Today is HOT HOT and HOT, but I am well rested and I have a nice shaded spot to work in here again, pretty much the same great spot as last night. I’m truly excited about today’s music here in Somerset Kentucky, so excited that I had to wait until the sun began to set before bringing out the computer to sit and work on the actual articles.
When I arrived today the main stage had what they called the Kentucky Americana Women Songwriters, and I did notice Miss Chelsea Nolan up there. I got here right at the tail end of that portion of the event, however I went on over to stage two which was hosted by Eastwood Records
So the first band I covered today was from Louisville Kentucky called Dave Ernst And The Early Favorites, whom have a highly anticipated album coming out in August, but as of now they have an EP out called Superstar. Mr. Frank Green on bass, Mr. Dave Coultas on guitar, Mr. Chris Fuller, Mr. Mike Nix, Mr. Scott Lankford on drums compose the Early Favorites, a damn fine rock, Americana and more….band.
“Turned Away” was their first song they played which displayed some damn fine musicianship and a good blend of Kentucky Rock with other sounds. Followed up with a song called “Rocket Fuel” , this band is just bursting onto the scene here with not much video available or spotify presence. So that means you’ll just have to go and check them out in person and buy the music.
“Pallbearer” was next and that was my favorite song of their set along with song called “Tailfin” which got my attention being about classic cars. Their closing song was the title of their EP called “Superstar”. You’ll have to catch up with this band in the near future folks, and take my word for it…they have big time better days coming soon.
Grayson Jenkins is a Lexington Kentucky based artist now, however he is from West Kentucky like me, hailing from Greenville Kentucky. I have never had the opportunity to cover this man’s music yet, so I was truly excited to watch him play.
He has that special twang that I look for in bands in both vocals and music, like the song called “Junior Walker”, which tells the story of a wandering vagabond. It’s got that special guitar twang and well written lyrics I look for to support on here. “Lincoln” was a terrific truck driving song, with lonesome lyrics, and more twangy song.
“Whirl” was one of the songs from his 2015 album “Down On Southland”. He played a few songs that must have been new songs like one called “Mocking Bird”, and “Jessie Lee”. Also included in his set was a NICE cover of the 1975 Don Williams hit “Love Me Tonight”.
I am absolutely LOVING his music lately, he is one of the ones I had on my bucket list for quite some time here to enjoy. His best song was called “Where I Belong” which is a proud declaration of his Kentucky based music instead of playing on Broadway in Nashville. Another cover included in his set was the cover of the song “Atlantic City”.
Folks this is my buddy Mr. Coby Langham And The Citizens Band who come from East Kentucky as well. I caught up with Mr. Coby right before the festival here on the website and we got the chance to chat. His set included many wonderful songs he has like “The Farm”.
He opened with his song called “All American” which pretty much describes modern America today, and the pill problems of society. The one song I wanted badly to hear was called 5 x 7 but I was still quite happy with what was on his set list tonight here.
Mr. Zane Hilton on guitar was amazing on this set as was Mr. Jason Sinkhorn on bass and as he said Mr. Jason Foster on drums. The somber and slower song called ‘Sober Bible” was an instant crowd favorite here today, and I also want to stress how good of a job the sound crew did on this stage here today.
His last two songs on his set were the songs called “Heroin Girl” which was most likely his most popular song he plays along with “Sober Bible”. He closed with the song called “As The crow Flies’. I pretty much camped out at the second stage today as I wanted to cover almost all of the rest of the remaining acts on the second stage.
Mr. John Clay was a true example of a born musician to me. Despite the unbearable humidity of the early evening he still donned his trademark denim vest. A native of Pikeville Kentucky he began his set with his song “34 Dollars”, I do believe we have all been in that situation….and we still may be.
The song “Running Away” touches me as a person because I had to leave the community I grew up to escape a pretty bad drug addiction in the mid 90’s. I had to leave Wisconsin and chose to come down south to find my birth parents, if I would have stayed I would have never found sobriety. This was a beautiful song, and I have it on repeat on my truck stereo some days.
He also included a song called “Ive’ Made Myself A Bed Today” and also included a pretty obscure cover song by a man some consider to be a Red Dirt Legend, a man named Willis Alan Ramsey. Once he mentioned his name I IMMEDIATELY PERKED UP because I JUST TAUGHT a college class on Texas Roots music, and Mr. Willis, Rusty Weir and Red Steagall were three of the pinnacles of the class. I also touch on Kinky Friedman, Asleep At The Wheel and the different sounds of Texas regional tempos.
Dawg Yawp were a unique duo of guys named Mr. Tyler Randall and Mr. Rob Keenan. They played a very different cultural type folk music and I did enjoy their take on the classic “East Virginia Blues’.
WHAT CAN I SAY about Arlo Mckinley And The Lonesome Sound that I haven’t already said? He is moving up in the music world here, and is well respected within his Ohio and West Virginia scene with his smooth and gentle voice. This man hails from the Ohio area, and I found him from Mr. W.B. Walker as well. If you’ll remember correctly I covered him on the Fifth Anniversary Of W.B. Walker’s Old Soul Radio Show.
His voice and his style are among NO OTHERS in ANY genre of realm of music in the world, I mean that with distinct sincerity. He began with one of my favorites called ” Don’t Need To Know”, I mean when he signs the opening line of cigarette smoke…he just GRABS listeners. My old hometown was gossip like that, who’s doing what and who they doing it with…well I didn’t care. If YOU KNOW someone with all the answers for everyone else than THIS SONG is for YOU TOO!
“Right Where You Want Me” was followed by another one of my favorites called ‘Time In Bars” because I LOVE the fiddle opener on this song, it’s basically a good old fashioned two step Honky Tonk song that showcases his awesome vocal delivery here. The recording has GREAT twang and when you juxtapose that twang with his voice, you get a classic down home vibe.
“Just Like The Rest” was included in his set tonight here in Somerset. Now, this was the VERY first song I ever heard him play live, and I just fell into his fan club. Every accolade his fans applaud him with is well deserving from years of hard work.
“Gone For Good” was followed by a song called “Bag Of Pills” which I believe is from his album ‘The Great Depression” he did with Mr. Jeremy Pinnell. Mr. Arlo began his front man duties around 2102 where he donned his name from his Grandfather’s names. I will try to set up an interview with him in a future project.
“A Song Is Born” was followed by another great one called “Waiting For Wild Horses” because it’s a very quiet and stripped down song that also showcases his vocal abilities..this man was indeed a born lead singer, no matter WHAT he says about his alter ego.
The fellowship here on this stage was amazing to me, many of them welcomed me into their scene like they have known me for years. I’m just really glad they all love the work I do, as much as I enjoy doing it. This is just a hobby really, that turned into a bigger deal than I have EVER fathomed it would.
Once again I would like to take the opportunity to praise the vibrant feel of the festival grounds and how warm and cozy this festival truly was. I’ll be honest when I FIRST drove up around the bend I thought I was in the wrong place. Iv’e been doing this kind of work for many many years, and I thought man….WHERE could there be a huge stage in this place?
When I encountered the ticket office I just trusted the flow of things really, it’s a true hidden experience being out here for this event. And such a HUGE support from the community in every way possible, this is truly a high magnitude DIY festival, one of the only few downsides I had was the lack of a pizza vendor. However I may have missed that one, I just enjoy a good slice on the go, many of the ‘on the go” items were available however.
John R. Miller the former member of the band The Prison Book Club, was absolutely amazing here today. He has a new album coming on August 31st called The Trouble You Follow, and he played one called ‘Whale Party” which is on the new album, and to be honest I’m not sure if I’m supposed to talk about the songs at all?
But the first song he played was also from the new album called “Holy Dirt”, “How It Feels In the Light” was next and I can tell you now from the album it is laced with some DAMN FINE steel guitar here. I am already enjoying this album, I’m QUITE SURE my main man will have GREAT THINGS to say about it!
“Red Eyes” was another one he played that will be included on the album, however one of the older ones he played was called “Faustina” , and another older one called “Coming Down”. This young man’s guitar playing abilities is often overlooked in my opinion, if you listen to him closely, you’ll hear wonderful hammer ons and harmonics accompanied with clever lyrics like “Looking for my heart in the lost and found”.
Folks here is a band that is also coming out of the woodwork and into the hallway with one of their best songs called “Waiting For My True Love”, which is an equally nice Honky Tonk tune, with plenty of twang to satisfy even the pickiest of musical palates. Mr.Nick Dittmeier And The Sawdusters are a truly fine foursome indeed.
“Rhythm Of The Train” was another fine song from this Bloomington Indiana based band, who has my friend Mr. Mark Wayne Minnick playing drums for them. Here’s the entire band lineup: Mr. Nick Dittmeier- guitar/vox Mr. JP Payton- guitar, Mr. Rev. Bob Rutherford- bass, and Mr. Mark Wayne Minnick- drums.
This band has risen up from relentless touring to quickly become a household name in my local scene. I got to enjoy some new songs one of them were called “Love Me Like You Do”, and they did announce a new album arrival date of October 26th.
Miss Amanda Shires has a rich history of deep Country and Americana roots,having been a member of The Texas Playboys, and The Thrift Store Cowboys, but lately she is known for being the spouse of Mr. Jason Isbell. I did watch some of the set however in my opinion the sound wasn’t the best, I couldn’t really make out much of the performance. I opted to go over and try some of that Gold Star chili coneys, that’s something I do not get often!
The final act on the main stage of the night was none other than the Legend himself Mr. John Prine.We haven’t heard from Mr. John with new material since 2005 when his album called Fair And Square came out. He is a multi time Grammy winner and after five decades on the road, he continues to grace the stages of the world with his songs.
This is one of my oldest friends in the music business I have ever had, O’l W.B. Walker himself. I covered EVERY anniversary show on this website from day 1, when he recorded Mr. Tyler Childers on his living room couch. MANY of the bands I feature on here I would never have found if not for him and mr. JJ Waters as well. There is no shame in mentioning others for me, I owe them a great debt of thanks.
You know when Mr. John Prine came out singing “Paradise” W.B. looked at me and said “Well Gary, another memory huh”? I couldn’t have a more blessed life than to be friends with him and Miss Fallon both, good times, GOOD bacon from that cool Kroger store..a coke machine that gives out PBR for nickles. I watched him win an Ameripolitan Award, hung out with him and Miss Nikki Lane..Yeah Mr. W.B….we have some good memories..It’s time to make more. This above was the festival director Miss Tiffany Finley with Mr. W.B. Walker as he introduced John Prine to us.
From his 1971 self titled album he delivered the “Six O Clock News” to us as I just closed my eyes and delved back in time to my youth, where Mr. John Prine and his ilk ran amuck on Music Row and created history the likes of which Charley Pride, George Jones and even Ernest Tubb owe portions of their success too.
He reverted back to his new album with “Knocking On Your Screen Door”, and back to 1978 with “Bruised Orange” from that album produced by Steve Goodman..which included one of my favorites “The Hobo Song”. His anti- war anthem from his 1971 debut album called “Flag Decal” was next, taking potshots at phony patriotism.
A two time cancer survivor he still moves with elegance and grace, but doesn’t move around the stage much…because he just doesn’t need to. There is no complicated enigma here, only three chords and the truth. When a man like Mr. John Prine is gone, he will be gone and he will take five decades of music history with him.
“Caravan Of Fools” followed the epic story of “Egg And Daughter Night or Crazy Bone” from the new album. He told us of the story of he and his buddy in a boat, a time during the 50’s in Nebraska. Apparently the egg farmers would drop their daughters off at the roller rink to go sell their eggs. The city kids would go “hang out” with those daughters, and the weekly event was dubbed ‘Egg And Daughter Night”.
“Grandpa Was A Carpenter” was next as the entire event was singing the words with him, much to his delight as he stood and smiled and held his guitar with complete command of us. He went back to that debut album with the song “Hello In There”. And yet again back to the Tree Of Forgiveness with “Boundless Love” and followed that up with”I Have Met My Love Today” .
He played “Angel From Montgomery” before his band briefly left for a break, and Mr. John stood alone in the July dusk as the moon peaked out from the night sky he went on to play the very poignant and haunting “Sam Stone”. I can tell you this in the VIP tent, while he sang that song..it was silent. The stagnant heat of the night air filled my bones with memories of past drug abuse and made me cry..I cannot listen to that song and not be ashamed. He played “Unwed Fathers” and two more alone and the band returned.
His 1975 album Common Sense boasted the next song called “Saddle In The Rain” and off the new album he offered “God Only Knows” and the best song in my opinion “When I Get To Heaven”. Now before he closed again with “Paradise” he played “Lake Marie” from the 1995 album Lost Dogs And Mixed Blessings.
In closing I got to see Reverend John And The Backsliders perform their song “Monkey” along with a very loud and rocking version of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Crosstown Traffic”. In closing everybody I was truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful event, and I hope I can come back and report more of their festivals in the future. I want to THANK Miss Tiffany and her AWESOME crew for the opportunity to cover their event.