NewsComments Off on The Grand Ole Opry is FINALLY Listening To Us!
The time is coming folks when the Opry FINALLY “Gets It”. I knew this was going to culminate one day! I’m not sure if it’s the new manager that is a TRUE lover of real music or that they are looking for a more diverse crowd? This article here has been culminating in my brain for the last year now, because our music…our beloved “underground” music is FINALLY taking shape up top with mainstream music.
I’m not really sure if the Opry “watches” what the Ryman does, but if Mr. Cody Jinks, Mr. Tyler Childers and Miss Margo Price are any indicators, then I’d say YES THEY DO. Because all of those three have recently SOLD OUT THE RYMAN, and some of them in record time.
You have had several Country Legends like Vince Gill and Reba McEntire previously state that they wished the bro country shit would come ti a close and that the rap country would follow out the door. Well, it pretty much has and many of the prominent figures of the 1990’s have resurfaced and are making quality NEW music, but the problem is that people over 50 that enjoyed it in the 90’s aren’t buying it.
Let me tell you WHO IS. This new demographic of 20-40 year old music fans that grew up listening to the Outlaw Era music FROM the 50 and up people who won’t spend money on music. Pop Country is specifically targeted to women ages 14-25 and soccer moms up to 35 ( there ARE some exceptions to those that like the music that isn’t Pop Country), but now many of those females are coming over to the other side of the Country fence.
Now, mind you that the Opry WILL ALWAYS pander to ALL GENRES of Country and by all means that is GREAT. Because you get a 4 hour show for a GREAT PRICE, and you get a little bit of everything for everyone. But these younger people that are digging up the real Country are becoming very erudite about it. Whether it be word of mouth on social media, or rabbit hole time on Youtube or Spotify, they ARE finding it.
The Opry is picking up on this, and cashing in on it all by offering us all we want. And I’m hoping that very soon they start functioning as the Grand institution they once were. In the past, as far as members go they made some pretty mundane choices, and many of those fools won’t honor what it means to BE A MEMBER.
But then as of January of 2019, things began to change and now I’m seeing a positive, new echelon of shows and invitations of guests. Is this a result of the new manager? In my opinion I’d say YES IT IS. I think being a woman she is making better choices of some of the artists out there busting their backsides to gain the attention in the mainstream world…and it’s becoming easier every day.
From Cody Jinks Instagram account.
On August 28th Underground Country Music sensation Mr. Cody Jinks made his Opry debut with 3 songs, to where after the first song he paused and said “I’m not going to lie to y’all, I’m pretty scared right now”. He played three songs, and right now along with Whiskey Myers and Mr. Chris Knight they are PISSING ALL OVER CORPORATE NASHVILLE ( hell some of them are based out of New York and California). It’s TRUE that these “DIY” artists are doing it THEIR WAY and mainstream radio is losing, and so are the artists that mainstream radio pushes down our throat on a daily basis. Radio used to be a very viable way of gathering an audience, but it’s not anymore and I couldn’t be happier.
One of the most prominent artists in this formula that has set many standards as an independent female artist is my friend Miss Sunny Sweeney. Her music is just a soulful and beautiful as she is, and she embellishes Country Music with her songs in a fashion only she ever could.
NOBODY deserves to be an Opry member more than her right now, having over 50 appearances under her belt, she has identified as one of the “Grand ladies of the Opry” like Miss Jan Howard and Jeannie Seeley are now. I mean don’t you all agree that ladies like her and Miss Kelsey Waldon would be sufficient additions of a new group of younger ladies that would carry on that tradition left behind by Miss Jean Shepherd BUT STILL allow and even proliferate those still alive like Miss Jan Howard?
I want EVERY ONE OF YOU To contact the Opry in any way you can and tell them that we MUST make Miss Sunny Sweeney a member! And you can damn sure bet I’ll be there in attendance to cover that news when it does happen!
A few years back Miss Kelsey Waldon made her debut on the Opry and I recently had the opportunity to catch her set at Kickin It on The Creek in Irvine Kentucky, which I’m still writing about now. She recently released a new album on Mr. John Prine’s label Oh Boy Records, and will grace many a TOP 50 lists of 2019.
In my opinion she would equally be a good candidate for future performances on the Opry, along with the Pistol Annies, and SO MANY other younger female artists that are out right now, and outperforming the males in my opinion. I recently started writing my Americanafest articles and BY ALL MEANS I enjoyed the gals more than the guys there, I don’t know maybe it’s just what I LIKE more, and I’m not meaning this in a physical manner, their songs just speak to me MORE as a person.
Mr. Tyler Childers has played the Opry twice now, since his rise to fame in the underground music realm but it has gotten so large and amassed so much notoriety, one simply cannot argue with his success. The sales and attendance of the Opry when this man takes the stage means that he deserves to play on a regular basis.
I’m not trying to say that all of these artists deserve to walk in the door and become members in ANY fashion people. In now way do I sit here and write this and boast that they should be inducted without a plethora of performances under their belt on the stage…I’m just saying that the Opry has the right idea.
Joe Diffie, Clint Black, John Anderson, Terri Clark, man there are SO MANY great artists out there that play the Opry frequently, and are a hell of a lot better choices than the crap emanating from the FM radio speakers now. There have been a few recent good choices for good members with such names as miss Crystal Gayle and Mr. Luke Combs.
I’ll be completely honest here folks, I don’t like the music that Mr. Luke Combs does at all. It just doesn’t speak to me in any fashion, but I’ll be honest it’s probably some of the best mainstream music out there. In a nutshell, this man’s music could easily lead others to more underground music.
AS ALWAYS this article WILL include FULL inforamtion on hotels and maps of everything you need to FULLY enjoy this festival. I have compiled MANY emails and researched EVERY angle of this festival, so you can have the ultimate survival guide for this treasure in Owensboro Kentucky.
Folks this one is close to home for me and always a fun time when I cover this festival, and this year’s lineup is super exciting. Here is some history and some information about it straight from their website:
The 14th annual ROMP Festival will be led by the legendary American roots pioneers, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, progressive bluegrass virtuosos, Punch Brothers, innovative musician, Keller Williams and his project blending bluegrass and Grateful Dead songs, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass,Grammy Award winning folk rockers, Los Lobos, and multi-instrumentalist and founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens. Held in Owensboro’s Yellow Creek Park, the four-day music, camping, and art festival will take place June 21-24, 2017, and will feature over 30 top bluegrass, folk and Americana acts.
Additional acts include 14-time Grammy winner, Jerry Douglas, progressive bluegrass jam band, Yonder Mountain String Band, Grammy Award winning group, The SteelDrivers, bluegrass pioneer, Peter Rowan,old-time folk music aficionado, Pokey LaFarge, Celtic folk rockers, Scythian, Galway, Ireland’s We Banjo 3, and 10-time IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year, Michael Cleveland, plus many more. A full list of artists confirmed can be found below.
Daviess County’s Yellow Creek Park, a 150-acre facility famous for its nature trails, winding creek and fishing lake, and sweeping tree-lines, plays host to ROMP each year.
A full line-up of artist-led instrument workshops takes place throughout the day, giving musicians the chance to interact and teach fans and players of all ages and skill levels. Other workshops and forums include songwriting, clogging and flat-foot dancing, yoga (all levels), and healthy living through music.
Additional offerings at ROMP Festival include organic and farm-to-table food vendors, craft vendors featuring Kentucky Proud products, art installations and professionally-led children’s activities.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their instruments and jam throughout the weekend, and dance until dawn at the infamous after parties, featuring national acclaimed acts on the cabin stage in the park’s rustic Pioneer Village.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum, producer of the event, will open new exhibits, host performances throughout the daytime, and present a film festival of documentaries the museum has produced on Bluegrass Music’s First Generation. Museum admission is free to festival-goers.
Artist additions, single day tickets, volunteer opportunities, vendor applications and daily schedules will be available in 2017. To stay up-to-date with the latest news from ROMP fest, music fans can visit rompfest.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and sign-up to become a ROMP insider.
This park has a playground area for kids and a spray area to cool off with, and camping is available for 15 dollars extra and 70 for RV’s. You are required to vacate the area by 11AM the following day of which you pay. The camping area will open to the public at 8 AM wends some campsites require you to walk a short bit. Here is a detailed map of the festival grounds and you can buy tickets HERE.
Family Friendly:For families with children; no late night parties
Bring the kids and have a fun-filled family festival experience! Family Friendly camping includes quiet hours from 10 p.m.-7 a.m.
Late Night:The ‘Wrong Side of the Creek’; very close access to the After Party stage
Feel the need to stay up all night and enjoy live music until sunrise? This is the place for you!
General #1:For those in the middle; easy access to stage and vendors
Camp within a close walking distance to the main stage and the food and craft vendors. Good place for those to camp who don’t want to be in a Family Friendly quiet zone, and don’t want to stay up all night in the Late Night camping area.
Woods: For those in the middle; easy access to stage
Camp within a close walking distance to the main stage. Good place for those to camp who don’t want to be in a Family Friendly quiet zone, and don’t want to stay up all night in the Late Night camping area.
1 Day Only:
A Wednesday Only, Thursday Only, Friday Only, or Saturday Only night camping is valid for that night only, and must be vacated by 11AM the following morning.
Dancin’ Dave’s Festival Camping
Have you ever heard of “Glamping”? Glamour camping…nothing like having your comforts of home setup and ready for your arrival to ROMP. We’re proud to announce that Dancin’ Dave’s Festival Camping will be joining us for the second time. Flying to ROMP and want to camp? Dancin’ Dave’s has got you covered.
Dancin’ Dave’s is excited to announce that we will be providing 4 nights of cushy camping accommodations for this epic event! Our village only has a capacity of 35 tents, so get in while the gettin’s good! Just show up and we’ll take care of the rest.
Small (pup tent) – $100 – Sleeps up to 2 on floor bedrolls. Best for kids. No cots.
Medium (8′ x 8′) – $125 – Sleeps 1 on a cot (up to 2 on floor bedrolls)
Large (9′ x 9′) – $155 – Sleeps up to 2 on cots (or 3 on floor bedrolls) – Most popular tent for 2 adults!
Jumbo (11′ x 11′) – $205 – Sleeps up to 3 on cots (or 4 on floor bedrolls)
*Packages DO NOT include admission to the festivals. To pay by personal check, select the “Money Order” option when checking out. Prices are for the entire weekend, Wednesday through Sunday.
Your tent will come with the number of cots listed above. If you would like a different number of cots or bedrolls, or would like to bring your own bedding (an air mattress, for example) please let us know by sending a message via our contact form.
You can also add the following amenities (you must rent a tent to rent any of the following items):
Solar Shower – $35 Gazebo with Table – $75 Kitchen – $115
Don’t leave the kids at home
We’ve planned the perfect family weekend including tons of kids activities, family camping and so much more! Don’t forget, children 12 & under are FREE!
Kids can enjoy hours of fun including music workshops, arts & crafts, games, face painting and educational exhibits.
Full schedule of activities listed below. You can also schedule your weekend using the official ROMP app. Download now from your app store.
Kids Zone Schedule
Thursday, June 22
8am – 9am: Parachute Fun
9am – 10am: Create your own wind chime
10am – 11am: Create your own cape
11am – Noon: Exploring Rocks & Minerals
Noon – 1pm: Growing a Garden
1pm – 2pm: SKy Science Festival – “Light”
Friday, June 23
8am – 9am: Create your own Mask
9am – 10am: Create your own Fan
10am – 11am: Fiddle Fun with Randy Lanham
11am – Noon: Harmonica with Art the Dude
Noon – 1pm: First Aid Fun
1pm – 2pm: SKy Science Festival – “Celestial Objects”
Saturday, June 24
8am – 9am: Create your own ROMP Owl
9am – 10am: Create your own Pinwheel
9am – 1pm: Fun with Body Zorbs
10am – 11am: Kazoo with Art the Dude
11am – Noon: Meet & Greet with Hootie & friends
Noon – 1pm: Dance workshop with Barry Lanham
1pm – 2pm: SKy Science Festival – “Rainbows”
Gates open Wednesday, June 21st for the 14th annual ROMP festival!
8:00am – RV camping pass holders
10:00am – Tent campers, all ticket holders
Upon arrival, let us know in which area you wish to camp. You must have a camping wristband to camp. Wristbands will be checked throughout the festival; be sure to wear the right one for that day. Reminder signs will be posted throughout the park. If you only purchased a single day ticket and wish to stay additional days, just go to the gate to buy the proper wristband.
One-Day and Two-Day campers will have a specific area in which to camp. You must be out by 11AM the following morning.
If camping in an RV, everyone in your RV must have both ROMP and camping wristbands.
Some campsites require that you park and hike into the area. If you have to park and hike your camping gear into the camping area, it should only be a 2-5 minute walk.
ROMP Camping 101
In preparation for this years festival, we asked our friend and long-time ROMP attendee and camping expert, Kelly Farr, for some ROMP camping tips.
Camping at Romp is an awesome way to immerse yourself in the full festival experience! The following is a suggested list of things to bring and some tips for enhancing your camping experience.
air mattress/cot/sleeping pad
extra tarp (can be used under tent for moisture, or above for shade)
fan (battery powered)
towel (hot showers available!)
$ for vendors
Romp app to create your schedule
musical instrument/frisbee/hula hoop/etc
The first thing to do is chose your camping area, for example; late night, family friendly, etc. Then you will need to chose a campsite. Somewhere flat, with shade, and that will drain well in case of rain is ideal. It will be helpful to put a tarp under your tent to protect from moisture. An additional tarp can be hung over your tent for shade or extra rain protection. Since it sometimes rains at Romp, it is a good idea to roll up your sleeping bags and clothing and place them in the middle of your tent to keep them from getting wet if you are away form your campsite. It is also a good idea to keep your food/cooler outside your tent, or in your vehicle to keep animals from being tempted. A bandana or blindfold can also keep the early morning sun out of your eyes if you need to sleep in a little. Remember to drink plenty of water, and just ask the friendly ROMP staff if you have any questions!
Explore Yellow Creek Park
Beyond the music: Yellow Creek Park offers many activities for all age groups. Located in the park is a softball field, disc-golf course, tennis courts, and basketball courts. Along with these, there are spots for fishing as well as picnic shelters to cool off during the heat. The park also provides an idyllic nature trail stretching farther than two miles appealing to those who enjoy peaceful hikes and great scenery. Yellow Creek is very kid-friendly and includes a spray park and play ground for children, as well as playing home to the Western Kentucky Raptor Rescue Center and the ROMP mascot, Hootie.
Last Sunday night my friend and I went on down to Nashville to have a little night out of fun, we had a wonderful supper at Jack’s Barbecue over on Trinity Lane for some wonderful vittles. As always It’s one of my go-to places for smoked turkey and trust me It’ll make you salivate and make your stomach happy with delight. The one on Trinity Lane is my usually my starter before a Titans game or Bridgestone Arena show.
We briefly stopped downtown at Robert’s for a quick beer and saw the Tennessee Walkers play a number or two and I’ll spoil a future article..I got permission from Local Legend Chris Scruggs for an upcoming steel guitarist edition, now in case you missed my first one with Travis Egnor from the Horse Traders you can read that HERE. OK and also folks I will be including Miss Kelsey’s steel player Brett Resnick in a future edition.
So we made our way down to 8th Ave to the The Basement Nashville which is directly below Grimey’s Records not far from Douglass Corner Lounge and Zanies Comedy Club. I tell you WHAT for a Sunday night we had a REALLY GOOD crowd down there, all three of these bands are developing their own following in their own rights. I have covered these first two MANY TIMES in the past in different forms and places, and the first band I’d like to cover and share is the combo of Mr. Joe Macheret and Mr. Scott Risner called Truckstop Waterfall which is basically folk music with mandolin and fiddle and guitar.
Regardless of their other ventures this duo is quite entertaining to watch play live. They have been currently on a several week tour with Tyler Childers and got to take some time off to do some fishing. In my opinion (and you can put this in your mailbox) Mr. Tyler is the next big thing to come out of the local circuit..the next Cody Jinks if you will. He IS destined for bigger and better venues..not that the Basement lacks ANY prestige, no no no but this young man is headed for places like 3rd and Lindsley and eventually the Ryman just give him a small amount of more time.
Now let’s talk about Truckstop Waterfall’s set, they opened with a song called “Camptown Races” and began to showcase their down home harmonies like “Lonesome Midnight Blues”. Mr. Joe tells Gary Hayes Country that the song “used To Be” was an old Bill Monroe song that he heard as a child. HEY Speaking of Bill Monroe I’ll be releasing an article about the 5 CD set coming out form Rhythm Bomb Records soon, watch for that.
“The Moon Sang” was the next song which was one of Mr. Joe’s songs form his own catalogue. The next song was called many things in the past “Dig A Hole” or “Darling Corey” or “Dig A Hole In The Meadow”, It’s an old Bluegrass tune and it’s not documented for sure who wrote it, or I haven’t been able to research it to a pinpoint extent yet.
Perhaps the best song in their entire set was the song called “The L And M Don’t Stop Here Anymore” which fit into tonight’s ambiance quite well, you see Mr. Tyler represents a long lost group of people in East Kentucky and West Virginia that have only one means of living (legally)…mining coal. They rolled on with a song called “Gypsy Moth” and displayed many song filled with talented instrumentals and solos, as Mr. Joe changes from guitar to his fiddle they compliment each other quite well in every way.
“Banjo Pickin Bacco Spittin Gal” was a song Mr. Joe wrote about an supposed ex girlfriend of one of his friends, and after he wrote the song the friend didn’t even remember her any longer. Gotta love them gals with a mouth full of dip from the Country, this song reminded me of the BR5-49 song “Hum Dinger”..which wasn’t their original song I do believe. “Columbus Stockade Blues” was next and that was followed up with a song that was placed in a movie called “Eat My Dust”. Now the song was an instrumental and the movie was Ron Howard’s and it was used during a car chase scene, I think you can Youtube the song and study it to place it in the movie.
I been saying for years now that I agree with W.B.Walker’s Old Soul Radio Show on Tyler Childers he’s an upcoming powerhouse juggernaut.I mean he is developing a heavy following in every city he visits brick by brick and day by day, and tonight was proof of that as this show garnsihed an impressive turnout for a Sunday night in my opinion.
The place was packed and the whole crowd sang along as he poured his entired soul into the old Utah Phillips song “Rock Salt And Nails” which was also made popular by Steve Young. I remmeber the very first one year anniversary show of W.B.Walker where they broadcast it from his living room couch, and I was turned onto Tyler’s music. My My My how time has grown us ALL. I was just a little blog and now much to Mr Tyler’s argument I have graduated into a Hobby Blog.
So “Honky Tonk Flame” was next along with “Boiler Room” as this set was choked full of some songs I haven’t heard live yet, I’m glad I indulged in this show. I’m sure I speak for my friend we had a wonderful time down there last weekend. Another song that blossoms forth a plethora of singer is the song “Nose To The Grindstone”. That song is becoming a working man’s anthem to be honest, as a Rheumatoid Arthritus patient I can see this song. I’m beat from years of hard work and body abuse, and I keep my nose to it as well.
“I Swear To God” was a good song and he followed that one with a song called “Purgatory” and accompanied that song with a short story about dating a Catholic girl. His wife now Miss Senora is also a very talented young lady and when I first heard of her she was Senora Mae Lainhart and now it’s Childers. They are both very talented and good hearted people I can’t get enough of. Another powerfull song he sings called “Charleston Girl” was included in this set as well, that song is one of his more popular ones as well, I highly suggest you go pick up Live At The Red Barn Sessions albums.
“Lady May” was next and he followed that with a funny story about his new camper he bought from an honest Christian man and it may have been called “Country Squire”. Both he and Miss Senora are busy enjoying this new aquisition to his touring life, and buddy I don’t know shit about campers either but as many festivals as I cover I need one badly. He began to close his set with “Help Me Make It Through The Night” and “Time Of The Preacher” Reprise from Willie Nelsons concept album “Red Headed Stranger”.
His epic set was closed with “Follow You To Virgie” and a song that had the WHOLE PLACE singing along called “White House Road”. His songs are just so simple and easy to relate to however complex and poignant in their own manner as well. He defiantly isn’t singing about hipsters drinking lattes.
Miss Kelsey Waldon is one of my TOP 50 OF 2016 and anybody that wants to argue can TRY but you’ll not emerge victorious in any fashion. She IS a rising force within Americana Music or Red Dirt or whatever YOU want to label her I just call it GOOD STUFF, no fluffy lyrics or flashy anything just good pure Country Honky Tonk music. Unfortunately I have yet to feature her until NOW.
This above video is from one of the BEST songs of 2016 I knew of called ‘False King”, I mean the line “You can’t put a crown on the head of a clown and hope he turns out to be a king” is a stroke of genius in my opinion. From the first time I heard her thumping bass and steel infused music way back in late 2014 I was hooked on this woman.
“Dirty Old Town” was (as a lot of this set was) off her 2016 album of aforementioned accolade, and as I studied her style I noticed she has a pretty good stage presence and looked quite content within the confines of a venue such as this. That observation wasn’t always the forte of the younger ladies of Country Music but now in today’s local market the women are leading the pack for the lesser known music. It shall not remain lesser known if I have anything to do with it.
“You Can Have It” was next followed by “One Time Again” all of these songs were filled with ripping guitar solos as well as plenty of pedal steel and a fast paced whipping beat. This venue has in the past housed Legends of all types and in my opinion it’s an epicenter for the local bands and record junkies like me with Grimey’s up top. “Don’t Hurt” was next followed by a song she co-wrote with Country Music Legend Vern Gosdin called “There Must Be A Someone”.
“High In Heels” was one of the songs off her 2014 offering “Goldmine”, although I enjoy her new album more this album was also a highly suggested acquisition to your collection if you are asking my directions. “Not My First Time” was next in her set along with “Traveling Down This Lonesome Road” now I want to touch on something here. That particular song showcases her vocal range really well as she hit high notes with little troubles, I especially watch for the LIVE act compared to the RECORDED act. She does WELL LIVE and you usually see that more in local music than the bigger acts but the woman NAILS it..now in the future I shall look for vocal consistency.
I also want to flip back for a moment to “False King” and something bands often lack, TIMING. That song has a brief pause toward the end and the band pulled it off nicely. I was waiting for that to either shine or shit, it shined quite nicely there. “Heartbreak” was next followed by “All By Myself”, and ended with a much wanted encore of Waylon’s “Are You Ready For The Country”.
All in all this show was worth way more than the tickets were priced at but I can see why Sunday prices are sketchy for attendance reasons. I would have paid 15 easily for just either of these acts by themselves…but the lower price left more room to buy STUFF, and we ALL need STUFF right? RIGHT. Buy STUFF from YOUR favorite local bands folks.