I already converged upon this festival the first day with exceeded expectations, in many ways. I KNEW this was going to be a NEW HOPE for ALL REAL Country Music fans from the entire Country…and THREE FOREIGN Countries! First of all Kansas City is pretty central and easily accessible from Texas AND Nashville which were obviously Mr. Doug’s two target markets of income. WELL PLAYED SIR, and the schedule was well juxtaposed but I had ONE major gripe..all the women were on the back stage and LATE. I wondered what was up with that? I myself thought Sunny Sweeney certainly deserved a main stage spot.
HOWEVER this WAS a NEW HOPE for us as REAL Country fans, people THIS IS the mecca of real Country Music whether you like the Red Dirt stuff OR the Nashville based stuff…here…we got it all. This was truly the major happening of the year when it came to Country Music in many fashions.
So the first band I had today was Porter Union which is Mr. Cole Porter and Miss Kendra Porter that formed a POWERHOUSE DUO. And this weekend was the first time I had the pleasure to partake of their music. Their entire album is focused on their marriage and how they met, and the songs on the album are well written and fit the direction this album takes us in.
I am going to make a HUGE prognostication right here on my website, THIS ALBUM is going to grace EVERYONE’S TOP 50 or TOP WHATEVER of 2017. THERE, I said it before Rolling Stone did sorry Miss Roxanne…I said it first. There won’t be a TOP ANYTHING without Porter Union. Just the name and meaning alone resonates LOVE and unity through music, and dammit we NEED MORE OF THIS. Just two absolutely down to Earth good kind people.
You can FEEL REAL in Mr. Cole’s handshake, I felt like I sold a car in the 1970’s when a handshake MEANT something and your word was good as gold. The precise care and passion that these two put into their songs is uncanny and on a level I’m not used to. You can just see the love in their ambiance that is around them and they pour that out into the audience for you to apply to your everyday life.
They opened their set with “This Life We’ve Made” is pretty much self explanatory and declares that he will gladly walk beside her in this life we’ve made, however this opening song merely trades off vocals and doesn’t focus their GORGEOUS harmonies like the song “Don’t You Know”. The opening line of that song “Don’t you know when you hurt I hurt” is classic love song material. You just FEEL their affection for each other, and it’s something that I notice is missing in today’s youth, much less society as a whole.
“Don’t Look At Me” was a great up tempo song filled with steel licks that is enough to satisfy the palate of the pickiest Country Music fan. Once again it’s merely a reflection of how they hooked up, and I’m hoping that they can continue this trend of sharing their personal adventures together. I mean the song “Thief” was SO cleverly written about stealing your last name once again referring to matrimony outcome.
“Wildfire” is MY favorite song they have in the arsenal of song material, it just paints such a wonderful picture. That was followed by “Over You” and “The Child”. In fact they displayed the entire album today and included one cover which was “Clyde” by J.J.Cale, and as I previously griped about cover songs…this is why I enjoyed their set SO MUCH. I wanted original music and Mr. Cole And Miss Kendra Porter delivered just that with perfect finesse and passion. Miss Kendra’s stage presence was nothing short of angelic.
Shortly after their set they proceeded to the main stage where they performed our National Anthem to open the entire official festival on the main stage.
Mr. Mickey Lamantia is one of the artists I interviewed before the festival happened, and he has marketed his name and his music in quite a unique manner. He has been making quite a name for himself in the Outlaw Country Music scene in the past few years by opening for Mikey Gilley and the birth of his live feed show on social media.
He opened his show with “First Last One” which was a perfect two step Honky Tonk song about drinking copious amounts of alcohol. He followed that by a true song of loneliness and addiction called “I Chose The Whiskey” displaying a weakness for liquor. He knows better and he knows he is hurting the one he loves but chooses the chemicals out of spite, Country Music is cored in weakness and addiction.
“Alcohol Tobacco And Firearms” is pretty much an anthem for the common country folks with an uptempo beat filled full of guitar twang and stiff beats. after playing a few others he played an acoustic portion to give the band a break which included a Hank Jr. cover of “Guitar Man”. Much like Porter Union, Mr. Mikey displayed almost an entire set of original songs much to our delight.
“Take Our Country Back” and ‘In Color” were also included in his acoustic set before he proceeded to play one of his signature songs called “Outlaw Life” and what I consider his most well written song called “23rd Psalm”, before he closed his set with Johnny Paycheck’s version of the song “11 Months And 29 Days” that Paycheck wrote with Jimmy Dale.
He brought another steel guitar Legend here today and that was Mr.Robby Turner, who is an absolute steel guitar WIZARD that is another piece of Waylon Jennings legacy we have left. He performed an absolute AMAZING set here today and we loved every minute of it.
The sound crew and production team worked feverishly all weekend long to bring us the BEST concert experience we could possibly expect for our money, and I firmly think that they delivered. The sound in my opinion was excellent except for a few minor mishaps during the Whitey Morgan And The 78’s set, which I’ll touch on later.
Mr. Jason Eady was introduced by the presidents of his social media fan club Miss Jo Marie before he barrelled right into the song “Drive” off of his new self titled album, which I’m sure will grace MANY a TOP lists of 2017. He sings one of my favorite two step songs about tales of old called “AM Country Heaven”, it makes me cry.
Bringing that album up his second song was called “Old Guitar and Me” from that very album, with his first being “Drive” from the new self titled album. He reverted back to his new album many times throughout the set with songs like “Waiting To Shine” and the popular drinking song of lament called “No Genie In This Bottle”. That song is an acoustic and steel filled song about the bottom of a bottle, with many painful references to substance abuse and how it conquers your soul.
I was absolutely impressed with Mr. Jason Eady and his set tonight, and he brought out his wife Miss Courtney Patton for backup vocals. I’ll elaborate more on her later on in this article as her and Miss Sunny Sweeney performed on the other stage late. I’ll ,point out my positive and negative points about those sets and NEITHER GAL created ANY negative points.
His second album called ‘Daylight And Dark” was finally represented in his set with the song “Liars And Fools”, and perhaps his most popular song called “Whiskey And You” that was recorded by several other people. Most notably as of late it was Mr. Chris Stapleton, however I think Mr. Tim McGraw also did it in his earlier more country career.
One of his most vivid vocally descriptive songs he has is the song “Black Jesus”, man that song is a terrific tale of a friendship between him and a black man that worked together. I have MANY elderly black friends that enjoy this song when I played it for them.
“Rain” was another proper choice for this set, one thing nice about Mr. Jason Eady is all of his songs accompany one another truly well. All of his albums have a common core relation to them. He closed his set with a song claeed “Texas Cooking” which was a song by Mr. Guy Clark.
Mr.Ward Davis has been touring relentlessly with Mr. Cody Jinks and Mr. Whitey Morgan all over the country lately, and you can often see him around those bands. He is making quite a name for himself as a songwriter and an artist through his relentless touring and vigorous work, he mentioned he is recording a new album and played a song called “Geronimo” that will be on it.
His hard living anthem of REAL Country Music called “Old Worn Out Cowboys” graced us tonight as a large portion of the audience sang along to him. I was hoping that Mr. Jamey Johnson would have come out and sang too, but I figured he had not arrived yet. Still, this song is beautiful and it makes me cry. I LOVE Mr. Ward’s songs that he plays they affect me and speak to my soul.
He played a Pat Green song (or at least I identified it with Pat Green) called “I Bet Your Momma”. However his finest song in my opinion is the slow ballad that was recorded by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson called “Unfair Weather Friend”. That song was on the iconic collaboration between Nelson and Haggard called “Django And Jimmie”, and it graced MANY Top 50 lists of last year…including mine.
“Get To Work Whiskey” was another epic spectacle of championship songwriting on his part, as well as “15 Years In A 10 Year Town” which was the title of his album, and when his new album drops I’m quite adamant it will be held in high regard by many websites like mine.
FINALLY I got to hear the entire audience of THOUSANDS sing along to him and Mr. Cody Jinks sing “I’m Not The Devil”. later on in the festival during Mr. Cody’s set that very thing happened, and as Mr. Ward once commented to me “That’s All We Ever Really Wanted”…well it happened, and it is WELL DESERVED.
Another song he called “Something Big” was to be on the new album, don’t worry I’ll be keeping him on my radar so I don’t miss the info on the new album. “So What If I Do” was next followed by the ever popular “Highwaymen” and another cover of “Big River”. He closed his set with “Don’t Forget To Get Stoned”.
This venue was slowly filling up for the Friday night performance as many people got off work from first shift, and were arriving in droves. You had so much going on at once here it was unlike any festival I have ever witnessed this large of a scale, where the artists actually did interact with the audience on a large scale.
Behind me Mr Cody Jinks was greeting people and taking pictures with us while they were getting ready for our next act Mr.William Clark Green to come whip our asses with his Red Dirt Texas music. His new album Ringling Road made my TOP 50 of that year, with his unique style of Country.
He opened with his song “Next Big Thing” from that mentioned album before going into his song “It’s About Time” from his Rose Queen album. I liked that album and that song was about heartbreak and being suddenly single with the immediate rewards of doing that. Kind of a karma type thing about dumping people and being dumped yourself..and moving on.
Mr. William displayed DEEP passion in his vocals and facial expressions tonight and it’s quite evident he LIVES to perform up there. He brought his A Game tonight and poured out his very heart to this audience, and we ate it up! This was my very first interaction with his set live, I must admit I’d travel LONG ways to cross paths with him again.
“Won’t Back Down” was once again the cover song syndrome we dealt with all weekend, I did enjoy his version of it..but I’m here to hear his original songs like “Creek Don’t Rise”. That is a good fast paced song with wonderful vocals and guitar licks.
His band was on point tonight and accompanied him extremely well on all directions. As he played ‘Still think about You” and another song off the Ringling album called “Sticks And Stones”. He then played “Fool Me One” from that same album, however the timing on that song was a little off to me. It sounds slower on the record and they played it a little faster live. Speaking of live his Live At Gruene Hall is going to become an iconic Red Dirt live album in 10 years…you wait and see if I’m wrong!
Now mind you he was one of the first Red Dirt acts I learned about in 2011 with his album “Misunderstood” and I was hoping he would play some material of of that album like the song “Drunk On Desire” and “Caroline”. Both equally stellar choices form that album, I enjoyed hearing them live. He had one other album out before Misunderstood called “Dangerous Man” and the only song I recognized off that album was “Wishing Well”.
The crowd was digging this young man and what he brought to the table tonight. We were being well satisfied with REAL Country Music this weekend in Kansas City, I was loving every minute of it for sure. I have TWO major trips to Kansas city yearly now usually always have an absolute wonderful time down there, the local scene is truly epic.
“Rose Queen” was next followed by what he said his mom hated the most was “Ringling Road” about all the crazy circus freaks on opium and drunk clowns throwing shoes. He then went into some Joe Cocker cover portions and “Start Me Up” from the stones before going into his most well known song.
“She Likes The Beatles” was an anthem to relationships everywhere and full of energy that prepared the crowd for what was to come….the mighty juggernaut called Whitey Morgan And The 78’s. Right outside the gate Mr. Whitey was also greeting the audience before his set.
By the time Mr.Whitey Morgan And The 78’s took over the stage the crowd was pretty much liquored up and raring to go all night. This was such a well attended festival, and by now I could easily ascertain it would be a success. Mainly because of the PEOPLE, that’s right I’m SURE Mr.Doug will even agree YOU made it possible and functional..YES YOU…YOU the person reading this made Mr. Cody Jinks and Mr. Whitey Morgan what they are…future Country Music Legends.
You know the pop country people and some of the neo traditional snobs call Mr. Whitey a wanna be and a phony,but none of them have ever REALLY delved into his songs or his live show. This man and his crew tours RELENTLESSLY and is a damn hard working bunch, if you even attempt to put his brand down in front of me I’ll quickly debate you on that.
He opened with “Just Me And The Whiskey” and followed that with “Stop The World”. He opened with quick fast paced energy that sent the crowd into a honky tonk rocket ride in Kansas City tonight. I just sat back and soaked up the ambiance there with a possum eating shit grin on my face.
“Buick City” is a wonderful song he does see Mr. Whitey is based out of Flint Michigan, and I have covered his set many many times. I have interviewed his steel player Mr. Brent Robinson in my steel guitarist series, which will pick back up here soon after Sept 1st.
You know I want to say that the 78’s are such a top notch band that I would eagerly pay 20 bucks to just see them only. One of my complaints of today’s music scene is that the iconic bands and sidemen are non existent in today’s day and age, I mean what was Mel Tillis without the Statesiders or Merle Haggard without the Strangers? Well here you HAVE the staple core sound that helps make Mr. Whitey shine brightly in the dark abyss of local touring music. I firmly believe that Mr. Brett is one of the many things that keep Mr. Whitey relevant, you can just FEEL the connection they have on many levels.
Mr. Brett makes my sentiments evident on the intro to “Cocaine Train” which I LOVE to hear him play even though it’s a cover song. I think he does a truly fantastic job on the song that Paycheck penned in the early 70’s, I got the opportunity to ask Johnny Paycheck about that song. He told me he wrote it on a napkin at a Shoney’s, and took it Billy Sherrill and recorded it on the 1979 album “Everybody’s Got A Family..Meet Mine”.
He went back to his first album with the song “Back To Back” a song about fading love of two people, that has a nice two step beat and good steel licks within the song. He played the Scott H Biram song “Still Drunk Still Crazy Still Blue”, which was on the Sonic Ranch album that I was glad was still available on yellow vinyl before that sold out.
“Prove It All To you” was next once again from the first album along with “Honky Tonk Queen” which is probably one of my personal favorite songs he does. “Bad News” was included in his set along with the Merle Haggard cover of “Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink”. That song was released in 1980 on Haggards 26th album called “Back To The Barrooms” and it was released right before he recorded his iconic live album from Anaheim Stadium, which was an album that fulfilled his contract with MCA along with his gospel album in 1981.
He played a song that Mr. Dale Watson wrote called “Where Do You Want It” now I’ll wait until I get to Mr. Billy Joe shaver’s portion of my articles to elaborate more on that song. The remarks that Mr. Billy Joe made introducing this song were just WILD. “Going Down Drinking” was a great song of male celebration and alpha male stuff we all know and love. It’s a great man cave anthem.
“Crazy By Any Other Name” is another truly epic song he does and he followed it with “Crazy By Any Other Name” and another favorite of mine called “Memories Cost A Lot”. Also included in his set was “Turn Up The Jones” also the Bruce Springsteen hit called “I’m On Fire” and ” I Ain’t Drunk”. As they were wrapping up their set tonight I made my way over to the second stage for the later night festivities.
As you can evidently see the crowd had the same idea I did as they all equally prepared for a gal who has lately become a friend of mine Miss Sunny Sweeney and not to stray too far off this subject, but she plays the Opry with numerous frequent appearances so I have been on a mission to help her become inducted as a member. PLEASE help me help her by contacting the NEW Opry manager Miss Sally Williams, I have been on a mission to persuade Mr. Pete Fisher to induct her. Now that it has woman managing it, I’m hoping that Miss Sunny’s music can speak to her from a female standpoint and make her stand out above any other. Sunny Sweeney plays it frequently and I am adamant on the conclusion that she WILL represent it with passion and love. I WANT her to become a Country Music Legend that my daughter can enjoy when I am passed away, because as an activist and journalist THIS IS part of MY legacy.
She opened her set with a song off her new album Trophy called “Better Bad Idea” and shortly after she included the first song I ever heard her play that attracted me to her WAY BACK called “If I Could”. It’s a fast paced honky tonking song of grand twang. It was released in 2006 by her before she was picked up by Big Machine and re released in 2007, before the transfer of that label.
She is often associated with Red Dirt genre and that’s how I found her BUT she doesn’t consider herself that, from talking with her on a personal level she is JUST COUNTRY. But I’ll tell you what she LOVES being up there and playing music. She has REALLY evolved in the last few years and if you follow her pattern you’ll see her last two albums are WAY different from her first two. Just sit back and delve into what she does and dwell on it for a day and you’ll understand her.
“Pills” man what a great song, even though it wasn’t penned by her, she pulls the song off SO well, and it’s believable. it’s relevant to the direction of her new album and I CAN TELL YOU Trophy WILL be on my TOP 50 list of 2017…HELL it’ll be top 10. “Pass The Pain” is the opening song of the new album and it sets the mood of the upcoming album quite well.
The next song called “Whiskey Richard/Dick” was a song I have been hearing quite a buzz about on a local level, it’s a song I’m sure she might never record on a major label (however I would love it if she did) however it was cleverly written filled with many great hooks and hidden meanings. She is ONE HELL of a crafty songwriter especially when you combine her with people like Angaleena Presely and others.
She posed a good picture for me and that was cool, I appreciate all she does for my website. It really helps me help them when they help me. “Why People Change” was next followed by “Everybody Else Can Just Kiss My Ass” was her FU anthem on the album Provoked, about raising hell and partying. I’m sure all of us can relate to that song. also later on she played “Backhanded Compliment” from that album.
She went into a story about how the album concept for Trophy came about as she played “Trophy” from that said album. This new album is her revenge for personal insults toward her and we get to share in her delight as fans. Not too may artists share their personal lives through music this closely as she has.
She commands her own world up there on stage as she played “Drink Myself Single” and the deeply written song “Bottle By My Bed” which at first I thought was a Jason Boland cover. Come to find out it was NOT and it was indeed a song of personal lament. She closed her set with “Bad Girl Phase”. After finally getting to witness her set tonight I am regretful that I haven’t ever gotten the chance to see her perform live yet.
Miss Courtney Patton is the wife of Mr. Jason Eady and also a driving force in Texas music by herself. With vocals that are silky smooth and songs that are truly relate able, she puts on one hell of a show.
“Twisted” was truly a song of splitting up and becoming divided as time drifts you apart. I love her steel infused music she has on both of her albums like the song “What I Didn’t Say”. Recently she played a series of Christmas shows with Miss Sunny and two others for their “Hard Candy Christmas” shows.
“War Of Art” was off of her latest album from 2015, which was a terrific uptempo song of family live while being on the road. Trust me as one who has followed these people around this great country, this life isn’t easy. She’s right signing in bars night after night isn’t a job for a mother or a wife.
She brought many great songs to the table tonight, like the upbeat song called “Light Fades” which brought out more of her Red Dirt influences. Now folks here was one of my TOP negative complaints about the festival overall, being this…ALL of the women acts were on the back stage and placed late at night. I’m not sure if this was a mere coincidence or planned but it wasn’t really well accepted by me. I’m NOT personally offended but I was discouraged as a patron who loves hearing the women play as much as the guys.
“Lamplight” was next which was a slow flowing song of well written lyrics and it also paints a truly terrific picture in your mind, it displays her talents for songwriting quite well. The song “Need For Wanting” was a song I related to myself, it’s a basic D chord two step filled with steel and GREAT vocals. Every guy can relate to her refusing to give into their bullshit lines, as a long since recovered addict I remember that gutter lifestyle of using people. She sings that song SO PRETTY and deliverers the song on the album equally well.
All in All I have been having a wonderful time here at Tumbleweed and I look forward to tomorrow and finding more wonderful new friends. Networking abounds out here in Kansas City for our second yearly trip out here, and I’m having many people to thank for having my crew and I out here!