Three days, four stages and 40 bands at the beautiful Natural Chimneys Park and Campground in Mt Solon, VA, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.Over on the Kinfolk Stage, you’ll find great music, dancing and awesome presentations for the children. There are TONS of playgrounds and games and activities for them to do while you enjoy the music.
Red Wing Academy is open to non-beginner violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin and banjo students ages 5 – 19. Students will receive individual and group instruction from highly trained music teachers and will also be coached by members of The Steel Wheels throughout the week. Daily curriculum will include group classes, mini lessons, improv and jam sessions, technique and tone development, stage performance, electives, recreation, panel discussions, showcases, and more. Each day will close with a camp wide rehearsal to practice for Red Wing performance.
Throughout the 4-day workshop, students will learn several tunes to perform collectively. On Friday, July 13, 2018 the Academy experience will culminate at Red Wing Roots Music Festival with a live, on-stage performance with The Steel Wheels.
Scholarship opportunities are available for qualifying students. Admission to the festival and a T-shirt are included for participants.
Detailed schedule and class descriptions will be announced this spring!
Registration deadline: May 25 (late registrations will be accepted on a space-available basis) Refunds cannot be given after the registration deadline.
Red Wing Academy Volunteer and Sponsorship opportunities are available in exchange for passes to Red Wing Roots Music Festival and other perks. You may also order additional T-shirts for family and friends! Please also consider donating to Red Wing Academy’s scholarship fund. Stay updated at www.redwingroots.com/academy and on facebook!
Country Music has THREE staple pillars of it’s foundation or it’s backbone if you will. Those are in this order the songwriter, the producer, and the steel guitar in my opinion it takes those three to make a classic Country Music album. My point being Willie Nelson “Red Headed Stranger” and “Wanted The Outlaws” as two prime examples that had all three. Shooter will tell you rapidly “Wanted The Outlaws” was the first platinum selling Country Music album EVER and defied the sough it was initially given by Nashville in the 1970’s.
Local music as a whole contains such a plethora of well rounded steel guitarists and pickers waiting for you to discover them if you are willing to wade through the broken beer bottles and travel the worn out back alleys of America to find them. You have to look in the places most normal people wouldn’t, and you have to listen. You have to brave the heat and cold and discomfort of the fields and farms that spew forth these festivals, mostly you have to study and watch for them.
This edition of my steel guitarist series bring me to talking on a rainy Sunday afternoon with one of local music’s finest young steel players the mighty Johnny Up. I sat with him for just a few minutes and he was kind enough to spend some time with me and answered a few questions for us. So sit back and enjoy this interview with another one of Red Dirt Country’s young guns making Country Music sound so good!
I’ll be honest in this interview he peaks of many people that he looks up to and admires doing things for him and today, he truly passed it on to me by taking a few minutes out to become involved with this project. This is MY intention to bring forth the young people playing steel in the honky tonks of today, and educating people on this whole world of unknown REAL Country Music whether it’s Nashville, Texas or Oklahoma. It’s out there waiting for YOU to support and love on it. And the people that play it are vastly talented and have become very good friends, I never met him yet but we truly connected today and appreciated one another. I must say he was really a great guy!
How did you get started playing the steel guitar?
I started out playing classical guitar, I was moved to an arts high school where you could major in arts programs and that’s how I started learning how to read music and classical technique. I ended up going to the University Of Oklahoma for that. I dropped out of school and didn’t do anything with music for a while. I was living in Baton Rouge and met some guys that were into the same kind of music I was, everything Parsons, and that was the first time the steel guitar really caught me. I joined a band called the Way Goners out of Hammond Louisiana and started playing pedal steel. It took a couple years before I was any good at it, but pretty much from day one I started performing with it. A lot of four hour bar gigs forced me to learn 40 or 50 licks at a time.
Do you play pedal steel or straight steel, or both?
I play pedal steel, yes
Whom did you start playing for after The Way Goners?
I moved to Oklahoma City and started playing with John Moreland out of Tulsa, and Jeff Hobbs out of Ardmore. I made an album with John Moreland And The Dustbowl Souls. It’s called “In the Throes”.
You played For Kaitlin Butts too right?
Yes, and Cody Jinks and Zane Williams, whole bunch of people really…
Who influenced most as a young player?
The album that I remember studying the most was “High In The Rockies” by Jason Boland. You know it’s got Roger Ray on it, and he’s also an Okie. He’s somebody I really looked up to and I got a chance to open for the Stragglers pretty early on in my career. I was playing with Jeff Hobbs and after the Stragglers set he came offstage with people coming at him, trying to greet him but he made a bee line towards me and asked if I was Johnny. I was kind of star struck and said yeah. He told me how much he enjoyed my stuff with John Moreland, told me to keep it up. That meant a lot to me that someone I looked up to was listening and thought I was on the right track. It truly motivated me early on.
If someone new came up to you and asked I’m a kid I’m new and I would like advice, what would you tell them?
I would say don’t think you have to have certain equipment or sound like other people. Until this past year I had yet to take a real lesson on pedal steel. And it was several years before I ever saw anybody play one in person. It all contributed to my sound. I know I don’t sound like other people and I know i probably have bad techniques, but I have always found my own voice through not knowing how to sound like other people. When people hear my steel guitar they know it’s me. I also have a bunch of instructional videos on my personal Youtube page GO HERE to see what he has up to offer you free of charge!
That answered my next question, you are very unique you don’t sound like anybody else. Wade Bowen came to town and had Miss Kaitlin with him I was hoping I’d get to meet you. I’m enjoying Country Music even more now from these interviews, because I have a better understanding of people like you.
Hopefully Kaitlin reads this! My first steel guitar was, you know everybody goes out and gets a Sho Bud Maverick that had sixty owners, where as I had a Fender steel with three pedals and one knee lever. I didn’t know it even had a knee lever until I was boxing it back up to ship it to the next guy. There’s so much I didn’t know that I had to learn on my own. Making my own repairs on it, the guitar I bought next I bought seen only in pictures. I didn’t know what to look for, so when it wasn’t until the the guitar arrived that I noticed the under carriage was all gunked up and dirty, levers not pulling true. I took the whole guitar apart and cleaned it. I put it all back together as best as I could not knowing exactly how the changer and tension works. Just getting it to work right made me a better player. I know it had nothing to do with music really but it did help me understand a lot.
Are you on the road full time, do you have anybody staple that you play with now?
I been doing a lot of studio work as of lately, but until the albums come out, you can find me with either Jacob Flint or Wink Burcham. I have an album coming out with Cole Porter Band which has the guitar player from Cody Jinks first four records..so that’ll be a cool one coming out soon. I got to play all the steel on Cody Jinks’ new album ‘I’m Not The Devil’ that’s out right now. Jeff Hobbs new album “Upward” will be released soon. There is some stuff I’ve tracked out I don’t know how far along they are but hopefully there will be new releases with Schuyler Prenger And The Dirt Road Junkies, Dylan Stewart, Johnathan White from Sons Of Strangers, Jonnah Liddell. It was great getting to work with producers like Mike McClure and Wes Sharon.
I really enjoy including more Red Dirt into my website program and I love the differences and similarity in our local scenes.
I never paid much attention to the Nashville scene but to say that filling up the Exit Inn wasn’t a highlight of my career would be false.
So this edition of my festival series bring us to South Carolina in April for the inaugural High Water Festival which was created by Shovels And Rope along with the many people that help made this dream a reality. It appears that many people have stepped on board to assist in making this possible.
High Water Festival takes place April 22-23 at Riverfront Park in North Charleston South Carolina and you can purchase tickets for this event HERE. Many corporate sponsors make this event possible and affordable to you at under 70 dollars for a general admission basic weekend pass.
Shovels And Rope just recently played two shows at the Ryman here and their new album made my TOP 50 of 2017, so you can darn sure bet that this will indeed be a truly good time out there in South Carolina next month!
As far as hotel accommodations go there is a WHOLE LONG LIST of hotels HERE as they have partnered up with Hotels For Hope to benefit some proceeds from your booking. This is not a camping event and like me if you have some medical issues all of these hotels will bend over backwards to fit your needs to help you enjoy the music!