Recap – Muddy Roots Festival 2011

September 8, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  83 Comments

The idea of sitting down in front of a keyboard to try and describe an experience as epic as this last weekend’s Muddy Roots Festival seems like the essence of fools errand. However I feel inclined to attempt to tackle this impossible task for the folks that weren’t there, the folks that were, but maybe were not able to take in the full experience, and hopefully somehow attempt to chronicle the magic that went down at the June Bug ranch, just north of Cookeville, TN on Labor Day weekend, 2011 for future reference.

My perspective on the fest is somewhat skewed, because I did not go there as a participant, but as a volunteer. I watched most of the bands with their backs to me, but I can honestly say I did not see one performer that weekend that I was unimpressed with. Granted, this was a festival whose epicenter is very similar to the music that is covered here on Saving Country Music, but the diversity of talent when you take a step back was astronomical. There were country music legends like Don Maddox of The Maddox Brothers & Rose, and Wanda Jackson. There were deep blues artists like the Ten Foot Polecats and Left Lane Cruiser. There were punk-infused roots bands like Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, neo-traditionalists like Lucky Tubb, and all manner of variations in between.

While the big city an hour to the west of Cookeville continued to deal with the historic contraction in music consumption, Muddy Roots more than doubled its numbers from its inaugural year. Folks from Canada, Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands, many other foreign countries and all around the United States made the trek to what is quickly becoming an annual epicenter for independent roots music.

Weather was a major factor for the 2011 Muddy Roots Festival, with scorching 99-degree days for Friday’s setup and on Saturday as well, chased by torrential downpours courtesy of the remnants of a tropical storm on Sunday. And then again, weather wasn’t a factor at all. Great music, and the fellowship between real roots artists and their fans was going to happen, and the adversity of uncontrollable elements seemed to only make for better stories. We’ll take temps in the 80’s and clear skies next year though if the weather gods are reading.

Though Muddy Roots did not officially begin until Saturday, by the end of Friday night it already felt like a memorable music experience for many participants, as droves of artists and fans, many that had not seen each other in a year, others that had never met each other ever, or only knew of each other over the internet, were finally able to make a personal connection face to face. Like a gathering of tribes, groups of friends and bands coagulated and intermingled until the early hours of the morning. Rusty Knuckles, one of the labels represented at Muddy Roots had a booth that could transform into a stage, and the band Filthy Still regaled a large crowd late into the night. Meanwhile Uncle Sean & The Shifty Drifters with members of Liquorbox and Cletus Got Shot played the June Bug Biker Bar at the front of the property to a packed crowd.

A late night made for a slow-starting morning, with Cashman, and Mark Porkchop Holder taking the first time slots on the main Muddy Roots stage, but by the time Jayke Orvis and his Broken Band took the stage at 1 PM, people were ready to brave the heat and his set drew one of the biggest crowds of the whole festival. The Broken Band consisted of Fishgutz and Baby Genius from The Goddamn Gallows, James Hunnicutt, Joe Perreze, and a fiddle player.

Meanwhile on Stage 2 under the tent, the blues were being represented by the Ten Foot Polecats who made the trip from Boston, followed by the ramshackle fire and brimstone one man band Revered Deadeye. About the only set of music that wasn’t well attended all weekend was Derek Hoke on the main stage, and it was a shame, because it was one of the best classic country performances of the fest. The low attendace had me worried of what might happen when the 90+-year-old Don Maddox took the stage. My concerns turned out to be unfounded as a decent crowd swelled to see the West Coast country legend, with a band consisting of the omnipresent James Hunnicutt on drums, Felix Thursday of The Cheatin’ Hearts on guitar, Banjer Dan, and Johnny B, a local venue owner from Medford, OR on standup bass.

Don Maddox was followed on the main stage by JB Beverly & The Wayward Drifters. The Drifters lineup included two banjos, and JB’s excellent original songs were complimented by the full sound. JB also gave one of the best, most impassioned speeches all weekend about the beauty and importance of the Muddy Roots gathering.

The Muddy Roots schedule had a few very cool runs where like-minded bands were featured back to back. One of these runs featured The Clamity Cubes and Cletus Got Shot on the second stage. Unfortunately I didn’t get to catch any of the Dirt Scab Band or the Spinderellas, but made it back to the main stage in time to see why Ronnie Hymes has recently been picked up by the Rusty Knuckles record label, and left Muddy Roots on a tour with Lucky Tubb.

Speaking of Lucky and cool runs in the schedule, Lucky’s set on stage 2 was preceded by Slim Chance & The Can’t Hardly Playboys, sans Slim Chance, but still with a cool lineup that included Zach Shedd of Hank3’s Damn Band. Lucky showed up to Muddy Roots with copies ready to sell of his brand new album Del Gaucho, and was followed by Possessed by Paul James, who put on one of the best, if not the best performances of Muddy Roots 2011. By the end of his set, some folks were in tears, and everyone was talking about the mysterious burst of wind on that blisteringly hot day that hit the stage 2 tent right as he began to play.

Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies had a daunting task of following up Possessed, but he did so admirably. Bob’s ear to ear smile and fun-to-be-around attitude was all over the place on the weekend. I can’t remember how many times I looked out over a crowd and saw Bob there smack dab in the middle, leading the charge and cheering on the performer.

On the main stage, O’ Death made the smart decision to hold the beginning of their set until Possessed by Paul James was done, and then entertained the crowd with their dark and original take on Americana roots. They were followed by two legends, from different worlds: the always enchanting and charismatic Soda, and on of the true pioneers of independent roots country, and an American original, Wayne “The Train” Hancock, who dazzled possibly the biggest crowd of the whole festival.

Those still not satiated by Saturday’s festivities sauntered back to stage 2, which after the performance of American Pickers’ star Danielle Colby‘s dance troupe Burlesque le Moustache offered a late night lineup of Black Jake & The Carnies, a band I had never seen or heard before, but were very entertaining with a high energy show and a frontman full of bits, including a flashing banjo that shot fire out the head stock, while he smoked a cigar wedged in a harmonica holder. Viva Le Vox followed up with their own light show and fiercely entertaining songs custom fit for the deep of the night. Unfortunately Farmageddon Records alum Owen Mays got shafted when the sound crew decided to call it quits at 2-something in the morning, but a decent crowd that stuck around were revered with an intimate, all acoustic set that included Banjer Dan, James Hunnicutt, and others fleshing out Owen’s original compositions.

Sunday began on the main stage with Liquorbox, Felix Thursday’s aforementioned Cheatin’ Hearts, and Davey Jay Sparrow, who was introduced by his very young son, who also revered the crowd with a few choice knock knock jokes. They were proceeded by a couple of roots music transplants from the punk scene in the form of Sean Wheeler and Zander Schloss, while on stage 2, a couple of string bands got things going: The Hogslop String Band, and one of my personal favorite acts of the weekend, Thomas Maupin & Daniel Rothwell. Daniel is a young, up-and-coming banjo player, and Thomas Maupin is a champion tap dancer. Folks still sleeping off Saturday night really missed a treat.

As a pinup pageant was going down on the main stage, things really got cranking on stage 2, with the Celtic-infused Cutthroat Shamrock and the sludgy blues of Left Lane Cruiser revering the Dirtyfoot fans of Hillgrass Bluebilly music. This was contrasted by the straightforward Appalachian-style of JD Wilkes of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers‘ side project with his wife called The Dirt Daubers touring in support of a new album. I’ll admit, since the beginning of this project, I’ve been worried Shack Shaker nation will want more blood and guts than what The Dirt Daubers can offer, but simply put, they killed it, and were joined on stage by Liz Sloan of Bob Wayne’s Outlaw Carnies.

Unfortunately I did not have the time to see many of the handful of performer’s slated for Sunday’s stage 3, but I did get to check out a few good songs from banjo player Joe Perreze of The Perreze Farm, who also sat in with numerous other performers over the weekend, as well as a few blazing blues numbers from last minute fill-in Husky Burnette, who at times was joined by washboard Avery from the Goddamn Gallows, and Soda and Jay Scheffler from the Ten Foot Polecats on harmonica. Yes, collaboration was everywhere on the weekend.

As punk band Hans Kondor was playing on Stage 2, and Art Adams Band on Stage 1, the rain came. And it came. And didn’t stop all night. This forced a reshuffling of the lineup and the closing of the open air Stage 1, moving the big Muddy Roots headliners under the tent. Leroy Virgil and Hellbound Glory were forced to play a short set, but did an excellent job with their post-Chico (their drummer) lineup that includes Leroy sitting on a bass drum and playing it backwards while picking and singing.

Then came one of my favorite runs of shows of the festival, with two legends of Nashville’s lower Broadway fronted by two of the best frontmen in all of music, as Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers and Hillbilly Casino took the stage one after another. As the rain continued to fall, the Muddy Roots patrons got muddy, and were treated to some of the best live music that exists.

At this point the rain had turned into an outright deluge. The sound equipment had to be lifted out of pooling water, and there was concern the main headliner Wanda Jackson would call the performance off. But all strings were pulled to accommodate the 73-year-old queen of rockabilly, and folks, she absolutely killed it. Her voice was as solid as when she dumped Elvis, and her stage presence was spellbinding. When Wanda called on her crisp yodel, the crowd went crazy. They sang along with full lung with the gospel number “I Saw The Light”. Wanda ran through her set list, and started adding songs sensing the fervor of the crowd. It was a spectacular performance.

After Wanda came short but solid sets from performers that got the short end from the weather: the great one man band Scott McDougall from the Pacific Northwest, the Whiskey Folk Ramblers that made the drive all the way out from Ft. Worth, and the lovely and talented Rachel Brooke.

Muddy Roots 2011 was capped off by one of the few bands that could tackle such a task, The Goddam Gallows. By this time there was water ankle deep no matter where you walked with sheets of rain still falling, but very few people had retreated, and those not watching the Gallows, were watching or participating in a huge jam under the cover of the main stage that included Wayne Hancock, J.B. Beverley, Banjer Dan, Nathan from Cletus Got Shot, all of Hellbound Glory, and many others.

Though I am afraid of attempting to compile a list of the non-musicians that were there or involved in Muddy Roots that deserve recognition because I am sure I will leave important names out, I must mention that independent country elder statesman Mr. Bandana was there all weekend, and using his 4-wheeler to help haul gear and people around the site. And of course, huge props goes to the promoters Jason and Anthony Galaz, and right hand man Jason H. Buchanan for pulling the whole thing off.

There’s really no way I can sum up the 2011 Muddy Roots Festival, and any written treatise just feels like a reduction of the experience. Truly, you just had to be there. But for the folks that weren’t, take note that Muddy Roots is quickly becoming one of those events you plan your year around. I will say that above all the excellent performances, the jaw dropping lineup, the beautiful and ideal grounds, the greatest asset of the Muddy Roots experience is the people it draws, and the fellowship it creates. As the world obsesses more every year with making money, Muddy Roots offers an opportunity to make memories.

83 Comments to “Recap – Muddy Roots Festival 2011”

  • It was one hell of a good time, one of the best weekends of my life. My only concern is how Jason can top it next year. That’s going to be a tough task. The only negative thing I can say is that I was disappointed that Hellbound Glory’s set was cut short.

    It’s difficult to put this festival into words, people should just come and experience it themselves.

    • Hellbound Glory, McDougall, Rachel Brooke, The Whiskey Folk Ramblers, and Owen Mays are on my list as artists who got the short end of the stick with their sets. It is nobody’s fault. It was the weather, and I am glad everyone who showed up got to play at least a short set, even when we had to compact two stages into one. It is my hope that these bands sacrifices will be considered in planning next year’s festival, but to have the dramatic rain we did and not have to completely eliminate even one performer, I thought was pretty remarkable.

      • The artists on stage 3 got screwed a little bit too, since it ended up being an acoustic jam in a big puddle under a tent! But like you said, it was the weather’s fault, and everyone rolled with it.

        • The rain screwed stage 3 but it has created some moments that i’ll never forget. It Created an experience seeing Highlonesome and James Hunnicut under the tent and lighted by ony a couple flashlight and seeing everyone gathering all around them as a close family made that muddy roots weekend even more unique. Rain and bum were a big bummer…but once you started to focuse on all the great thing that were still happening it started to be all magic again !

        • And we must not forget that it was only Muddy Roots # 2 everybody is still in a learning mode……did i have to run to see bands : yes, Did i miss some bands i wanted to see : yes, Did i get burn under the sun : yes, Have I been soaked wet : Yes………But no matter where i was, how i was and with who i was. I was having the best week-end of my life and That’s the major point !!! Great work to all the Staff, Great job by the artists and thanks to the crowd! Now let’s make next year even better !!

        • I agree. Hopefully next year stage 3 can be better, but again the big culprit was the rain.

  • I’m commenting while readin Trigger and you nailed it right there ” with scorching 99-degree days for Friday’s setup and on Saturday as well, chased by torrential downpours courtesy of the remnants of a tropical storm on Sunday. And then again, weather wasn’t a factor at all. Great music, and the fellowship between real roots artists and their fans was going to happen, and the adversity of uncontrollable elements seemed to only make for better stories ”

    Plus on friday night J.B. Beverley played a few songs for the pleasure of the few people who were lucky to find it……I felt so damn lucky to find him sitting on the trunk of a car in the middle of the camp ground. I put my shoulder on the car and took a fews seconds to realize wow….i’m living something right now these small little things together make Muddy roots someting that i’ll remember for the rest of my life

    • I have been lucky enough to have an experience like that with JB as well.. It is certainky nothing you will ever forget. He is without a doubt a gift to roots music..

  • Great write up, it is hard to put Muddy Roots into words. It is so much rolled up in one, not just the bands and music. But the people there and the friendships that took the next step by being more than internet “friends” and were transformed into family. Most people know it was our honeymoon there and we wouldn’t have changed a thing. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. From the scorching heat to the pouring rain we always had a smile on our faces. I can’t thank everyone who took part enough for everything they did. And Trigg, thank you for all your hard work. You busted your ass all weekend. It was great to finally meet you in person and shake your hand.
    I miss all our Camp Crusty friends and can’t wait to see everyone again!

  • I know I drove everyone crazy talking about Muddy Roots from Memorial Day of 2010 until Labor Day of 2011. But now that many more of the SCM family has been there, I hope they forgive my romantic attachment to the event.

    While the music was amazing and the weather was God awful, the best part of all was the people. If ever I have experienced a profound sense of community, it was among all of the folks who came out to the fest. I love my Muddy Roots family.

    When Jason is ready, I’ll share what I think was radically awesome and what I think needs to be improved for the next go around. I’m still recovering from the effects of the weather on my body. But for now, know that I’m in awe of the amazing organizational skills and hard work the Galaz brothers, Ms. Sioux, and Jason Buchanan (among others) put into this event.

    Thank you for one of my favorite moments of 2011!

  • That’s a very good recap Triggerman. I don’t know what to say about Muddy Roots, it was so amazing it defies description. It says a lot thought that despite difficult weather conditions (and getting head-butted during Last False Hope’s set) I still had an amazing time. You are correct, I will be planning my year around this event next summer!
    The only thing I can think of to emphasize is the feeling of FAMILY that was everywhere. Especially Friday night, when it was a smaller tighter-knit group of folks, but all weekend. It WAS a gathering of the tribes!
    My highlights were:

    Cutthroat Shamrock
    J.B. Beverley & the Wayward Drifters
    Wayne Hancock
    Hellbound Glory (although the short set was a drag)
    Possessed By Paul James
    Rachel Brooke (again, too short of a set but she was amazing!)
    Wanda Jackson
    Ten Foot Polecats
    Lucky Tubb

    And so many more. McDougall blew me away, even though he only played four or five songs! Davy Jay Sparrow and his band were great! The Cheatin’ Hearts, Last False Hope, Jayke Orvis, Cletus, Calamity Cubes, Don Maddox, and so many more!
    I’m also glad you mentioned the super jam on stage 1, which was an amazing way to end the weekend. It made me think about the “guitar pulls” you read about, where great country singers would get together and try to out-do each other with their new songs. Amazing to see so many of my favorite musicians jamming with each other!

    • And a huge thanks to Jason, Bandana, yourself of course Trig, and everyone else who worked so hard to make it happen. We were all hanging out at a festival in extreme weather conditions, but certain people were working their asses off in those same conditions to ensure that the show went on. Huge thanks to all of YOU!

  • and Trig…[long hand shake inserted here]…it was great to meet you in person!

  • It was the best 48 hrs. of live music I’ve ever been a part of, certainly surpassing last year’s event. It was good to meet you Friday night, Triggerman, after the third tent finally got raised. Later on that night, after Filthy Still, I had the good fortune of getting to watch The Broken Band rehearse at the top of the hill. That was just one of so many awesome moments. The James Hunnicutt acoustic set, all huddled under the stage 3 tent with buckets of rain coming down was another,…the impromtu jam on stage 1 with Banjer Dan, Wayne H., HBG, and JB was yet another. I agree there wasn’t a bad performance there, at least that I saw. The only beef I had was that sometimes you wanted to see who was performing on all 3 stages at once!,….which isn’t really a beef at all. Kudos to Jason for booking an amazing group of artists, and thank you to all the artists that came.

    • I hung out with a group of DBF veterans who all unanimously voiced their concern with the fact that there were 3 bands often going on at one time that they wanted to see. Chris Johnson set up DBF by putting two stages next to each other. This way, there was always one band playing, but patrons didn’t have to move around and possibly miss some of the sets of the bands they wanted to see. When one band finished up, another was set to begin.

      I’m not entirely sure how one could do this with that venue, but I was very exhausted from moving back and forth in a hurried manner in order to catch a tiny bit of each performer’s set.

      Likewise, I liked the weather FAR BETTER on Memorial Day. I’m concerned crazy weather could become the trend on Labor Day weekend.

      • I’m gonna nitpick and point out that DBF 3 had two outdoor stages next to each other and one more inside a bar. So there were instances of running back and forth for that as well. With events like these and such incredible line-ups to run through in only a few days it’s hard to catch everything but I’ll be damned if I don’t have a blast trying!

        • Sure. I’m just reporting feedback I got from the crowd I was sitting with. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be there for any of the DBFs so I’m speaking second hand.

          I was at MR 2010 and I did not feel so rushed last year. I think the three day idea would be an improvement as well.

          I’m not bitching by any means…so don’t take my comments that way please! I’m still reeling from how much work the organizers must have had to do to pull it off.

          As I said to Jason on Sunday, I need a week to recover from planning a birthday party for one of my kids. I can’t imagine pulling something like Muddy Roots off!

          • No, no, not at all. Was just supporting what you said in that with so many artists it’s hard to plan and then execute everything as smoothly as possible so people don’t miss seeing any of their favorites. The organizers and volunteers did one hell of a job.

          • putting it on 3 days would be a mistake cuz that would penalize those who have to travel a long distance to get there !

      • The weather Labor Day vs. Memorial Day is anecdotal. You had record highs followed by the remnants of a tropical storm, and that is just a crap shoot you can’t predict or control. They may decide to move it because of weather concerns in the end, but I think you have just as much of a chance of good weather on either weekend.

        Having said that, I just want to say how disheartened I was to see many folks drive from many miles away with months of anticipation, just to spend much of the time hunched in their tents, sick because of the weather. Certainly lower temps would eliminate some of this, but I think people need to appreciate just how strenuous festivals are on your body, and prepare by getting good sleep, good food, and staying hydrated. I’m no Jack Lelane, and honestly not trying to pass judgement on anybody, but in my opinion the biggest key to having a good time is making sure your body is in order. If I had partaken of everything that passed under my nose on the weekend, I would be dead right now, and probably wouldn’t have been much help to the fest. And I wasn’t just leisurely taking in music. I was running around moving heavy gear, and on Friday swinging an 8 pound sledge hammer, driving in tent stakes. People have to take care of themselves, and each other. Hopefully next year everyone can be more mindful of this, and can have a better time.

        • “Swinging” might be an exageration there John Henry. Plenty of folks can handle heat, rain, heavy(a-hem) lifting, and still enjoy the spirits that accompany any proper festival.

        • Come on Trig, I’m 41 and a mother of 3…I was hardly compromised beyond belief. It was bad weather and that weather sucked. The festival was awesome…but the weather sucked. Have you ever been to a music festival before? I mean, sometimes you win on weather, sometimes you lose. Labor Day was a loss this year. If it moves back to spring, maybe it will be better, maybe it won’t. But people need to be able to make their own choices as to whether or not they party. I don’t think a little drink or smoke made much of a difference given the weather. And one person I know who is completely sober was the sickest person I know there. If you lose your shit and can’t function, sure, I can see saying you need to cut back. But overall, I didn’t see too many people who were obliterated.

          • Ha KAK, we all know you were wasted beyond belief all weekend, and had to have the fire department rescue you from a tree buck naked. When I went to shake your hand, you just kept shaking it like some kind of freak. It was really embarrassing.

          • LMAO!

            Yeah, who needs bands when you have a naked middle aged woman swinging from a tree?

            I was worried you were going to pull some WWE wrestling move on me when you held my hand that long and throw me down into the mud. Then everyone would have had a lot to blog about here…

            Queen of Sheeba vs Momma’s Basement Boy…

  • My only complaint is negligible. It all went by way too fast. But LFH and I didn’t arrive until 5am Saturday morning and had driven straight from a show in Kentucky so Saturday was a sleep-deprived blur for me most of the day. I would love for the festival to be expanded into an official 3-day event but hell, I’ll take 2 and still have the time of my life and love every minute of it.

    I definitely focused more on the social aspect of the festival because I’d seen so many of the bands before while I hadn’t met a lot of fellow fans in person yet and there were also a lot of good friends I’ve made over the years there that I rarely get to see so for me it was like a reunion or a party where most all of our favorite bands were playing (dang that’s a hell of a run-on sentence). This isn’t to say I ignored the music but I was content to listen from the back of the crowds and let others get their up-close memories of the artists.

    And yeah, weather be damned I know I had a grin on my face nearly all weekend long. Huge thanks to everyone who had a hand in putting this event on and making it so great. Can’t wait for next year!

    • I agree, either make it a three-day event or don’t book quite as many bands. But it’s a good problem to have!

    • You were only grinning cause you shoved me down a hill and threw bourbon in my eye…admit it…

      • I did no such thing! Oh, were you talking to Nick?….

        • ;) of course

  • Triggerman, I know you’re too humble to give yourself kudos, but goddamn do you deserve it. I can’t thank you enough for your help!

    • So true AG That man worked like a dog for the whole weekend trying to make the best from the worst All by congratulations and thanks to you brother keep your good work it means a lot to many people !

      • I’d love to sit here and play the martyr, but the simple fact is I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and though I was planning on a little more free time that mainly got eliminated by the rain, I can’t imagine spending Muddy Roots any other way than doing what I can to make sure it goes off as good as it can be.

  • Oh, and I do want to comment that one of my favorite moments was seeing Husky Burnette perform. Last year he had an unfortunate health incident that caused him to have his performance cut short. This year he pinch hit and blew everyone away. It did my heart good to see this and made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

    And his new cd kicks some royal ass…

  • If the trajectory continues, next year will probably kill me with its sheer awesomeness. Good meeting you Triggerman, you really did a great job. Its amazing that you managed to see nearly every band…
    Can’t wait till next year.

  • I know they’re not “country” but Hellfire Revival (psychobilly) had the best set all day on stage 2 on Saturday! I haven’t been in a mosh pit since I was 19 (8 years ago), but I could not resist.

    The whole event was just as awesome as I knew it was going to be. I thought the rain actually helped bring people together. From the audience’s perspective, I think the shorter sets made for more intensity. I’m sure the bands didn’t like feeling rushed, but the audience got to experience one band right after the other without getting distracted walking back and forth from stages. My only complaint was not being able to locate the merch tables. That may have more to do with the flask I was carrying around though :)
    It was so good to see everyone again, and I’m glad everyone had fun in our beautiful state! See ya next year!

  • We had a few wrenches thrown in the works but that is expected. The staff, bands, volunteers, and crowd pulled together to keep it rolling. I am truly grateful to everyone for pitching in whether it be by purchasing your ticket, swinging a hammer, or stage managing for a billion hours. We all don’t have big money to do much so this is the only way to make something like this work. Big festivals can just hire someone to do the job but I think we all can see the love that went into this from all parties. GOOD JOB FOLKS!!

    On another note: Don’t drive 1,000 miles just to sneak into my festival. If you absolutely must steal, steal from Wal Mart or somebody else. We will send you packing next year.

    • I saw those 10 year old security guards picking people out of the crowd. Those were some tough lil country boys!

    • Thanks for throwing the party of the year Jason! Speaking for myself, you’ve got one ticket for next year SOLD right here!

    • Who the hell tried to sneak in? That’s the epitome of lame. I laughed too at the 10 year old security guards. They were super shrewd!

    • I remember one chick locked herself in the Port-O-Can trying to escape the Wristband Police. Exactly what she plotted for her escape route, I don’t know.

      • That chick who was hiding in the toilet for a half hour ended up running into the wilderness. We told her she had to buy a ticket or call her friends to take her home. She thought she was going to be arrested so she scaled a barb wire fence and ran down the road. We were like “where the hell is she going? We are in the middle of nowhere.” She basically drove from Wisconsin just to steal from us. The money we get pays the bands so you are basically stealing from the bands you love. Silly silly.

        • OK, now THAT is a short story looking for a writer…a sort of “my experience trying to break into a music fest in the middle of nowhere” story….Damn.

        • LAME.

  • That is very true. We are learning as we go and finding out what works. For starters we won’t waste advertising budget on locals. We only want the hardcore fans there to keep it special. All festivals have more than playing at once so that is just going to have to be a standard thing to deal with but we will not book so many bands next year. I think within a couple more years we’ll have it all figured out. As far as weather goes the farmers almanac showed in 70’s the last few years. That darn tropical storm messed it all up. We will keep it on the same date from here on out so let’s hope our eco system takes a chill pill.

    • It wasn’t ideal circumstances, but you guys kept the music rolling despite the adverse conditions. That is the most important thing at the end of the day, and you did an admirable job of keeping things rolling!

    • You were the hardest working man in TN, Jason. I second Katie’s comments. You had no control over the weather. It was a kick butt show and you should be proud.

  • Here is my comment: Have the bus food vendor back! They were awesome! CATFISH SAMMICH!

    • that sandwich was awesome !!! jason bring these guys back next year !!

      • I second that! Or third it, or whatever!

        • I had the perch tacos, and my god. Unreal.

          • The food was great. I liked the mango salsa myself.

  • And if it can go right it will and it did. Thank you Jason A & B. I can only hope that this train keeps rolling, keeping the Muddyrootsmusic alive and thriving.

  • Man that sounds great. Wish I had been there. But I got to see ZZ Top and Blackfoot so its all good

  • You mentioned Lucky Tubb’s new album “Del Gaucho”. Where can I find it? I looked on but didn’t see it with his others?

    • I have no idea, aside from hitting a Lucky Tubb show. I am going to do a review for it soon, and if I can run down that information, I will include it.

      • If you’re in Nashville right now you can get it at Ernest Tubb Record store for 7$….Otherwise maybe it’s on

  • Completely agreed! The sheer amount of talent that was somehow brought into one blisteringly hot/rain soaked mud pit in the TN hills is beyond me! Forget losing 3 pair of shoes, a tent, my clothes,my sanity, etc. That means absolutely nothing! Just part of the ride… I laughed (Krank Daddies…goddamn Columbus), cried (PPJ, Wanda), was awestruck (O’death), and felt every other emotion there is to possibly comprehend. Honestly everything was absolutely perfect! Thanks to EVERYONE who had a part in this: volunteers, labels, promoters, musicians, fellow admirers…everyone. It was great to see old friends I see maybe twice a year, get to know everyone that has become dear friends of mine that I have never met until the show, and make great lifelong (hopefuly…haha) friendships! Cookeville you treated me right! I don’t think that words can possibly express how great this experience was. Definitely a weekend I will never forget!!! Lets make it an even better one (if that’s possible) next year! Only a few hundred days to go! Cheers!!!
    P.S.-Camp Toeshine Flamingo Creampie will be in an RV next year. Damn you Nature!!!

  • okay…so i wasnt there…and im numb with regret about that…it probably wont be possible for a few more years either…but…this woman’s coverage of the festival is so dismissive that i felt the need to get you guys who did go to comment on her bullshit article at ….she chose to stand back and judge, with no mention of the music at all…she has a platform with THOUSANDS of readers, and she couldnt mention ONE Act …it sucks.

    • That was a sad fuckin commentary for a site that hails itself as the “the roots music authority”. It says a lot that she left for a hotel cause it was raining. It wasn’t even fuckin cold. She talks a lot about “the scene”, what scene? The scene is great music, and you don’t have to be familiar with the bands to recognize how great they were. I’ve got no tattoos, no grease(well, my own) in my hair, no leather,….I’m glad I don’t judge music based on the “scene”.

    • I will have a response to this at some point, but without question, I am disappointed that No Depression had someone on site to cover this, and this is what they walked away with.

      • Darn if I don’t need to go do some work that pays me something but I’ve been participating in a nice conversation in the comments section of Kim’s review. I think it’s too bad she wasn’t pulled into our experience more fully and didn’t get the “Muddy Roots Fever” we all seem to have.

      • I wish James G. Carlson could have been there (at least I dont think he was), he writes for No Depression(and other scribes) and he would have done a proper job with it. He is a big fan.

        • He wrote articles for No Depression the magazine, which no longer exists. No Depression the online community is a completely different animal. Kim is the ONLY paid employee of No Depression. All other blogs come from the community at large. Those other bloggers (e.g., Adam Sheets) do not get paid for their work.

        • james carlson IS a good dude…and he writes for the the national examiner now and the nodepression community as well…he is a featured blogger…

          my hostility toward kim has now subsided…but the article still sucks. the tag line of nodepression’s site is “the roots authority”…again…i just see a wasted opportunity to open people up to a few artists they might like…but she chose to NOT WRITE About the music at all…disappointing.

          • James is definitely a good guy and his articles are still picked up by No Depression, Philly Examiner, and others.

  • […] this year’s Muddy Roots Festival? Check out Triggerman’s recap over at Saving Country […]

  • I hated to miss it. A good friend and neighbor (two hollers over) went down and played bass with Davey Jay. I can’t wait to sit down and hear all about it from him.
    Great read Trig!

  • Man- I sure wish I had the opportunity to be at MR last weekend. Like Nick Lindsay…..I likely would have spent much of the weekend on the social aspect. Not to take away from the amazing bands, and performers, but, I have seen most of them……several times…..often in my back yard. But….many of the folks that were there, are folks that I speak to very often online, but have never had the pleasure to meet in person. The weather would not have held me back. I love seeing photos of folks saying “fuck it” to the rain, and being content with getting soaked, as long as their word good folks to bullshit with. I am well aware, that outdoor venues are a “slave” to the weather, and it usually dictates whether or not it will be successful. In the case of Muddy Roots, it didn’t. It was a total success, even with record rain falling. This shows the dedication of the performers, and fans alike, and is so great to see. If I were there, I would have stepped up, and ran the sound board for Jayke after the sound dudes left. I would have hauled speakers out of the rain. I would have done anything Jason asked, just to become a part of it, and make it successful enough so that there isn’t even a second thought for next year in Jason’s mind. Y’all were part of something great. I wish I could have joined ya’!! If the memorial day weekend thing happens, count my ass in!! I will do whatever anyone needs to help make it happen. Y’all deserve kudo’s for being such loyal folks to the thing we all love so much. Great article Trig. Makes me feel like I was there.

    • We <3 Casey Weber and Weber's Deck…

  • Great review Triggerman. Nothing better than real music played by real artists in a real festival. I think I love Don Maddox. Correction. I know I love him! Of course the next best thing to being there is great coverage to enjoy! Thanks for making the trip to Waterloo.

  • what an absolutely perfect time. A bunch of shine, a handful of recreational drugs, and band members just wandering around looking to be talked to. The mixing and matching was really neat too. Liz complemented the dirt daubers perfectly. But please, dont talk about it again, it was the Perfect size. Muddy Roots, dont go changing

  • We had the best time ever and are already making plans for next year (in addition to Farmageddon Fest). Jason really busted his ass, I was astounded to see him moving nonstop, eight sets of eyes watching everything. I saw friends/family from all over the country, made so many new ones, and was turned on to some incredible new bands. It did my heart good to know that what I like is a way of life to be celebrated and not just some show, although I suspect my brain is still passed out in the field somewhere. So much love to everyone who was involved!! ♥

  • I loved the rain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Made all of us the same ole wet dogs! Shit it was MUDDY Roots right! I say let it rain rain rain it was still 100%

  • So be it if its a dramatic recollection… This is exactly what I felt during this experience! This was what I really felt like was one of the most incredible moments at MR 2011 and by far one of the most unforgettable for me was during the Possessed by Paul James set.

    After a day of breezeless scorching tempatures he took the stage at tent 2. My boyfriend and I brought our chairs and were sitting outside the tent directly to the side of the stage… As he started to play you could feel the energy shifting. As he launched into a haunting instrumental on his fiddle, all of a sudden a gush of cool air rushed in from behind the stage into the tent causing the big top to ripple and sway like a tidal wave… The cool air was felt by all and the sudden eerie change in the sky color as the storm started to roll in created a powerful and spooky effect as his voice made us all believe that we too were possessed, by the power of the music, comradery and the unique feeling that we are all part of a movement bigger than ourselves.

    From someone who organizes events (fashion shows not music) this really is a well oiled machine… (a lot more so at least than they like to give themselves credit for)… but at the same time it keeps its backyard barbeque feel… We are all more appreciative than you know for this incredible retreat… It is truly something I now after these 2 years look forward to every year all year…. Thank you.

  • GREAT REVIEW TRIGGERMAN…more so the dig for missin the gig!

  • Was talking with a Mr. Henry tonight after his killer solo performance and while discussing Muddy Roots I mentioned both reviews and all the comments and such. Told him I thought it was interesting that nobody has really mentioned that the first two Deep Blues Festivals both had memorable rain experiences as well. Henry’s philosophy….if RL was alive and was booked there, it would be raining. So next year when it pours rain again, we just gotta look up and say “Thanks RL”.

  • Oh man, I was sold after reading the first two paragraphs. Sounds like a truly magical experience. Lovely to read how so many readers here all got to connect in the flesh too. I’ll get there one day.

  • I must say that there were a lot of healthy and a few skinny good -looking women there. My suggestion for next year is in addition to the cool burlesque show that was out on by Dannie Diesel and co., a big BBW pageant or show should be out on. I saw a lot of eligable participants.

  • Thank you so much to Triggerman for doing what you and sharing such an awesome and humble account on Muddy Roots 2011… Thanks to Jason and everyone involved with MR for making it happen… Thanks to all of you who listen to our music, share it with others, go to the shows(& Muddy Roots!) & share your thoughts here as well. I can’t even put into words what Muddy Roots 2011 was for me other than it was the greatest and most magical musical experience of my life… Thanks again to all of you and I hope to see you all in Cookeville, TN in 2012 and in many more years to come :-)

  • Lemmie give shout outs to the Key West Inn, $150 for three nights is absolutely unheard of here and is so appreciated! So many bands and festival people stayed there, it became a home away from home without leaving cool people behind. We’ll be there next year too!

    And the food vendors were top shelf. Fried catfish man was a superstar, and the vendor with the healthy offerings was amazeballs. Also, everyone kept their prices from $4 – $6. That was awesome.

    Thank you EVERYONE. I’m still all warm and fuzzy with love for ya’ll and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

  • Since I’ve been a bit time consumed with work and recording music with my new string band, I haven’t had time to surf SCM as much as I’d liked but I thought I’d throw in my two cents about MR:

    The festival was an awesome experience. Period. I drove about 12 hours from MD to get there and it was worth every minute. I didn’t really know what to expect and I was a little disappointed that I didn’t buy tickets last year so I knew I had to buy this year’s as soon as they were available. Regardless, the whole festival, every band, every brotherly person, the hot weather, the pouring rain, the (nearly) endless supply of 2 dollar PBRs made that weekend.

    I’m extremely thankful for all the bands that played (many of which I’d been dying to see for years and finally got to), the brotherly atmosphere where bands and fans were mixed throughout, and the opportunity to get away from it all for a weekend. I understand the complaints about the weather, and maybe if you weren’t listening to as much music you might have your reasons, but being ankle-deep in mud for the Shack Shakers set with the 2nd stage tent on the verge of falling was Muddy Roots. The sweat pouring off my head during a scorching hot Jayke Orvis set was Muddy Roots. We can’t predict the weather, but everyone can make the best of it and indulge themselves in what was a great experience I’m still talking about to family and friends.

  • […] around the country and world gathered in a big field just north of Cookeville, TN for the annual Muddy Roots Festival. Record heat on Saturday was chased by torrential downpours on Sunday, as the remnants of Tropical […]


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