Half of these websites out there that are raving over this young man’s latest release don’t know this is his latest release, and that’s honestly a shame. Imaginary Appalachia was in fact a damn fine album, it made my TOP 50 OF 2015 because of Mr. Colter’s unique vocal presentations. He pushes the lyrics out from the bowels of his very soul and what emanates forth is nothing short of music that far exceeds his physical age.
But much like Hank Williams was in the 1950’s, Mr Colter isn’t the youthful sprite he should be at this juncture…no Sir. By the end of this article you shall concur with me that I hit the damn nail right on the head with this one, this album here FAR exceeded anything I could have prognosticated when I spoke with him on the phone after work one night. We spoke because I phoned him to inform him I made him my 2016 Artist Of The Year.
Even back then he was working his way into the halls of bigger venues and selling them out, playing with the likes of Cody Jinks and Lucinda Williams. But nothing…NOTHING…prepared me for this endeavor I witnessed when my needle dropped on that wax for the first time. I don’t know how he did it or what factors made it happen, but he found his focal point here vocally and lyrically.
This album is SO throwback in demeanor that my father who has Alzheimer listens to this album and is convinced it’s from HIS era the likes of Marty Robbins Gunfighter songs, and you know what? I actually agree. The stories and scenarios are vivid and full of despair at times the likes of Red Headed Stranger or something from a Louis L Amour book.
“Thirteen Silver Dollars” the albums opener brings you back to his home of Speedy Creek in Canada, and directly paints a story within the mind of anybody willing to listen, while at the same time contains poignant strumming and powerful notes from his acoustic.
The cover of “Fraulein” is a duet with Tyler Childers made popular by many like Bobby Helms. The style and spin these two young men placed upon this classic song I’m positive would make Cash, or any of the Legends we adore smile. Perhaps one of the best songs on the album was the song “Me And Big Dave”, another great story that equally painted a picture on my mind as I closed my eyes and allowed the song into my head. It’s full of D chord strumming like the classic western songs of old, but honestly it’s not all about Mr. Colter.
This band of folks he has assembled and dubbed his “Speedy Creek Band” are just absolutely top top top notch in every aspect of the word, and with Dave Cobb at the producer’s pilot seat and our old friend W.B. Walker lending a hand flipping the record over it finalizes a powerful team of warriors marching forth in the name of REAL Country Music.
However the cream of this whole album lies within “Kate McCannon”, a powerful murder ballad story about a man in prison taunted by a raven in the beginning. The descriptions and references within this 5 minute song are just absolutely bone chilling. In fact I would have to say it’s one of my top songs I have ever heard in my life, the way he finds her with another man and the song builds up power as he pulls the trigger. It just comes out of your speakers kicks you right in the face.
“Snake Mountain Blues” was by far his finest song vocally with a very hazy and unfiltered rasp. When you watch Mr. Colter perform you can SEE where it comes from, he is a natural performer and cares very deeply about how the listeners feel when he’s done.
No, half of those websites have no idea what kind of a storm is brewing here, nor do they have any idea just WHAT they are “reviewing” this isn’t something I’m reviewing. I’m just telling you facts people, just absolute unarguable facts. There is a massive, cold, battle winding within the music community…and with Mr. Colter Wall on our side we have won.
Folks I apologize about the delay in making album features as I have been incredibly busy with festivals, however I wanted to stop and tell you about a few albums here on the website that I strongly urge you to go pick up. Richard Lynch has had a successful Country Music Career that has spanned three decades up 5there in Ohio.
He is a prominent part of the local music scene up there in Ohio, and as most of you know I pay close attention to bands like The Tillers,Hocking River String Band,Mr. Dallas Moore and Mr. Heath McDaniel. Well, Richard Lynch is no exception to that long list of fine musicians that emanate from the Ohio area. I mean, folks the long list of bands and venues from that area I could talk about is endless. Not to mention festivals, my major function I write about here, some of my favorites come from the Ohio area.
I’ll be honest the list of new releases already in 2017 has blown me away, There is easily a TOP 50 now before the year even comes to a close. Of course I also involve myself in many genres, Traditional Country is one of my favorites. I LOVE what Tracy Pitcox does out there in Texas with Heart Of Texas Records, or out on the West Coast we have many REAL Country bands.
Just recently Mr Richard and Country Legend Ronnie McDowell recorded a mighty fine duet and you can read about that HERE as they tore up the Midnite Jamboree.
Shortly after that I received in the mail the new album from Mr. Richard Lynch called “Mending Fences”. Upon reading the credits RIGHT AWAY the song “When You Send An Angel A Letter” grabbed my attention because my good buddy Jeff Batson helped write that song, and what a great song it was. It contains a really good hook typically used in songwriting, but they implement it’s use in this situation to keep it from becoming mundane. “When you send an angel a letter, what the hell do you write”? Now that was a truly cool song, well written and it was a good choice on Mr. Richard’s part.
This album was produced by Edgel Groves and Randall Griffith and it showcased his vocals truly well, that’s honestly on of the things I look for in new releases as well as some mighty fine steel guitar work by Steve Hinson. It’s self titled track “Mending Fences” is perhaps one of the best songs on this album, he delivers the vocals in such a heartfelt and convincing manner it cannot be passed up on.
“Back in Love Again” is a powerful duet with Bluegrass Legend Rhonda Vincent that compliments the rest of the album truly well. And honestly in most cases I sometimes frown upon an album where the artist chooses songs from other writers in today’s age, Mr. Richard identifies truly well with the songs he chose and sings them like they came from his own heart. That is kind of a double edged sword, I miss having those Country Music Songwriting Legends, but I appreciate an artist that writes their own songs more now.
“Worth Saving” was a song he did co write and it did identify with him thus brought me closer to him as an individual and helped me overcome the frivolous task of wading through thousands of songs to find true Country Music treasures. Honestly this album is a true necessity for the yawning statement from people “There Is No Country Music Anymore”..or “Country Music is Dead”. We need to take album like this one and shove it down their throat and satisfy their palate.
This album contains some mighty fine songs, It’s not his greatest offering out of his entire collection BUT it’s nothing short of amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t end up on my TOP 50 of 2017 on some juncture of the spectrum.
1. Daddy’s Words
2.When You Send An angel A Letter
4.In Over My Heart
6.Back in love Again
7.Cut And Paste
8.Think And Drive
10.Things You Shouldn’t Do
11.Knock Three Times
12.Country Music Isn’t Country Anymore
Well my old friend PeeWee Moore is at it again as he proudly announces his THIRD ANNUAL Great American Honky Tonk Tent Revival, and in this edition of my festival series I’ll include hotel information.
NOW this festival is FREE YES I SAID FREE to ALL ages, and you can donate money for food and drinks. You CAN bring coolers and leashed pets, AND CAMPING is available! This man is literally running a 100.00 lineup for nothing folks..this is pretty much a NO BRAINER HERE.
The ONLY reason I won’t be there is because I was booked elsewhere already, so go stop on by and shake Old PeeWee’s hand for me, and tell him to keep up the fabulous work.
Hey everybody welcome to part 2 of my coverage of the 2017 Moonrunners Music festival in downtown Chicago, I tell you what today I upgraded my phone and got a Galaxy 8 and I truly wish I had gotten it for the festival, so right now I want to once again thank Mr. Scott Mithun for the use of his videos.
Before I go any further I’m hoping I do not offend anybody but there were a few acts I simply couldn’t catch and I hadn’t gotten the chance to have any set lists turned in or I didn’t get a chance to track them down. I apologize for this in advance, I think I did the best job I could at maintaining the current two stage overlap. It’s NOT EASY doing all what I do for this length of time.
The Bad Saddles opened the day up in the side bar with a very high energy set that I needed along with four big cups of coffee to get this day underway here on a windy morning. I was up and ready to kick ass out here and enjoy some damn fine music, and do some more merch table shopping. I also had my daughter with me and it’s extremely hard to say NO to her, so I was buying two of things this weekend.
This fine rock band makes It’s home here in Joliet Illinois and is a prominent member of the local scene in Chicago, as you will easily identify upon their amount of local support and how much they are appreciated. They opened with a fine number called “Tanglewood” and followed that up with “Devil Door”.
The video up above is from “Long Way From Tomorrow” and they played another simply called “Happy”. They then closed with two more song called “Keep On Smilin” and one called “Radiator Blues”. I’ll tell you what I truly enjoyed this band this early in the morning, it was honestly nice to hear a GREAT band right off the bat!
The Decayed was Mr. Jahshie’s thrash metal band with members of his other band Last False Hope (whom I’ll touch on in just a bit) and I watched them from up top on the catwalk stages that line the top of the main stage. There’s furniture along the tops of the balconies of the main stage.
This band was pretty wild and loud, and they opened with a song called “Beaten And Battered” and followed that with a song called “My Decay”. Like many other bands here this weekend The Decayed is also a prominent member of the local scene in Chicago here.
“Hopeless” was next along with a song called “Not This Time”. Along with furious guitar solos and hardcore beats songs like “The Dream Is Dead” filled our ear drums as they closed with “Better Way”. It was one of the heavier bands I truly enjoyed this weekend.
Mr. Soda Gardocki is a staple band from other festivals that I haven’t gotten the chance to cover extensively yet. He played in the side bar this weekend and I think he did a wonderful job up there keeping us busy.
I had to return to the computer to update some things and run background programs in order to properly cover more sets tonight so I only got to check him out while playing “July”. But you can darn sure bet I’ll be covering his set even more throughout the years I do this.
Folks right now It’s time to talk about that dirty blues maniac we call Husky Burnette who opened his set with “Kick Rocks” off his new album out on Rusty Knuckles called Ain’t Nothin But A Revival. That album also made my TOP 50 OF 2016, it was truly fantastic. You can easily see growth in this man’s music lyrically and musically. He is an absolute guitar wizard with a finger slide, his shows are intense high energy and ha makes that guitar neck his bitch!
He continued with “Rising” which I believe he told me was a brand new song, and another one called “Pay By The Hour” before he steamrolled into “Law’s Riding Up” off his first album “Face Down In The Dirt”.
Mr. Brett Conlin put on one hell of a fantastic set here in Chicago today, and it was a true pleasure to catch up with him. I got the chance to talk with him a little biyt and get acquainted with his music more.
He opened with a song called “Pine Box” and followed that with “Ship Of Sin”. Another really good one was “Glad To See You Go” that song truly showcased his vocal abilities really well. “Everything I Know” was another one I noticed right away that was a well written song.
“Here we Go Again, Anyway” was next followed by “Home On Time”. He closed his set with “Whiskey Blues”. I shall be seeking him out more and more in the next few months and I will most certainly feature him again.
The Devil’s Cut is another Midwest band that is currently dong some touring work with the Ditchrunners, you can read about that HERE
“Left To Loose” was first along with “Cordel” and one off their second album called “Glass Chariot”. You know their cause and their lyrics truly speak for themselves and their drummer spoke some wise words on their website I shall reprint here:
“We have one of the worst economies, and due to that you have limited places to play. However, that has also really helped to create an underground community where people stick together, getting behind what is going on at the grassroots level. This communal aspect really comes through in our work, wherein most of the lyrical material and/or musical feel is based around the struggles that we all face due to a failing system”, says drummer Derek Vaive.
“The Body Electric” was next followed by “42 Arrows” and I think the next song was a cover song called “Shakedown On 9th Ave”. They closed their set with “Old Ghosts And Classic Cars”. Later on in the evening they came up to play with St. Christopher.
Mr. A.J. Gaither is one of our Kansas City friends that is part of the Westport scene and just recently released a mighty fine live album from it. He is a powerhouse OMB or One Man Band as they are called, and tonight he played “Biscuits And Gravy” with a mighty fine beat.
He also played “Natural Habitat” and declared Reggies to be the Chicago mecca for his music scene like the Westport Saloon is for his. One could easily tell he was just ecstatic to be there, and felt quite welcomed.
I went next door to see Mr. Matt Woods playing “To Tell The Truth” off his new album that like quite a few on this festival it also made my TOP 50 of 2016 with his album “How To Survive”.
He followed that up with “A Good Man” and the song called “The American Way” that I heard at Muddy Roots for the first time. I loved the lyrics to this song and I have always admired the way he delivers the songs, his stage presence is amazing. He closed his set with “Love From Brushy Mountain” and finally he played “Deadman’s Blues”.
Still after all these years I think “love From Brushy Mountain” to be his finest work in every aspect and even thought I liked songs off his new album a LOT it’s going to be hard for him to beat that album. I am eager to see him attempt to beat it though, and I admire his road dog schedule.
Mr. Duane Mark was one is just recently covered on the road with Sissy Brown in Tennessee and this time he had Mr Tim Vee playing bass with him. There were a few songs I caught and couldn’t find the name but I did see him play “Beer 30” and towards the end I caught “Her Mother” and he closed his set with the same song as the last time which was one by Roger Alan Wade “If You’re Gonna Be Dumb You gotta Be Tough”.
Mr. Adam Lee makes Chicago his home as well as many of the other artists here, and I have always enjoyed his versatile vocals. He brought Matt Woods up to sing “Call Me Bass Call Me Trouble”. I saw them perform that at Muddy Roots already, GREAT song.
His new album called “Sincerely,Me” brought out songs such as “Good Days” and “Show Folks You Mean It”. He also played a song called “Ten Years To The Day”. All in All I have always enjoyed his Honky Tonk style as well as his various other forms of music, and he is a truly gifted entertainer. He enjoys performing and it’s evident in his demeanor and music, I look forward to writing MANY more articles about him and his music.
Still Alive was another of the Chicago area bands and I missed their set. Band Members Dan – Guitar and Vox Dom – Guitar and Vox Bryan – Bass and Mikey – Drums make up this four piece band that mixes punk metal and ska.
Folks I assure you it’s nothing personal if I miss sets, I have to momentarily return to my laptop to do what I do as best as I can. I can and always will add set lists I find out about, and I will gladly edit these anytime for any band. I’m always looking to hire help as long as their heart isn’t out for free tickets and they actually WANT to report on the MUSIC!
S.S.Webb is my friends Mr. Henry Berger and Mr. Cris Bissell make up this Roots Music duo from Milwaukee Wisconsin that I have wrote many articles about in the past. I encounter them at many festivals around the country and have always enjoyed their music.
I enjoy the talks I get to have with Mr. Henry on politics and music and everything else we talk about, like many of you I can usually talk politics and debate or agree and still remain friends, it’s something I enjoy doing. I enjoy learning from others and understanding other people’s points of view, he’s actually quite an interesting person. A road musicians life is in no way an easy job and the insight he gave me last weekend was even more proof of my point that what they do isn’t one big party like your average person assumes.
“Dead Man’s Bar” was first tonight from their album “North” and they followed it up with “Bring Me Home” off the “Revenge” album and another called “Pullin”. “Any Old Thing” was next off my favorite album “Skulls Will Sink” as well as their next song “Chaser”.
S.S.Webb stands for Steering Ships With Broken Bottles and they have a nautical theme to their band. A few songs I don’t find on their albums were “See You In The Morning” and “Most Anything”. They closed their set with ‘Let It Burn”. You can darn sure bet that when they get ready to release new music I’ll keep a close eye on them for a review.
Dave-drums, Curtis-guitar, Johnny-bass, Jeff-guitar, Mikey-percussion Manny-vocals make up the next band that plays Chicago hardcore music called Evil Empire this insert is from their website:
We have different interests, opinions, and personalities. We play music together to promote peace, knowledge, and truth. We don’t care if you’re into hardcore or emo. In fact, we don’t give a motherfuck. Just keep things real, stand up for what’s right. – Fuck all inequalities, smash imperialism, keep it real, have fun. That’s our stance. Teach yourself.
Miss Rachel Brooke is one I encountered many years ago and right now she doesn’t get out as much for personal reasons. So when she is on a bill and I see it I usually go support that festival right away. It was very nice to catch up with her and let her know I’m still out there doing this.
She opened her set with “Keep From Crying” and right off the bat displayed her signature obscure but distinguishable vocal style. She has one of the most unique voices in all of music, a quality many lack in today’s day. “Ashes To Ashes” was next along with “Fox In A Hen House”.
I went up into the back balcony to enjoy her set even further as she rolled into songs like “The Ghost Of You” and she played one called “Stocking Blues” (that might be an incorrect name) however it was a good song. She played the song that made the Muddy Roots compilation disc called “The Mystery Of Death”.
She played a few more in closing her set called “Dixie Darling” and one called “Empty House”, it was truly good to catch up with her and get a chance to see her again. I been a longtime fan of hers and I don’t plan on going anywhere for sure, you can darn sure bet that you’ll be hearing about this young lady in the future.
Last False Hope what can I say about Mr. Jahshie P and what he does for his music scene in the Chicago area, that I haven’t already touched on? He and Shooter have always teamed up to do terrific things for Underground Music up there, and this festival proves it.
Last False Hope blends Hardcore and Bluegrass together for an ultimate experience unlike any other, and I’ll be featuring them this summer as well at Muddy Roots. The first song of their I caught was “God Damn You” and another one they played was “Hollow”.
As with his other band Mr. Jahshie displays an untamed vigor onstage as he releases all his pent up emotions onto the audience while performing songs like “Wasted Nights” and the last one of theirs I watched “Why Do I Fuck Up Everything I Love”. I had to head back to my computer for another update before the night’s closing main acts took their respective places!
Mr. Ted Russell Kamp not only plays bass for Shooter Jennings he also plays his own music as well, and is a seasoned multi instrumentalist. He’s been a staple member of all of Shooter’s bands since 2006 when Shooter released “Let’s Put The O Back In Country”.
He opened with “Hold On” and went on into “My Heart Has A Mind Of It’s Own” off the 2013 album “Night Owl”. His next song was called “Every Little Thing You Need”. His next song was called ‘Rainy Day Valentine, which displayed his own identity as an artist. Mr. Ted has been a prominent producer and musician for many years as a solo act as well as being in the background. “Another Love song” was next followed by “Down to The Wire” before he closed with “If I Had A Dollar”.
Mr. Shawn James has some pretty powerful songs whether it’s him as a solo act of with his band the Shapeshifters. I haven’t ever crossed paths with him or his band so it was a pleasure to encounter him on this bill.
“Through The Valley” was one of his songs today as well as “Snake eyes”. Mr. Shawn channels his inner beast as he wails out lyrics to songs like “Delilah” from his album “On The Shoulders Of Giants”. His last song was called “Hell Hound”, which is also from that aforementioned album.
Call Me Bronco has been another band that has been covered on this website before on many occasions through various festivals and shows. They played their ever popular song “Burn The witch” as well as “4 AM” and “4 Shots”. I was getting ready for the next couple major sets out here tonight that are pretty much leading up to the wrap up of this festival for the weekend.
Saffron Lair: Bass/Backup Vocals, Tyler Palermo: Guitar/Backup Vocals and Violet Staley: Drums/Lead Vocals make up the next band called Won’t stay Dead another punk band from the Chicago area. I did catch some of their set however even with a song list I didn’t catch the names. I did manage to catch some of their set and I did enjoy it, but getting ready for tonight’s big juggernaut acts was a chore that I was salivating for some time over.
Left Lane Cruiser is just absolutely loud and insane music. And they shake the roof off the venue when they play, it sounds like a freight train rolling by!
Their first song was “Booga Chacka” followed by “Big Momma”. They too, just released a new album not long ago called “Claw Machine Wizard” in April. “Heavy Honey” was next followed by a rowdy cover of “Black Betty”. Their last osng of the set was called “Zombie Blocked” and they left the rock club in complete and utter disarray tonight before the main acts even took the stage.
Mr. Joseph Huber is one I just recently featured as he released a new album last month called “The Suffering Stage”. I got the opportunity to feature two songs before they went public, then I got to feature the new album.
He plays what I call “Feel Good Music”, playing string band type old mountain music influenced heavily by bands like Alabama. I have and will be featuring his music for many years to come. He opened with “Playground Is A Battlefield” which I relate to very well being from a run down area of his same hometown.
“Sons Of The Wandering” was next along with “16-10″ and ‘Drop In The Bucket” from one of his past albums. Another selection off of his new album called “You Showed Me”. Afterwards he played the ever popular “Hanging Road” off his album of the same name.
He closed his set with “Old Mountain Tune” and the older song “Dance Around The Daggers”. Always a treat to witness Joseph Huber’s wonderful music and get to visit with him afterwards, he truly is a great friend.
Mr. Billy Don Burns is a songwriting Legend and I recently got the opportunity to hang around him more privately in West Virginia not long ago. He came out and played “Dark Side Of The Spoon” and “Running Drugs Out Of Mexico” before Shooter came out.
Shooter Jennings is always doing things that I report on on this website. This time he was with his own band and it was cool to see him under this element for a change. Not that I dislike him with Waymore’s Outlaws because I don’t, it’s just fun to see him play ‘Electric Rodeo” and “Steady At The Wheel” on his own as well.
“Don’t Feed The Animals” was next followed by A song called “Triskaidelaphobia” and the “Real Me”. the ever popular “Outlaw You” which mocks the current state of Nashville bro country is always popular. Now make NO mistake I’m NOT one of the types that mock Nashville as a whole, in fact there IS a GREAT music scene here in town. It’s just the major mainstream crap that Music Row produces that is being mocked.
“The Last time I Let You Down” was next follwed by another one of my personal favorites “Nashville From Afar” which was on his 2014 BCR Mixtape, he releases one every year and tonight I got the 2017 one. “Wild and Lonesome” was next folks followed by “I’m Left You’re Right She’s Gone” off Coutach for Giorgio.
“Born To Die” was next followed by “The Door” and “The Other Life”. I thought O’l Shooter was on the mark tonight and I truly enjoyed his show because my daughter was with me for the first time ever for a music show. It was SO MUCH FUN enjoying the show with her. I never imagined my daughter would get to meet Waylon’s younger son, and I cannot thank him enough for that.
“Maifesto Number 1” was next along with “All This Could Have Been yours” and “Summer Of Rage”. He changed from guitar to keyboards throughout the entire performance tonight and with his dead on band that plays like a well oiled machine closed out his set with “Gunslinger” “4rth Of July” and as always “Good Time Charlie” for our friend Colonel Jon Hensley. Shooter if you are reading this I promise you that Jon’s picture will never leave my website and if it does I’m not alive running it my friend.
Escape From The Zoo was band from Houston Texas I missed and I was told they absolutely killed it up there. You can click HERE and buy their music and support this band as well. Folks that’s about all I got for you this time around, I urge you to get off the couch and see a show, support festivals and these bands.
One last act that wasn’t announced and was a last minute deal was one that I didn’t even have to be in the venue to know, however I DID see some of his set. Saint Christopher is one that I have covered many times on my website, and his question is always the same..Was it loud enough?
He brought out Corey Staley- Bass, and Derek Vaive- Drums to play in the side bar. “Let It Rip” was first followed by “How Low Can You go”? “Never Forgive” was next followed by Joe Fox from The Devil’s Cut joining him for “Revolution Motherfucker”.
“Regret And Guilt” was next as he bowels forth his aggressive vocals lambasting corporate rules and values, which could be understood as “St. Christophers Blues”. My favorite song he does is “Ride” and he closed his set and the whole festival with “We Are Legend”.
Even though St. Christopher howls out against mass purchasing and greed he IS FOR THE LITTLE MAN and the REAL American Dream. BUY LOCAL and BUY SMALL.
BUY STUFF from independent people and stop and take a moment to greet the artists and let them know they inspire you or speak to you through music. Of course I’m NOT saying skip your electric bill…just help me keep local music going…won’t you?
At this juncture I am not sure if this coverage will be in two parts or four, but right now I am at the Chicago South Loop Hotel on State Street in downtown Chicago. My room is VERY NICE and although the price was a bit high, the amnesties are beyond my expectations. This bathtub was the biggest one I have EVER encountered wow, so far I am waiting on some Chicago pizza that I have been informed is actually tourist food but I could careless. I’m having some Giordano’s deep dish pizza delivered to the room this afternoon, I’m not heading over to Reggies until a little later tonight for today’s festivities, I’m telling you there are already people reportedly hung over all over the city! The buzz here is something you don’t encounter at every festival nationwide.
So if you ever come to Chicago and stay at the South Loop you MUST say hello to Miss Jackie at the front desk, she was SO NICE and made my check in and check out VERY pleasant and welcoming. The staff there was impeccable and very presentable, it made the price WELL WORTH the stay there. The room was gorgeous, everything was perfect. Honestly there wasn’t one complaint from me and it made my job all that much more easier to complete.
You know folks I do NOT post negative things on here, and I usually do NOT complain very much, but this company treated me SO poorly in the beginning and almost made my trip NOT POSSIBLE. This NEEDS to be shared on a mass level thousands of people will see.
Initially I started the trip with Enterprise car rental. Needless to say that did NOT go well, and until just recently when I found a proper employee in Bowling Green and another even better one in Glasgow, I would highly recommend staying away from this company.
If you ever have to call corporate, they will not be very helpful, they will try to solve your problems but at a great expense to you time wise and money wise. I paid a pretty high price for my car rental although they did claim to honor a cheaper rate, I found and even cheaper rate at another Enterprise location.
First off THEY DO NOT PICK YOU UP that’s a false statement, I was only offered a pick up five hours AFTER what I needed. My initial reservation was made at the Clarksville Tennessee location because route wise it’s what I needed to hop on 24. Well, to my dismay I have an out of state license and couldn’t rent. The employees there just pushed me off to the side, and actually I was told to move my vehicle…then I was told to leave. Before I came down to the Clarksville location I called and while on the phone I was placed on LONG periods of hold times, hung up on twice and told that they will make me a parking spot because they would not come get me…mind you..I live twenty five minutes away.
So I called corporate and FINALLY got someone who told me Oak Grove and Hopkinsville had NO cars available, and I HAD to go to Bowling Green, which is two hours away. The employee there Mr. Will made my last part of my dilemma pleasant, and he did do some things for me. He truly was a great asset to this company but I think their policies are bad and their customer service was even worse. The Clarksville Tennessee location on Wilma Rudolph is for sure one location I implore you to avoid, they will do everything in their power to make sure you do NOT get a vehicle and corporate will not only back them up, they will applaud them.
I already met up with Brittany Avery AKA Six Gun Britt and her boyfriend in the hotel bar for a little while..It’s been quite a few years since we have seen each other as with many of the festival patrons here. This is my very first Moonrunners Music Festival ever, so let me quit yapping and tell you all about the music.
Mr.James Hunnicutt I mean honestly WHAT can I say that hasn’t already been said about his heart and soul he puts into his music. He allows his many influences to shine, like his adoration of vintage metal and punk all the way to his love of Faron Young.
It was actually at Country Legend Porter Waggoner’s funeral where I met him in person for the first time. I mean anybody will tell you that you can sit for hours and nerd out to any subject with him. That is by no means time wasted to one of the most gentle and kindest men I ever met, in ANY music scene. And I involve myself with a LOT of them.
He played two different sets here this weekend and some songs I have never heard before but as always he is a sure fire bet for entertainment and like he always says…We are all the same, there are no rock stars here.
Mr.Jimmy Swope was my very first victim tonight as he opened with “This Old Town” and followed up with some new songs called “Highway Mind” and one I actually have heard him perform at other festivals called “Tip Jar”. The mighty man from Maryland displayed classic guitar playing in his song called “Garage” as he furiously went up and down the neck.
He is a seasoned veteran of festivals in the mid west and I first encountered him at one in Indiana shortly after the death of our close friend in common Mr. Owen Mays. Initially I had heard of him until Mr.Owen gave me more insight into his album and got me to check him out.
He played one off his album “The Wages Of Sin” called “The Wolf” before playing one called “Ray Of Sun” and another called “Another Town” that he closed his set with. I look forward to running into him again at other festivals this year.
ALL VIDEOS courtesy of Mr. Scott Mithun at Hellbilly and Outlaw Radio. Link to that HERE.
Mr.Gary Moore II played an amazing set complete with steel and fiddle tonight by Miss Despina Pefinlides. I tell you what I got treated to some amazing steel guitar already! He opened with “I Think” and followed it with the title of his album “Tin Man’s Blues”.
I got to share some open mic sets with him at another festival last year and we all had a wonderful time admiring one an other’s music and songs as we played the Cracker Swamp open mic on stage 3.
“Tresspassing” was next on this set along with “Livin And Lust” which displayed the guitar talents of the steel player Mr.Mike Pentz as well, followed by “Ain’t My Lady” and “One Bottle At A Time” which was the only song not on his album he played today. I highly suggest you go over and pick up his album “Tin Man’s Blues”, he closed his set with “Gett’n Over”.
Viva Le Vox was in the main rock room tonight and they displayed some truly wonderful roots music tonight as they opened with “Lov Dirge #1” off their album “Luv Hungry” and went into “Cardiovascular And Otherwise” off the album “Dirt For Sale”. I loved the way Mr. Tony Bones had the mic hooked up to himself tonight as they went into Y.B.@ Human”.
I want to point out that these fellows aren’t Country at all, but you know what that’s what makes my website unique and how I cover festivals that veer off that initial path. These guys are like Smokestack Relics and S.S.Webb and many more that are in their lineups in that they have embraced a special sound that nobody mimics. It’s little punk and a little hardcore mixed with ragtime.
Upright bass monster Joe Buck played some upright bass for them on their past albums and in 2016 they released a small EP you can get by clicking on their website up there. I’ll be seeing them again at other festivals I’m quite certain, and hopefully I’ll get to visit with them further. Other band members were Johnny Tugboat on drums and Scarecrow Jenkins on bass. They will be touring around like most bands do this year before returning to their home town of Florida.
Meek Vs Roaches” was off their album called “Luv Hungry” and they played one called “Down At The Laundromat”. “Checking In With Myself” was next along with “Basking In The Twilight”. “Wayward Ones” was the last song they did that I caught before making my way into the side bar for Pearls Mahone.
Miss Pearls Mahone played an absolutely exceptional set tonight in the side bar. As always her band was absolutely stunning and on point, this young lady is indeed a Moonrunners staple act having performed every year but one. She’s an act I have covered many times at many other festivals and being an Illinois native I cannot just jaunt up to one of her weekend shows, so this is what makes festivals so special.
She began with “Blow Your Top” and a song called ‘6 Pack And Cigarettes” both of those were off her very first album. She played a song called 50 Ford Truck” about a vintage truck, and her traditional brand of Country Music mixed with Hillbilly Western Swing never fails to entertain the entire crowd here or any other festival she’s at.
“Greasy Love” and the classic song “Big Rock Candy Mountain” with her own signature twist. The same with the song “All Of Me” that equally has her own twist to her presentation of it. “Flash Your Diamonds” was also next followed by “Saints And Sinners”.
“Old Time Religion” was next and after that was “Little Girl’s Gone”. She closed her set with “San Antonio” and “Nashville Bound”. She never fails to pull out the old classics you just cannot go wrong on having in a set list, and trust me her vocals and her steel player make every show all that more enjoyable. If you enjoy throwback vintage music and attire you will heavily enjoy this young lady’s music.
What can I possibly say about Stump Tail Dolly that I haven’t reported on yet? These four assembled about a year and a half ago, and have successfully juxtaposed Country and Heavy Metal together on a large basis.
Mr. Ryan Clackner and Miss Lucy were both on stage at Muddy Roots during the Red Simpson set which is what spawned their pairing for me, I’m not quite sure how long the prototype had been in the works. They do have a new full length album hitting the market very soon and you can surely bet I’ll be featuring it.
“Cumberland Gap” was in their set list tonight as well as ripping guitar poundage and fiddle solos complete with bass duties from Mr. Jamie Garry and Mr. Brian Weinberg on drums. Trust me until you have heard “I’ve Endured” you truly haven’t endured. And this band is another one that burns up the miles across the United States to bring STD to YOU! They closed their set with “America”.
The Mystery Actions were a hometown all female punk metal band consisting of Nikki- Vocals Lucy- Guitar Mary Rose- Drums Sarah- Bass Guitar. They played in what was called the Music Joint which was the smaller side bar, which still sounded pretty damn good!
“Never Needed You” was first along with a song called “Drive”. “Count Me Out” was next along with “What I Live For” and they followed that up with a song called “A Line In The Sand”. “Fire In My Eyes” was next and they closed their set with “No Luck” and “Teenage Kicks”.
Folks I’ll admit I really don’t know Punk music like I know Country and I can usually tell you what’s a cover and what is an original. I know nothing of these songs origin however the sound they brought was very retro and reminded me of the late 70’s punk sound. I’m not quite sure if they are purposely channeling that influence but they are doing it right if they are trying.
Mr. Jesse Dayton was one of my TOP 50 of 2016 last year and I’m going to say this right now outright, he KILLED IT up there. Honestly he was probably the best set of the weekend to my liking. Everyone has their own opinions and after day two I was talking with Shooter and even he said Mr. Jesse puts on one hell of a show.
His latest album entitled “The Revealer” made my TOP 50 OF 2016 this past December and I went on many interviews supporting my decisions and choices. In fact pretty much all of his set list for Moonrunners was from this latest album, and that’s not necessarily a complaint.
He began with barrels blasting that Honky Tonk music mixed with Rockabilly as he opened with “Daddy Was A Bad Ass”. That song contains some of the album’s finest songwriting lines within it’s time length. “Holy Ghost Rock And Roller” was next which also contained some heavy Rockabilly riffs, that got this crowd swinging to the beat…the beat…the beat…the beat.
“The Way That We Are” was next as he readily displayed his empowering vocals tonight before us in that dismal rock club filled with stage lights and smoke billowing from the sides of the stage. As people danced up above in the catwalk cages that line the top of the stage he power housed his way into the slow paced “Possum Ran Over My Grave”. Which was a poignant song about George Jones in which Mr. Jesse makes many references of within his new album. He closed his set with a Black Sabbath cover “War Pigs” and “I’m At Home Getting Hammered”.
He opened his set with “Wayfaring Stranger” and equally displayed his own unique vocals on his song “California” followed by another of his originals “Katie”. I often times identified with his own songs on this last album that touches on past drug abuses and life’s hard lessons learned, as we embellish our future being clean while recalling places in life such as “Sink Down Low”. He closed his set with “Gone”, and as I look forward to dwelling within his world once again soon, it was time to move into the main stage area for the next band.
The Hooten Hallers have a brand new album out now on Big Muddy Records and they recently had an album release party which I wrote a small piece on, and they also recently visited Nashville.
Miss Kellie Everett, Mr. Andy Rehm and Mr. John Randall make up this Missouri trio of blues, rock and many other styles all rolled into one unique sound that is usually always included on many Roots Music festivals all year. “Missouri Boy” was first along with “Hard To Trust”.
“Coming Down The Mountain” was next which is off their iconic album “Chillicathe Fireball followed by “Sticks And Stones”. “Charla” was off of their new released album you can buy by clicking on the label up there on CD and LP. “Gaelic Storm” was another off my favorite album Chillicothe Fireball.
Next they closed their set “Mountain Of Pain” off the album of the same name and “Rhythm And Blues” ,overall I’d say I was truly satisfied with their set tonight and I look forward to seeing them again soon and writing more articles for them through the years.
That O’l Coondog was a duo that brought a mix of old timey fiddle,banjo and guitar tunes to us and they were strategically placed well to break up the heaviness of the acts within their time range today. I was well waiting for this set as I have been eager to see them for many months and I briefly got to chat with him.
He started with “Train,Train,Train” and went into “High On The Homestead” and another called “Until The Dust Settles”. As one of them quickly swapped his fiddle for his banjo, the other played vigorously on his acoustic while belting out old mountain tunes like “Old Joe Clark” and “Wildwood Flower”.
“Laugh And Grow Fat” and “River Rat” were two more that were played tonight as they left us with a down home feeling afterwards. It was musical comfort food for the ears. I can easily ascertain why this band has been a staple portion of Moonrunners for many of the past festivals.
Mr. Scott H Biram offered up an entire set from his entire catalogue of songs tonight from his MANY albums. The Dirty Old One Man Band has been around for perhaps longer than any of the bands on this article save for a few. He played many songs from his new album available now on Bloodshot records called The Bad Testament, like his first song “Swift Drifti’n”.
He swapped guitars,stomped on pedals and pounded his way around the room tonight and took us om a rocket ride through “Going Home”. He played older songs like “Graveyard shift from 2006, as well as “still Drunk, Still Crazy” also recorded by Whitey Morgan.
The new album was on proud display with “Set Me Free”, “Trainwrecker” and “Still Around”. He displayed his rough and raunchy vocals and seasoned guitar licks with songs like “Plow Under” and “Hell Yeah”, as he went into “Truck Driver” he brought the crowd back to ‘Another River” and into his “Victory Song”. He played “Still Drunk, Still Crazy” towards the end I do believe as I made my way into the side bar stage for my next Buddygirl.
Miss Brittany Avery AKA Six Gun Britt was my very first Myspace friend along with Mr. Bandana. Since then I have had the privilege to get to watch her make life mistakes and accomplish life goals. I got to share with her loss of her Grandparents and the birth of her two kids, truly a gift through meeting within music.
I think for now she has met a good man and had things under wraps from a life standpoint, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what she brings to the table musically in the next upcoming years. “Midnight In The Garden” began her set tonight along with “Oh My Love” and “I’m Done”.
She played some old SGB tunes called “Jack Daniels And PBR” and also “Six Bullets” after she went into to more original songs like “Something Better” and “If I Can’t Have Him”. She produced a truly sultry and soulful voice tonight at Reggies and this was one I have been waiting many months in anticipation. She closed her set with “Every time You Look My Way” and “Under Control”.
Colonel J.D. Wilkes, Mr. Rod Hamdallah, Mr. Fuller Condon, and Mr. Preston Corn make up this quartet called Th Legendary Shack Shakers from my home area of Paducah Kentucky, and they absolutely killed it tonight up there.
I truly enjoyed the Colonel’s solo set in the past as he brought an old piano from Tin Pan Alley and played some really interesting songs on it. One thing nice about Mr. J.D. Wilkes is you can LEARN A LOT from him, he is a walking encyclopedia of music much like people claim I am. People you can learn from are VERY valuable to me, all you need to do is listen.
I caught them perform “Hell Water” off the album “Swampblood”. They also played “Sugar Baby” and before I ventured over to the other stage for the final act of the night I watched them play “Dump Road Yodel”.
The Urban Pioneers are Miss Liz Sloan, Mr. Jared McGovern and Mr. Martin Sargent and this trio absolutely burns up the roads RED HOT constantly touring all over the world bringing their string band music to YOU…BUT it’s MUCH MUCH more than just string band music. I mean you cannot truly place them in any one category as they display so many influences.
They are all seasoned veterans of the stage having played with many bands and they have many hours of road under their belt. Toward the end of the month they will be once again reunited with Mr. Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band for a one time only appearance. Until then they will be playing you some new songs even after the fact they recently released their third album “Feat Or Famine”.
They opened their set with “Ain’t Gonna Work” and “78 Southbound Blues”. This band plays and always has played like a well oiled machine and makes a monstrous presence on the stage no matter they play. This band has the entire capacity to wake the dead and they sound like thunder rolling at you.
“Something That’s Never Been Done” was next and “Don’t Know My Name” was next followed by some new songs called “Run Rabbit Run” and “Fast Money”. They played a few off their new album like ones called “Chocolate Easter Bunny” and “Never Had A Waffle At The Waffle House” before closing their set for the night with “High On A Mountain”.
Well folks that was pretty much my story of day one of Moonrunners Music Festival in downtown Chicago, so let me wander on back to the South Loop hotel and rest a spell and I’ll be back to you soon for Day 2.
Stay tuned folks.
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 edition of my steel guitarist series bring me to talking on a rainy Sunday afternoon with one of local music’s finest young steel players the mighty Johnny Up. I sat with him for just a few minutes and he was kind enough to spend some time with me and answered a few questions for us. So sit back and enjoy this interview with another one of Red Dirt Country’s young guns making Country Music sound so good!
I’ll be honest in this interview he peaks of many people that he looks up to and admires doing things for him and today, he truly passed it on to me by taking a few minutes out to become involved with this project. This is MY intention to bring forth the young people playing steel in the honky tonks of today, and educating people on this whole world of unknown REAL Country Music whether it’s Nashville, Texas or Oklahoma. It’s out there waiting for YOU to support and love on it. And the people that play it are vastly talented and have become very good friends, I never met him yet but we truly connected today and appreciated one another. I must say he was really a great guy!
How did you get started playing the steel guitar?
I started out playing classical guitar, I was moved to an arts high school where you could major in arts programs and that’s how I started learning how to read music and classical technique. I ended up going to the University Of Oklahoma for that. I dropped out of school and didn’t do anything with music for a while. I was living in Baton Rouge and met some guys that were into the same kind of music I was, everything Parsons, and that was the first time the steel guitar really caught me. I joined a band called the Way Goners out of Hammond Louisiana and started playing pedal steel. It took a couple years before I was any good at it, but pretty much from day one I started performing with it. A lot of four hour bar gigs forced me to learn 40 or 50 licks at a time.
Do you play pedal steel or straight steel, or both?
I play pedal steel, yes
Whom did you start playing for after The Way Goners?
I moved to Oklahoma City and started playing with John Moreland out of Tulsa, and Jeff Hobbs out of Ardmore. I made an album with John Moreland And The Dustbowl Souls. It’s called “In the Throes”.
You played For Kaitlin Butts too right?
Yes, and Cody Jinks and Zane Williams, whole bunch of people really…
Who influenced most as a young player?
The album that I remember studying the most was “High In The Rockies” by Jason Boland. You know it’s got Roger Ray on it, and he’s also an Okie. He’s somebody I really looked up to and I got a chance to open for the Stragglers pretty early on in my career. I was playing with Jeff Hobbs and after the Stragglers set he came offstage with people coming at him, trying to greet him but he made a bee line towards me and asked if I was Johnny. I was kind of star struck and said yeah. He told me how much he enjoyed my stuff with John Moreland, told me to keep it up. That meant a lot to me that someone I looked up to was listening and thought I was on the right track. It truly motivated me early on.
If someone new came up to you and asked I’m a kid I’m new and I would like advice, what would you tell them?
I would say don’t think you have to have certain equipment or sound like other people. Until this past year I had yet to take a real lesson on pedal steel. And it was several years before I ever saw anybody play one in person. It all contributed to my sound. I know I don’t sound like other people and I know i probably have bad techniques, but I have always found my own voice through not knowing how to sound like other people. When people hear my steel guitar they know it’s me. I also have a bunch of instructional videos on my personal Youtube page GO HERE to see what he has up to offer you free of charge!
That answered my next question, you are very unique you don’t sound like anybody else. Wade Bowen came to town and had Miss Kaitlin with him I was hoping I’d get to meet you. I’m enjoying Country Music even more now from these interviews, because I have a better understanding of people like you.
Hopefully Kaitlin reads this! My first steel guitar was, you know everybody goes out and gets a Sho Bud Maverick that had sixty owners, where as I had a Fender steel with three pedals and one knee lever. I didn’t know it even had a knee lever until I was boxing it back up to ship it to the next guy. There’s so much I didn’t know that I had to learn on my own. Making my own repairs on it, the guitar I bought next I bought seen only in pictures. I didn’t know what to look for, so when it wasn’t until the the guitar arrived that I noticed the under carriage was all gunked up and dirty, levers not pulling true. I took the whole guitar apart and cleaned it. I put it all back together as best as I could not knowing exactly how the changer and tension works. Just getting it to work right made me a better player. I know it had nothing to do with music really but it did help me understand a lot.
Are you on the road full time, do you have anybody staple that you play with now?
I been doing a lot of studio work as of lately, but until the albums come out, you can find me with either Jacob Flint or Wink Burcham. I have an album coming out with Cole Porter Band which has the guitar player from Cody Jinks first four records..so that’ll be a cool one coming out soon. I got to play all the steel on Cody Jinks’ new album ‘I’m Not The Devil’ that’s out right now. Jeff Hobbs new album “Upward” will be released soon. There is some stuff I’ve tracked out I don’t know how far along they are but hopefully there will be new releases with Schuyler Prenger And The Dirt Road Junkies, Dylan Stewart, Johnathan White from Sons Of Strangers, Jonnah Liddell. It was great getting to work with producers like Mike McClure and Wes Sharon.
I really enjoy including more Red Dirt into my website program and I love the differences and similarity in our local scenes.
I never paid much attention to the Nashville scene but to say that filling up the Exit Inn wasn’t a highlight of my career would be false.