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(This story has been updated)
Every once in a while you have and artist or band come out that is so pure, so raw, and so good, it is destined to self-destruct from its own internal pressure. Such was the case with the original incarnation of The Boomswagglers, a two-piece band consisting of Spencer Cornett and Lawson Bennett. The name “Boomswagglers” came from their real-life experience of living in a shack, eating out of cans and living off the land, spending days hunting arrowheads like modern day Mark Twain characters.
During this period they both became highly-skilled guitar players and wrote some of the most authentic country songs you will find recorded in the modern era. Hillgrass Bluebilly Records in Austin, TX got a hold of The Boomswagglers long enough to try and record an album, but the project almost seemed doomed from the beginning; they were just too raw, too real. It resulted in a rough, disjointed project that Hillgrass didn’t feel confident enough to put their stamp on, yet as bits and pieces leaked out over the years, The Boomswagglers slowly became underground icons from their raw songs and occasional performances around Austin, TX. After years of the public itching for the project’s release, Hillgrass Bluebilly finally released a Boomswagglers album as a bootleg for a short period.
Something about the authenticity of the whole thing made The Boomswagglers’ bootleg arguably one of the best, most engaging projects released in all of 2011. At some point Hillgrass Bluebilly took the bootleg down, and since then Saving Country Music has been flooded with questions and requests of where to obtain this rare piece of audio gold. The original Boomswagglers album has become an underground classic, and Hillgrass Bluebilly has finally decided to give it a proper physical and digital release, with a brand new version completely remastered from the original studio sessions.
The new Bootleg Beginnings from the Shack Out Back physical copy will be a collector’s edition that will include a handmade emergency fishing kit attached to the CD, with a hook, line, and various lures. The physical release date was July 12th, with the CD Release party happening at Antone’s in Austin, TX, with Hellbound Glory and Cade Callahan performing as well. The digital worldwide release is today, August 21st.
Guitar player/songwriter Spencer Cornett still plays under The Boomswagglers name with other players, while Lawson Bennett is now the proprietor of the Mustache Podcast.
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Not everybody will be able to make the trek to The Farmageddon Music Festival going down on July 20th-22nd in West Yellowstone, Montana at Hebgen Lake. But if you’re sitting on the fence, hemming and hawing, sweating because you only have two days left before you have to ask off for that extra day of work, here’s 12 random reasons to pull the trigger.
1. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
Of all the artists and bands I’ve seen live over the years counting any style of music, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club is right up there for putting on the best live performance possible. They don’t throw themselves around with tremendous energy or evoke epic guitar solos. Instead they rely on conjuring up the similar incantations to the old school snake oil salesmen and tent preachers did, preying on some inherent human frailty that allows you no other option than to submit to their spell. You may not know exactly what’s going on, but you will love every minute of it.
2. Hebgen Lake
This is where Farm Fest is happening? What more needs to be said?
***UPDATE*** It has been moved to 10 Denny Creek Road off of Targhee Pass HWY/HWY 20. GET FULL DETAILS
3. The Drive There
Yeah, Farmageddon Fest’s out-of-the-way location may be prohibitive for some folks, but it also one of the festival’s best assets. Whether you’re packing up the station wagon and heading out from Osh Kosh, or flying into Jackson Hole and renting a sub compact, and some point you will find yourself surrounded by some of the most beautiful country the United States boasts. It may be hard to get to, but it will be even harder to leave behind.
In the Farmageddon Fest lineup, you have some of the most dynamic performing bands in all the land. The aforementioned Slim Cessna’s Auto Club for starts, then add on top of that the fire-breathing Goddamn Gallows, The Calamity Cubes, Husky Burnette, Southern Culture on the Skids, and Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies just to name a few. These are bands that will melt your face off with their performances.
Tom VandenAvond, McDougall, James Hunnicutt, Stevie Tombstone, the legendary Soda Gardocki, and Graham Lindsey are just some of the high-caliber songwriters who will bring depth and soul to the Farmageddon stage. This is not just a one-trick festival, but one that will cater to a variety of musical moods and sensibilities.
6. Artists You May Not Get Another Opportunity To See
From the 2011 Saving Country Music Album of the Year winner Slackeye Slim to local boy Aran Buzzas, a lot of the bands playing Farmageddon Fest don’t have the means to tour full time or nationally so this is your chance. Farmageddon Fest helps you out by putting them all in one place.
7. The Bands You’ve Never Heard Before
I’ve never understood folks who look at a festival lineup and scruch their nose at it saying, “But I’ve never heard of a lot of these bands.” The discovery is half the fun. If a festival does their job right, their should be unfamiliar names. And if you do your job right, you walk away from the weekend with a few new favorite bands.
8. The Ugly Valley Boys
Just because their album Double Down is so damn good and I can’t get enough of it.
The bands scheduled to play is a known quantity. What isn’t is the random, improvised, and amazing collaborations that could break out at any moment, at any place, on stage, in the campground, in some bar back in town, you name it. “Oh my god I just saw Husky Burnette playing with Avery from the Goddamn Gallows on washboard and James Hunnicutt playing guitar, and then The Calamity Cubes were playing with Soda Gardocki and the Dead Tree String Band!” This is what your thumbs will be feverishly working to post to Facebook, and what is bound to happen when you put this many bands who are familiar with each other in one place.
Inevitably, whenever anyone attends a festival like this, they walk away boasting about the bands, the grounds, etc., but it is the fellowship, the camaraderie that is created when assembling such a collection of like-minded folks together for three days is what you walk away with valuing the most. The experiences can never be captured in photos or videos to the extent they will be in your heart.