NewsComments Off on Book Review – Red Dirt by Josh Crutchmer
By Joshua Wallace
I have been a fan of the Red Dirt scene ever since I discovered the vast world of independent country that exists beyond the mainstream. I started picking up on some of these bands around 2008 with acts like Jason Boland and The Stragglers and Cross Canadian Ragweed being my introduction to the music. However, being from south GA, I had no direct connection to these bands like someone who lived there did. That’s where this book comes in for me. It helps me fill in some missing pieces of the story and gives me a bit of the history that I didn’t know or couldn’t know without actually being there. Josh Crutchmer might be the print planning editor at The New York Times, but his background is firmly planted in Oklahoma and the red dirt scene. He interviewed everyone quoted in this book and he has gathered a fine collection of characters to tell this story. It’s a good history for newcomers and established fans alike.
The book is divided mostly into chapters by band. You have essentials like Tom Skinner, Bob Childers, Jimmy LaFave and even Garth Brooks and his stories about starting out in dives in Oklahoma. I love the chapters that provide a bit of history too. You get a great deal about The Farm which was a legendary Stillwater, OK venue that is heralded as the birthplace of Red Dirt. There are also chapters about early bands such as The Red Dirt Rangers and The Great Divide. You get a great deal of background on the red dirt scene before you start getting into more current artists.
The chapters on current artists are great also because these chapters tell stories and give background pieces on them that you might not have gotten elsewhere. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Hold My Beer with Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen where you get a bit about both of the men and then they discuss their collaboration which to date has produced two of my favorite recent red dirt releases. Then you have the great chapter on Jamie Lin Wilson followed by a good discussion of the gender gap in Red Dirt which features a few of the current great female artists in the scene.
I can’t talk about this book without discussing the chapter on Turnpike Troubadours and specifically Evan Felker. The coverage in Rolling Stone that discussed Crutchmer’s interviews with Felker is quite possibly the reason many people know about this book. It’s how I heard of it, for sure. If you read that article and are looking forward to this bit in the book, I’m here to say it delivers. I’m not going to give many spoilers in this review, but I do want to say this chapter ends on a positive note which is great news for Turnpike fans.
There is so much discussed in this book that it’s hard to put it in an article like this. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking to do a deep dive into the history and current state of the Red Dirt music scene. The author does at times mention the current pandemic and how it has changed things since he started writing the book. It’s refreshing to see the author acknowledge the current uncertainty of things going forward in a book of this nature. I also highly recommend this book if, like me, you are an outsider to the red dirt scene. I have naturally become a fan of this music over the years, but with red dirt being such a self contained scene, it’s hard to get the full story just being on the outside looking in like I am. You can find everything you need to about this book on reddirtbook.com and the book is available everywhere as of September 19th, 2020.
NewsComments Off on Album Feature – Kyle Nix – Lightning From The Mountain and Other Short Stories
By Joshua Wallace
I know a lot of folks are big fans of Turnpike Troubadours and you will be familiar with Kyle Nix from his fiddle work with the band. While there is plenty of good fiddle work showcased on this album, we have never heard Kyle Nix as a singer-songwriter or as a frontman of his own band. I was excited about this album from the moment it was announced. The premise of an album treated as a collection of short stories had me intrigued. Then you throw in the fact that his backing band are fellow members of the Turnpike Troubadours. I had a strong feeling that this record would turn out to be a highlight of the year and I’m here to say that I was not disappointed. Lightning From The Mountain and Other Short Stories delivers some good fiddle driven, knee slappin’ and story centered country music.
The first single released from the album was the title track “Lightning From The Mountain”. This is a story of revenge after a bad deal over some bootleg liquor. It’s a fast track with some great fiddling that you would expect from a fiddle player as good as Kyle Nix has shown he is on the Turnpike Troubadour records. This song also features some great storytelling and it’s a good introduction to Kyle Nix as a singer and songwriter. Another favorite from this record is the track “Graves”. I love the opening riff and the track almost has a gothic sound to it. There is more nice fiddling on this track. I love the line “ Pretty girls make graves / But a fool will dig his own”.
The track “Shelby ‘65” brings forth rightful comparisons to the Jerry Reed classic “Eastbound and Down”. It’s another banger of a track on this record and it’s got a killer banjo riff mixed in with some hot guitar licks. It’s a song about a couple on the run in the titular hot rod. This one is bound to be lots of fun live. Another great track is “If Ruby Ain’t Happy”. There are plenty of songs about Ruby in country music. This song is about a man trying to make Ruby happy. I particularly love the line “She don’t like them country songs that run down her name / She catch you singin’, Oh Lord, it’s Judgement Day!”. This song has an old time country feel to it with more of the great fiddle playing you have come to expect from this album by now. Finally, I will touch on “Lonesome For You (Widower Pt. 1)”. This song opens up with an amazing 40 second pedal steel intro that leads into one of the slower songs of the record. It’s a song about how a widower remains lonesome for their lost love and it truly captures those emotions in this great track.
Kyle Nix has released an amazing debut record that puts him as a front runner for album of the year in my opinion. I could go on about every song on this album as there is not a bad one here. Every song tells a short story and the album is successful in delivering on that promise. I can’t wait to see Kyle Nix live once bands are able to tour again. In the meantime, you can find everything Kyle Nix is up to on his website. Lightning From the Mountain and Other Short Stories is available everywhere as of June 26, 2020.
Favorite Tracks : Lightning From The Mountain, Graves, Shelby ‘65, Little Miss Jones, If Ruby Ain’t Happy, Lonesome For You (Widower Pt. 1)
Kyle Nix – Lightning From The Mountain and Other Short Stories (2020)
If it’s one thing I truly have been keeping my eyes on the Red Dirt world, and it’s west coast reach. Along with the Jamgrass community this is becoming a huge, massive community and quite the lucrative market even though it gets very little media attention. Let’s take a look at the lineup and other information I usually include into my festival series.
Amazingly for early on into 2019 there are tons of early festivals happening to satisfy to pickiest of festivals music lovers, for Red Dirt Music. With a lineup like THIS who wouldn’t want to go:
Dirty River Boys
Eleven Hundred Springs
Jamie Lin Wilson
Micky And The Motorcars
Mike And The Moonpies
Midnight River Choir
Randy Rogers Band
Trevor G. Potter
William Clark Green
First week in January – Six days, 200+ hours of live music, a world-class ski resort – does it really get any better than the MusicFest? The MusicFest draws thousands of ski-lovin’, music-lovin’ folks to the snow swept peaks of Colorado each January.
The largest group ski trip of its kind in the nation, the MusicFest brings the finest Texas and Americana music to the world-class ski resort of Steamboat, Colorado for a week full of sport and song. The festival boasts a stunning roster that includes both legends and rising talents alike.
Dickson Productions has over 30 years of experience as the premier travel package provider. With Dickson Productions working on your behalf, you can hit the slopes and also get tons of music favorites at wholesale prices. All lodging accommodations for the MusicFest are located ski-in/ski-out or within minutes of the mountain base, and participants personally choose all the options.
Want to walk out the front door onto the slopes? A hot tub on the back porch? A slope side luxury suite or a penthouse? A MusicFest stage in your lodge or steps away? No problem – it’s all part of building your exclusive MusicFest package, the vacation of a lifetime. And there’s every level to choose from to satisfy your taste in lodging, music, price and the ultimate Rocky Mountain vacation.
After a day on the slopes, what really happens at the MusicFest?
The MusicFest has long been heralded for its jam-packed schedule of events and concerts. Over 200 hours of live performances take place during the MusicFest, an amazing opportunity to see as many great Texas and Americana artists as you can handle (and those are the “planned” performances).
Shows are held in a multitude of diverse venues including a stage resembling an old barn/hunting lodge, a huge dancehall/tent, an intimate pub, an old saloon, two luxurious ballrooms, and an upscale country club setting complete with plush seating, and a fire place (a “must” experience)!
No matter your style of music or setting to experience it, there’s a venue for everyone’s likes. Whether you’ve come to kick up your heels and party all night, or prefer to soak up the music in a lower key and comfortable seated setting (or anything in-between), MusicFest has you covered. Drift from one venue to the next, or just sit back and enjoy that ONE special venue that fits your style with like minded friends – that’s the beauty of MusicFest – a truly unique and exceptional sporting and musical experience with one thing in common; a grounded and REAL experience with a community that embraces its lifestyle and state of mind.
MusicFest Package Price Includes:
6 days/5 nights at Steamboat’s premier lodging – You choose location and amenities including ski-in/ski-out, fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, hot tubs, short stroll to MusicFest activities and more.
Four full day lift passes and one night skiing pass – World-class skiing and boarding on Steamboat’s five interconnected mountains.
Exclusive MusicFest credentials for over 200 hours of live performances in intimate venues, luxury ballroom, saloons, the Big MusicFest Tent, Outdoor Stage, Historic Theatre, participants’ “ON AIR” media lounge, and much more!
The highly acclaimed MusicFest Artists’ “Tribute to a Legend” – Grand Ballroom show, past honorees include Robert Earl Keen, Jr., Gary P. Nunn, Doug Sahm & The Texas Tornados, Joe Ely, Dean Dillon, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver, Lee Ann Womack, Guy Clark, Johnny Gimble and Family, Leon Russell, Kevin Welch, Rodney Crowell, Townes Van Zandt, Lost Gonzo Band and Radney Foster.
Official MusicFest information guide – MusicFest collectibles, credentials, pocket schedule, the Discount Savings Book including a “non-skier” guide, and additional discounts!
Complimentary MusicFest Magazine – While supplies last! Click here for free subscription.
Eleven MusicFest venues – Experience world-class music in eleven different venues. Dickson Productions is always taking this unique festival to the next level – comparable to no other.
Free Shuttle – Elaborate resort wide FREE shuttle system to lodges, grocery stores, dining, bars, concerts, the slopes and more!
Wide Variety of Venues
No matter your style of music and setting to experience it, there’s a venue for everyone’s likes. Whether you’ve come to kick up your heels and party all night, or prefer to soak up the music in a lower key and comfortable seated setting (or anything in-between), MusicFest has you covered. Drift from one venue to the next, or just sit back and enjoy that ONE special venue that fits your style with like-minded friends- That’s the beauty of MusicFest – A truly unique and exceptional sporting and musical experience with one thing in common; a grounded and REAL experience with a community that embraces its life style and state of mind.
The newest addition to the MusicFest family of stages, the Strings Pavilion is a state-of-the-art concert hall built for classical music, but The MusicFest ramps it up. Located at the “base of the base” of the mountain, this world-class stage is just steps away from…Read More
Turn the Page: Bear River Becomes The Timber & Torch The MusicFest hosts shows in many venues over the years, but the “Bear River” is where the magic began. A cozy bar nestled at the foot of Mt. Werner, the Bear River is a haven…Read More
One of the most iconic venues at the MusicFest, The Big MusicFest Tent is hard to miss. Known for being “the largest dance hall in the Rockies” this massive, climate-controlled tent hosts some of the most high-energy full band shows seen anywhere. With a state-of-the-art…Read More
Named for the original “Dung Beetle Saloon” at an old convenience store in Hallettsville, Texas, this MusicFest venue keeps the good times rollin’. Featuring over twelve hours a day of intimate, acoustic music, this popular venue is the definition of what MusicFest is all about…Read More
Not only a famous shopping experience, but a great meeting place where you may catch a special (unannounced) performance, autograph signing, or brand new, and never seen before merchandise! Conveniently located near the mountain base in the Grand Resort Hotel and next door to the…Read More
The Chief Theater may be a relatively new addition to the MusicFest, but this historic theater has been hosting live music in Steamboat for nearly 100 years. A vintage building with old fashioned, comfortable theater seating, this downtown venue is the perfect place for an…Read More
Get up-close and personal with your favorite artists in our all new Media Lounge open to the public. See artist interviews by a variety of media outlets including national and international radio hosts, television hosts, and social media personalities. With behind-the-scenes experiences like this, it…Read More
Mountain-Sized Bonus Concert Series One of the few venues open to the public at MusicFest, the one-of-a-kind Outdoor Mountain-Sized Bonus Concert Series has become a favorite tradition for festival-goers and locals alike. Located at the base of the slopes, with the majestic Rockies as a…Read More
The Steamboat Base Club is the official “MusicFest Country Club.” With a gorgeous, up-scale setting this venue is the perfect combination of class and comfort. Featuring acoustic performances nightly, old-fashioned cocktails, appetizers and great company, this intimate club is the perfect place to cozy up…Read More
Located at the heart of the mountain-base in the luxurious Steamboat Grand Ballroom, this venue has hosted many of MusicFest’s most popular shows. Home to the esteemed MusicFest Artists’ Tribute to a Legend each year, this venue has seen some of the rarest performances on…Read More
This lofty listening room is one of the festival’s signature venues. Only at MusicFest can you take a picturesque gondola ride up 3,000 feet for a high-altitude music experience like no other. These rare mountaintop concerts are a truly uplifting experience, both musically.
This music festival is so huge and there is so much to do I will have to put up more general links on here than I usually do to reduce the length of the article. So you can click HERE for a pretty conclusive listing of all the area hotels.