These past few years have been very turbulent on many of us, I know that for a fact. I myself am slowly getting back to where I want to be in life, and my regular job has been very demanding of my time. Accompanied by my health issues and other life factors, I haven’t had so much time to keep up my blog the way I previously have in the past. I kind of got into a brief period of a funk where I didn’t write as much as I usually do, and I went to a plethora of shows in 2022 just as a fan…..and it was refreshing. I chose to end that shutdown at Muddy Roots Music Festival, so I can implement the fall and winter of the year to get my mojo back, and bring this website back up to the standards that you as my reader came to expect from me, as shown in the past.

I have an undaunted, ardent love and respect for Muddy Roots because it was and still is one of the beginning catalysts of this website, and of my own love of independent music. I began my love of underground music a long long time ago, but Muddy Roots helped propel that love forward and showed me a ton of bands. I feel welcome there and I feel like an integral part of the whole movement that Muddy spearheads into the world, and it makes EVERYONE feel that way. Mr. Jason STRESSES that…NONE OF YOU are ANY less important than the next. But this year life in public for me was a little bit different, and I am still getting used to being sober around my own demons. Everybody thinks Ol’ Mr. Gary is a machine and in the past, I have been but that was an image of a person that only partially existed with a LOT of pain pills. I have to make sure I am 100 percent able to bring forth the articles and promo work worthy of a media pass, and until I can do that, ( like this year ) I bought my own tickets to everything. I have a long time to still get used to living with my issues without pain pills, which masked a portions of my life that I am now getting used to facing, and at 53…that is not easy my friends. Age has indeed crept up on these old bones.

I wanted to be a fan, in the midst of all the chaos and all of the friendships being celebrated there last weekend, instead of the intense work I put into my articles, and to make sure my focus and my vision were still there….and that answer was YES. I’m still around after 12 years. I am going to be restructuring my website and making a few BIG changes for 2023, while maintaining to bring you the BEST coverage of all of my favorite bands from different genres and communities of music. But with that responsibility comes many hours of intense research, learning and paying attention to so many different media outlets to find out everything I can about this world of underground music that I can.

This website has two major objectives that I have maintained throughout my tenure online and they are to convince the powers that be, that ‘our music” IS INDEED viable and CAN generate the sales they base their decisions on. The second thing I seek to generate on here is another passion for the Grand Ole Opry. We MUST continue to proliferate this blessed institution of Country Music honor. People need to get past the “pop country” grumbling, ignore the negative crap the soccer moms like, and pay attention to the ones THAT DO promote the integrity of Country Music.

The major music media WANTS US to spend all of our time fighting amongst ourselves about what is “real music” and what isn’t . They want you and I to deviate from supporting the music that functions like Muddy Roots features, because the crowd that loves the Jason Aldean type music do not even know we exist. WHY should I waste my time making articles mocking something that doesn’t care that I even write those articles? Make sense to me?

I went to Muddy Roots this year, as I have every other year in the past since the very first year of the operation. Out of all of the festivals I have ever attended in the past, none of them have impacted me as a person as Muddy has. The patrons of that festival have become some of my most beloved friends, and features some of my favorite personal bands.  Every year I take the opportunity to write series of articles from the festival,  and present my readers with many different vantage points about the festival.

It has been a truly blessed honor to be allowed to watch all of your kids grow up, and so many lifelong friends that have been in and still are in my life. However, on the down side of the slope, the Muddy community has suffered many many losses through the years. And many of them were my dear friends and musicians I looked up to in that way as well.

This one is for you, Oatmeal Reed…you had to go before I could finish this. I couldn’t help that, my old website got a BAD infection and I had to clean it up, migrate what I could into a new site, and recover ALL THOSE THOUSANDS of pics of you and Black Tarpoon as well as so many other festivals and music shows. Basically 12 years of doing my music blog had to be sorted through! I’m so very sorry that you didn’t get to read this my man, I never cared about your past or any of the mistakes you made when we had those chats about our pasts. Most people say I’m the weirdest Christian they ever met, because I won’t turn away from a gay man or an atheist.  Oatmeal never once judged me or made fun of me for basically being a nerd, but once he saw my deep love for music and other subjects he also loved, we became pretty good friends. I want to promise the members of Black Tarpoon that as long as this website exists…Oatmeal will never die. He will always have a place at my table here, and he will never die.

What I am going to do here is just a little bit different from the usual yearly report some of you are used to, and I will be going back to the same format for reporting on festivals next year. This website I have here will always be my personal hobby that I use to share my memories and love of music history, and I never truly intended it to be another Rolling Stone or anything…but it gets several thousand hits a day, and I’m truly grateful to all of you for reading these.

I got to Muddy Roots on early Friday night for one of my favorite bands on the roster here, which was none other than Black Tarpoon. I have reported on that band many times in the past, and they remain one of the top go to bands of the weekend every time. I did not write down every song that all of the bands played this weekend like I usually do, however I did enjoy all of the sets I did get to see.

This band exemplifies growth, while at the same time they maintain that Roots Music sound of the Punkgrass style bands that once adorned the entire festival with a few headliners from Country and Bluegrass. Now, some of those bands like Viva La Vox and Freight Train Rabbit Killer are on the top of the festival lineup along with Punk bands, and Doom Metal bands. Hell, I missed Cancerslug, and I was listening to their album called Alabama Bloodbath many many years ago. I been ridiculed by some for being a Country Music website and featuring these bands, but you know what? I could care less.

This band just absolutely tears it up onstage with songs from their latest album called “Probable Caws”. Now, this year I didn’t do my usual itinerary of taking notes and set list notes on every act that I went to see this weekend, but you can damn sure bet that I went to see this wonderful band tear us into shreds once again. I always list all the band members and all that, but here is Mr. Jesse James and ( if I’m not mistaken ) Mr. Sean Hanson on banjo.

This year I did not really take hundreds of pictures or any of that business, so I am only going to use a couple of different photos for this article while I do this. As I write different things for 2023, I also wanted to bring up the fact that Black Tarpoon will be performing at Moonrunners 2023 ( unless something has now changed)  in addition to other festivals I’ll be touching on. The Roots Music festivals are some of the older underground ones I enjoy supporting for a little over a decade now.

I truly enjoyed being hit in the forehead with jello shots while enjoying their songs like the ever popular one called “Gloom”. Additionally, they played an oldie from their 2014 EP called Creature From The Black Tarpoon called “Ghost On The Highway”.  I am truly glad that I decided to come down earlier than I initially intended for these old friends here, because they are one of the Roots bands that are still going strong all of these years later.

2013 and 2014 were two very pivotal years for this type of music, as many of the bands and labels that produced their albums were at the pinnacle of their tenures. For many years the music these bands all made during this time influenced me as a person and as a collector. I spend a lot of time now pursuing these long lost albums that exist in some obscure record shops across America.

Speaking of the OG’s of this community of music, and some of the many bands and artists that emerged from the birth of this type of music, it’s once again time for me to talk about my good friend Mr. James Hunnicutt. I recall him coming to Muddy Roots the second year we had it, which was 2011, however he and I met in 2007 at Mr. Porter Wagoner’s funeral services.

It’s always so much fun to hear the entire festival tent singing along to ‘My Pain” and a few other of his signature songs that adorn his set list on a permanent basis. Every time he plays at the Muddy Roots Music Festival there is a sure fire bet that you will be in the right place for more music magic to come in the next few days.

Now, it was completely fitting to have him perform in front of the Doyle backdrop ( who performed solo after this act ) basically because he is an old metal head like I am. We often nerd out on old metal albums and we live to share old memories of growing up in the 1980’s..but nevertheless he still includes songs like the Danny Dill penned song that Mr. Lefty Frizzell originally recorded called “Long Black Veil”.

Joining him on that song was Mr. Fritz from the band Whiskeydick. He played the song called ” A Heart To The Grindstone” from his 2014 album, and several others in his set tonight. After a long day of traveling and working the night before, I napped in the tent chair on and off, catching performances all night before I drove back to the hotel. I’m going to touch on some of the acts that I caught a few songs of, and did not get any pictures of.

When I got to see some of the set from the guys at Viva le Vox which is Mr. Tony Bones, Mr. Scarecrow Jenkins and Mr. Johnny Tugboat on the drums. They always play pretty late, and I get up so early that it’s extremely hard to stay up without a nap. But I’ll tell you is WELL WORTH staying up to see them play songs like “Cardiovascular And Otherwise” from their 2012 classic album “Dirt For Sale”.

If you get into collecting past albums like I do, especially Roots Music and Metal, it is VERY HARD to find these albums. So many like me own them and won’t part with them or they just got lost in the shelves of various record shops, and they just haven’t been found by the right owner yet.

The face of fear for many, many decades people. You either love then or you hate them. The Legacy Of Brutality is one of my all time favorite albums for sure. The original Misfits have reunited to play shows together, however this round we had Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein play his own solo set.

My good friend from Kansas Mr. Brook Blanche played a solo set this weekend as well as Mr. Kody Oh and Mr. Joey Henry and I myself was hoping for some Calamity Cubes stuff, however they all played some mighty fine sets in their own right.  You know much like everyone else I love “Empty Bottle” just as much everyone else does, but I also love “Fools On The Bar Stools” almost as much.

These three gentlemen have no idea how integral they are not only to Muddy Roots, but to me as a fan of this entire community. You know, they were the first band to be booked by Mr. Jason, and one of the first ones I discovered before falling into the Muddy rabbit hole!

I had an early blood sugar problem and had to go back to bar and the A.C. and hit up some food in my car. sadly I missed my good friends the Tank Rats. This band is just outright Nashville local street punk stuff, and if you enjoy the good old school style stuff then go check them out.

I got back down to see none other than Mr. Coleman Williams known as IV And The Strange Band.Now, not to deviate from the current festival but I wanted to promote EVERYONE here so I will tell you that they have also been announced on the Moonrunners 2023 lineup, as well as about 10 other festivals I have reported on in my complete list I will link HERE.

He is heavily involved in the running to be nominated to the 2023 Ameripolitan Awards in Memphis Tennessee. I have not established whether or not I will be attending that weekend or not, as I am slowly getting back to where I can write and pay full focus again. Mr. Daniel Mason who plays banjo for this band is additionally in the running for his respective category as well.

I will also be digging into the piles of notes I have here from not being able to do as much journalism work as I have in the past. But as I reiterated before, that is starting to change. He has been slamming stages all over the United States in 2022, and is taking a lot of shit comments about his namesake..well let me tell you idiots that you have no idea what’s all on his plate. The longer he keeps beating the pavement the less he has to prove to you or anyone else for that matter. He is 100 percent legit.

“Haunt You” is one of my favorite songs on the album as well as the song “Inbred”, which is about the Fugate family of Kentucky. They are known for being carriers of a genetic trait that led to the blood disorder methemoglobinemia, causing the skin to appear blue. They were one of the most infamous and reclusive inbred families that modern society had no idea even existed until some years later.

I had the chance to attend his album release party and many other functions he played, and I can tell you that each and every show he and his band just keep getting tighter and more intense in their own sound, and their own right, and you’re all about to see me write more about him and his band as they annihilate stages all over the world!

As I previously stated, I am still going to jump around on here since I haven’t kept any notes and I am only writing this from memory. Another band that played this same night that is currently touring with the above mentioned IV And The Strange Band would be none other than The Goddamn Gallows. They have a single release campaign going on right now, where they are releasing six new songs on the sixth day for the next six months, which has been called the 666-eries.

They did indeed play the first single called “Let’s Join A Cult” where Mr. Uriah is on vocals up front and Mr. Jayke is on drums, and while they are releasing all of the new music from the upcoming album, they did indeed play many of the old classic songs we know and love. Some of those would be songs like “Pass Me The Bottle” and the “Y’all Motherfuckers Need Jesus”.

Every time I get to see this band display their raw sound in a surrounding like Muddy Roots, I am always beyond elated to watch the crowd go bonkers. seeing them in smaller venues is equally fun, however seeing them in a larger more open area gives them a better opportunity to fully unleash their fury of many styles and many sounds upon you.

Their third single finds Mr. Jayke Orvis up front and Mr. Mikey on banjo, which brings an old school sound into the mix reminiscent of the songs he used to play in his solo act. Those were some truly amazing albums he made, “Bless This Mess” and “It’s All Been Said” are two of my favorite albums of all time. My list is long, but they are still on my list nonetheless.

The last day of Muddy Roots, I caught quite a few more bands and visited with a bunch of friends, walked around the ranch a bunch and wandered up to the bar for a meal later that afternoon. I’m going to once again jump around the schedule here to cover the bands that played that last day like our friends from Pinata Protest.

The level of excitement they bring to the wood stage every year they play is another feeling I like to be a part of down there as a fan. I am not even one bit concerned about placing any of these bands on any categories, if the music speaks to you and makes you happy….support that shit people.

One of their songs was “Vato Perron” from the 2013 album “El Valiente” which I understand to mean brave or bravery, I’m still to this day understanding the different ways words are used in Spanish. I’m not the easiest to explain it to, and there are so many different dialects spoken in other areas, I get confused a lot..but I try. They also played their 2022 single called “Shepherd The Sheep” before I went off to see my buddy Mr. Dylan today!

My good friend from across the pond Mr. Dylan Walshe has been featured on this website many times, from many different music functions like the Hearts In Hands benefit in Tennessee and other house shows all over. I mean, what else can I say about him that hasn’t already been said on here?

I love the shit out of him and his wife Miss Kristin, they are very friendly and loving people whom I just don’t get to see enough of. He had Mr. Sean Wheeler join him on the song called “Straight To Hell” boy….but the song I love the most is called “Raggle Taggle Gypsy”. That song displays his dynamic vocal range and I like the melody and story behind it.

Hey folks I almost forgot about my old pal Mr. Joey Henry and his Dirty Sunshine Club, who played his new single called “Call It What You Will” from his upcoming album. He also played another song called “We All Fuck Up” that isn’t on any of his albums ( that I know of ).

He did play an old Calamity Cubes song called “Gold Light” , which was on their 2009 album called “Long Cold Winter”. This album was one of the catalyst albums of my discovery of many of these bands, and what a blessed time that was for me. See, what many of you do not know is around 2010 I was going through a difficult divorce, and rebuilding my life from square one..and I succeeded using music.

These next two bands that I wanted to touch upon, are actually a Denver Colorado outfit both somewhat intertwined with each other, if you will. Another of the many bands that I became infatuated with around the same time I became enamored with Texas Red Dirt music. Those two bands are none other than Slim Cessnas Auto Club and also Mr. Munly Munly brought his Lupercalians before they played.

You have to get it to get it I suppose with this band. They all dress as members of the community of Lupercalia, ( I myself always thought it was an ancient Roman ceremony ) but they all come together to tell stories about this town. Where nobody is quite sure who is a God, and who is not?

Now I’ll tell you outright one of my favorite bands to see live is indeed Slim Cessnas Auto Club. Songs like “Jesus Is In My Body – My Body Has Let Me Down” are amazing to hear live, sounds like thunder right next to you.

Many of the songs under Slim Cessna’s catalogue are about religion in some roundabout way and all of the regular songs that are usually included in their stable set list were still performed tonight like the ever popular “Children Of The Lord” from the “An Introduction For Young And Old Europe”.

So folks that pretty much wraps up my yearly article for Muddy Roots. I know it was not as in depth as it usually is, and in 2023 I plan to unleash my usual fury upon you with coverage from many different music communities and many states. You can be rest assured of one thing my friends, I had to build back from 0..and that is exactly what I’m doing! Keep an eye out for more!

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