WOW what can I say about all this, this was quite an honor to be the emcee and fellow sponsor alongside Lagunitas beer and others, sorry guys I could only imbibe in a few beers this weekend, as this is serious business to me. I got to enjoy responsibly and watch all our wonderful patrons drink and be happy as SO MANY Honky Tonk bands tore this tent UP.
Four Roses Bourbon I had a small glass of it before my music started to calm my nerves with Sara, she was running back and forth to my partner whom had a vendor booth on Pennsylvania Avenue. I also need to thank PaPa Keno’s Pizza for catering the backstage area, with the biggest pizzas I have EVER witnessed. You had to roll it up to eat it, East Coast pizza was SO GOOD and I look forward to having it every year. Every city I do jobs in, I have my favorite eating places and hotels I return to, I have this music website whittled down to a complete and precise science to bring YOU the BEST coverage of local and independent music I can.
I did get to float around just a little bit and I did get to wander over to the saloon to see a few bands, but really I had to focus my attention to the outdoor stage. I am going to embed some videos from the Westport Saloon stage that my good friend Dustin Doug ran on behalf of Pirate Farm Radio. There was just SO MUCH going on at the same time from 11AM all the way into the wee hours of the night. Hell, after my stage was over with and my hosting was done I went over to Riot Room to see the Goddamn Gallows play until 1:00AM. So needless to say it was well over a 15 hour day for my crew and I.
My stage began with Mr. Matt Campbell as he brought the trio of Mr. Frank Pryor, Mr. Christian Hayden, and Mr. Jason Verstegen to the table today. They displayed some truly fine guitar work along with well written songs here today as they opened with “Ditch Digger’s Blues” along with his most notable song he does “I Found Jesus Down At Robert’s Western World”.
This was called “writers on The Rocks Brunch” and it featured Joey Henry’s Dirty Sunshine Club (Joey Henry is part of the Calamity Cubes), Mr. Adam Lee, Mr. Rex Hobart (of the Misery Boys) Mr. Anthony Ladesick, Mr. Tyler Gregory and Mr. W.T. Newton. This took place at the Saloon across the alley as I was preparing for my stage.
“The B&O Blues and Can’t Slow Down” were next as a medley along with a song called “Here And Gone”. One of the finer songs with more guitar solos was the song called “West Texas Blues”. Next was the song “Miles Apart” and Christmas in Nashville”, because of the unfortunate cancellation of Mr. Jesse Dayton we had to let Me. Matt play a little longer than planned. But I’ll tell you what we truly enjoyed his set tonight with songs like “Simple Twist Of Fate” and “Pillar Of Fire”.
“Twice As Big” was good but another favorite of mine was the song “Trading Teardrops”, I think that’s a well written song. “My Mind Still Sets On You” and “Back In The Country” were next along with his closing songs ‘My Mind Still Sets On You” and Erenst Tubb’s song “You Nearly Loose Your Mind”. This man’s music was an absolute treasure and a perfect way to begin an entire day here of music.
All while this was transpiring there was music starting all over the entire district and I shall be including some of the sets that happened over at the Westport Saloon as well. This next act introduced me to a dang fine steel guitarist, and the more I got to dwell on him the more I thought HEY why not do a LIVE edition of “Steel Guitarists Along The Road” so later on that will be a side article.
The Blue Boot Healers Mr. Marty Smeller, Mr. Dane Talley, KC Steeler,and Cheddar make up this Kansas City favorite of Honky Tonk bar bands. They have been around for a few years here and I was instantly a fan of theirs.
They started with “Breaking The Mold” and went into “The Bottle Got The Best Of Me”. Almost immediately we were treated to some really fine steel guitar licks and Honky Tonk thump. ‘Get In The Car” was next along with “My Baby Went To Holland” , and the song “Four Or Five Times” was one of the good ones they played.
“Three Of You” and “Shot Gun” were next on their list of busting your chops and hurting your heart up there this afternoon, we already had quite a party going on in there earlier than any of the other venues. “Hard Habit” was one of my favorite songs they played, “New Grass” was next along with “Video Queen”.
They closed their set “Southbound” and “San Antone”. All the while this was transpiring there were stages in five other locations going on at once, I’ll post videos from the other stages as I can find them for you. If you remember last year I had the Bastard Children Of Booker Noe on my stage.
If you remember from last year I had this gentleman on my stage Mr.Jack Grelle who released a DAMN FINE album called “Got Dressed Up To Be Let Down” in October of 2016. I have always enjoyed his music and his friendship, to be honest we don’t get to see each other often enough. Earlier this year some inconsiderate asshole printed a really mean article about him and some other bands, and went so far as to insult his appearance. This angered me that anyone would waste time using their journalistic talents to degrade ANYBODY. You will NOT SEE that on THIS website about ANYBODY, Mr. Jack doesn’t deserve that shit. He truly represents the humanitarian side of music and stands up for his personal beliefs, and he deserves to be commended for his passion.
He opened with “Four Doors” now that one is off “Steering Me Away” which was his new album when he played my stage last year, followed by “Hearts For Mine” and “Birthday Cards” both off of the mentioned new album there. One nice thing about these two years was I got to witness first hand his growth as an artist and songwriter, and I had the chance to personally analyze the directions he is taking.
“Got Dressed Up To Be Let Down” was the title song to his new album, and this was the first time I had the chance to hear it live. I work second shift and it’s difficult to attend every show I’d like to. ‘Changes Never Made” was a good one off ‘Steering Me Away”. He continued with “Winter Wind” and followed that with “Won’t Come Back”.
“Only In My Dreams” came before “These Walls” and then he played one of my favorites he does called ‘Chase You Across The Country”. He closed his portion with “hooked On your Lovi’n” and lastly was “New Mexico”.
Miss Savanna Chestnut was playing over at the Westport Saloon along with my good buddy Mr. Sean K Preston. Not long ago he sent me his new single called “Barnburner” and I waited until now until to feature it.
I watched this set for sure, along with ALL of them I missed. Like I said folks there was just SO MUCH going on all at once. Is this article too much information to take in for y’all…I’m JUST getting started, go get another beer and some popcorn.
Miss Savanna Chestnut is a truly gifted songwriter for sure, and the song “She’s Missing Him” was a WELL WRITTEN song for sure I am a now a BIG FAN of hers! She played some mighty fine covers as well, and brought a damn fine set to the table over there.
Folks right there is little old me introducing this next band which is a little of both singers Mr. Brook Blanche and Mr. Clayton Smith both from respective bands, and Miss Karen Anne on upright bass. Mr. Brook has always been one of my personal favorite people in the Roots Music scene, and one of the originals as well. Joining them on the steel guitar tonight was Mr. Tyler Giles Roberson, whom also played with my next band. This band is called Wallula
They opened with “Tale Of Two Children” and went on into “Empty Promises”, like I said they take turns doing the lead vocal duties and I’ll probably feature them more in depth sometime soon. “Bind My Heart” was next along with “Down South”. They both displayed a delivery of fine songwriting, and a different approach that I was expecting from them together. I do enjoy Mr. Brooke’s solo music as well as the Calamity Cubes, but songs like “Wolf” were a little more Honky Tonk than Rootsy sounding..and that’s not a bad thing either. This is certainly an incredible project they have going here.
“Your Side” was next followed by a song called “Problems” ,”Hey Kid” and another aptly called “LSD”. Every band was carefully chosen and placed quite well this weekend, my stage here was NO exception. “Lazy Susan” was next and they closed with “prettiest Girl”.
Honky Tonk Habit was a mess of people and a whole mess of Honky Tonk twang, I mean Mr. Gravy Boat plays two things at once AND has a dobro waiting on the floor. The man is an absolute string slayer! I’ll for sure be including him in my Steel Guitarists Along The Road series SOON.
From the website: Westport Roots Festival this weekend! HonkyTonk Habit is on at 5:15pm Saturday and will feature Dusty Rust on the drums, Tyler Giles on guitar and an original tune, Betsey Mae on bass, and 4 of her original tunes! Chad “Gravy Boat” Graves is even doing a couple originals and a Mark Cassidy tune! In fact, aside from a couple duets Betsey and Chad will sing this set will be all original tunes! A first for the Habit! There will be no changeover time before we go into Dust Rust’s set with Adam Watson on drums and Chelsea Rae on bass!
So they opened with an energetic song called “Honky Tonk Habit” and went into a song called “Country Rain”. After that came the song “Lonesome Shadow” and one called “Goodbye To You”. This man plays a banjo on a stand an upright guitar AND a steel, if that’s not bad assed I do NOT KNOW what is!
“Hard Way” was next followed by “These Lips”, I did notice the cover “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly”. I’m telling you this band was more twang and hardcore beer drinking rhythms than even I could fathom. “So They Say” was next followed by “Last Light” and “Dad’s Truck” and they closed with “Show You”.
So up there are a few videos to keep you informed of the bands that were over at the Westport Saloon while mine was going on, and as ALWAYS they stream ALL their live music EVERY NIGHT on their Youtube channel. Go hop on over and watch the finest Kansas City Roots music EVER!
Mr.Dusty Rust was another young man I had on my stage last year, and I’ll tell you what I was VERY happy to see him again. He and his wife Miss Chelsea Rae are two of the nicest people you’ll ever run into in Kansas City. Truly a pleasure to call them friends of the road.
So his set started with “Country Side Ride” and went into “I’m Getting Drunk Tonight” (which is what I’m doing as I write this) and another song called “Samantha”. “If You’re Gonna Leave Me” was next followed by “Barstool”.
He then went into Merle Haggard’s “Working Man’s Blues”.
He shows truly fine stage presence and stands confident behind the lead spot on songs like “I Don’t Wanna Go To Heaven” and “Happy Father’s Day”, and he closed his set with ‘Ride On”. I’ll tell you what you can go on over to the saloon every Thursday night to see him play his shows, I watch on Youtube all the time.
Outlaw Jim And The Whiskey Benders were another Kansas City Outlaw Country band that came out tonight to play us some damn fine Honky Tonk Country. These guys were truly a five piece extravaganza of twang and steel guitar, and I truly enjoyed their set. I feel the need to apologize to them publicly on the short introduction, but I was told to now keep it to a minimum for time reasons…the BEST is YET to come folks!
They opened with “Guitars And Outlaws” and played one called “Rock Bottom” as they brought us more of that hardcore Honky Tonk sound. Mr. Jim has a very unique vocal style in his own right, it was different and I enjoyed it. With songs like “Drinkin Weekend” and the cover of Glen Campbell’s “Gentle On My Mind”.
“Keep On Going” and “Sobered Up And Busted” were next as they had the entire tent two stepping into the early evening out here getting ready for the big acts of the evening. Waylon’s songs “I’ve Always Been Crazy” and ‘Ain’t Living Long Like This” closed out their show tonight.
Folks my favorite sight to see this festival was this one Texas own the Legend himself Moe Bandy his new album made my TOP 50 Of 2016 and he will be at the Nashville Palace this week for Moore and Moore’s CMA Festival party.
He brought down the house tonight with his timeless classic hits like “Someday Soon” and “Here I Am I’m Drunk Again”. He played some of his classic songs he recorded with Country Legend Joe Stampley like “Hey Moe Hey Joe” and also did “Good Ol’ Boys” with Dale Watson.
He played “Honky Tonk Amnesia” and went into “Hank Williams You Wrote My life” and “Soft Lights and Good Country Music”. He delved deeply into his vast catalogue of albums and songs here for us tonight and played for a VERY long time much to our delight.
“That’s What Makes The Jukebox Play” was next followed by “Lucky Me’ from his new album, as he displayed that time has not faltered his voice in any way. In fact I’d have to pretty much say he is one of the Legends we have remaining in prime condition as far as health. He is just as good if not better than he was years ago. Just a kind and generous individual and it was an honor to get to introduce him.
He played the Whitey Shaffer hit “Bandy The Rodeo Clown” which was his first number one hit and went into “Barstool Mountain”. Ten he played a few songs he passed on like “Amarillo By Morning” and “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind”. And the legendary “He Stopped Loving Her Today”….
His second set was “Rodeo Romeo” and “It’s A Cheating Situation” followed by “Tell O’l I Aint Here To Go On Home”. He played Dave Dudley’s “Six Days On The Road” and his great song ‘Hell Stays Open All Night Long”. I tell you folks he just kep belting out hit after hit with “Cowboys Ain’t Supposed To Cry” and “Just Started Hating Cheating Songs Today”.
He closed with “Too Old Too Die Young” and went into “Americana” before coming back out for “You Haven’t Heard the Last Of Me’ for an encore. I recently had an interview with Mr. Moe and you can read that HERE.
Dale Watson what can I say, I haven’t ran nito him since the Nashville Boogie last year and it is always a true pleasure to see him perform his famed Lonestar commercials and equally loved classic Country hits.
Mr. Dale is a seasoned veteran of the Roots Music scene, in fact he party ushered it all in. He began the Ameripolitan Awards of which Westport Roots Festival was nominated this year. He opened with “Whiskey Or Dying” and went into “Truckstop In LaGrange”. “Feeling Haggard” was next followed by “Jones’n For Jones”.
“Exit 109” was part of tonight’s set along with “My Baby Makes Me Gravy” and the ever popular song about Mr. Billy Joe shaver” “Where Do You Want It”. He brought the house down with songs like “Nashville Rash” and “Mr. DJ”. He always displays truly epic stage presence up there every time I have ever seen him perform and his band is always top notch.
“Country My Ass” was next followed by “Old Farts And Jackasses” as he stood up for our beloved Country Legends in every way he can, and you know he does “Lie When I Drink”…and he drinks a LOT. He paid tribute to Jerry Reed by playing “Amos Moses” and the last one I remembered him playing was “Sianara”. He did play a few more but I was getting ready to wrap up the show tonight and packing up to finally rest.
I could list ever credit here tonight that made this event possible but I couldn’t remember them all. I thank Miss Kristie one of my many partners in this deal we do, and Mr. Mike Bulle and Miss Sara for running errands for me. I could have NOT have done all this without them.
Mr. Travis Fields, Mr. Jody Hendrix, Miss Kaylee Reeder and her WHOLE STAFF Mr.Will, Mr. Matt Dennis. Mr. Rusty the sound crew, ALL the fine barstaff that served us all night. And we’ll see you next year Kansas City.