2017 Music Festivals: Old Settler’s Festival.

2017 Music Festivals: Old Settler’s Festival.

The Old Settler’s Music Festival is one of my many Texas festivals that I cover yearly, and this is the third year I have covered it. It takes place on April 20-23rd at the Salt Lick Pavilion in Texas.

Camping here is a REAL treat I understand this from their website:

Camp Ben McCulloch rivals some of the most beautiful festival camping sites in the world according to our festival attendees with space available for both Tents and RVs or Trailers. Get your feet wet at Onion Creek, catch up with friends, make new ones — and definitely bring your instruments for some late night jams around  the campfires.Bringing the whole family? No worries — we have a family camping area, too!

large part of the action at Old Settler’s happens at the stage at Camp Ben, with exclusive performances for campers, only on Thursday and Friday. Catch the special “Settle-In” show on Thursday night and Korndog King’s “Pickin’ for the Campers” on Friday afternoon. Sunday’s show begins at 10 am with a Pickin’ & Prayin’ service. You can also wake up to morning yoga on Friday and Saturday.

Camp Ben is where some of our kids’ activities take place – and we offer a family-friendly camping area and playground for those with younger kids. Campsites at Camp Ben are first come, first served. There are no reserved sites and we strongly discourage saving spots or roping off areas for other campers. Please be considerate of other campers. See the information on Early Bird Camping to secure your favorite spot. Some people like to start camping early. If you come to the park before Thursday to set up your RV, tarp or tent, there will be a $15 per night tent/tarp fee and a $20 per night RV Fee.  No exceptions. To purchase your camping pass you can go HERE. Also this will open a PDF file where you can see the camping area of the park. HERE is a huge list of hotels for you as well.


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Album Feature: Sunny Sweeney: Trophy.

Album Feature: Sunny Sweeney: Trophy.

So I suppose a lot of the “important” websites have already put out their statements on Sunny Sweeney’s fourth album Trophy, however I cannot resist following all of them in some aspects. First off I wanted to state that I personally have been on a provocative push toward the Opry organization to induct her as a member. To be honest I believe she deserves to have been bestowed  with this accolade for quite some time now. She holds dear the meaning and the tradition of this fine institution more than ninety percent of today’s new artists do.

She throws punches at your jaw through the speakers every time she puts out new material and Trophy her latest release doesn’t fail to continue to do just that. The VERY FIRST note is a steel guitar followed by a painfully slow and poignant song called “Pass The Pain”, that sets the whole ambiance of this album to an intended direction of what Country Music SHOULD sound like. You feel like you have been smacked in the face with a brick  with lyrics and vocals that are absolutely astonishing in many ways.

You know much like a few artists of today that I can name I love her so much because her vocal style and delivery sticks out like a rooster wearing socks. Have you ever heard older people say in MY day you could tell different artists from one another like Marty Robbins? WELL with Miss Sunny you get just that and nothing short of unique and different. Call her Traditional Country call her Red Dirt or whatever you want but she defiantly doesn’t sound like anyone else but Sunny Sweeney.

She wrote or co-wrote all but two of the tracks on this album which was produced by Dave Brainard and released on Thirty Tigers label.  The album picks up a little bit with the next song “Better Bad Idea” however the lyrics are well written on “Nothing Wrong With Texas” because you FEEL her comfort of home and where she hails from as a person. I think her last album Provoked brought us closer to her as a person to understand where her soul was at that time, and I hope she is healed and happy with her life now. She’s a fantastic person and I always have loved her haughty and clever humor, yet keeps it Country classy.

Pills are a problem with society as a whole wherever you go but it is more prevalent and abused in the Appalachia region, I was reading about an area of West Virginia where a town of 400 have been sent millions of them. As a RA patient I do understand the constant battle of the problem in America. This song “Pills” is a song from her to someone with a pill addiction, that many people will be able to relate to.

“Bottle By My Bed” is the ultimate song of lament and want…for a child. I think many people can equally relate to the want of having a baby, but the clever use of twist on the title was a surprise at first glance and first spin of the album. Being a parent is an amazing thing that you love someone before they even truly exist when they only exist in thought and aren’t yet conceived.

The greatest hero of my life that I have studied more than anyone was Hank Williams. My music loves are just as eclectic as the song here describes and I related to it better than any of the other songs included on this album. I feel like Hank understood me and knew me as a fan thirty years before I was born, much like I described being a parent was in the last paragraph.

The title track “Trophy” was the greatest song of revenge from a current wife to an ex wife that treated the husband like shit. It takes the term Trophy Wife to a whole level and NOBODY sings it better than Sunny Sweeney, this song wouldn’t sound believable from anyone else by any means. I am pretty adamant on this statement THIS ALBUM is probably one of my TOP 5 already before the robins even arrive for spring!

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2017 Music Festivals: Merlefest.

2017 Music Festivals: Merlefest.

I’m going to provide links to all the bands on my lineup on this article and it’s NOT going to be easy! The lineup on this one is a BIG BIG deal folks, this festival is not small time or little in any way.

Merlefest was founded in 1988 in memory of Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College.
I thought at first it had something to do with Merle Haggard but no it was named and founded in memory of Doc Watson’s son who died in 1985. Doc Watson who died on May 29th 2012 often played the festival and provided much to the growth of the festival.

It is held on the campus of the Wilkes Community College in Wilksboro North Carolina and all these bands will play on 13 different stages…I’d have to hire a ton of help to cover this festival I’m going to up front and honest about this festival there is NO smoking or drinking allowed. So if you are coming down there intending to party hard…don’t. Cause this festival is for music lovers that choose not to imbibe in that. You can click on the main link up there for maps and directions to the festival. Here is the lineup to this behemoth festival and TRUST ME if you are just like me and like to enjoy the music in public in a sober fashion this is a GREAT festival and you can purchase tickets HERE.

CAMPING: is again offering fully setup campsites, at any of the wonderful campgrounds in the Merlefest area. We have been offering this fine service since 1999 and have had patrons from most states and many foreign countries as well. Our patrons arrive to their site to a high-quality tent, decked out with carpet, cots, lanterns, water jugs, gazebo and camp kitchen amenities if preferred.
Please check out the website, Dancin Dave’s for all details and of course you can ask any questions you have from there.
Oh…and Doc himself gave me his blessing when I started the business back in 1998…I actually came up with the concept on my drive home to Wisconsin from Merlefest that year. The next weekend I had the supreme pleasure of dining with Doc and Jack before their show in Madison that night…it was an experience I will always treasure!

Festival_Map_2017 that link right there will open a PDF file of the entire festival grounds and some of the nature trails there are to romp around on!

The Avett Brothers
Zac Brown Band
Bela Fleck
Marty Stuart
Del McCoury Band
Leftover Salmon
Sam Bush Band
The Earls Of Leicester
Jerry Douglass
Peter Rowan
Steep Canyon Rangers
The Kruger Brothers
Natalie MacMaster
Jorma Kaukonen
Tift Merritt
Sarah Jarosz
John Driskell Hopkins
Mandolin Orange
The Steel wheels
Chatam County Line
Sierra Hull
I Draw Slow
Jim Lauderdale
Mountain Heart
Bryan Sutton Band
Mitch Greenhill
Donna The Buffalo
The Waybacks
John Doyle
Jim Avett
David Holt
Pete And Joan Werrick
T Michael Coleman
Roy Book Binder
Andy May
Chris Jones And The Night Drivers
Claire Lynch
Front Country
Wayne Henderson
The Contanders
Happy Traum
The Stray Birds
Darin And Brooke Aldridge
Jack Lawrence
Jeff Little Trio
Carol Rifkin
10 String Symphony
Midnight Plowboys
Locust Honey
Bluegrass Expierience
Pat Donahue
Steve James
The Local Boys
Tony Williamson
Ed Snodderly
String Madness
Mark Bumgarner
Megan Nash
Ken Tizzard
Pat McInnery
Todd Albright
Joe Smothers
Charles Welch
Bob Hill
Andy Buckner
Bill Mathis
Mark Brinkman
The Gravy Boys
Steve And Ruth Smith
The Green Grass Cloggers
Eric Ellis
Scott Freeman
The BattleAxe Band
Ted White
Lydia Luce
The hook And Bullet
Dear Brother
Alberti Flea Circus
Counterclockwise String Band
Spice Creek Ramblers
Surry Line
Swift Creek
Uncle Joe And The Shady Rest

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2017 Music Festivals: The Jewel City Jamboree.

2017 Music Festivals: The Jewel City Jamboree.

It’s the Jewel City Jamboree once again up there in Huntington, West Virginia. Right on the side of the Ohio River at the famous David Harris Riverfront Park this is an all volunteer run BYOB event. The website does not say whether this will be a camping event, but it DOES say you can bring a tent. You CAN come and go with your wristband so AS ALWAYS I’ll post some area hotels HERE are sixteen reasonable choices.

I know I have been to the V Club with Ol’ W.B.Walker and I know we weren’t far from this at all so I have been in this area and I understand this venue and festival are LOTS of fun. This festival is VERY family orientated and kid friendly so bring the family for the music. This lineup is ONE HELL of a fine lineup and some of these bands are beyond my good friends. PLEASE folks I absolutely IMPLORE you to support YOUR community ran events like this, your WALLET speaks as loud as your HEART with an event like this. Your money isn’t going to corporate arena conglomerates from buying anything here and I’m pretty sure there are no nine dollar hot dogs. You can buy tickets HERE.

You might remember Mr. Travis Egnor from the Horse Traders (who are on this bill) helped me launch my rapidly popular Steel Guitarists Along The Road and I have been having lots of fun chasing down different steel pickers for this project. Another one on this bill is Mr. Rob McNurlin whom has also been a great friend to me and my website, he recorded a gospel album with an original  Johnny Cash Martin guitar and you can read about that HERE.

This piece from their website:

JCJAM3 is a multi-genre music festival held at David Harris Riverfront Park along the beautiful Ohio River. Music, food, friendship and a celebration of our local heritage will take place May 26th & May 27th of 2017. From Bluegrass and Old Time to Americana, the Blues, Rock and Western Cowboy Swing with a little of all in between, makes this one of the most unique festivals of the season. JCJAM3 is a 100% not for profit show staffed entirely by volunteers. Besides the great venue, food and music, the show supports local charities for Veterans and 1st Respondents with its net profit. So support local and live music and take this opportunity to show our Vets and 1st Respondents we care for.

Blind Boy Paxton
The Larry Keel Experience
The Suitcase Junket
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Woody Pines
Strung Like A Horse
The Reverend Billy C Wirtz
Dave And Valerie Mayfield
Big Rock And The Candyass Mountain Boys
The 1937 Flood
The Horse Traders
Wiley Dew
Rob McNurlin
Sasha Collette
Blues Crossing
Full Moon Boys
The Local Honeys
Traci Ann Stanley
Sasha And Shorty
Mike Gray
Stoney Point String Band
Adam Cox

This video was taken before the 2015 Jewel City Jamboree:

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Album Feature: Rebecca Jed Wildfire And Moonshine.

Album Feature: Rebecca Jed Wildfire And Moonshine.

A few weeks ago this these gals Rebecca Jed and Mae Bliss AKA The Bucksnort Beauties sent me an album and invited me to the album release party, and you can read ALL about that HERE. These gals hold tight the traditions of our local Nashville Country Music and bring a new breathe of fresh air to the ever popular “Anti-Nashville” sentiment. All of the people that constantly trash this fine city for (what they call) fake music need to put THIS album on their forehead with an industrial staple, and perhaps the songs like “Country Like That” will slowly trickle into their brains.

These two gals are two of the prettiest gals I have ever saw in my life, you want to hug them so tight and I think camo glitter will bust out. If there is anything such as a redneck diva these gals are it, Miss Mae Bliss is absolutely adorable and Miss Rebecca leads this band with her own unique way. Their vocals accompany each other with grace not many others can match, I haven’t heard blending that good since The Cactus Blossoms or Pistol Annies in quite some time.

They produced this album themselves and it was recorded at Eastwood Studios by Mr. Eric Fritsch. Now mind you for being only a six song album it boasts some of Nashville’s finest musicians the likes of Mr. Andy Gibson and Mr. Frank Rische, absolute Legends in their own rights.

“All the hell with all y’all” is their won personal F YOU anthem to the people and their groups that have overlooked these two gals and their music. I’m not sure why or how mainstream society pays no attention to music like this but I can say with assured authority they are ignorant and wrong.

The title track of the album “Wildfire And Moonshine” is equally something that came out of the backwoods of Tennessee like the name of the band, as Bucksnort Tennessee is a place that is known for both of those things. Only the boldest of the bold venture out into the Hickman County area…for any reason.

They bring a whole new perspective to the moonshine and trucks template that the popular pop country crowd follows and makes traditional lovers yawn. Mostly because their direction is honest and evident in their actions, it’s easy to ascertain they are two real deals in a crowd of packaged flashy junk that most normies go bonkers over as soon as Walmart puts it on an endcap display.

I wasn’t truly quite sure WHAT to expect from these gals as I began my evening a few weeks ago, but I assure you I left the bar that night with a new sense of love for these two gals and the musicians that involved themselves with their music that night, and if you click on their name up there YOU TOO can have your own camo diva album!


1.All To Hell With All Y’all (I’m Going Back To Arkansas)
2.Defeated Lonely And Blue
3.Zackariah Harris
4. Country Like That
5.Wildfire And Moonshine
6.Spit On The Diamond (And Make It Shine)

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Album Feature: Nick Geise And Billie Gant.

Album Feature: Nick Geise And Billie Gant.

I’m going to say this first and foremost outright honestly, I don’t feel worthy enough to do real album reviews and I never considered myself to be a major big influential website. NEVER in a million years did I EVER fathom this would turn into the juggernaut that it has, and I have people like Mr. Billie Gant to thank. I don’t really care what anybody reading this says to dispute my claim, this man IS A local Legend much like Greg Garing is in my area. I mean let’s face it he’s been playing in dirty dive bars, empty and full for longer than I been alive.

I had heard of him before my initial encounter with him on a frigid weekend in October of 2013 in Altamont Tennessee at a benefit concert for a man named Mr. Troy Rector who was involved in an accident. The show really didn’t go all that well publicly from a business standpoint, but the people I met and friends I made and got repainted with  were irreplaceable and beyond special.

Mr. Billie was part of what I called “The Altamont Seven” which was seven songwriting Legends one of whom was called home to Heaven, Mr. Steve Young. Another Mr. Billy Don Burns moved on to become my 2016 Album Of The Year. Now this man Mr. Billie once again gets to grace my website with a new album, one time at Outlaw Fest in 2014 he told me “You don’t like the type of person that would’ve made that mistake” when I talked to him about my past addiction. Honestly that was the highest compliment I ever received whether it was meant to be one or not, I felt uplifted and inspired to continue my website.

For a few moments we thought we may have lost him as well, as he was playing with another Legend Tom Ghent when he fell sick and suffered a stroke. They had to go into his neck and clear him out and he had a long period of healing time before he could sing again, and I was once told he might not return to us.

I think through our love and prayers he indeed persevered and drew strength to return to us in his own right with guitarist Nick “Giese Lightning” Giese in the form of this ten track album of raw songs. It opens with the best one on the album in my opinion called “House Of Cards”, which laments the choice of a bottle over a woman’s love.  Nobody can sing songs of lament sharper than Billie Gant I assure you people, all you need to do is listen to him for a moment and you will concur.

Another epic song that equally showcased his well written songs was “Lips That Touch Liquor” which puts us to mind of the prohibition era of that picture of women with the sign Lips that touch liquor will never touch mine. This was also one of the finest and well written songs on the entire album. Even though I firmly believe he could never top his Country Music anthem “Stop Fucking Up Country Music” this album comes close.

“Like Frank And Jesse James” was a pretty good description of Mr. Billie and Mr. Nick as they play together on this album like a true band of brothers but also like a well oiled machine. The lyrics flow from his mind with painful ease as he batters your mind with some of the most scathing Honky Tonk music you won’t find on any FM station. This album was produced and mixed by Mr. Nick Geise and Mr. Larry Sporing and you can purchase a copy by clicking HERE.


1.House Of Cards
2.I’d Love To See You Again
3.All I Want Is One
5.Lips That Touch Liquor
6.That’s What The Old Folks Say
7.The Hardin County Jail
8.Like Frank And Jesse James
9.Time To Say Goodbye
10.Just To Say I Did It All

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2017 Music Festivals: Aiken Bluegrass Festival.

2017 Music Festivals: Aiken Bluegrass Festival.

The Aiken Bluegrass Festival returns to the Western Carolina State Fairgrounds in Aiken, SC, on May 12th and 13th, 2017. This 13th annual event will host some of the biggest names in bluegrass around such as The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Larry Keel and Vince Herman as well as our favorite Portland, OR based act Fruition. The 2017 line up also touts a hefty list of artists at large, insuring many collaborations that will be unique to the Aiken Bluegrass Festival stage. Included are Allie Kral of Yonder Mountain, Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon, Jay Starling of Love Canon and Lindsay Lou! The festival promises to be a weekend full of amazing music, unique craft and food vendors, on site camping, kid’s activities and drink concessions featuring products from New Belgium Brewing, Carolina Moon Distillery and so much more! You can purchase tickets for this event RIGHT HERE.

Trust me for the ticket price this is one of the more reasonable festivals of it’s kind. However when you buy tickets remember you MUST purchase a seperate primitave camping pass, but it’s only 5.00 per person. Coolers are NOT permitted in the stage areas only at your campsite, so you’ll have to buy beer at the vendor tents.
THIS LINK will take you to a nice list of local area hotels for staying for the festival if you are like me and cannot camp.

Festival Lineup

Friday, May 12th – Gates open at 12:00 PM

Doug and the Henrys – 5:00pm
The Herman Clan – 6:30pm
Guitacolypse Now – 8:00pm
Super Jam 1 – Andy Thorn, Billy, Jay Starling, Allie Kral, Travis Book and More!! – 9:30pm
The Infamous Stringdusters– 11:00pm

Saturday, May 13th – Gates open at 12:00 PM

Gipsy Moon Band – 1:00pm
Brad Parsons Band – Featuring Members of Fruition – 2:30pm
Lindsay Lou And The Ladies – Jenny Keel, Mimi Naja, Allie Kral, Lindsay Lou and Mackenzie Page – 4:00pm
ABF Super Jam 2 – As many artists that can fit on stage – 5:30pm
The Larry Keel Experience– 7:00pm
Billy Strings – 9:00pm
Fruition– 11:00pm

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Gary Hayes Music BMI P.O. Box 36 Allensville Kentucky 42204

This weeks Featured Albums:

Jon Emery Dodds
Sunny Sweeney
Richie Allbright
Billie Gant

Friends of Gary Hayes Country

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