WELCOME EVERYONE to my coverage of The Muddy Roots Music Festival which is held every labor day weekend at the Junebug Ranch in Cookeville Tennessee. This is BY FAR one of my biggest endeavors every year and this year was beyond any exception I have ever encountered yet. So right now as I attempt to expound to you of my experience at Muddy Roots I want to begin by THANKING Mr. Jason Galaz, and Mr. Chris Cahill, Miss Destiny and ALL the entire Muddy Roots crew for their love. Miss Kimber Maxwell for graciously allowing me to retire each evening in her camper, and also to Miss Amber Lee and Mr Herbert for their wonderful breakfast plates and hospitality. They ALL set me up so I could do what I do and BY GOD I think I got some damn good footage for those of you that couldn’t make the event this year.
Upon arriving that Wednesday it rained like a cow pissing on a flat rock for two days it basically was damp, misty and chilly. When I pulled up to Scooters Bar it was pouring rain all afternoon. Most early arrivals set up camp in the pouring rain, and as the roads got muddy I decided my truck would mostly stay up on the hill by the bar. I basically had nowhere to go for five days, I had anticipated that.
Acousta Noir is also Mr. Joshua Esterline from Southern Oregon. Here is a website description of his work:
Coming from a background shaped by punk, rock and roll, roots, and various traditional folk styles, Acousta Noir brings a unique, yet oddly familiar, set of original songs to the table, along with his renditions of select and obscure covers.
Joshua first began playing music in 1994, and has been a part of a varied array of musical projects. These include punk bands (as a singer, guitarist, and drummer), singing for a heavy metal band, and a couple projects playing the upright bass.
Acousta Noir sets itself apart from the crowd by being akin to many acts, but defiantly unique from them all.
Life tends to work a little differently in Douglas County, Oregon, and Joshua works hard to embody that lifestyle in his music, while creatively utilizing his influences of traditional folk and country music, as well as punk rock and the good old story tellin’ side of things.
“Just how much punch can one guy pack into a set? You’ll be reeling as he blends raw bluesy soul with a rough and rowdy edge. If you like to dance, stomp your feet, or just have a good time, be there.”
So the sound in all of the tents in my opinion were not bad even though the weather and elements purposed a nefarious threat the first two days. I basically had a chair setup at all three stages the entire weekend and just bounced from stage to stage. I missed a few bands to be honest and I’ll have to find some helpers that will be willing to assist me with videos and pictures from this event. Speaking of videos let’s watch Acousta Noir.
His set contained a few strong Hank Williams Sr covers performed in a different dark demeanor that included the song “Ramblin Man” and he used the song “Angel Of Death” for an intro to the song “Radio Negrille”. He opened his set with “When The World Explodes” and went into “Wretchedness”.
This festival is choked full of great one man bands with a darkness to them and a morbid stomp of a one man kick drum and I look forward to supporting Mr. Joshua even further after this. “Tempest” was another song that displayed amazing rhythm ability from him today. He then played a song called “Firestorm” and another last song called “Bones”. See this event had so many bands that each band played a 30-45 minute set, and the first full day was rained out on stage 1 which forced them to move all of those bands into the tent stages.
This year I chose to linger longer at many of the bands instead of bouncing as much as I usually do and I’ll be up front and honest, I missed MANY of the bands last weekend…but I’ll do my best to cover as many as possible and I have tons of footage on both video and photo as well as notes.
Broken Bow was a metal band with a washboard and other influences, they had a dark death metal sound with like sounding vocals. Corpus Deorum, Taylor Imourtos, Chris Muerto make up this trio of a different genre.
You know Muddy Roots is a great melting pot of different music and it’s all so wonderful I think there is something here for everybody, and the audience is always attentive and appreciates all of it! Broken Bow also came to us from Colorado as did a few of the bands this weekend.
They opened with “Occum’s Razor” and went into the song called “Scraps” as the lead singer displayed a strength and lead vocal growl reminiscent of a death metal band. Their album Desolation brought their next song called California Is For Fuck You, Nowhere Is For Anybody to us.
Their next song was called “Rats” and they played another called “Plastic”. Before I went over to the Rusty Knuckles mobile store to set up my charger and my base station I watched them play “Poison The Well” and finally the song “Digitize The Dirt”.
The Smokestack Relics are a duo of brothers from the west coast that I have featured many times on this website from many festivals. Here today they got to play an earlier set to begin the festivities here at Muddy Roots, and they did an amazing job for sure.
They opened their set with the song called “Alabama Choogle” from the album Trailer Park Panhandlin. They have impeccable timing and have always played like a well oiled machine every time I have ever watched them play. Mr. Colin and Mr. Cameron Webb make up the duo of the Smokestack Relics.
The above video is a song about the Voice, and it was followed by the song “Celia Marie” and another one called “Give Your Ass To God”. As you can see the rain and mist still kept going and it was choppy wet mud, both tents housed plenty of straw to keep us comfortable as they played.
They continued on with songs like “Devil Song” and the song called ‘Ticket To Ride”, at that time I was preparing to have a meal break as they played “God Damn My Soul”. That closed out their portion of the festival here, and I look forward to seeing them again soon.
One of the things I noticed about this year’s festival I did NOT like was that the doors to enter and leave the port a pottys faced the road, I think that’s a BIG mistake and a automobile or golf cart hit waiting to happen. There were many children this time, and children run everywhere and don’t think about those things with all this fun going on.
I’m going to focus later on in this series about how integral this festival was for a younger presence. It had a strong number of children enjoying the music and I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on that.
Mr. A.J.Gaither is one of the one man bands I have encountered at three major Roots Music festivals in 2017, they were Moonrunners Music Festival In Chicago The Westport Roots Festival In Kansas City and here. He opened with “Biscuits And Gravy” and I was talking with someone and missed a few songs before focusing back on him play “Bad Decisions”.
He resonates the party atmosphere and whips the crowd into a frenzy with his guitar licks and stomping drums. He’s different from the other one man bands here with a style all his own. He is a multi instrumentalist in every sense of the word, featuring many different songs.
He proudly represents the Kansas City area crowd and the Westport Saloon is one of his homes away from home, and as he played “Pushing My Luck” he just had a wonderful time up there playing for us. Every band is proud to play Muddy Roots in their own element and their own style.
“Truck Song” and “Don’t Wanna Go To Heaven” were next, to close out his portion of the set for us. Which brings me to the next band here and that was my friend W.T.Newton from Chicago. He got thrown into the mix from a cancellation and was ready to play.
He played the great song called “Pine Grove Holler” and another called “The Whites Of My Enemies Eyes”. I went to the other stage however he stated upon communication that he also played “Auburn” “A Million Miles” and brought out his true mountain sound to us by playing “Carolina”.
I have been friends with Mr. Travis for several years on social media and we met a few years back, much like many other artists here we were at many of the festivals. He played “Keep In Touch” and another called “Coffin Nails”.
Mr. Chris Bissell and Mr. Henry Berger from Milwaukee and they are the mighty S.S.Web. folks I’m going to be completely honest…my stupid ass forgot to release the auto turn on my phone and I filmed a video for S.S.Web sideways. It looks horrible and I couldn’t include it in here…live and learn. If I told ANY of you I never made mistakes in the field I’d be a liar, I make mistakes daily.
S.S.Web played “North” first and followed it by the song “Chaser” and displayed great stage presence, as they often do on Muddy Roots. They played “Gambling” and “Drag Me Straight To Hell” off the North album. Now S.S.Web I believe they have three albums out you can get them by clicking on their name there.
Video Property Of Miss Delane Chavez
“Most Anything” and “Pullin” were two more songs off the North album they played, as the entire crowd started going nuts for them. They had one of the biggest crowds of the day on this Thursday of full music. Once again off the North album we had “In The Ground” and then they played “Let It Burn” off the Skulls Will Sink album.
“Any Old Thing” and “So I Pray” were two more off the Skulls album that they played before I went to the Ham Law Tent to watch The Menders. I didn’t get any video footage of them of the band, but I did manage to get pictures, I had to head back for a quick recharge.
The Menders are a band from North Carolina with a very energetic sound and a more traditional rock sound, with songs like “Unbreakable” And “Lost And Found”. They continued a very powerful performance by playing “Can’t Be Seen” and a song off their 2014 album called “Long Way Down”.
I’m not as familiar with this band as I am some of the others and I didn’t find them to be amazing however I didn’t dislike them by any means either. With songs like ‘Down Below” and “Bring In Your Bones” they did once again bring forth a heavier rock flavor to the mix, which was something that was needed.
They were placed fairly well schedule wise too, in either tent there wasn’t a majority of one type of music strong arming the others. “All Fall Down” was next followed by “The Demon”, and their set ended with a song called “Howlin At The Moon”. It would be safe to say they administer a little Rockabilly and other influences as well.
Mr. Tom VandeAvond was another act I was truly looking forward to seeing this weekend. His new album ‘You Ought To Know These By Now” is available for pre-order on his website. He played a few new ones before going into my personal favorite song “Weber’s Deck”.
I got to watch him play “Stay Away From The Whiskey” and one of his most popular songs “Even The Olives Are Bleeding” before I wandered on to the other stage for another great band, I was slowly getting into my Muddy Roots war mode here! I’m slowly realizing that we have all of these original Muddy Roots bands from my very first one in 2010, Mr. Tom was one of them!
The Imperial Rooster tore the tent up this weekend, I mean they absolutely SLAYED IT here. Cootie LeRoux, Nat King Kong, Khorn Syrup, Dusty Vinyl, Carlossus – The Count of Monte Carlos make up this New Mexico band that began with “Smilin Ed”.
They have a new album called Volume 4 out now and they steamrolled on with “Dangerous Times” and brought many other great songs to us this weekend like “The Great Wage Slave Revolt” all of these off the new album.
“45 Seconds Of Blood” and the popular song “Kohrn Syrup Sundae” were also included in their set this weekend, as they displayed many good guitar solos and a well arranged system of playing together. They closed their set with “Never Cold Again”.
Gallows Bound is a band of six childhood friends that play punk roots and Bluegrass together. Jordan Joyes – vocals, guitar, Jesse Markle – vocals, guitar, Justin Carver – banjo, Aaron Blow – bass, Forrest Veatch- mandolin, and Rob Shultz- drums make up this fine band that has toured with God Damn Gallows and other Roots Music bands.
They played ” Empty Flask” along with “Damaged” off their new album released earlier this year. they had an immensely strong stage presence and drew a really good sized crowd despite the other stage having Husky Burnette starting. I was pretty much bouncing quite well here.
“Appalachian Witch” was a really good one along with ‘Shake” and they went right into “Black Widow Woman”. This band fits completely well into the Roots Music schedule and actually shines quite well because of their prominent Bluegrass style, while still maintaining the punk style too.
“Del Fuego” and “Dominion Flowers” were next and they closed their set with ‘Dog’s Howli’n”. But I’ll be honest I was rapidly preparing to have my face melted off by the next band, the mighty and dirty blues slide wizard Mr.Husky Burnette.
Mr. Husky started his set with “Kick Rocks” when I was approaching the stage, I tried to stay for his entire set that was powerful he knocked the power out twice and continued to play. Hell…nobody really cared, and it didn’t matter. We jammed in the dark tonight and lit up the night.
Miss Caroline is a stick of dynamite on stage and makes Mr. Husky a prominent figure in any festival. Like many others I had the chance to feature him at Moonrunners as well, this set here by far was ten times more powerful and energetic. His dirty slide blues is a sound unlike any other in the Roots Music scene.
“Beat And Low Down” was next as they paused the vocals to drop heavy guitar solo bombs on us backed by Mr. Puppy’s punishing beats. He plays for Mr. Soda Gardocki whom will pop up in my Day 4 article here, was featured in my Moonrunners series and will be at Crooked Smile next month. Here is Mr. Puppy now pounding away at those beats for Mr. Husky, much like many of the others Husky Burnette is another 2010 original band.
The power faltered many times during this set and despite the problems they ignored them and roared on with no sound and no lights. They electrified the air with Roots blues music tonight! Mr. Husky and Miss Caroline absolutely tore up the floor tonight on the Ham Law Stage. Their last two songs were “Dog Me Down” and the closing song was called “Rising”. It’s totally fun and refreshing to witness people having FUN up there on stage and dumping their heart out onto the floor, however you perceive the lyrics.
Call Me Bronco has been creating quite a stir here on my website and also over at Rusty Knuckles. (Taken right from the CMB page, this band is) Matt – Upright bass, Barefoot, All around good guy.
Sam – Guitar, Vocals, Mustache, Arm-bars, Not Bobby
Bobby – Guitar, Backing Vox/crazy eyes, Dumpster scores, Bad ideas, Not Sam
Murph – Drums, Flows, Good ideas, Lady killer.
They played a top notch set this weekend and that’s for sure. This band truly is growing and drawing up their own audience with their signature blend of different styles of music rolled up into one. I got to see them play “4 AM” along with the song “Drunks Walk The Docks” off their new album called Beating A Dead Bronco.
The new album contains some newly recorded versions of older songs and I truly enjoyed their fresh sound, not to say the old EP was bad by any means. In fact I have always enjoyed this band in their own right. The last song I got to see them play was “If I’d Done Right”.
Video property of Miss Delane Chavez
I missed Larry And His Flask one of the Muddy roots original bands from 2010. They are a very energetic string band that plays a variety of instruments and songs, although we haven’t heard of any new music since 2013. Still they remain a prominent Roots Music band whether they are active or on hiatus.