It’s time once again for me to endure my yearly task of massive undertaking out here at the June Bug Ranch in Cookeville Tennessee, the mighty yearly festival that has evolved into one of my annual events The Muddy Roots Music Festival. This big banger happens every Labor Day Weekend, and it’s usually hot, hot and hot…mostly nothing else but rain. You will find out quickly JUST WHY they call it Muddy Roots.
I haven’t missed a single year of Muddy Roots action, and in 2010 I began a rough version of my website. Learning and observing things, people and scenes. Mostly I began to appreciate music, REAL music of all types. This very website here was basically relaunched in 2013, but Muddy Roots pretty much helped inspire my whole platform of operations…I embedded the only rule Muddy has into my daily operations..”Don’t Be A Dick”.
The weather this year certainly didn’t disappoint if you were looking for heat and sun. I myself like cooler weather and cloudy conditions but I guess mother nature said no this year, lots and lots of water. One nice thing they did was what used to be stage 2 was an entire tent to provide shade for the patrons this year. It also held the fourth open mic stage, which I will touch on later, most of the acts on that stage transpired when I was asleep but I wanted to acknowledge the efforts of the man involved.
The only drawback to the tent on the PBR stage, was the heat. Now that’s not truthfully the festival’s fault, but yeah the weather made the loaded tent hot and stuffy. But the added merch space to shop was awesome, also the fact that there was NO stage 1 or stage 2 or stage 3 made it sound more “equal”. Sometimes bands that have never visited or patrons that haven’t ever been might think stage 1 is better than stage 2..that’s NOT A FACT, I’m just making a guess.
The new PBR stage was in the flat part of the backside of vendor row, and had open grass in front of it for the sun lovers. The bad news..this stage had a LOT of the Doom Metal near my camper late night, and I used sleep medication to sleep through Sleep. Yes my friends, I didn’t stay up for many of the later acts, it’s hard on me now. Maybe I’m just getting older and out of shape, I don’t know? The wonderful thing about Muddy Roots is the diversity among styles of music and the respect we have for those differences. I conversed with many people whom weren’t as enthused about the abundance of Doom Metal here, or the new faces..and actually convinced a few people to see things like I do. I’m not really into that stuff and I don’t really think it’s repugnant, I just don’t care for it.
I suppose my coverage this year wasn’t as intense as many years in the past because of the lineup, but there were so many changes to take in..most of them positive. Maybe the year we had all of the Bluegrass wasn’t as big of a deal to the crowd that enjoyed Sleep or High On Fire, and that right there is indeed what makes Muddy Roots so unique and stellar..diversity and the acceptance of other genres.
The staff here at Muddy Roots outdid themselves this year in making this festival the best one yet. I’ll tell you what folks the immense growth in attendance went noticed by me immediately. I do not think I have witnessed a larger volume of people here. The stage managers Mr. Chad Martindale and Mr. Mark Simmons once again made the two older stages a huge success, and are always willing to lend a helping hand to get set list information and pictures for me.
Many many people labored effortlessly this entire week to bring us this fun, Mr. Chris Cahill, Mr Robert Brown, Mr. Joe Dooda, Miss Destiny Smith, Miss Kelly McNoldy, and SO MANY photographers like Miss Delane Chavez and Mr Milton Chavez. Honestly right now there are many I haven’t named and will name soon. I pretty much tried to retain as much as possible in little time.
I wanted to point out how easy it was at the ticket gate with Miss Kelly there and I wanted to THANK MISS Kimber the personal loan, even though it was insanely HOT, I got my gathering together and finally got ready for some music. Now for many of you that know me personally, my adopted Father passed away this past July and left me with no vacation time left. I had to omit Day 1 on Thursday, which to my dismay contained many of the bands I liked.
But my goodness what a beautiful day today! I did a quick jaunt down vendor row to greet old and new friends to get over to the Wood Stage to see an old friend I featured some time ago. The first act I will bring you is Miss Rebecca Jed.
You might remember my coverage of her then duo called the Bucksnort Beauties At Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge last year. We did a wonderful review on her previous album “Wildfire And Moonshine”, which you can read HERE. Now that she is doing more shows solo, she has a NEW album she is promoting now called “Cowboy Up”.
She played a few off the album including the title track “Wildfire And Moonshine” , and another called “All The Hell With All Y’all”..I’m going back to Arkansas. Now folks Arkansas is where she makes her home with her trusty wolfdog and her little man Mr. Noah. She is one of my coolest friends in the Nashville area, and it’s always a pleasure to see her.
I got to watch her play some Loretta Lynn covers and other songs from the new album ‘Cowboy Up” and I will include a track list right here. If you want to buy ANY of these albums here, you can always click on the artist name here.
She has a great Honky Tonk sound to her and I have always liked her down home writing style, she proudly carries her passion of Traditonal Country music, and she is developing her own style. Another focus on Muddy Roots this year were Female Artists. Now that may be an argument there..and I concur that “Female Fronted Bands” are NOT a genre, but I also concur that a lot of festivals under schedule the female artists sometimes.
3.Shot Gun Willie
4.Get Rite To It
5.Wreck My Train
6.Feel Like Sinning
8.Snake Skin Jacket
Here’s a pair of names you will be hearing more of this year. This is Andrea Colburn And Mud Moseley. I have been hanging onto this album as well to tell you more about it now! I mean what better time to wait than until now right?
The first song they played was from their first album called “Sad Songs And Switchblades” from 2015 and it was called “Hwy 9”. It’s a horribly poignant song of murder and blood. This pair comes to the stage meaning business with six bullets in her gun, and when she finishes her song you are dead!
After playing some covers she played “Bones” which was another haunting song about moving smelly bones of a lover who lied. Burning bones and digging up bones what better way to go into the chilly fall Halloween season than this band? You mix up a GREAT Honky Tonk thump sound with some shock rock type music, and you have this band!
The next song was called “Becky (Take My Boots Off Again)” which on the album has a really good Hillbilly Twang, as does the entire album. From one of the hillbilly queens of underground Country Music this set was amazing. The next song was also off the new album called “Turn Out the Lights”, which is about being poor pretty much.
I especially appreciate the lead guitar work of Mr. Mud Moseley his sound rivals the lead guitar work of Miss Tommy Ash and others. and underground Country needs more of it! “Sad Country Song” was next which talks about a crazy girl at a bar, playing songs and getting drunk. Maybe she wrote it about herself or maybe not…who knows but ANYBODY can appreciate this twang!
“Garbageman” was next followed by “Shirley” which was another one of the good ones off the new album with a pretty cool shuffle beat. It was the first song from the album, and when I first popped it in I was immediately hooked on their sound…but the next song “Dark River” I REALLY LIKED the guitar work on. The intro and leads were absolutely amazing, and once again a song about a dead body in a dark river…and the body returned! From what I remember of her set they closed with a few covers, and I shuffled on to the next band!
Tracklist for Easy, Sleazy and Greazy:
4.Sad Country Song
6.Becky (Take My Boots Off)
7.Bad With You
8.Full Moon Over Georgia
9.Turned Out The Lights
11.Tied To the Bed
12. Shirley (1947 Relapse)
Another band with a forthcoming album, is the Texas based Blackgrass Gospel, whom I have featured in the past as well. Their self titled debut album dominated their set from what I could tell, and I got some terrific shots of this band with my NEW camera here!
Their first song was called ‘419″ , and another called “Dead Man” until I noticed the song called “Broken”. My liver is flooded today folks, and my lungs collapsed the other night! I tell you what, this band has evolved in leaps and bounds live. They are one of the more punk influenced string bands that Muddy Roots offers, and I like them a lot.
“No Soul To Give” was next, you can’t give your soul to someone because you got no soul to give. That song features some really good banjo work as well as the song called “Shit Creek”. While it’s true much of this type of music isn’t for everybody, neither was the Doom Metal, and like I previously stated..that’s what’s great about Muddy Roots.
“I Eat The Living” was next, and is probably my favorite song on their first album about zombies. I just think the beat is really cool, next up was the song “Stack Them Bones”. They played another new song called “Barnacles” and closed their set with “I Will Haunt You” and the song called “Cold Beer And Whiskey”. We will certainly be featuring their new album when it is released.
I hurried over to the PBR stage to see Call Me Bronco a band from Louisville that recorded a VERY COOL album on the Rusty Knuckles label. They have a brand spanking new album forthcoming in February that I am eagerly awaiting to tell you about.
Besides their awesome “4 AM” and other favorites of mine, they played some new songs. Much like Blackgrass Gospel, this band has evolved as well, as a unit and sound wise. It was fun to watch them play on a big stage with that much room on it.
A new song that Mr. Samuel proclaimed ANYBODY that can tell him all of the references got a free shirt, that song was called “The Day That Punk Rock Died”. I was indeed wandering around trying out my new camera, and meeting new folks this year. I think this band was exposed to a whole new audience, here as they displayed other songs called “I’m Not Being Vindictive,I Just Don’t Wanna Hold Hands With You”.
For the more punk loving fans, this band is releasing a terrific EP in 2019 with songs like “St. Joseph’s Burning” and “Cody’s Song”. They also included two songs that aren’t recorded tonight called “Cigarettes” and another called “we Wear Black”. I would like to THANK Mr. Samuel St. Samuel for the help on the song titles, as I had lyrics jotted down. As the sun faded out, and relieved us from that awful heat, I went across the aisle to see my good friends The Rock Bottom String Band.
So I know they opened up their set with “The Grey”, and at this time I had been up 37 hours in the heat. And playing with my new camera, not really used to the flash yet nor do I know how lenses work…YET…just wait folks. Wait on HERE as I learn how to use this thing better in part 2!
Mr. Dave and Mr. Johnathan both taught me stuff, and let me use zoom lenses. From the great state of Texas I bring you Miss Mackenzie Dart, Miss Tara Miller, Mr. Alex Shultz and Mr. Griffin Harrison on the bass. Now, they have had some lineup changes but I have always enjoyed them since I found them in 2014.
So equally from the 2016 album “Home Ain’t Where I’m From” we had the song “Deacon’s Daughter” . They then played some new songs from their three song EP called “Por Vida” and those songs were called “Mark On A Map” and another called “Layi’n Low Lately”.
Then they called up Mr. Gary Lindsey from Black Eyed Vermillion to help them play the song “Devil In Me”. After that I believe the song was called “Scrapi’n By” off the 2016 album, and they closed their set with the song “Witches” and then one of my favorites “Till’ We Die”.
Hobolight Photography has been gracious enough to allow me to use some of their photos on bands I missed and other various tidbits I wanted to touch on. Like the clean up crew and the bathroom attendants that worked VERY VERY hard to make this a fun and clean and safe environment to enjoy our music at.
The Everymen played one of the rowdiest and FUN sets of the weekend, and to be honest I had so much FUN watching this show I forgot to write the songs down! I know folks that maybe some of you were hoping I would cover more bands like I usually do, but this year it grew to such epic proportions that it just wasn’t possible. The growth in attendance made it harder to become mobile, and now honestly that’s NOT such a bad thing..is it?
Everymen photo courtesy of Miss Jenni Maria. Thanks for the use of that one!
So I usually break this down into days but this year I am just going to have two parts if that’s o.k. with y’all. I wanted to touch on a few of the things I missed like the open mic stage on the late night portion of the PBR stage. Tucked away in the corner of a smaller merch sales area, was the stage that Mr. Justin Boot whom I have had the pleasure of meeting a few years back, was running.
This stage flourished late night more than any time and much to my dismay it ROCKED when I was sleeping. Also in my defense I got really sick after the festival, I felt it coming on. I suppose at 47 I am partied out, I think the entire weekend I had 2 beers, and a few pulls of moonshine. I like the shine when I’m sick with O.J. and honey and lemon.
Mr. Justin ran a DYNAMITE stage here this weekend with surprise acts the likes of Mr. Tim Vee, Miss Lara Hope And The Ark Tones, Black Eyed Vermillion, Mr. Fritz from the duo of Whiskeydick, Freight Train Rabbit Killer, Miss Molly Gene, The Rock Bottom String Band and Red Necromancer.
From what I heard it was truly an amazing experience in carrying on the music all day and night long this weekend. No matter WHERE you went or WHAT you did, there was music and food to enjoy. Merch to shop for and new faces to meet and greet.
My good friends over at Ellie Monster were there to provide us with vintage western wear as well as my dear friend Miss Sara Brown from Stoned Beautiful Jewelry. She makes the most lovely hand crafted turquoise and bone wares on the East Coast…really on ANY coast.
The vendors of food and clothes are also equally wonderful to become friends with, and get to know as people. Many of them I get to see often at other festivals all over the United States, like my friends at Pop’s Place whom took over the Billy Bayou’s Sweet Dixie Tea stand, I understand the previous owner had some health issues and sadly passed away.
There were a few more acts on Friday I wanted to see, but time and my need for sleep just wouldn’t permit me too. When I do this kind of thing I come right from my factory job of third shift, and go right to the music. I am usually up for long hours, and I don’t get much rest. So with that in mind I had to head back to my loaned camper for the night and sleep through Sleep..and it wasn’t hard really because I was exhausted.
The next morning began a little overcast and about 2PM, we had a damn good shower for about an hour that held up a few of the PBR stage acts. I had ALL my rain gear out at the ready under the Rusty Knuckles booth. I spent quite a bit of time over at the Wood Stage today, as many of the acts I wanted were there today. The wet ground from the morning began to flourish with vivid colors running from confetti left behind by the Everymen.
Children were running rampant flailing swim noodles left laying around by the epic swim noodle battle of 2018. I plunked my chair down with my books and belongings on it, and climbed up into the tower, which this year was closed to media only. Now by 4pm when the Gallows took the stage I was EVER SO THANKFUL I had a safe place to catch the action.
You know, every year I have a new band I find here, even if they have been on my radar or not. Today I bring you a FANTASTIC band called Blue Cactus from Chapel Hill North Carolina. Miss Steph Stewart and Mr. Mario Arnez make up the front duo of this band, and today it was just them two. Now, I want to articulate on how different the album is with backing vocals on songs like “I Never Knew Heartache”. Miss Steph’s vocals are reminiscent of the late Miss Tammy Wynette, including the backing DUM DUM DUM vocals during the chorus buildups.
That song was absolutely one of the most well written songs I have been blessed to hear in YEARS, if you give me a three chord and a truth song, this song makes you want to get DRUNK and STONED and CRY. The steel guitar brings her sweet vocals forward into the world with sorrowful fashion.
“Anymore Something” was their third song today, as I was absolutely transfixed on their show here today, I mean I was truly amazed with EVERY aspect of their music, their demeanor and their respect for history of Country Music here…you can just FEEL their charisma. Mr Mario’s lead guitar abilities were not too shabby either, I could rate others better, but his style and technique just FITS into what they do. He does not have the fish out of water appearance here.
The set opened with “So Right (You Got Left)” the title itself bored me and made me think of many songs aptly named the same. BUT it was TRULY well written and I enjoyed the lyrics here, it made me smile and enjoy the twang from Mr. Mario.
“Not Alone (Till You Come Home) was next today, another well written song featuring her truly soulful voice. One thing I wanted to illustrate about the album is that all of the songs compliment each other truly well. They played a new song they called “Rodeo Queen” which was a good song, I’ll have to keep in contact with them for info on the new album.
I began to mosey onto the other stages here while they played a political song called “Finger On The Button”, I wasn’t really impressed with that one. Not really any sided on politics myself but it just really didn’t fit their entire presentation well, but all in all it was one of the best sets of the weekend in my opinion….uh oh here starts the rain!
Miss Molly Gene One Whoaman Band did not get to play her slotted time at 1PM, but she did indeed get to play. I had to run back to my dump site to get my rain boots. She is a Missouri based OMB, with just as much energy as Mr. Scott H Biram, with a meaner kick drum stomp! I got to hear her play a song with Freight Train Rabbit Killer and she played “I Am Strong, I Am Woman”.
The rain didn’t stay around for too long, however it was lengthy enough to be menacing and make mud. I climbed up into the tower later on during the next few sets while it rained and it helped keep my camera dry. I wasn’t sure about waterproofing my new camera.
While this was transpiring I kind of wandered around a little bit as they jumbled many of the bands to different times and stages. I did get to stop and see the Maness Brothers that got moved to the Spider Monkey stage. They have a high energy show going on, also form Missouri.
The PBR stage had the most of the Doom Metal on Saturday,so I opted to focus on the music I appreciated personally more than feature music I didn’t care for. But I was extremely heartwarming to see it being supported in such a grand fashion here. I mean the Muddy Roots lineup shirts SOLD OUT in an HOUR, these “NEW” faces here were buying merch, and buying food, WHO could be upset with that growth?
I did check out a portion of the set that Stump Tail Dolly had, and it was equally nice to see them perform on such a big, nice stage. They have new music, and I don’t know all of the new song names right now, I’ll be catching up with Mr. Ryan soon on new things they are doing. They always have a great stage presence and powerful songs like “Cumberland Gap” and “Iv’e Endured”.
The last band I wanted to touch on in this half of the article here was a Tex Mex punk based band called Pinata Protest from San Antonio Texas. These four guys tear up the stage every time I have covered them, last year they were equally amazing on stage.
The lead singer plays an accordion and spins in circles like a crazed madman, and they have some wicked guitar solos. I did remember the song ‘No Que See”. Piñata Protest was founded by the Mexican-born singer and accordionist Mr. Àlvaro Del Norte. The band includes Mr. Regino Lopez on electric guitar and vocals, Mr. Richie Brown on electric bass and vocals, and Mr. Chris-Ruptive on drums and vocals.
As the band blazed through energetic songs like “Vato Perron” the rain started, and I moved to my truck to get my rain gear for the day. See I come prepared, and I do NOT quit for anything. The band split up audience to their likes of red and green salsa, and I left before they acted on what that was all about.
Now, folks I want you to get ready for my second portion to this series because it will include a VERY special tribute to a Muddy Roots veteran the likes of the rest of us here this weekend. We had a very touching moment out here at the Junebug ranch with the New blood Tubs and the Gallows..but that will be the part 2, so stay tuned.