Today at Crooked Smile Music Festival I learned about just how The Urban Pioneers came to be, and it’s an interesting tale of nature..that you’ll read about later on in this installment. This portion of my festival coverage will include the headlining acts from the first night.

I was extremely tired from driving and running around but the music kept me going. When I went to bed that night I had 40 hours in very little sleep so when I arrived back at the hotel I had no trouble falling asleep. The first act of this portion is none other than Matthew McKinley or as we call him “Mule”.

He is the upright bass player for Filthy Still (which will be touched on later) and right now he did some solo songs for us. Filthy Still also came up on stage for Carrie Nation And The Speakeasy’s set. He opened his own set with “Hair Of The Dog Blues” and another song called “The Evil”.

His album called “Blood In The Still” is really good and that song was also included in this set later on. He played “Problems” and “By Your Name”. I got some time later on that night to talk with him and he was really nice to everybody, and as he played “Frickin Frackin” `and his album’s title song we all were getting ready to be blown away by the rest of the acts of the first night of music. He closed his set with a song called “Mustache Ride”.

Smokestack Relics were next and they describe themselves as “Dirty Swamp Rock” on their website. They opened their set with “61 And 49” and as they played their entire set I went merchandise shopping and was working on the WordPress prep for the final shows of the night. I got to see the Relics play “God Damn My Soul” and a few others.


I finally got to cover Farmaggedon Records artist Jimmy Swope. His album “The Wages Of Sin” is one that labels finest releases to date in my opinion. And I got to spend quite some time with him and his wife. VERY nice folks indeed.

He began his set with “This Old Town” and with the folks he had on stage backing him it sounded really good, I enjoyed his set. He then went into “Dust Train” and my favorite song he does “5 Chambers Empty”. One of the first places I heard about him was Mr. Owen Mays who was honored with a tribute before we all went on our ways Sunday, and also I listened to this song on the Farmaggedon Festival CD sampler that Mr. Darren mailed me.

“By Myself” and “Drifter” were both next and as he went through a couple more songs he went into “The Crack Whore Song” and ended his set with “Tip Jar”. I’ll tell you folks if you do not have his album, shame on you. It is truly one of my favorite albums in my rotation as of now. I strongly urge you to go check him out live when he comes to your area.


Before the Urban Pioneers took the stage this night our buddy Dave Congrove got up on stage and explained JUST WHERE they came from and I even learned what happened to Mr. Keith’s sleeves! I mean all this time I had NO IDEA Miss Liz got sucked up in any F5, I thought she met Mr. Jared in Bob Wayne’s band? That had to be the most inventive and clever story I ever heard!

When they began to play they opened with “Ain’t Gonna Work” and “Something That’s Never Been Done”. In fact right now I am listening to them on vinyl and I’m amazed at how beautiful they sound on my record player. I was honored to review their new album first and I can never say enough good about them. Not only are they talented people they are some of the best friends you’ll ever meet. I have been around them for many many years and saw them many times and every time they just grow and get better.

“Apparition In The Fog” was next, and that’s one of my favorite songs they play. I LOVE Miss Liz’s fiddle solos on that song, and it’s well written in the lyrics. I’m telling you folks these three ARE the real deal. In her vintage clothes and Mr. Jared’s claw banjo style, they are one of the bands in this group of music that is growing and consistently releases quality songs.

“Please Give Me A Highway” was next and they followed that with some NEW songs that I’ll contact them and ask if I can write about in some future articles I have planned for them.

They just blasted the place with “Chocolate Easter Bunny” from their new album on Muddy Roots Records, and followed that up with “Liz’s Reel” another of my favorites. And how fitting they should play “Autumn Time” cause it’s time to chop up some carrots and celery for stew right now! And they closed their set with “Just Over The Horizon”.

This is always a sure bet to be one of the BEST sets of ANY festival, and trust me I have watched them at MANY different festivals all over the country. And as soon as their new album is pressed on vinyl I’m buying it! And like I previously said I’ll be reporting on their new songs when I can.


Filthy Still was the last act of the night, and by now I was pretty darn worn out. I had been up for almost 45 hours but I was so excited to see these guys tear it up I didn’t care. They played a GREAT SET this night which began with “Tijuana Mexico”…don’t drink the water!

Their next song was “Tomorrow, Today and Yesterday” and they played one called “Nothing’s Ever Burned Quite Like You”. The next bunch of songs were just completely awesome and had every one of us completely pumped as they steamrolled into “Lord I Do When I Don’t Try” and “Work With What You Got” it was evident they came to kick our asses.

“Dance All Night” was followed by “Smoking Crack With Jesus” ummm yeah they can hammer you with songs like “Everybody’s Sinning But Me” and “Another Bottle”. I have featured them before in previous festival coverage but this was indeed a longer set than I have ever seen them play. “Bigfoot Bones” and “Dirty And Low” were next and their last song was called “Shitty City”.

I truly was having a good time but I was completely wore out, in fact I slept nine hours that night. That hotel bed wasn’t bad at all, and I felt like that F5 grabbed me and tossed me around. But I’ll leave that for the Pioneers.

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