Sep 262021

It’s time once again for me to do my yearly feature in West Tennessee with my dear friends over at Heart In Hands Critter Hollow in the Stewart Tennessee area.  Even though this event is a relatively new one for me (this being my third year), I have made some truly blessed memories here.

Every year The Romero and Foncree families get in cahoots with SO MANY OTHERS that labor ever year for this wonderful, and important event. This year, I kind of leaned more toward being a “fan” more than a media outlet. Many of you that read my articles on a regular basis know how my last two years went. My 2020 and 2021 were both spent focusing on my own well being, so that I could help my own daughter evolve as an adult.

This yearly event has become quite dear to my heart, and a regular part of my yearly schedule of events. For three reasons :

1. It’s close to the house, in case of emergencies.

2. The lineups are ALWAYS so awesome, and there have been some terrific sets.

3. It is IMPORTANT to support foundations like this to control homeless pets.

My own cat here was a rescue as a kitten, I found her in an abandoned building, and brought her home to live here. She is an indoor only cat, and has established that she is the queen know how that goes.

Much like hunting, we as a society need to have population control, that means spay and neuter all pets, and stop “dropping off unwanted” babies! Many of these wonderful places of business give second chances to these animals, as they nurse them back to health, and provide them with shots so they can be adopted by good people that DO want them!

I did go to every event this year with my usual means of documenting all of the music, however we camped this year, so that meant I cooked during some of the music. However, to be honest I could hear it quite readily from where we were camping.

They open up their home and their property each year for us all to come and enjoy the music, and enjoy seeing old friends again. There is just an absolute plethora of folks that help make this possible, and they could never do this without YOU!

Many of the artists on this lineup here, I will be featuring a few times this year at many different venues like this one. Three of them in total, will also be featured in my next HUGE article for Muddy Roots.

Austin Stambaugh was first today, and I remember him from last year, as a few others on the bill here today. Mr. Austin brings a Traditional Country flavor to the mix, and he doesn’t really try to be Country. On one hand, he covers some truly fine Country tunes that not your average person knows.

He tells a great story song about getting to see Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a boy, it is rather lengthy but it really is an entertaining story. I always enjoy his folk inspired Midwest humor and wit, as he plays both original and cover songs. You can venture out down to Nashville, and find him at Robert’s Western World and other various honky tonks.

Miss Milly Raccoon was another guest from last year, whom also played at their wedding we attended this year. She is a talented singer and fiddle player from New Orleans, that plays in many different bands. She arrived with her beloved dog ( as did many of us), and I thought this picture captured her better than onstage ones I took.

Her music encompasses so many different aspects of life, and I am very amazed she has not been recognized by more music media outlets than mine, and a few others I ran across while researching her music for this event.

“Another Cup Of Tea” was one of the songs she played today for us, which had a nice ragtime tinge to it. The song itself has some pretty complex lyrics, and you’ll really have to listen to it for yourself. She played the song called “No Buying Time” as well.

I always link the artist’s websites on their names to provide you ample ways to purchase their music, and support them from here. The foremost onus of my website I have here, is to do just that. PLEASE take a few moments to support some of these bands on this article…and all of the other ones I release in 2021.

Mr. Noah Fowler brought this trio to us, and they played the Steve Earle song called “Sometimes She Forgets”, from the 1995 album called “Train A Comin”. In my honest opinion that album is one of Mr. Steve Earle’s finest works to date, and I enjoy it more than “Guitar Town” or others.

I remember them playing one of the most beloved Bluegrass classics called ‘Fox On The Run” from the 1970s era of popular Bluegrass songs that trickled over into Folk and bands like Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and their ilk.

Miss Angela Autumn was a new find for me, I was not familiar with her or her music until today here. I’ll be honest, I did get to listen to her set, and I enjoyed her music but at the same time I was grilling supper for my daughter, whom was working in her vendor spot.

It was refreshing to see these younger artists giving their nods off to long lost Legends like Mr. Gram Parsons, and others while maintaining a Country presence at the same time.

I did indeed delve into her music a lot, and I urge you to do the same as well. I’m quite adamant on the fact that you will not be disappointed  in my suggestions to do so.

Have you ever had some friends that you just don’t see everyday, but when you do reconnect you just pick up where you left off and it’s like you saw each other yesterday? Yeah, me too, and I have that gift with these two fine gentlemen here. I cannot say enough kind things about the almighty Sweet Ga Brown from the Chattanooga area.

We hit it off years ago right away, because we share the same first and middle names, and we have such likened musical interests. He and Mr. Dave Dowda are old old music friends, and loved and respected by me greatly. I have a deep appreciation and admiration for Mr. Dave Dowda’s knowledge of music history, so much that when he starts into stories…I just shut up and listen.

These two absolutely tore up the stage with songs like “I Broke Wahoo’s Leg”. That song is a well written classic about life from death’s point of view, with references to  many a downfall of music’s greatest heroes, like Mr. Hank Williams and Mr. George Jones…and even Mr. John Denver.

While I listened to him belt out ” I’m Gonna Live Forever”, I took the liberty of walking around the ranch to see some of the residents of the area. I got to meet some of the guests and people here enjoying the music and the food.

It is truly amazing to me just how exponentially this event has grown through the years,  with the help of so many others pitching in to make it profitable for the pets that cannot provide care for themselves.

It’s totally cool to adopt a stray animal you find, and give it a safe and healthy home forever…but it takes more than that. Animals are like humans in that they need love and attention from their human. Businesses like this one care for these animals until that correct person comes along.

My daughter Meghan has been working very hard on her craft business, and she brought her wares out to the ranch to donate a portion of her profits to the cause. She has an extensive line of different items with may different patterns available on MB’s Crafts.

This year there were a couple other vendors including her, and more to do for the kids…like wallowing in the creek that runs through the ranch. I got in that cold water myself, because the afternoon was HOT this year. Funny how the next weekend at Muddy Roots was mild and comfortable.

Mr.Cody Lee Meece is a name I was familiar with, as I spent some time dwelling on his 2020 album “The Break”, we also talked multiple times on social media and finally got to meet in person today. He was here today to support my friend Mr. W.D.Miller.

I have been featuring his music for many years now, as he always brings out his true and gritty Honky Tonk Country to any event he is billed on. I have ran into him in Ohio at the Southgate House, Muddy Roots, and a few other festivals and events in the past.

He is another one of those artists that I cannot see why he isn’t given more attention than is given. He maintains such a true passion for history in his music, and lets his influences resonate in his art.

I was having some camera issues in the heat, and I did not get any viable photos of the only artist that has played every year for this event Mr. Doc Elliot. I always enjoy his covers of Merle Haggard’s “Okie From Muskogee” , and others he does when gets on his piano.

His album “Rowdy Kind” boasted one of his songs he played called “Bloody Mary Monday” about having those ever popular Monday blues. He also played another song off that album called “Destiny”.

I’ll tell you what, I have had the pleasure in seeing so many great sets on this stage before they built a roof on it, and each year ( much like the rest of this event ) the lineup just keeps getting better.

Trust me, once Mr. Doc gets up there on that keyboard, you’ll wholeheartedly agree with me on the fact that his set is not one to miss, anytime you can get the chance to see him play. He played a song by Mr. Leon Russell called “Song For You”, and he played one he wrote that got cut by Texas Legend Mr. Kinky freidman.

Mr. Dylan Walshe is another old friend I met from Muddy Roots and other various music shows. He is from Ireland, and many of his songs are modeled after those old Irish folk tunes, that leave a warm and homely feeling.

His vocal range is amazing, and he uses that to embellish his well arranged songs like my personal favorite ” Raggle Taggle Gypsey”. That song is about a man that finds his wife, who ran off on him for another man. Many of his songs culminate into portions of his A Capella lyrics.

“Straight To Hell” was another her played tonight, where he included the children and the audience here in reciting the song title with him. He always does this song so well, and the crowds always love it.

Way back in 2005, I was recently divorced and bummed out about it. I got into MySpace and started discovering more bands like the ones that already influenced me like the Old 97’s and Split Lip Rayfield. I was into Red Dirt and Jamgrass as well, but artists like Hank III, and this man..whom I consider an underground Legend Mr. Bob Wayne…followed by the final band The Legendary Shack Shakers.

One of my finest musical memories was back in 2013 when he brought Country Music Legend Mr. Red Simpson to play an entire set at Muddy Roots on the wood stage. He made some epic memories there like playing the song they wrote together. “Dope Train” was a song that he got to write with Mr. Red before they played there that year.

He played the song ” Till The Wheels Fall Off” , and he went right into the story of old “Sam Tucker” from the Alabama mountains. He turned mud into gold, and was heavily sought after by thieves. I shall also be featuring the last three artist sets on my upcoming Muddy Roots articles, I am working on now.

Speaking of being influenced by the Roots bands of the 1990’s, this band out of Paducah Ky heavily influenced my musical tastes in many genres, simply because they really do not have a genre that anyone can lump them into.

For almost 25 years, the band has included a revolving lineup ( not that that is a bad thing ), and has recorded a plethora of classic albums regarded by many as iconic releases.

Even though my favorite LSS album was during Mr. Joe Buck’s tenure of the band ( the album being Cockadoodledon’t ) it was truly a dream come true to hear some of the classic songs from “Hunkerdown” album, with the almost all original lineup. The only member missing was their original drummer.

The four members that were on stage tonight were guitarists  Mr. Nathan Brown, and Mr. Brian Berryman, upright bassist Mr. Todd Anderson and of course Mr. J.D. Wilkes. Now, I will say that ” Back To Paducah” is one of my favorite songs, and it was heavenly to hear it live.

In fact many of these songs I have never heard live in all my time of seeing The Shack Shakers. Songs like “Tickle Yore Innards” were played in classic LSS fury, as Mr. J.D. went all over the place on the stage.

I have gone on the record before proclaiming my admiration for the mind of Mr. J.D.Wilkes, and his own love and respect for tradition and history of music as a whole. Many times his songs on various other sets have inspired me to conduct further study into subjects like that old tinker piano he had.

He holds a special place in Nashville as a local Legend here. I truly enjoy talking with him about the days of old down here, and hearing all of his road dog stories about people. They also went on to play a stellar set at Muddy Roots as well.

This event will always hold a special place in my heart, as a patron and a music fan. I will come down every year I am able to do so, and help this event grow into becoming an almost festival type environment.

Also, I wanted to thank Mr. Josh Koons for running sound for us these last few years out there. It is always a pleasure to see you out there, and to watch you get bigger as well each year. So many people labor ardently each year to help these young ladies run this event.

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