This past October, I was invited to a local festival that was started last year on a family farm in North Springs Tennessee. The farm is way up there in the hills of Tennessee, just a few miles north of where we have Muddy Roots Music Festival. U did kind of scale back how much work I did this year, as I had to put things on hold to tend to personal issues. I did accept his invitation and drove out there to see this layout here at the North Springs Music Festival.
I like to go to the smaller do it yourself non corporate festivals ran by people whom are actually FANS of music, like I am. See, this one doesn’t have a whole board of directors or talent buyers. You aren’t giving your money to any conglomerates or any crazy companies that don’t really care about the bands!
No my friends, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Dustin Kennedy, a regular family man just like you are. He is a father and a husband just like a regular everyday man. He is a football fan like I am, and a music junkie like I am, and he is out there supporting these functions with his own money. I saw this in him and he and I instantly bonded online upon meeting, and I don’t think that he knows until now…but he has my admiration and utmost respect for his passions.
Putting my personal feelings aside, let me tell you about things from a business standpoint. See, unfortunately there are times I have to take off my “fan hat” and put on my “cost effective ” hat. One thing I have found out about this function is this…Mr. Dustin has the admiration and respect of his local community, and the people LOVE him and LOVE what he does, and they are willing to spend money doing it.
I am well trained in doing this, and I watch and I observe things. Many of the patrons here really do like these artists, and they aren’t here just to party in a field. There are people wearing the shirts of the bands, and buying merch here from many of the bands. I see every end of the spectrum making money here, and I see new fans being created, and I see the community benefiting from this man’s endeavors, and THAT IS what music festivals SHOULD DO!
I walked around and listened to people talk and interact with one another as neighbors and as music fans alike, this was not a festival, this was a family knit community that welcomes new people willing to be friendly and contribute to that ambiance that already exists.
It is my onus to build festivals like this, and help them grow through my articles and through word of mouth. Spreading the gospel of growth is equally important to me as much as spending money on functions. With all of that in mind right now I want to do my usual job of featuring all of the bands and artists that performed at this festival today.
Mr. Billy Mac was a step up replacement for one of the artists that had to cancel due to illness, and he played an opening set of cover songs for us, to get us ready for the great music that lay ahead. The distinct difference with some of the songs he choose to play, was that not many others play “Take Me Home, Country Roads” from the 1971 album called “Poems And Prayers And Promises” by Mr. John Denver.
He played “Ol Red” which was originally recorded by Mr. George Jones in 1990 on his album ” You Oughta Be Here With Me”. This was the last album Jones did for Epic before releasing ‘And Along Came Jones” for MCA. The entire work of Jones and all of the work of producer Mr. Billy Sherrill have always been one of my focal points.
He played songs the audience could recognize and relate with, like the song “Carrying Your Love With Me” by the 1997 album of the same name from Mr. George Strait, which was his 17th studio album. Now this “Cover Me Up” song was one I like to stress is not a pop country anthem that mainstream media has made it out to be. It appears on the album “Southeastern” by Mr. Jason Isbell, and it was originally intended to be a Drive By Truckers song, however Isbell left the band in 2007. Even though “Southeastern” was a 2013 release, the song never saw the light of day until then.
Caleb And Leann were a duo from the area that performed some original songs from their catalogue of songs they wrote, one of them being “Rock And A Heartache”. They enlisted the help of their guitarist Mr. Andrew Buckner to play their set here for us. This is from their about portion of their page:
Individually, Caleb & Leann have spent most of their adult lives performing in the Middle Tennessee area but didn’t take the stage as a unit until mid-2020. With a straightforward and intentional sound, Caleb Langford (acoustic guitar) and Leann Huddleston weave intricate vocal lines that pay homage to the great songsmiths of the 20th century. As an instrumentalist, Andrew Buckner uses alternative voicings, textures, and dynamics to add complexity and depth to the band’s sound.
At this time I was running around getting things ready for the rest of the music, and eating lunch so I didn’t catch all of the songs going on for about another hour here. I was meeting so many people, and obtaining so much information about the area I was actually enjoying that as well as the music here.
I had some pizza from their vendor at Rollin’ Dough Pizza and I highly suggest you try some of their food, if they are ever in your area. Very nice people and decent, fresh product at a vendor price. To be honest, in this type of situation I would rather spend money into businesses like this, than driving to a Pizza Hut!
Mr. Mike Demeza came tonight to play some original songs as well as some cover songs to play for us, like the song called “Just Over The River” which I’ll admit was a little too commercial for me and also he played “White House Road” from Mr. Tyler Childers and the Food Stamps. He has some well written songs, some of the later ones spoke to me more than these.
“Whiskey Did You Miss Me” is about a man that is living in regret of the loss of a loved one, and picks up the bottle again after being on the wagon. It mentions other women and it mentions cocaine, but the liquor is a better vice. Before that another song called “Shaking Hands” was about withdrawals and the stress of life, and loss of control.
The Smoky Nights were a band of four youngsters that were like a funk mixed with soul band, with many influences of many genres. Now, the two lead singers both Mr. Anthony and Miss Lily Nguyen are from my native state of Wisconsin ( I was adopted and raised there ). Mr. Eric Cullins played more of a lead role in the song called ‘Home”, and then there was Mr. Derek Lane was on drums.
They have a new album out this year called “Waking Up In Wonderland” which boasted songs in their set such as “Passion/Peace”, and also “Waves” and also “Don’t Let Me Burn”. I admired their spirit and the attitude they had toward the music they play, and the energy they created onstage. This isn’t an outright Country band, but that doesn’t mean they did not have any Country influences and if you enjoy bands like Fleetwood Mac, you will enjoy them.
This next fellow here blew me away with his creative songwriting abilities, and I’ll be completely honest with you my dear readers, I have never watched him live until this festival here, I had heard of him but I missed him on my radar…shame on me…shame.
Mr. Addison Johnson is one that should be highly praised by any Country Music website, this Greensboro NC native son has opened for Mr. Red Shahan, Mr. Chris Knight, Mr. Kendell Marvel, Confederate Railroad, Mr. William Michael Morgan, Mr. Ray Scott, Miss Jamie Wyatt, Mr. James Carothers, Mr. Buddy Jewell, Mr. Bucky Covington, and more!
I will go out of order here on his set list just a little on the song called “Cumberland River ’58” , man you got to hear this song on the record instead of live. Not to take away from his performance here, which was stellar! The lyrics are so well written, and the story was so descriptive of a young country singer.
However the greatest song of his set was a song called “Rollin’ Stolen” about flying to New Orleans in a Chevelle with fake cocaine . This song will bring you back to your own wilder days if you ever did this kind of shit ( which I did some wild stuff in my day). He had the mob shooting at him, and it’s a very exciting story to listen to.
“You’ll Do Just Fine” is a truly perfect song that describes the life of what’s it’s REALLY LIKE in the music business out there in the real world, as he changes a young man’s mind about trying to become the next George Strait. This was another one of those really well written songs, just the way the song is presented is COUNTRY as grits!
“Rock & Rye” was on his set from his album called “Cherokee Blues”, and is one his more upbeat songs with a hard hitting Honky Tonk drinking theme. If you like the old stuff from the 1970’s, you will love his music. Speaking of Rye, this brings me to another one of the artists on the lineup today and that is my good friend Mr.Rye Davis.
He plays the local circuit of bars down in the Bowling Green area with an ardent dedication to his songwriting craft, and every time he performs you’ll find he becomes better and better. I have had the opportunity to see him so many times, in so many venues that I can no longer count the times nor the places.
He recently released a live album from the Spillway in Bowling Green, which has most of these songs on it, like the song called “Everyday America” which pays respects to the farmers, the truck drivers, the first responders and the law enforcement that are all out there working everyday. It speaks to me because I AM one of those working on the concrete floor, factory and third shifters. All of the military and guardians of the United States, we thank you!
He played “Lavender Candles” and he played the song called “They All Know My Name” before going into another of his best songs called “Blue Jeans”. I tell you folks, this song is indeed one of the most well written songs of the last few years here. Have you ever had things stuck in your blue jeans as a teenager?
This song speaks of your mother finding that lighter in your jeans pocket, or perhaps she found some of those love letters that she read just so she could keep track of what you were doing behind her back.
Julie Roberts is an act I have not got the chance to see live for many years, and I was very excited to see this show here! She hasn’t lost one ounce of energy or love for performing at all. Of course the last song was the ever popular “Break Down Here” breakup song from her self titles 2004 album, but she also played the song “Rain On A Tin Roof”.
She is currently working on some new music with my buddy Mr. Shooter Jennings and I’ll be sure to feature it on here, as she is certainly one of my favorites from that time period that kept it more Country for sure.
She did one of her songs that I still today consider a masterpiece called “Men And Mascara” They both always run. From that album of the same name she played the song called “First To Never Know”. I like to classify her with the many from the late 90’s that brought women out to the forefront, with people like Miss Lee Ann Womack and Deanna Carter.
I truly enjoyed this music from this portion of time and many of these albums have songs on the B Side aspect ( Much like Alan Jackson does ). And to finally get to hear them again live was absolutely remarkable, and re inspired me to go back in time to listen to some of these albums again.
We finally had Mr. Alex Williams who’s set was cut short due to technical difficulties beyond their control, however we did get some great songs in the front of the set. He said he was going to play some new songs tonight from an album due out in February of 2022, look for us to feature that.
He did start with “Hellbent Hallelujah” and as we began packing up to leave he played “Pay No Mind” and a few more new ones before the night air and the damp weather tool hold of my arthritis, and we had to start to head out.
All in all we had a splendid time today at this festival, and as I wrap up all of the information here and go over my notes one more time, I wanted to thank Mr. Dustin and his wonderful team for hosting such a remarkable event here. I will do my best to either cover this one myself in 2022, or send someone to cover it for us on here. I hope to go back one day and give him some input into how to generate more revenue, and make a better experience for the attendees, and for the community.