presented us with a heaping helping of this young man that is prevalent on the Kansas City local scene and is one of the largest up and coming artists on Little Class Records. This young man is one heck of a prodigy on many instruments and I’m going to be honest with you this year at the Nashville Boogie which is also Muddy Roots at the Nashville Palace his version of Motorhead’s “Ace Of Spades” blew my mind.

“Fan It” right off the bat is already a barn burner from the band the hay burners, complete with fiddles and all the bells and whistles you could possibly want from an Americana album. “My Window Faces The South” is a truly exceptional song that showcases his influence from ragtime music. All of his songs are just absolute jams and easy to relate to.

“Kansas Plains” was one of my favorite swing songs on this album that revealed some lightning fast guitar solos, I’m telling you this young man has such lightning fast chops you’ll be picking up your hat off the floor. Just as his version of “Freeborn Man” which features a REALLY crazy fret board journey through his guitar neck and features some powerful lyrics and songwriting on his originals.

And I also liked the Pokey LaFarge song “What’s The Matter With The Mill” and the last song on the album “Midnight Rider” it was a perfect choice to close this album out with a bang!

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36. Dale Watson– Chicken Shit Bingo LIVE

I recently got to see this man perform his songs during the Muddy Roots Nashville Boogie this past spring and he released this live album from the Big T’s Roadhouse where they play chicken shit bingo and Country Music all night. The Lonestar beer is never in short supply as he does his Lonestar commercials all through the album and you can “Sit And Drink And Cry”…along with the best free hot dogs in the land.

“Where Do You Want It” was a good version of a Billy Joe Shaver Classic song along with others like Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down” and Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses”. However this album is also filled with many of his own original songs like “Honky Tonkers Don’t Cry”.

This album gets you eye to eye with his steel guitarist Mr. Don Don with the “Don Don Boogie”. It actually has quite a bit of dialogue but it fits the ambiance truly well with funny announcements and games with the audience. But overall the album was recorded and performed with exceptional style and showmanship.

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37. Husky Burnette– Ain’t Nothin’ But A Revival

I believe this to be Husky Burnette’s third album is a complete gritty masterpiece as he growls out his lyrics and rips that guitar a new asshole. In true Husky form he plays that signature slide guitar with beginning palm mutes and bends. It’s a loud and wild rocket ride into the dirty blues of Husky town!

“Best I Can” and “Kick Rocks” were two fist pounding no ladies man songs at two hundred ninety pounds, filled with more raw solos and screaming pedals infused into his barrage of music missiles. “Chicken Grease” was my favorite jam on the whole darn album and in many ways the lyrics are simple and easy to send your soul into the depths of funk.

Rusty Knuckles has outdone themselves this year on new releases and this album is truly one of them. I simply cannot wait to hear these songs live like the harmonica filled “Busted Flat” to the slow groove of “When My Train Comes”.

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38. Paul Cauthen– My Gospel

This album is one of the finest solo debuts I have ever heard in the last few years from the very first song on the album “Still Drivin'” to the next one “I’ll Be The One” this album will NOT disappoint and will be included in MANY TOP 50 lists of 2016 I’m sure of it.  Amazingly enough I was thinking to myself this last year that I was severely missing the iconic LP covers with all the Legends smoking cigarettes on the cover, like Porter Wagoner and Gene Watson on his album “Reflections”…this man made one of those covers.

“Still Drivin” was a terrific opening song about his hardships in this business and asking when is HIS break gonna come and he’s NOT quitting. That’s a GOOD thing if you are a fan like me because we need this man around for good, and we need his honest style of delivering his songs to us. His voice and expression is nothing like I have ever seen in today’s underground scene it sounds very unique. I think he’ll be “The One” to help others usher in a new sound in the local scene with his self anthem of not giving up.

At only eleven songs this album was rather lengthy in it’s own right and stood out unlike any other because of it’s difference in sound. “Grand Central” brings us closer to his own heart at rock bottom of life and it’s named My Gospel for a reason as you become more familiar with his own testimonies. “Saddle” was a more modern sound about riding that had a western theme with a style unlike any other I can describe and that’s not a bad thing, it’s a fantastic album.

“Be There Soon” had a backing choir singing with him that gave a religious feel to this album and all those backing vocals gave his own vocals even more power on songs like “Hanging Out On The Line” his voice is even more amazing and shines like a beacon in a sea of “sound a likes”. His website said he was always the strongest and loudest singer in the room and I believe that…I truly do.

“Let It Burn” is a piano filled ballad that I had to put on repeat several times I loved it that much.  As a former troubled teen myself I relate truly well to Mr. Paul’s past as my own and I had to let many things in my own past burn as well. As I stated before this album is his truth and “My Gospel” is one of the most dark and poignant forms of honesty and triumph I have heard all of 2016.

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39.- Landon Dodd–  What Comes Natural To A Fool

Leave it to Mr. Tracey Pitcox over at Heart Of Texas Records out there in Brady Texas to bring a masterpiece like this to us. If you like the Texas Traditional two step scene like Heather Myles and all those you will absolutely adore this album. It was recorded TRULY well and the steel guitar sound and solos were captured with more grace and dignity than any other album on this list. “What Come Natural To A Fool” came out swinging and resulted in a knock out with simple lyrics and true Country sound.

“All They Serve Here Is Misery” is a song that comes straight out of the 1970’s when Honky Tonk music was lonesome and sad and people escaped to dance and drink their problems away. “Because Of You” was a lovely waltz with warm steel sound backing his breakup song of recalling his past and explaining how she turned into a stranger. People change and people drift but the Country sound does neither on this offering…it gets intensified.

“One Bar At A Time” is quite possible one of the best songs on this album as he explains to his wife he’s coming home one bar at a time, as with many other alums on this list the songs are very easy to understand and relate with. “Our Paths May Never Cross” is a good slow song about never meeting the one you are supposed to be with. Life has that funny way of never pitting two people together that could be. “Barstool Mountain” is a cover song of course as with many of them and I overlook that when the songs are fresh and original in their own right.

“Loving You Could Never Be Better” as he sings about passion in the eyes of his lover and like I previously stated it’s just easy to understand and relate to. Just hold her and fan those flames of romance, it’s just good old fashion Honky Tonk music from both sides of the coin..newfound love and real passion…and broken hearts and misery.

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40- Matt Woods– How To Survive

Muddy Roots Music Festival 2015 brought introduced my ears “The American Way” and after his set I had to ask him what was it called and he said “I don’t know probably The American Way. It was nominated for song of the year on other websites and I don’t have one of those but I’ll tell you what if it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye you aren’t listening close enough.Speaking from an old factory employee myself I easily related to the hardships of being tossed away like trash after years of hard work and body aches.

This follow up to Brushy Mountain is absolutely amazing in every way and “Fireflies” is another well written song of his…I want to say I have saw him perform many times and he commands the stage quite well in his own fashion of expressions. He never fails to play an amazing set, and I immensely enjoy his performances.

“A Good Man” is a good song about dealing with life and a story of the ones the wolves pull down. About making a stand and fighting for what’s right in life even when the chips are down. Out of all the local shows I attend he is one of my favorite songwriters of all and has always been a genuine friend to me, always quick with a handshake and pleasant greeting to me. “Love In The Nuclear Age” I thought would be a political song however it was a song of survival, followed by ‘Lorraine” written about a storm with some very descriptive lines within the song. Mr. Matt always does a good job of painting a picture in your mind with all of these songs and as a listener that’s what I look for.

“Little Heartache” exists as a true testimony of trying at love and living with heartache and dying within that world. Guilt and self doubt can easily kill your self esteem and sometime we are our own worst enemies. “Name To Drop” was a song about moving to the East Coast with no references to help his background and coming to Nashville and living alone. The album closes with “No News” which also references the East Coast again so I can see the direction in his mind as he expresses his heart to us on this wonderfully recorded project here, and I thank him for sharing his feelings with us on this one. YOU MUST HAVE this album in your collection!

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41. Urban Pioneers– Feast Or Famine

Folks I have had the pleasure to witness the fury of these three on many occasions and many festivals across the United States. They are one of the bands I have saw in many states and different places. This being their third album which was recorded this past spring right before the Westport Roots Festival where I reviewed and featured the album HERE.

As always Miss Liz Sloan’s fire fast fiddle shines on this album from the very beginning song of “Maybelle’s Farewell” with swift sawing of a Russian type whirlwind of an instrumental to the comical song of “He Didn’t Know My Name Back Then”. Which tells a great story of the underdog and how they can surprise you by giving them a chance.

“Behind The Wheel Again” comes from a hard working band as these people are always on tour playing a whopping 300 plus shows a year, as well as guest starring on many other albums like the above mentioned Matt Woods album. You can always find them on tour in every state in the United States. AND this next spring they ARE reuniting with Mr. Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band…you didn’t hear that from me…YET!

“Lazy Bones” showcases more of their slapstick comedy as a duo whose set is often filled with jokes and stunts, they are also planning a skit based comedy show which is in the planning stages right now. I’m SURE the show will contain jokes like “Never Had A Waffle At The Waffle House” which is a pretty self explanatory song, however hilarious nonetheless.

Finally we have the AWESOME story “Mary The Elephant” about a dancing elephant that was treated very poorly and abused by a cruel keeper whom ended up getting smashed to death by the elephant.

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42.Western Centuries– Weight Of The World

I LOVE THIS ALBUM, with it’s good vocals and true craftsmanship of a DAMN FINE band that plays like a well oiled machine. Simply because this band blends so many influences and styles together and reveals to us what makes them tick. “Weight Of The World” was truly good but the next song “Double Or Nothing” is what hooked me in and drew me to their steel infused Honky Tonk sound all their own. It makes you want to dance and drink and bet Double Or Nothing on your broken heart.

“Knocking Em Down” was another good Country song it’s just too bad that mainstream music isn’t showcasing more bands like this,with music this honest and true. Whatever happened to true music the likes of this band and others of their ilk?

“Sadder Day” was a good Honky Tonk shuffle that doesn’t come around that often nowadays and when I heard that song I almost dropped my coffee cup…THE SOUND is what I have been looking for as a listener for YEARS. And also the song “Philosophers And Fools” with it’s western swing and fiddle solos is a true musical rarity nowadays even within the Roots and Americana scenes.

“Hallucinations” was another good choice off this album just a good two steeping song of greatness and you can tell that many songwriters contributed to this one project in many ways. I am hoping this band can make some Nashville appearances on their tour. This band shows great harmonies on “Got You Off The Shelf” with a bluesy sound and shuffle to an already great album of different sounds.  “The Old You” was equally a terrific song of  coming from town to see the Country but not much of it is leftover anymore, it speaks of the rapid decline of the Country in the name of progress.

43. Dwight Yoakam– Swimming Pools Movie Stars

If you are a Dwight Yoakam fan such as I am, this is a MUST HAVE album for you as basically it is a Bluegrass version of his current songs but the songs he choose were exquisite. Many of them were from his best album (In My Opinion) “If There Was A Way”. Like the song “Sad, Sad Music was and the fashion that it is recorded is absolutely soul numbing.

“What I Don’t Know” fits the traditional Bluegrass murder ballad perfectly with the what I don’t know just might get you killed theme, along with his classic ‘Guitars Cadillacs And Hillbilly Music” is equally captured in rare form with the arrangement on this feature. “These Arms” feature some really good fiddles and banjo rolls and in some instances these arrangements are even better than the originals.

Once again “Two Doors Down” was a choice off above mentioned album that describes a Honky Tonk song about bar rooms and whiskey soaked hurt and the signature Hillbilly twang even with all the Bluegrass style. One thing I wish The Colonel Jon Hensley was here to witness was Dwight’s version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” off of his iconic album I’m SURE BOTH of them were smiling down from Hillbilly Heaven.

I LOVED the spoons on “Please Please Baby” that truly made me smile as it surprised me and finally the song “Gone, That’ll Be Me” was a banjo jam that made me want to TRY to get up and dance…I cannot dance!

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44. Ponderosa Aces– Honky Tonkin My Life Away

I was being relentlessly contacted by this band for quite some time to review their album but I just don’t really feel qualified to do reviews per se I do features. I finally got some time to sit down and listen to these boys play and man I just absolutely enjoyed their Honky Tonk sound.

The first song “Judgement Day” GRABBED ME with the line bunch of sins in my pocket…clever lyrics and the harmonies with all the ranges was like a Statler Brothers kind of thing going on here, but with twang…west coast twang. You do NOT hear much west coast twang anymore and their steel player is fabulous. He’s going to be a part of a project I have planned for next year.

“Night Of A Couple Of Heartaches” is another fast paced song that I enjoyed about drinking, well this whole entire article is about drinking songs pretty much that’s what Country revolves around.  I’d say I was Honky Tonki’n My
Life Away” in many ways but I just cannot escape the grip of that sound! Their sound is fresh and different from the rest of the Honky Tonk albums on this list in the style the music is presented but the song subjects are similar to many of them.

“Roadside Shrine” had the best sound I have heard in quite a while I love the steel guitar tuning on this song and the anxious feeling of coming up on  hotels and bars on the road. “Hit The Door” was a classic song on this album…all of these songs complimented each other truly well and made the album an overall treasure.

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45. The Devil Makes Three– Redemption And Ruin

This is the ultimate party band call them Roots, Ragtime, or whatever you want I just call them a downright JAM with some flute and string band type songs like “I’m Gonna Get High” these songs just make you want to find a gal and swing her around on a hardwood floor.

The song “Waiting Around To Die” was covered by many last few years and I loved their version of this one, also the song “I Gotta Get Drunk” their version of that song was GREAT as well. I have always been a BIG fan of Devil Makes Three, GREAT live shows one of my favorite bands to go see. This album was one of the only albums I enjoyed of all covers on it.

“I Am The Man Thomas” was another great string band jam complete with spoons and fiddle runs throughout the song about the crucifixion of Jesus and his nail scars in his hands. It also touches on his burial and resurrection when he revealed himself to Thomas in the bible.  “Come On Up To The House” was another fast paced jam in true hymn fashion welcoming friends and neighbors alike to partake in life’s grand party. “Down In The Valley” was another good choice and after you dwell in this album for a period of time you can see why it’s called Redemption And Ruin it’s almost a story album.

The album closes with “Angel Of Death” a cover of an old song that many have recorded the likes of Hank Williams. One of his more dark and haunting tunes he ever recorded and has always been a staple song on both Country and Metal albums alone.

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46. Jeff Shepherd– Jeff Shepherd And The Jailhouse Poets

I first heard of Mr. Jeff from Mr. Chris Miller on Blue Ribbon Radio, well it wasn’t actually on the show but it is what he’s known for doing. Anyways I was turned on to Jeff Shepherd and the Jailhouse Poets through him and when this album came out I placed it in my pile. I finally got to listen to it and was excited to hear songs like “Jukebox Junkie” that I thought was a cover song of the same Mark Chestnutt name song…..ummm NO this song rocked!

This album is a vocal triumph for this man and his performance at Muddy Roots Music Festival this year helped me decide this album to be on this list, but to hear the album and the rocking guitars with the whole scheme is an awesome feat. I loved the song “Tragic Love” with the fist pounding song about scared arms like a tragic love song, this album has some pretty dark songs about addictions. It had some truly well written lines I could relate to, and it sounded like he wrote the song for ME….that’s what I want as a listener.

“California” has some wonderful steel and banjo work with once again familiar lyrics about self doubt and being your own worst enemy. Man I just went through it the other day being my own worst enemy, times only made me jaded too buddy. We all have the ability to do it and stop ourselves sometimes whether you blame others or not.

“Forever Young” contains more haunting and genius lines about death and all that goes along with it, also it boasts some damn fine guitar licks and backing music. “Broken” was another song on this album that stuck out to me and I admired the words, I also liked the tempo and the breakup story. Pretty much anybody could identify with this song and I think we have all been through it.

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47. Michaella Anne– Bright Lights And The Fame

I don’t truly remember WHERE i heard about this young lady but I’m SO glad I did. “Living Without You” is exactly what it says living without a loved one, truly a good broken up and lonely song. The line “The world goes on just because someone’s in pain” is a good line. What a powerhouse opening song to an album from a young lady that is destined to go places within the Americana genre.

Her smooth glassy vocals were embedded in my memory like ink from the very first song to the second one called “If Only” about missed opportunities and the “what if” things were switched around…haven’t we ALL felt that way about an ex?

“Bright Lights And The Fame” took this album in a totally different direction as a two stepping Honky Tonk album that I thought was a Margo Price song, I LOVED IT and it changed the whole tempo of the album. You can identify with her many influences here on this album and also she has a stellar band backing her on this follow up album.

“Everything I couldn’t Be” is another REALLY GOOD song about some gal looking at an ex getting married and happily ever after and lamenting that she wasn’t good enough. Truly a well written “grass is greener” song that EVERY Honky Tonk album NEEDS!

“Easier Than Leaving” was a great D chord strumming song that had the BEST vocals on the whole album! The way she carries the notes on this song is just heavenly and sorrowful all at once, WOW it’s so full of emotion and hurt. This whole album needs to be immortalized on the Gary Hayes Country website the line “I smell her on your skin” was REAL GOOD and gave me goosebumps. Truly a good cheating song from a gal who cannot handle being a jaded victim of a dangerous life event.

One of the last songs I want to touch on was “What Good Is Water” another good hook What good is water when you don’t have will? This is just a home run album and overall I am absolutely impressed with it in every way.

48. Jack Ingram– Midnight Motel

This album has a lot of dialogue but it is really good and relevant and you can learn a LOT about the album from the talking. “Old Motel” was a good start to this album that painted a good picture in my head of the ever popular ratty motel story every musician has.

I wanted to say that the song “Blaine’s Ferris Wheel” was almost my most interesting song I heard all year and the story behind said song is truly exceptional. You HAVE to listen to the dialogue FIRST BEFORE the song, it’s SO long and elaborate I cannot even re print the entire story here. “I Feel Like Drinking Tonight” was another really good song on this album however it isn’t my favorite album he has it is indeed a viable candidate for second spot.

“What’s a Boy To do” was a slow and soothing song with gritty vocals and a slightly lonely meaning. Maybe it means the sadness of miscommunication or words never said? Maybe it means something else, I’m not totally sure but I can certainly come to my own conclusion and interpret it how I can.

“Champion Of The world” is SO ME, and it is a anthem of finding the right girl. I haven’t found her yet but I’m surely looking for her, this was a really good story about being a lucky man. We aren’t always perfect men but sometimes you don’t always see the whole entire picture.

49. Jon Pardi– California Sunrise

This album is perhaps one of the most commercial I have on this list as far as FM radio is concerned because they sure don’t play Dolly and Loretta. Now he is one of the powerhouses that are hard to contact but I’m sure he will find out about being on the list sooner or later.

“Head Over Boots” was a rather corny line to me at first BUT the more I listened to it It kind of grew on me and got me to liking it, but the opening song “Out Of Style” was a true jam. I could tell he was targeting what I call the “normies” you know the guy that married a soccer mom with cursive initials on a car sticker..she wears a black shirt that says love pink. But he has managed to attract a whole different crowd whether it was intended to or not.

This album has crank and pound behind the rock  and roll guitars and banjo plunks I associate with pop country which makes it maintain realism to me. It spoke to me and vocally “Cowboy Hat” was a fine piece of work you can drink and dance to. I have seen some gals that look so good in nothing but a cowboy hat.

“Paycheck” was a great double meaning song that spoke to his paycheck to come on Friday however it also referred to Johnny Paycheck coming and saving him, SMART!  “All Time High” is a rocking song about women which targets couples too, I can see people saying this is “our song” and paying to see it live. So from a marketing standpoint I see pure genius behind this man.

50. Jamie Richards– Latest And Greatest

Well folks if you are STILL HERE I THANK YOU reading and I hope you buy these albums. This is the final deal here and it’s a damn fine album from a truly nice guy. His vocals are so much like many others in a good way it was like a breath of fresh air here. “Last Call” was a good song about calling his ex after the bar while he’s drunk, and getting hung up on. Excellent song of lament and heartache and feeling like a big boy while drunk…we may have all done it once in our lives.

“Second Hand Smoke” was another absolute masterpiece of songwriting genius and I applaud him for that one it was so wonderfully arranged and presented.  “Whiskey Night” was a good ballad that sounds like it could have been a Ricky Van Shelton classic from the 1980’s and again that’s not a bad thing either. Very good slow song about regretting your actions while drunk and I’m sure all of you have been haunted by demons at one time or another.

This fourteen song behemoth album right here is the perfect album for everyone and “Cold As The Beer She’s Drinking” is a true story about bar women that can wrap you around her finger with her looks but she just wants your drinks, man once again this fellow hits it right on the head with common ground songs that speak to the masses.

There you have it folks I have worked VERY HARD bringing you this list of my TOP 50 of 2016 and WHY they made the list NOW THEN I had another list that had some honorable mentions for 2016 and I’ll just copy and paste it for you on here without links, it’s just too long of a list:

Hard Working Americans- Rest In Chaos
Michael Martin Murphy- High Stakes Cowboy Songs VII
Chris King- Animal
Johnny Lee- You Ain’t Never Been To Texas
Austin Allsup- This Weary Land
Dallas Wayne- Songs The Jukebox Taught Me
The Reverend Horton Heat- Hardscrabble Woman
Al Scorch- Circle Round The Signs
John Doe- The Westerner
The Horse Traders- I Don’t Mind
Fireball Mail- Bending The Rails
Daniel Romano- Mosey
The Local Honeys- Little Girls Acting Like Men
Bonnie Bishop- Ain’t Who I Was
Elizabeth Cook- Exodus Of Venus
Nester Andress- Falling In Love
Mike Ryan- Mill And Music City
Adam lee- Sincerely, Me
Bradley Walker- Call Me Old Fashioned
Red Simpson- Soda Pops And Saturdays
Austin Lucas- Between The Moon And The Midwest
the Boxcars- Familiar With The Ground
Chain Station- Where I Want To Be
Don Gates- Almost A Cowboy
Sierra Hull- Weighted Mind
The Wild Feathers- Lonely Is A Lifetime
Cooder Graw- Love To Live By
Jill Kinsey- Just Jill
Lorrie Morgan- Letting Go…Slow
Aubrie Sellers- New City Blues
Jeff Shepherd And The Jailhouse Poets
Gene Watson- Real Country Music
Casey Miller And The Barnyard Stompers
Dori Freeman
Greensky Bluegrass- Shouted, Written Down And Quoted
fruitition- Labor Of Love
Sister Sparrow And The Dirty Birds- Fowl Play
Reckless Kelly- Sunset Motel
Midnight River Choir- Fresh Air
Robert Earl Keen- Live Diner Reunion
Whiskey Myers- Mud
Tami Neilson- Don’t Be Afraid
Tim Easton- American Fork
Cody Johnson- Gotta Be Me
Kree Harrison- This Old Thing
The Goodmans- Live In Texas An Unforgettable Evening
The Royal Hounds- Poker All Night
Ryan Cain And The Ables- Cupid And The Devil
Pat Reedy And The Longtime Goners- Highway Bound
The Mavericks- All Night Live Volume 1.
Tanya Tucker- Live At Church Street Station
The Bottle Rockets- Audio Tree Live
Dale Watson- Under The Influence
Dallas Moore- Live At The Bulliet County Jail
JonEmery Dods- Americana
Willie Nelson- Willie Sings Gershwin
Those Poor Bastards- Sing It Ugly
Vince Gill- Down To My Last Bad Habit
Hank Williams Junior- It’s About Time
Larry Keel- Memories
Mack McKenzie- A Million Miles
Grant Lee Phillips- The Narrows
Parker Milsap- The Very Last Day
Waco Brothers- Going Down In History
Lucinda Williams- The Ghost Of Highway 20
Greg Garing- Am I Even A Memory
Chris Gantry- Nashville Rhapsody
Flatland Cavalry- Humble Folks
Lincoln Durham- Revelations Of A Mind Unraveling
Truck Stop Gamblers- Here
Sweet Ga Brown- Weapons
Hayes Carll- Lovers And Leavers
Derek Hoke- Southern Moon
Western Centuries- Weight Of The World
Boo ray- Sea Of Lights
Jake Flint- I’m Not Ok
The Time Jumpers- Kid Sister
Lydia Loveless- Real
Dex Romweber- Carrobo
Luke Winslow-King- I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always
Wade Bowen- Then Sings My Soul
The Drunken Cuddle- Electric Cat
Wayne Hancock- Slingi’n Rhythm
Jackson Taylor- Which Way Is Up
Robbie Fulks- Upland Stories
Darrell Scott- Couchville Sessions
Rob Baird- Wrong Side of The River
Aaron Einhouse- It Ain’t Pretty
Moondawg Hall- Road To Sanity
Terry Allen- Lubbock
Paul Cauthen- My Gospel
Brandon Jenkins- The Flag
Jamestown Revival- The Education Of A Wandering Man
Todd Snider- Eastside Bulldog
The Avett Brothers- True Sadness
B J Barham- Rockingham
Emmylou Harris- The Complete Trio Collections
Rodney Parker- Bomber Heights
Amanda Shires- My Piece Of Land
Chatam County Line- Autumn
Casey Donahew- All Night Party
John Paul White- Beulah
Lori McKenna- The Bird And The Rifle
The Gibbonses- Among The Rubble
Chris Stalcup- Downhearted Fools
The Earls Of Leichester- Rattle and Roar
Paul Eason- Black Horse Mesa
Sean McConnell
Dolly Shine- Walkabout
Lew Card- Follow Me Down
Green River Ordinance- Fifteen
Austin Meade- Heartbreak Coming
Casey Daniels Band- Backroads And Moonshine
Logan Mize- Ain’t Always Pretty
Jimmy LaFave- Trail Five
John Clay- Now It’s Time
One Crow Sorrow- Something To Value
Campbell Station- Already Gone
Anna Elizabeth Laube- Tree
Clint Bradley- Riding After Midnight
Creed Fisher- Rednecks Like Us
Kalyn Fay- Bible Belt
Rachel Laven- Love And Luccheses
Nick Dittmeier And The Saw Dusters- Midwest Heart
On Safari- Kentucky Headhunters
Tattoed Heart- Ronnie Dunn
Got Dressed Up To Be Let Down- Jack Grelle
Michigan Rattlers- Michigan Rattlers
Babe Miller- Room 242
Jericho Woods- Better Now
Miranda Lambert- The Weight Of These Wings

Dec 182016
 

The Ameripolitan Music Awards is once again upon us folks and as always it shall be held at the Paramount Theater in Austin Texas. I had to politely decline an invitation to attend due to other prior commitments however I implore YOU to buy tickets HERE. Once voting officially opens I’ll also include the link here on this article.

I always vote and I do have my own favorite people in these areas however I try my best to concentrate on festivals and local shows to dedicate enough time toward everything going on within music. I know of several websites that do a really good job of covering live action form this yearly Texas function and I want to help push a few of the nominees through some side articles I have going up soon with links to them.

Some  of these names I have included in my TOP 50 OF 2016 which is going up at midnight on Christmas Eve promptly, It’s what I have been working on right now and is a very lengthy project however you can click HERE to vote on these artists.

HONKY TONK MALE
Jake Penrod
Artie Rodriguez
Luke Bell
Jason James
Joshua Hedley

HONKY TONK FEMALE
Lorraine Chavana
Brennen Leigh
Vanessa Niemann
Leona Williams
Karen Jonas

HONKY TONK GROUP
Country Side Of Harmonica Sam
Gary P Nunn And The Bunkhouse Band
Jake Hooker And The Outsiders
The Cactus Blossoms
The Maplass Borthers

ROCKABILLY MALE
Marcel Riesco
Adam Lopez
Bloodshot Bill
Babe Miller
Lance Lipinsky

ROCKABILLY FEMALE
Lara Hope
Bailey Dee
Rockin Bonnie
Fia Sco
Cherry Divine

ROCKABILLY GROUP
The Silvershakers
The Doel Brothers
Jittery Jack
Don Diego TrioDon Diego Trio
Nathan Belt And The Buckles

WESTERN SWING MALE
Billy Mata
Jake Hooker
Pokey LaFarge
Dave Alexander
Jody Nix

WESTERN SWING FEMALE
Stacey Lee Guse
Carolyn Sills
Kristyn Harris
Mikki Daniel
Wendy Newcomer

WESTERN SWING GROUP
Carolyn Sills Combo
Western Flyers
50 Shades Of Hay
Western Swing Authority
Shoot Low Sheriff

OUTLAW MALE
Dusty Rust
Hank 3
AJ Hobbs
Cash O’Riley
Scott Biram

OUTLAW FEMALE
Jenny Don’t
Tommy Ash
Darci Carlson
Sissy Brown
Emily Neeni

OUTLAW GROUP
Dallas Moore
Barnyard Stmopers
Ponderosa Aces
Miss Lonely Hearts
Tony Martinez

AMERIPOLITAN DJ
Jimi Palacios
Julea Thomerson
James Riley
Woody Adkins
Charlie Ramsey
Marivi Yubero
Eddie White
Tim Benton
Ann Harwood Lucas
Don Sticksel

AMERIPOLITAN VENUE
Rock’n Bowl New Orleans LA
Don The Beachcomber Huntington Beach Ca
Nashville Palace Nashville Tn
The Little Longhorn Saloon

Sportsman Tavern, Buffalo NY
Skinny Dennis Brooklyn NY
Four Corners Music Hall, Germany
Lee’s Liquor Lounge Minneapolis Mn
Zoo Bar, Lincoln Ne

FESTIVAL
Nashville Boogie
New England shakeup
Best little cowboy gathering
Screamin’ Festival Spain
West Port Roots Festival

MUSICIAN
Mike Bernal
Clyde Mattocks
Joel Patterson
Chris Scruggs
Chris Casello
Ashley Kingman
Brett Resnick
Earl Poole Ball
Rose Sinclair
T Jarrod Bonta

Jul 122016
 

vip2016_sidebar

Well friends I am sure most of you all know that THIS is not my primary job although I wished it was, I have to have health insurance like everyone else. One of my truck driver friends from Pegasus Chester Alvey pointed out this darn fine show coming to his area and I wanted to thank him on here for his help with this article.

On August 20, 2016 at 7:00 p.m., Jackson’s Keepin’ it Country Tour will continue with pop country and American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina. It began January 8th 2015 in Florida. General admission tickets are only $40 each and 500 VIP tickets will be available for $85 each . The VIP tickets can only be purchased at Elizabethtown City Hall, 200 West Dixie Avenue. All other tickets may be purchased at Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau, 1030 N. Mulberry Street, Pritchard Community Center, 404 S. Mulberry Street, City Hall and all Elizabethtown locations of State Farm Insurance.

You can get your tickets for this event HERE.

If you will remember his new album Angels And Alcohol secured my TOP number one spot of 2015 last year, it just couldn’t be whipped song wise or production wise. Pretty much for 25 years Alan Jackson has never changed his style or his signature sound with his band the Strayhorns. He has recorded 16 studio albums and one live album, is an active member of the Opry and has earned 16 CMA awards since his first album in 1990. Of his 50 top ten hits 35 of them were number ones and a lot of people don’t know he wrote many of the songs off Randy Travis album “High Lonesome” in 1992.

In 1999 Alan Jackson promptly stood up and defended George Jones when the CMA requested Jones to trim his hit song “Choices” wrote by Billy Yates to 90 seconds. Jones quickly responded by boycotting the entire event and this prompted Alan Jackson to perform half of his then hit “Pop A Top” which was a Jim Ed Brown cover off his album “Under The Influence”, and followed that with half of Jones song Choices. He then followed by walking off the stage and was almost fired from his label for doing so. In 2000 a Bluegrass artist named Larry Cordle wrote the truthful duet recorded by Jackson and Strait “Murder On Music Row” which turned the tide on pop country entirely.

In 2015 the Country Music Hall Of Fame opened an exhibit celebrating his 25th anniversary with a complete exhibit showcasing his entire life along with his own personal collection of cars and awards and he opened the exhibit himself at an in store performance at their theater. He has been touring in support of Angels And Alcohol ever since.

Jul 122016
 

vip2016_sidebar

Well friends I am sure most of you all know that THIS is not my primary job although I wished it was, I have to have health insurance like everyone else. One of my truck driver friends from Pegasus Chester Alvey pointed out this darn fine show coming to his area and I wanted to thank him on here for his help with this article.

On August 20, 2016 at 7:00 p.m., Jackson’s Keepin’ it Country Tour will continue with pop country and American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina. It began January 8th 2015 in Florida. General admission tickets are only $40 each and 500 VIP tickets will be available for $85 each . The VIP tickets can only be purchased at Elizabethtown City Hall, 200 West Dixie Avenue. All other tickets may be purchased at Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau, 1030 N. Mulberry Street, Pritchard Community Center, 404 S. Mulberry Street, City Hall and all Elizabethtown locations of State Farm Insurance.

You can get your tickets for this event HERE.

If you will remember his new album Angels And Alcohol secured my TOP number one spot of 2015 last year, it just couldn’t be whipped song wise or production wise. Pretty much for 25 years Alan Jackson has never changed his style or his signature sound with his band the Strayhorns. He has recorded 16 studio albums and one live album, is an active member of the Opry and has earned 16 CMA awards since his first album in 1990. Of his 50 top ten hits 35 of them were number ones and a lot of people don’t know he wrote many of the songs off Randy Travis album “High Lonesome” in 1992.

In 1999 Alan Jackson promptly stood up and defended George Jones when the CMA requested Jones to trim his hit song “Choices” wrote by Billy Yates to 90 seconds. Jones quickly responded by boycotting the entire event and this prompted Alan Jackson to perform half of his then hit “Pop A Top” which was a Jim Ed Brown cover off his album “Under The Influence”, and followed that with half of Jones song Choices. He then followed by walking off the stage and was almost fired from his label for doing so. In 2000 a Bluegrass artist named Larry Cordle wrote the truthful duet recorded by Jackson and Strait “Murder On Music Row” which turned the tide on pop country entirely.

In 2015 the Country Music Hall Of Fame opened an exhibit celebrating his 25th anniversary with a complete exhibit showcasing his entire life along with his own personal collection of cars and awards and he opened the exhibit himself at an in store performance at their theater. He has been touring in support of Angels And Alcohol ever since.

Jun 112016
 

pondstock

ROMP Fest
Moonrunners
Crooked Smile Fall Fest

Way out there in Trenton Nebraska about two miles east, exists one of the coolest festivals I have never been to yet, pondstock At Lake Hedke is now under It’s 11th annual run. I have heard independent acts like St. Christopher (who is a friend) speak VERY excitedly about this event. This is one of the few festivals I have very little information about right now and as I learn more about this festival I will be including it into this series and continue to cover this festival for years to come.

I recently talked with the festival director of this event and he said this is a one hundred percent independent festival on a venue called Pondstock and it is on Lake Hedke Nebraska, thusly the name. This will be a Thursday, Friday and Saturday event and for a full schedule you can click on the link above.

There is a food vendor and also band merch areas where you can buy the albums and shirts you love so much!  For all other questions and where to purchase tickets please contact the festival team at the above link.

To find hotels in and around this area please check out this link HERE

Saint Christopher
Peculiar Pretzelmen
Joe Buck Yourself
S.S.Web
CrazyHorses
Keil Grove
The Drunken Cuddle
Nathan Kalish And The Lastcallers
Jaw Knee Vee
C.W. Ayon
Billy Cook
Mr. Smith
el Jefe
Champagne Charlie
Country Rebels
Lorin Walker Madsen
Freight Train Rabbit Killer
Smokestack Relics
Leonhardt
Sissy Brown
Primal Waters

May 302016
 

Americana Fest
Muddy Roots
Crooked Smile Fall Fest
So Cal Hoedown

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ROMP Fest
Moonrunners

Hey Folks I am VERY hard at work out here at the Gary Hayes Command Center in Kentucky right after returning from a LONG weekend in Kansas City Missouri, and I wanted to stop and tell you about an exciting event happening in October. Folks you know that every October I always have a little anniversary shindig to celebrate the official launch of my website.

If you remember I launched my first official article in Altamont Tennessee and honestly one of the performers on this current bill was a part of my first officially launched article and that was Whey Jennings, and I am excited to hear he will be a part of my third year.

Folks this website I have has been recognized and supported by over 100 festivals nationwide and I am being supported by more venues every day. I cover and support over 6,000 local bands and national acts and I am adding more each week. I’m growing rapidly in amazing leaps and bounds, and traveling more now than I ever have, and I am always finding new and exciting ways to bring forth local music to YOU the reader.

I’m not doing any of the booking or organizing of this festival but on behalf of Mr. Donnie Wymer Promotions I’ll be sponsoring this event and celebrating my party at The Crooked Smile Music Festival in Winchester Indiana on October 14th and 15th at The Circle X Ranch. This campground is gorgeous and it’s located in a very scenic area of Indiana right on the Ohio-Indiana border and about two hours from Indianapolis.

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If you remember I attended the fall festival last year and I had a truly wonderful time there and was welcomed with open arms by the staff and bands. This year once again I plan to stay at the same hotel that has the budget building for under sixty per night. It is NOT dirty or small in ANY form in fact it is overall one of the least expensive festivals in the nation…period and you can buy tickets in advance HERE. You are going to find out that for UNDER 150 you can buy a ticket AND a room for two nights! And after you read the lineup for this year’s event I’m sure you will want to take advantage of an offer like that.

Hellbound Glory
Joseph Huber
Whey Jennings And The Unwanted
Husky Burnette
Sean K Preston
Jimmy Swope
Buffalo Wabs And The Price Hill Hustle
Smokestack Relics
The Drunken Cuddle
Lara Hope And The Ark Tones
Duane Mark
Wonky Tonk
Lonesome Red And The Blue Strings

Achillies Tenderloin
Kepone Cowboys
Old Wolves
40RTY
Eric Bestul And The Rockin Gypsies
Jessie Blankenship And The Plank Walkin Boys
Toeknee Tea
Mallory Wymer
The GLATAS band
Jason Dawdy
Apathy Wizards

The Randolph Inn and Suites was the hotel I used last year and I will tell you this, it is truly a wonderful place to stay and I look forward to being there again in 2016.
Overpass Motel is another good choice for this area. Last year I did some researching on the area as I attended the festival and I found this one to be a thumbs up.
Winchestr Guest House Inn is a place I found online and I have never been there but I do know it’s a nice suggestion by the locals I have consulted.

There is camping included in your ticket price and this is a one stage operation and despite the fact this is a campground it is an indoor festival. Now, there are no food vendors but one that is run by the campground. HOWEVER let me tell you the food is REALLY GOOD. It’s cooked and ran by the local owners of the campground and supports their community, so eating there supports this local economy.

You are supporting down home country folks out there and you’ll find hospitality like you won’t find in every area of the Country. ..SEE YOU THERE!

May 212016
 

The Westport Roots Festival
Moonrunners Music Festival
Picki’n In The Pasture
John Hartford Music Festival
The Blue Ox Music Festival
The Duck Creek Log Jam
ROMP Fest

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I told you folks I have a whole list of festivals for you all over the nation. This one is located in Virginia at the Virginia Motorsports Park and it is called The Dinwiddie Music Festival and it is primarily a Bluegrass festival. This event takes place on June 9-11th and once you see the lineup you’ll agree it’s quite nice and is about 20 miles south of Richmond Virginia.

There is dry camping available on grass and asphalt and this festival has shower facilities as well. RV lots are also available and NO alcohol in the concert area however I’m not sure about camping areas. They also didn’t say about extra fee for camping. Little different style with this edition folks it all in print right here for you and HERE is the ticket link and below is the entire schedule.

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Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band
Bluegrass Brothers
Flatt Lonesome
Larry Stephenson Band
Darrell Webb Band
Larry Cordle And Lonesome Standard Time
Commonwealth Bluegrass Band
Mill Run
Donna Ulisse
Joe Mullins And The Radio Ramblers
Dailey And Vincent
Code Blue
Malpass Brothers
Junior Sisk
Sideline
Mountain Faith
Steeldrivers

As always I have researched hotels in the area HERE and let me tell you…it’s WAY cheaper than a lot of other festivals I frequent. Combined with the ticket price this festival is relatively affordable in many ways. Who knows I might be able to get there one day!

Apr 182016
 

I have always been told my way of doing things on my website was eclectic in many forms. I don’t honestly review albums I feature them and I’ll tell you honestly “here is what you’ll get”, although I do often input my opinions. In this article I’ll tell you all about my personal experience Saturday for Record Store Day and also I’m going to feature the main reason I was looking forward to it.

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I went to Mellow Matt’s in Bowling Green Kentucky because I tell you what they have the friendliest staff EVER and carry ALL the GOODIES for someone like me. Reasonably priced used LP’s and CD’s. In fact I know people in other states that paid up to 35 for the same albums I pay 20 for. Now, honestly price means nothing when I TRULY WANT the piece of music but it means I’ll spend that on more music. I also saw many festival handbills being handed out and I in turn gave out Moonrunners flyers to people and I got ones for ROMP and another festival I’m already involved with John Hartford Memorial Festival.

I got there at 6:45 and that picture is from my view of the line already at the door, and it did my heart SO good to see so many people supporting their local area record stores. Every year Shooter Jennings and his label Black Country Rock releases a new addition for us to enjoy on Record Store Day. This year he released Billy Don Burns: A Night In Room 8. And this is my feature of that album, there’s a running meme joke on facebook that I listen to the same album 7 times in a row on nights. It took me more times than that to absorb this album’s rich history and meaning.

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Billy Don Burns is an overlooked Country Music Legend of our time, and sadly not everybody even recognizes his name when they discuss Country Music. He had a very prominent role in the 1970’s and 80’s as a songwriter and backing musician, who often got snuck into the Opry by Lynn Owsley when he was playing for Wanda Jackson. This was in 1972 before Lynn took a job with Ernest Tubb in 1973 and became a full time Texas Troubador, and was still getting Billy Don Burns into the Opry. He often talks about these times in his song “I Was There”.

In the early 80’s he broke off a wedding engagement to Lorrie Morgan and began Gypsy Women Music Publishing which also sent him touring around the world after writing songs for Hank Cochran, Connie Smith and Mel Tillis and many more I constantly find on my LP collection over the years, however many of the songs on the album ” A Night In Room 8″ were penned later on in his career. Some of these songs I have heard Mr. Billy perform at various times in my life and one of the songs I recognized as a cover song and that was “Lesson Too Late For The Learning” which was wrote by Tom Paxton. It was covered by hundreds of people and appears on more than 40 of my own records.

This whole album was recorded personally by Shooter Jennings in room 8 at the hotel in Joshua Tree California in the very hotel room where Gram Parsons died in 1973. It includes many stories about various things in Billy’s life and how some of the songs came about. Folks this isn’t a big huge full band production..this is an acoustic up close and personal piece of Country Music history in pure stripped down form, and I’ll be honest so far it’s my top album of 2016. It’s going to take ONE HELL of a special meaningful piece of music history to beat it’s spot, I’m not all about big huge produced projects or names.

“Dead Or Alive” was a song I recognized that is about visiting Billy The Kid’s grave in Texas. I have seen Billy perform this song many places and along with the story about smoking joints and naked women in graveyards it made the song pretty much an Outlaw Anthem in it’s own right.

“Where Was Love” was a classic Billy Don Burns tale of getting caught cheating on him by one of his girlfriends and basically he wrote it while he caught her cheating on him and she was screaming I Love You at him as she was getting dressed. The back cover is comprised of some truly iconic pictures that in my opinion are the beginning of some timeless pieces of history, one reason because the Colonel Jon Hensley is in some of them and two because My. Billy is seen playing the album in the room. Miss Mary Sparr and Miss Misty Jennings took some truly wonderful pictures of the occasion.

Another one I have heard him play was “Outlaws At The Cross” and although the other songs on the album contained more backstory this songs is one of my most enjoyable on the album. It’s a reminder than an old addict like me can be forgiven as Jesus was crucified with murderers and thieves. It makes me remember him saying “Believe In Me and Thou Shalt Be With Me In Paradise and also the fact we are supposed to do all things to his glory.

“When Gram Parsons Died I Was Playing Hank” was actually a true story he was indeed playing Hank Williams in 1973 at Opryland for a job. I have several pictures in my home museum of him doing just that. I collect a lot of artifacts from the old forgotten amusement park form a time when Country Music WAS Country.

I’ll be honest it took me awhile to become comfortable with writing this it touched my soul so deeply in many ways because pretty much people like Bobby Mackey and Billy Don Burns raised me. The people of his ilk had a very profound effect on my youth and my raising. Do I suggest this album NO I pretty much will tell you if it’s not in your collection you are pretty much not a Country Music fan, it’s stronger than a suggestion.

Mar 262016
 

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Those wonderful folks over at Nashville Palace have announced yet another really good show called Next Generation Sons And Daughters Of Country Legends and this is the fifth year of this program.

The Nashville Palace has been partnering up with some great music institutions to bring some truly great music to the venue and some fantastic DJ’s to spin records between sets! You can mosey on over HERE to buy 20 dollar printable tickets to your emmail box or you can also will call them.

The Nashville Palace also has REAL GOOD food and a front bar with great daily acts, why I go there to see Sarah Gayle Meech, David Peterson and 2 Country 4 Nashville, Joshua Hedley and more! Man I could walk around and admire the walls adorned with history for HOURS, in fact my home is exactly the same decor.

OK So here is the lineup for that night’s event on Thursday June 9th 2016 in the back parlor, doors will open at 6 promptly and trust me I’m sure will come out with priceless stories of some of your favorite Legends as told by their children that evening. I read books about Country Music a LOT but I’ll be honest nothing enthuses me more than to listen to my buddy Mr. Donnie Winters tell stories about his father and Bobby Sykes and Marty Robbins. Another daughter I’m interested to see is Sharon Wilburn, I’m on a Wilburn Brothers kick lately I reckon Lynn Woodruff fueled it by her book. I been studying Margie Bowes and Teddy Wilburn a ton lately.

Robyn Young
Hawkshaw Hawkins, Jr.
Chris Golden
Cherish Lee
Kathy Twitty
Karen Wheeler
George Hamilton V
Mark Cash
Steve Kilgore
Shelly West
Melissa Luman
Chrystie Wooley
Tom Bresh
Sharon Wilburn
Donnie Winters
Seidina Reed
… and other special guests!

Featuring the Loaded Dogs Band. Doors open at 6:00pm.

Find Nashville Singles at SingleNashville.com