The end of the year is always the time that I become completely slammed up on website projects, and I try to finish them up in order of how they came in. Portions of this article were written during the event and the rest was finished this week of Christmas vacation. Now, I am not really saying that any music functions are more/less important, but I guess my job is, because it grants me the finances to see the music with! If you are a first time reader, welcome. This is the same format that I cover other festivals with, I usually cover about 6 a year myself, and we have information on over 275 yearly dates in an article.
This is the fourth year for the North Springs Music Festival, and it is the second year for yours truly. Tonight I came out to the Roaring River Distillery in downtown Gainesboro Tennessee. I found a really great hotel room on Friday before the pre – party and spent a little time working on other ventures before this one.. I was skeptical at first out here…I just didn’t see the draw around here until I turned the corner and witnessed a line!
This middle Tennessee festival is growing in leaps and bounds at a rapid pace. This year there are a metric ton of people that traveled from all over to see the big show tomorrow. This is a really nice little gathering area that you can easily tell was created for music in mind….in fact the first few acts tonight were local to this area. The overall attendance at this pre – party told me right away that in the year absence I have had , Mr.Dustin has put in a LOT of work into growing this event.
I may skip around on the lineups, as I have two separate piles of setlists and information on this event. I really did honestly enjoy each and every performer I watched here this weekend. Many of them I have been around before, like this artist Alex Williams. Now, if you are an avid reader, you’ll see that I had recently had an article with him in Illinois along with a few others.
From his 2022 album, Waging Peace, he played two songs I recalled “Old Before My Time” and he played another called “Rock Bottom”. The other two I recalled were “Pay No Mind” and “Hellbent Hallelujah from his first album Better Than Myself.
Alex Williams is rapidly becoming a big draw in the local music scene, and is one of the many that are trickling into the mainstream as well. He also has some new music coming out in 2024, and is a veteran of this festival. When I attended this one the first year, he was one of the stage acts.
Another artist that I recalled from last year was Mike DeMeza, whom played some originals and some cover songs. His original song called “Whiskey, Did You Miss Me” always hits me in the gut, because I am a recovered addict, not from booze but from narcotics. Nonetheless every addict has a toxic relationship with their drug of choice.
Many of these acts tonight only had a limited amount of time to play to fit them all into one evening, and the weather held out quite nicely, however had it have rained they were prepared to move indoors for the night. So basically all of the their plans to react to certain situations impressed me. I’m not really sure how the liquor sales worked as I don’t drink, but from a business standpoint I did not really take the time to study the logistics of how he pulled it off here.
One of the first artists that performed was He played the song “Empty Rooms” from his 2021 album of the same name. I got set up a little late, because I had so many people I had to stop and hug! This event is becoming just like any of the yearly ones, in that I only see them once or twice a year at different music events.
He played several other songs before the duo of Brandi Colt And Andrew Crawford took the stage. They played a GREAT story song called “In this Dirt” about an old man who will not sell his farm after his wife died. They played another song called “Wabash River”.
Many of their songs are released as singles, and I haven’t discovered any full length albums from them as of yet, but once they are on our radar, we consistently check. They played a popular John Prine cover followed by another song called “Broken Hearts In Carolina”.
Upon my studies of this duo, they have played some very interesting venues like Bucks Bar And Grill and Southgate House. The last song they played that I took note of was “Broken Hearts In Carolina”. Right now I’m watching my buddy Tony Logue whom I haven’t ran into for quite some time, and he has a lot more new music released since I’ve seen him last.
He played a song called “The Fight” from his new album he released in 2023. Every time I see him, I always touch on how vibrantly he represents my side of Kentucky ( Western ) with his songs of poverty and struggle. Modern day songs of the modern day working man, same direction of the old formula with a new take on it.
“Losin’ Kind” is a song that talks about being born into poverty in Kentucky, and from that album Jericho, he played the song “Calloway County” and he also played “Welder”. “Road To Richmond” and also “Earnhardt” were two of his closing songs tonight. This was a solo show here for all of these artists tonight, so hearing songs like “Thundertown” acoustic was cool, because I do not recall him playing that song long ago.
The last two songs I will report on, are off his latest album The Crumbs, and those two songs were “Paducah” and “The Rolling Stone”. It was seriously a real treat to catch back up with Tony Logue, as I consider him a very good friend, not only at the show but in real life. He and his wife are good people that I love very much.
My last artist of the first night was none other than Branden Martin, whom released a terrific album last year called 001, which he played “Warm Glass Of Whiskey”, and another drinking song called “Drunk Again”. There were a few other songs he played including the song called “Drink To Remember”. The Pie Peddler…what can I say except that is some of the most AMAZING local business pizza that I have ever had, before the evening began. They were also selling pies out at the festival, and I got one there again. I’m diabetic and I didn’t care, it was so delicious I lived dangerously and took extra insulin just to eat that food. There is no doubt in my mind he could have a two day stage event or another off site pre show, and host either one successfully.
The overall layout of this festival has remained the same, but the ambiance is becoming stronger now as it grows, and it brings in people from all over the country! This is by far larger than the first one I attended and I must say this quite perfectly comfortable here. Hell you got kids in the camping area running around in pajamas and you can share a pizza with your dog. If that’s not comfortable then quit festivals.
This man, this rascal Mr. Dustin Kennedy hosts this yearly festival on his family’s own property! OK. This is not some corporatepalooza where you’ll park 5 miles away and ride a shuttle bus that smells like ass down the festival area, where you just realized you forgot your sunscreen. This man PERSONALLY introduces and welcomes everyone to this event. He PERSONALLY floats around in the crowd to make sure there aren’t any unsatisfied folks or any medical issues.
I just got the truck situated and got everything set up and ready to cover the first act today, which is a name I have been hearing quite a bit of buzz about on the local circuit. That name is Wes Shipp. I have a lot of admiration for him, not only because of his uncanny work ethic, but because like me he was an addict.
I truly think that he is a stronger warrior than I am, because when I was into the hard drugs, there was not such a thing as fentanyl. That is indeed a much stronger demon to overcome than mine. This man rose from the gutter to become a well respected touring musician, and many people have no idea how much of a struggle beating an addiction is to do,
Wes played one called “Front Row Seat” and another called “Citrus County Jail”, with both songs telling some stories of his not so long ago days of drug use in the Florida’s Citrus County area. That area is north of Tampa on the west side of the state,
His love and reverence for the great Keith Whitley showed vividly during his rendition of “Nobody In His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her” , from the album called L.A. to Miami. This song was written by Dean Dillon, and originally cut by George Strait on the album #7.
They had a young man come out Braden Mitchell Wall and play a few songs like a cover of a Red Clay Strays song called ‘Wondering Why” from their 2022 album Moment Of Truth. He came out first, and I was getting everything in order while watching him.
Rye Davis was another familiar face that I just don’t run across often enough. Right now he is playing a brand new song called “Leave” which is about getting married and all that because your told to, when it usually ends in divorce. I love some of the stories that are entwined into his songs. I started taking a walk around the festival area, so I could bring you a tour of the area.
Addison Johnson played a damn fine set tonight as it began to get chilly, which placed me right into my zone. This festival happens right in my favorite time of the year. I did remember this artist from the first time I came down here, and he has defiantly grown as an artist here. His best song he does is his last one called “Rollin’ Stolen” , but he did the song “Cumberland River ’58” from his Dark Side Of The Mountain album. I would really like to see him perform with a full band one day, and I will surely write about that show!
He played the song called “Waiting On The World To End”, This is one of those live for today, because tomorrow isn’t promised type songs. His set contains many well written story songs that many people complain today’s music lacks…notice the hypocrisy there? These people just do not spend any time looking for real music.
Tim Goodin was one that I was looking forward to seeing. He released a BANGER of an album this year, along with a list of hundreds of albums being published soon on here. Go ahead and browse our other articles we have on here about year end stuff, and stuff on 2024.
“Hard Times” is a song he played from that banger of an album called “True Stories And Flat Out Lies”. This album has that song and the song “Sad Bird Still Sings”, which is absolute masterpiece of Country Music. This man, Channing Wilson and Joshua Morningstar are my three favorite songwriters out now. I think I may have to spend a little more time talking about this man, and how he connected his music to me.
“Pills And Poverty” is one that intertwined his music with my own story. Like Wes Shipp, I too am an addict and we both completely understand the battle of the opioid addiction. He played almost his entire album for us live tonight, and he shared his Kentucky history with us through his songs. If you miss those beautiful 90s Country songs that ramble and flow easily from the speakers then you need to listen to the song “Miss You When I’m Sober”. I have played this song on repeat for days now, this album is that good.
It sure was fun to see Miss Anna Blanton play again, I watched her many times with Jericho Woods and other various music acts, and also backing him up tonight we had Mr. John Looney, Roddy Puckett, Mr. Sam Rogers and Logan Henry. This was amazing to see live, as the fiddle adorns the lyrics on songs like “Mountain Queen”.
He closed his set with the song “Son Of Appalachia” which is a more rocking song and one of the only two in that key of F, the other being “The Hurtin’n Song” ( I thought from what I heard live). Hey…I am going to show you how I see some under the radar stuff nobody else finds, but if you look close enough at the banner up there…Tim’s name is Goodwin. THAT IS how you know you hit the big time, and I think bringing all of this talent out for the ticket prices, you just cannot find a better value..cause I got MORE good stuff to throw at you here….Let’s go
As I delve into the last 4 bands here tonight, I am going to take you on a short tour of the camping area and some of the layouts, in case you have had this festival on your bucket list and you’re trying to dig up more information on the logistics of it all.
Let’s take a walk around the festival, and see the laughs and love for music before we get into the Cole Chaney portion of tonight’s show. Because the sun is starting to set, and it’s the best time to walk around a bit so the chill doesn’t hit my bones that fast.
Also another one of the articles I have put out recently, was a couple shows in Illinois where I covered this man Cole Chaney, who also recently released an album called Mercy in 2021, and an acoustic EP as well. “Another Day In The Life” was his first song on his list, along with “Leave”. That song talks about feelings of the dark side of the music business, and having to leave loved ones behind.
“Grind” is a working man’s song that I can certainly connect with, that song is so real it makes my own back and arms hurt! I am currently planning on using this website as a part of my retirement, and I am planning to retire at my factory job in 2 more years.
He played the title track called “Mercy” before going into my favorite song he does called “Coalshooter”, which addresses having to work such a dangerous job to survive. So many artists are out there right now representing the East Kentucky region of America.
His last two songs were “Back In Kentucky” and “Ill Will Creek” both also form his album Mercy. So that brings us back around to the final three acts on this bill, and one of them I have never covered before on this website. The other two I have covered on here many times.
This is the last artist on tonight’s bill I have not covered yet, and that is Hannah Dasher. She is being marketed on a little different level than some of the other artists she shares bills with, and that is not a bad thing at all, let me tell you why they are important. These ladies are being embraced by an entirely new audience of young adults both male and female, and they are bringing more and more into both sides of the music realm, the mainstream and the underground. Hannah Damn Dasher is an absolute HOOT to witness live. It got VERY cold ( for me ), and I retreated to my truck for heat, and just rolled the window down and watched the show! WHAT FESTIVAL CAN YOU DO THAT AT?
She broke out with a sharp deep twang of Country Music that was so Honky Tonk, it took me back to my beer joint days of being a teen. This gal has the big hair, the 8 track tapes and smokes like a chimney…and if you’re into that “You’re Gonna Love Me”.
Apparently, she previously had a cooking show called Stand By Your Pan, and she incorporated comedy with raunchy Country music and juxtaposed them all into one thing…and the outcome is flawless songs with songwriting that is something the evil devil inside you salivates over. I have been wanting to see her live for years now!
“Cryin’ All The Way To The Bank” has been a better revenge song than anything Carrie Underwood ever put out, BUT HANNAH is purposely being marketed to those fans to bring them on to better music. I DO greatly enjoy mainstream Country, but this gal here is better than 90 percent of anything in mainstream.
I missed the good old days being referred to during the song “Stone Age” as I was a 70’s kid and I was an 80s Thrash Metal kid, but I loved all music. “That Thing U Like” is another well written cheating song and it suggests sexually explicit things I cannot write for legal schmegal reasons. Her closing song was called “The Tree” . Go check out her new album out now.
These guys are a local to me band, that I have covered on here many times before. This event here is special to me because a lot of mu local powerhouse acts are brought together in one place. I got so lost in their set ( complete with drum solo ) I forgot to list the songs and they are none other than Them Dirty Roses.
I recall them playing “Black Magic Lady”, and they played “Grew Up In The Country” from their self titled EP. Here in Nashville we call them TDR, but they came up here from Alabama and made it through Nashville by working their ass off. James and Frank Ford brought along their friends Ben Crain and Andrew Davis to form this band.
I can go out on any given weekend, and find TDR in various states all over my home area playing with some other dynamite bands in Tennessee and Kentucky and Alabama. But this next man is not only a Red Dirt legend, but a musical legend overall. I have some really good memories of his old band Cross Canadian Ragweed.
This man and all of his music helped me get through my divorce and a lot more trauma back in 2005 with Soul Gravy and Mission California, and getting to see him play his music with his band now called Cody Canada The Departed was fun.
He did play the song “Satellite and Meteors” from the album 3, and it was very cool to hear “Lost Rabbit” live from that same album. But it was absolutely amazing to hear “Lonely Girl” live. I am so happy he still plays CCR songs in his solo sets, every once in awhile.
The last song he played I documented was “If You’re Ever In Oklahoma”, oh trust me he steamrolled through many of his staple hits, and I enjoyed all of them in the comfort of my own vehicle. i could hear everything very well because of Ronnie Reels over at Reelsound Productions. Mr. Ronnie and his right hand man have been my friends for almost 10 years now. We three first met at 2013 Muddy Roots.