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In November of 2012 it was announced that Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers were bidding it farewell after 16 years of service—or at least were going on an indefinite hiatus with no future plans to tour or record. Frontman and founder Col. J.D. Wilkes had a new band called The Dirt Daubers with his wife Jessica, and the drummer Brett Whitacre was suffering from a strange heart condition that made him susceptible to fainting spells. All indications were pointing to it being the right time to mothball the project, much to the chagrin of the many Legendary Shack Shaker fans from all across the globe.
But Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers are like a force of nature and couldn’t stay gone for long. After their nearly three-year hiatus, they are about to embark on a big tour starting at the Muddy Roots Festival and routing up through the Northeast with the Whiskey Shivers opening. And according to the band’s frontman, there’s also a new album in the works, roughly scheduled to be released next summer.
“I guess I have musical A.D.D. I always like to keep ‘em guessing…” says J.D. Wilkes about deciding to bring Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers back again. “[Brett Whitacre] will be drumming again and he is indeed doing fine. He has a new daughter and a thriving art career. Things couldn’t be better… Our sound is ever-evolving, so come catch the ‘New Testament’ era of our story arc!”
According to J.D., just because the Shack Shakers are back up and running, that doesn’t mean The Dirt Daubers are going on the back burner. What started as a stripped down Appalachian-style jug band became a raucous, near Shack Shaking affair on their last album Wild Moon. “I always play the music I feel at any given period. Jessica was getting more into rock n roll, so we wrote a record together. The Dirt Daubers will always be the band that my wife and I are in. Therefore we will continue playing from here on out, alternating tours with Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, my book signings, painting gigs, filmmaking stints and solo banjo appearances. All of these express different facets of who I am.”
In fact J.D. is quite the multi-faceted Renaissance man, including representing the United Nations in a cultural exchange between Kentucky and Ireland, and working with an overlooked old-time music elder, 84-year old fiddler Charlie Stamper who has a record due out next month on June Appal Records. “I am very content with my accomplishments, many of which pay me nothing monetarily but reward me with a deeper satisfaction…”
After playing through the Northeast in September, the Shack Shakers will be heading over to Europe in the fall, and then up through the Midwest in November.
Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers Tour Dates
August 30 – Cookeville, TN @ Muddy Roots Festival
September 3 – Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s
September 4 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
September 5 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
September 6 – Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe
September 7 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick Lounge
September 9 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
September 10 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
September 11 – Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn
September 12 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Club
September 13 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes
September 14 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
September 15 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
October 17 – Carbondale, IL @ Hangar 9
October 18 – Paducah, KY @ Maiden Alley Cinema’s Oktoberfest
October 21 – Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2
October 23 – Newcastle, UK @ The Cluny
October 24 – Saddleworth, UK @ The White Hart
October 25 – Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
October 26 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
October 30 – Deventer, Netherlands @ Burgerweeshuis
October 31 – Haarlem, Netherlands @ Patronaat
November 1 – Nijmegen, Netherlands @ Doornroosje
November 12 – Chicago, IL @ Double Door
November 13 -Green Bay, WI @ Lyric Room
November 14 – Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing
November 15 – Ames, IA @ DG’s Tap House
November 16 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
November 18 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Bigs Sport Bar & Billiards
November 19 – Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge
November 20 – Columbia, MO @ Mojo’s
November 21 – St. Louis, MO @ 2720 Cherokee
If you needed any more proof that The Svengali of Country Music, one Shooter Jennings is all about creating a cult of personality and pursuing his name as product, just sit back and appreciate that in this recessionary economy when many artists are slashing ticket prices and making themselves more accessible, Shooter is now asking his hard working fans for $85 simply for the opportunity to shake his hand right before his show and walk away with a tote bag. Yes, quite a hefty price tag for someone who has recently been touting himself as a proponent for independent, grassroots music.
Announced a few days ago, “VIP meet & greet packages” are being offered at many of Shooter’s upcoming appearances, including at the Muddy Roots Festival this late August. What do you get for your $85? A T-shirt, a tote bag, 5 guitar picks (that grand total will cost Shooter less than $12-$15 wholesale), and this is my favorite one, an “Invitation to pre-show private shopping experience.” That’s right folks, for your hard earned $85, you get the exclusive opportunity to spend even more money on Shooter’s merch. What you don’t get for $85? Actual admittance to the show. That will cost you extra. So will the tacked on fees for buying the VIP ticket. After a transaction and convenience fee, the actual cost for a Shooter photo op is $90.64.
For an artist of Shooter’s size, and even ones many steps above him on the music food chain, this type of arrogant cash grab from fans is absolutely unparalleled. Furthermore, Shooter Jennings specifically asking to be dealt with in this manner of privilege at the Muddy Roots Festival is a complete insult to the standing culture and spirit of that particular festival, and all grassroots festivals for that matter. One of the things that makes grassroots festivals such an enjoyable experience is that nobody is above anyone, there are no VIP perks, and fans and artists interact freely.
Even more curious, the Muddy Roots Festival is one of the few events that Shooter has decided to purposely promote this $85 package for.
In May of 2011, SCM interviewed the Galaz brothers who are the promoters of Muddy Roots. They spoke specifically about the access the festival gives fans to the artists:
Anthony: The fans and bands were together. There was no barricade, no barrier, no VIP sections backstage. And that’s what gave the people who made the pilgrimage to Cookeville from whatever state or country such an experience, because all the bands they listen to, they could just go up and talk to them and hang out with them. There’s was nobody that was “too cool.” There were no pedestals.
Jason: I like that, there were no pedestals. It wasn’t, “Hey, there’s rock stars, let’s look at them, but we can’t talk or touch them.”
In August of 2011, SCM interviewed Zale Schoenborn, the promoter of the Pickathon Festival in Portland that this year is featuring Dale Watson, Wayne Hancock, Sturgill Simpson, Caleb Klauder, and many other country acts in a diverse lineup. Zale spoke specifically on how separating artists from fans and setting up VIP perks erodes the festival experience for everyone.
We designed the (Pickathon) space to where you come in and relate to the space without a lot of barriers. And that includes the artists. We don’t wall them off, we don’t have VIP sections, but we do create some communal spaces, and when the artists come out they’re part of the audience. It’s very common sense type stuff. It’s like what you would do if you were hosting people at your house. When people are planning it from X’s and O’s, those decisions about the human element fall to the numbers side. It’s unfortunate because those little things are what people tend to take away.
At last year’s Muddy Roots fest, the 86-year-old country music icon Ralph Stanley stayed after his set and signed every piece of memorabilia brought before him, and took pictures with anyone that wanted one, with no time limit, and no money changing hands for the autographs or photos. So did many of the other bands that played the festival. At Pickathon, after each performer plays, they go to a designated merch area where fans can get memorabilia signed and take pictures with the artists.
The meet and greet marketing tool is traditionally only reserved for large corporate country music festivals and top headliner names way beyond the sphere of Shooter Jennings who is a mid-level club draw at best. Many artists selling out arenas don’t even ask for this type of cash for meet and greets, if they even give their fans the option at all. Many times the meet and greet is for certain members of a fan club or an artist’s message board who have proved their fandom over the years. Even Taylor Swift has a system that rewards the loyalty of fans instead of wealth. At each concert, Swift has a team of people that fan out across the venue looking for attendees that show the most spirit, and hand select them for a free meet and greet opportunity after the show.
Kid Rock made headlines recently announcing he was charging only $20 for tickets for his summer tour, and was also working with venues and promoters to lower prices on food, beverages, and merchandise. “It’s gotten out of hand, price of concerts, the price of entertainment, period,” Kid Rock says. “I’ve been very fortunate, I’ve always tried to keep prices what I think are fair, and I’ve always said I’m proud that I can walk around with my head held high and look someone in the eye, knowing that I haven’t taken an un-honest dollar from a working man. I make a lot of money, I can take a pay cut. All my friends are taking pay cuts, that are in unions, that are farming in Alabama, whatever it is. I can surely take a pay cut, too.”
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Expect the next thing from Shooter to be an explanation of how this was all the result of a snafu between him and his marketing arm, or that he will offer even more incentives now, drop the price, or donate the proceeds to charity, and make a big point of shaking people’s hands at shows who didn’t pay the exorbitant fee, because like all of Shooter’s gross missteps, they’re always followed by a cavalcade of excuses and explanations that his surrogates, sycophants, and toadies always believe, while his underlying approach to selling himself as product and using the names of others as stepping stones remains the same.
Like I have always said to independent and underground music entities, you don’t need Shooter Jennings, Shooter Jennings needs you. Like a politician, Shooter has been out kissing babies. Taking artists out to Chuck E Cheese and buying bloggers drinks, playing artists on his radio show and shaking hands with fans over the last few years was simply setup to an opportunity to cash out on the backs of well-meaning underground roots artists, fans, and entities. And if this latest evidence doesn’t prove this to Shooter apologists, nothing will.
I once heard the worse thing a man could do is draw a hungry crowd
Tell everyone his name, pride, and confidence, but leaving out his doubt
I’m not sure I bought those words, when I was young I knew most everything
These words have never meant as much to anyone, as they now mean to me
Since Saving Country Music is in tune with the plight of the common man, and know many of Shooter’s fans would love to get their picture with him but can’t pay the exorbitant fee, we are manufacturing a life-sized, transportable photo-op of the picture below, to be provided at Shooter Jennings’ live performances. Poor, hapless Shooter fans and their friends can simply stick their faces through the provided holes, and have the next best thing to getting their picture taken with the Country Music Svengali himself. And it’s all free! (sorry, no tote bags will be given away)
(7-11-13 9:20 PM CDT): Shooter Jennings and/or his management have decided to drop the offer of VIP packages at festivals. As I said above, “Expect the next thing from Shooter to be an explanation of how this was all the result of a snafu between him and his marketing arm,” and on cue, Shooter surrogate Jon Hensley explains, “There was a miscommunication between myself and the company that makes these VIP upgrades possible.” You can read Jon Hensley’s entire statement below.
With no malice or mincing of words, I commend Shooter Jennings and/or his management for seeing that these VIP upgrades at grassroots festivals were unfair, unfeasible, and against the spirit of independent country and roots music. Though I still believe the price Shooter is asking for his VIP upgrade is egregious and unparalleled for an artist his size, and that the whole culture of VIP treatment has no place in independent roots music, the elimination of the option for festivals helps preserve the camaraderie and the independent spirit that makes these festivals so enjoyable for fans, and gives them a unique experience in music where all patrons are treated equal.
Jon Hensley’s statement:
Just to clarify…we are not offering any VIP ticket upgrades at any festival Shooter Jennings is playing this year or any year. There was a miscommunication between myself and the company that makes these VIP upgrades possible. But, they will ONLY be available for club and theater dates. To any son of a bitch that has a problem with us offering these upgrades you should talk to any of the fans that have actually purchased one. Ask them if they felt like their money was well spent. It is totally laughable that some stupid asshole hiding behind a computer thinks he has the right to tell Shooter’s fans how they should or should not spend their own hard earned money. This is a business and at the end of the day we all have to make smart business decisions to survive. Offering an optional concert ticket upgrade to loyal fans is not wrong or unheard of and no matter what anybody thinks about it we will continue to offer the upgrades until the world comes to an end. And, if any “blogger” has a problem with them they can address it face to face. All you have to do is purchase the ticket upgrade and see us at the meet and greet.
I have no problem meeting someone face to face and explaining my grievances with Shooter’s VIP package, but to act like not doing this initially is some sort of move of cowardice is pretty high school. Where is Jon Hensley at the moment? Is he within driving distance? I don;t have a problem meeting him, but maybe the matter is more practical to deal with through the miracle of internet. Also, nobody is hiding behind a screen. Last weekend I was out in public at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic for 12 straight hours. I’ve been at 4 of the last 5 Pickathon Festivals, the last 2 Muddy Roots Festivals, SXSW a dozen or so times, and live events on a regular basis. If someone wants to come and speak to me in person, I am very accessible, wherever I am. And I don;t say anything on this website that I wouldn’t say to anyone’s “face.”
The Farmageddon Records family suffered a grave loss last week when Richard Laferte II unexpectedly passed away Saturday, January 5th while visiting family and friends over the holidays in his home state of Maine. Richard, who was living in California with his wife of 4 years, Holly Atkinson Laferte, moved to Maine in 1983, and grew up in the Bangor area. Richard was involved in Little League baseball and youth hockey, and graduated from John Bapst Memorial High School in 1999. He was part of the YMCA Leader’s School, and received the Fellowship Cup during his last year in attendance.
Later in life Richard Laferte was a tireless friend of music and a right hand man at Farmageddon Records, helping to promote bands on the label’s roster and others in the underground and independent roots world. On Thursday, January 10th, music friends from all around the country trekked to the Peakes Hill Lodge in Dedham, Maine just southeast of Bangor to pay their respects and return the music favors Richard had bestowed to them over the years. Following a formal time of remembrance, the gathering turned to celebrating Richard’s life through music.
The celebration included the reunification of 3 original members of the .357 String Band, Jayke Orvis, Derek Dunn, and Joseph Huber. Though all 3 members have moved on to solo careers in music, this is the first time all three men were together since Jayke Orvis left the band in June of 2009. Other musicians in attendance were Graham Lindsey, James Hunnicutt, St. Christopher, and Braxton Brandenburg from the Ugly Valley Boys. Darren and Johnny Wrong of Farmageddon, as well as many other close friends and family were also in attendance.
Richard A. Laferte II was 31. Along with his wife Holly Atkinson Laferte, Richard is survived by his parents Dick and Debbie Laferte of Bangor.
Folks wanting to contribute to Richard’s family are asked to make a donation in his name to the Bangor YMCA Leader’s School in his name, Bangor YMCA 17 Second St., Bangor, ME 04401.
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.357 String Band Reunites for Richard Laferte:
Left: Richard Laferte. Right: Richard in YMCA Leaders School
Richard Laferte in the crowd at the Muddy Roots Festival 2011.
Original members of .357 String Band reunite for Richard
James Hunnicutt pays tribute to Richard.
Pictures from Richard Laferte celebration by Darren of Farmageddon and Braxton Brandenburg.
Don Maddox, the last surviving member of the wildly-influential Maddox Brothers & Rose, will be recognized in his hometown of Ashland, Oregon for his 90th birthday at the Don Maddox Birthday Celebration on Saturday, December 8th.
Don Maddox moved to Ashland, OR from California in the late 50′s after The Maddox Brothers & Rose disbanded, and bought a 300-acre cattle ranch where he’s been “hibernating” (in his words) from the music business for the last 54 years. Don still works and lives on the remaining 80-acre parcel, where one of Ashland’s landmarks, Don’s “Maddox Revolution Angus” barn sits prominently on a hillside on the east side of town.
The Maddox Brothers & Rose are one of the most influential bands in the history of American music. Don and his family migrated from Alabama in 1933 during the Depression to California, and became the first band to formulate what would later become known as the California country, West Coast, or Bakersfield Sound. They were called “The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band” and played shows with folks as far ranging as Ernest Tubb and Elvis Presley.
It is said that Elvis when playing a show with The Maddox Family in Beaumont, TX was inspired by The Maddox Brothers’ colorful uniforms and adopted the fashion style himself. The Maddox Brothers and Rose were there at the beginning of the formation of country, rockabilly, and rock and roll music, and are given credit for influencing them all equally.
Don Maddox has been enjoying a major resurgence in his musical career thanks to the re-popularization of the music of Maddox Brothers & Rose, and his own music he’s been releasing on his record label “Revolution Records”. Don and The Maddox Brothers and Rose are heavily featured in a brand new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, TN showcasing the Bakersfield Sound from California that Don and the Maddox Brothers were seminal in creating.
When Merle Haggard was asked to be part of the opening ceremony for the Bakersfield Sound exhibit, he said, “If you don’t have Don Maddox out here for this, you may as well not have it at all.” During Don’s trip to Nashville for the opening of the exhibit, he was also invited on to the Grand Ole Opry where he received two standing ovations. He also has headlined the Muddy Roots Festival in Tennessee the last two years.
Don Maddox’s 90th Birthday Celebration will feature performances by the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers, Sage Meadows and her band High Country, Don Maddox himself, and the legendary Ashland bluegrass group Siskiyou Summit, who was the backing band Don’s sister Rose Maddox for many years. Rose, who passed away in 1998, is buried in Ashland, as are all the members of Maddox Brothers & Rose.
Don Maddox’s 90th Birthday Celebration will be from 2 to 6 PM, December 8th at the Ashland Community Center, located just across from Lithia Park at 59 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR 97520. Don’s actual birthday is Pearl Harbor day, December 7th.
For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.donmaddox.weebly.com.
Presentation to the Ashland, OR City Council at part of the Don Maddox 90th Birthday Celebration:
Don Maddox on the Marty Stuart Show:
Though I get varying degrees of enjoyment from virtually all the bands that constitute the overall “Muddy Roots” world, there was only one that I really just could not stomach: Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. Over the years, there’s been no quicker punch out for me than when Rev. Peyton came on a podcast. It just felt so gimmicky. His voice was so inflected, and the lyrics so repetitive. I never felt the need to go public with my disdain–there was nothing productive in that–and even though I couldn’t stand the music, you’d have to be stupid to not notice that Reverend Peyton is possibly the best finger style slide guitar player the Deep Blues boasts.
But as the songs on Between The Ditches began to trickle out, I began to wonder if Reverend Peyton had evolved into a different animal. When the barrel-chested, Brutus-looking man took the stage at the Muddy Roots Festival this summer with Washboard Breezy and drummer Aaron “Cuz” Persinger, they put on one of the marquee performances of the weekend. The crowd lost their minds, busting up hay bales meant for seating and tossing them in the air in a wild scene.
I swear, it is almost like Reverend Peyton had a little window into my brain when making Between The Ditches, because virtually every one of the concerns I had about their sound going in was resolved, while still keeping what is at the heart of their raucous and rowdy Delta-blues sound completely alive.
For an underground roots band, Reverend Peyton is “making it.” Worming their way on to the Warped Tour and opening for The Reverend Horton Heat, they’ve found some traction with their music by working hard and taking a professional approach as opposed to compromising their sound. That is what’s great about Between The Ditches. It’s not a change, it is a refinement. Thought Rev. Peyton still has the same bellowy voice, he’s figured out how to employ it better, keep it in check when it could be grating. Though the repetitiveness in some of the lyrics remains, it’s measured. And though there’s still the Vaudevillian feel, there seems to be new value put on the music over the show.
But the best part about Between The Ditches is the songs, like the deep, groovy “Big Blue Chevy ’72″, the fun look at political fatuousness “Shake ‘em Off Like Fleas”, and the “Between The Ditches” title track preaching about the dangers bands face being on the road. “The Money Goes” may be the best example of Rev. Peyton’s evolution, how the lyrics evolve over time instead of relying on one catchy line.
The big surprise of Between The Ditches and possibly the best song is the enigmatic “I Don’t Know”. This song catches you completely off guard with its approach and theme. The usually grounded and folksy Big Damn Band gets insightful and inquisitive, as Rev’s slide finds the top register in echo to lyrical lines in a stroke of brilliant composition.
There are a few songs I may have left off, like the repetitious “Shut The Screen” that reminded me of the song “Everything’s Raising” that was seminal to my previous distaste of this band. But one of the great attributes of Between The Ditches is how it guides you into understanding Reverend Peyton’s approach, how he sometimes uses repeating lyrical lines to engage you in a rhythmic cycle meant to ensnare you in the music. This is not music to listen to, it is music to feel. In the spirit of Delta blues, it grooves, and cycles and repetition are important both to its effectiveness, and to the roots of the music.
This is a good album. It’s not for everyone, and Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band will always be a better experience live with the energy they evoke. But it’s a great home edition, and a great step in the direction of opening up their music to a greater audience.
1 3/4 of 2 guns up.
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Lower Broadway in Nashville has a new songstress haunting the streets, and she’s a good one. Sarah Gayle Meech, originally from the sticks of Washington State, showed up in town via LA and is doing what she can to make sure the once epicenter of the underground of country music doesn’t become just a row of corporate bars and crappy music.
If you want to know how to put out one badass independent/underground country album in Nashville, you could use One Good Thing as a template. First you line up the greatest renegade studio owner in town, one Andy Gibson, maybe more famous for being Hank Williams III’s steel and dobro player, but the man who tweaked the knobs on such legendary albums as Hank III’s Straight to Hell, .357 String Band‘s Fire & Hail, and every piece of recorded music Bob Wayne has ever released.
Then you line up the best superpickers in town, namely the superlative “Cousin” Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart, many others), and the legendary Chris Scruggs (BR549, many others). Just with these assets, if underground country were an arms race, Sarah Gayle Meech would have just announced herself a superpower.
But none of these dude’s names are on the cover, and none of them wrote these songs. Sarah and her songwriting are the center of attention here, and with impeccable country taste and instincts, Sarah assembles 12 original and authentic honky-tonk hard country songs for your listening enjoyment.
Don’t let the sleeves of tattoos scare you, this is country and country only. There’s no screams coming out of those red lips, or goat horns concealed under that raven black hair. Sarah Gayle Meech and One Good Thing are country through and through, piercing the breastplate of honky tonk with an adrenaline shot right to its heart.
Lying, cheating, heartache, and one night stands are the colors Sarah swirls together on her palette and then paints on to the canvas with a strong voice and a stellar band. I’ve seen Sarah live (at Muddy Roots) and can vouch One Good Thing isn’t just a product of studio magic, that live the material might even be more engaging, as in many instances honky-tonk-style country is. Sarah has set up residency at Lower Broadway’s famed Bluegrass Inn, and plays Robert’s Western World next door as well. She boasts a professional band and attitude, and her dedication, heart, and willingness to sacrifice to do it right is woven into the fabric of this album.
One Good Thing is a great debut album from Sarah, but what I want to see from here is how she develops and figures out a way to separate herself sonically from the overwhelming crowd of traditional bands and artists playing honky tonk music these days. She’s cut her teeth now, proven her country cred and how the modes and love of true country music coarse through her veins. But all the greats in the genre brought something unique to the table. They added something, or took something away, or reached deep down inside themselves to find a way to separate themselves from the herd.
I won’t say the material and music on One Good Thing is cliche, but the lyrics and licks are common enough that I’m afraid it will sound like “just another traditional country album” to some. This is a common issue for honky tonk artists, even for folks like Dale Watson.
Sarah Gayle Meech gives new blood to old music, and with a bold style and a professional attitude, she should be keeping Lower Broadway true to itself and hopefully expanding to parts beyond in the years to come.
1 1/2 of 2 guns up.
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Sarah at Robert’s on Lower Broadway
Welcome ladies and gentleman to the Saving Country Music LIVE blog from the 2012 Muddy Roots Festival! This will be a running timeline of pictures, observances, news, festival updates, and funny quips from the Muddy Roots site for festival goers and the folks that can’t make it and wish to live the experience vicariously.
A few housekeeping items: I’m starting the timeline early with the setup days so posts might be sparse to begin, but please check back over the weekend as things heat up. And if this page gets too long, I might launch subsequent blogs for each day or something; we’ll figure it out as we go.
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9/3 12:35 PM – On Suday of the fest I was completely unable to connect to the internet, and then the rains came and I was pressed into full-time duty for the fest. So as you can see the “live” blog suffered, but here’s a few more pictures. I will be posting a full recap of the festival in the coming days!
Adam Lee w/ Kody Oh! of the Calamity Cubes and Beth Chisman
My Graveyard Jaw
Pine Box Boys w/ Husky Burnette
The Queen of Underground Country, Rachel Brooke
Pine Hill Haints in the crowd
Dr. Ralph Stanley braving the rain to play Stage 2
The Everymen on the main stage after the rain.
9/2 12:15 PM – Joe Buck amongst a sea of fans.
9/2 12:10 PM – All the talk of rain and Issac spoiling the weekend, except for two passing light showers, the weather has been mostly dry. Friday was very hot and muggy, but Saturday was about as good weather as you could wish for this time of year in middle Tennessee. Sunday there’s a better chance of rain, but so far all the big stuff has passed north and south. Here’s Saturday night headliner The Reverend Horton Heat on the main stage.
9/2 12:00 PM – If you want the best story from the 2012 Muddy Roots Festival, this one might be it. Word got out to the festival that 80-something blues legend Robert Belfour had been in a bad wreck on the highway and wouldn’t be able to perform. Right before another band took the stage as a replacement, he showed up. In a tow truck. With the tow truck driver carrying his guitar and amp. Now if that ain’t the blues, I’ll eat my hat. The tow truck driver stayed through the whole set and attended to the needs of Robert, and when he was done, chauffeured him off. Pictured below Robert Belfour is is his friend L.C. Ulmer who regaled the crowd by chicken walking across the stage and playing behind his back.
9/2 4:30 AM - Well my ability to connect to the internet Saturday night went from deplorable to impossible. I have many stories to tell, but let me first tide you over with some pictures.
The Calamity Cubes! on the main stage.
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Stage 2 headliners Saturday night.
Restavrant, who closed out the night at 2:45 AM
9/1 6:55 PM – That bus pulling up at the top of the hill belongs to tonight’s headliner The Reverend Horton Heat.
9/1 6:20 PM – Unfortunately Left Lane Cruiser had to cancel, so we plucked Ray Lawrence Jr. out of the crowd and put him on stage!
9/1 6:15 PM – Hellfire Revival after their set on Stage 2.
9/1 6:10 PM – Don Maddox congratulates Dad Horse Experience on a great set!
9/1 5:18 PM – Dad Horse Experience came out all the way from Germany to play Muddy Roots. He’s a avant-guarde bajor-playing weirdo with a thick German accent. So how did it go over? Amazing. He took two encores.
9/1 5:15 PM – Now THAT’S dedication. Check out the Muddy Roots ink:
9/1 3:35 PM – One of my biggest takeaways from 2012 Muddy Roots will be the Defibulators from New York. Excellent songwriting and substance from this band without sacrificing the fun factor. Loved these dudes.
9/1 3:28 PM – Muddy Roots Lunch Day 2: Fish Tacos
9/1/ 3:15 PM – The beautiful Pearls Mahone on Stage 2
9/1 1:10 PM – Lunchtime counts for early morning at Muddy Roots. Peewee Moore got things kicked off on the main stage this morning, and if that won’t wake you up, the Celtic country punk of Cuttthroat Shamrock will.
9/1 11:10 AM- Just getting moving around after a night of music that didn’t end until 3 AM. Jayke Orvis was the final show of Friday on Stage 2, and even thought he didn’t start until about 1:45, the crowd was huge. Two great moments when JB Beverley and Rachel Brooke came up to sing tunes. Got some great video of the Jayke/Rachel duet “Hold Me Tight” I can’t wait to share. At 2:30 AM they shut the sound off, so Jayke and the band just went out into the crowd and played acoustic. It was a pretty memorable moment.
9/1 1:05 AM – The Legendary Shack Shakers are living up to their legendary name under the second stage tent. I got a ton of amazing shots. Perfect combination of light, smoke, dust, and energy. I’ll share this one for now.
9/1 1:00 AM – One of the most authentic performers you will find. James Hand on the Muddy Roots main stage.
8/31 11:35 PM Bob Wayne murdering it on Stage 2 right now!
8/31 11:20 PM Another awesome picture. Dale Watson w/ Little Jimmy Dickens. Dale played right after Jimmy on the main stage.(Joe Buck in the forefront in second picture).
8/31 7:50 PM – Don Maddox on the Main Stage!
8/31 7:45 PM - Amazing moment w/ JD Wilkes, Avery from The Gallows, Kody Oh! from the Calamity Cubes, and others jamming on stage!
8/31 7:40 PM – Coolest picture of the fest yet. Little Jimmy Dickens and Don Maddox hanging out, getting ready for their sets on the main stage!
8/31 6:15 PM – While we were gone, Filthy Still drew one of the biggest Stage 2 crowds I’ve ever seen at Muddy Roots, Lone Wolf OMB absolutely rocked it, and Husky Burnette is throwing the filthy blues down right now!
8/31 5:55 PM – Alright folks, so after someone walked off with my camera, trying to post from my phone fried all my other posts from today. Finally found the camera, and got the posts restored. Sorry for the inconvenience!
8/31 2:45 PM – Muddy Roots has begun! Johnny Foodstamp has taken the stage!
8/31 2:35 – Fry Pharmacy that uses the original gear from Nashville’s famous Studio “B” will be out at Muddy Roots recording all weekend!
8/31 2:25 – My lunch was provided by Bayport BBQ’s Chris Johnson, the same man who founded the Deep Blues Fest. Two guns up!
8/31 2:00 – Well the music doesn’t start for another 30 minutes, but folks have been jamming on vendor alley and in the campround all last night and today. Lone Wolf OMB found some jamming buddies!
8/31 1:00 PM – HA! JB Beverly has been buzzing the campground in a Shriner-sized homade motorbike thingy with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth. Music starts in 1 1/2 hours!
8/31 11:40 – Jack White’s Third Man Records mobile record store has arrived!
8/31 11:30 – Vendor row is just about full. I’m blown away by the variety of food here this year. Greek, Gator, Jamaican, World Famous Bayport BBQ all the way from Minnesota, a hippie bus serving up who knows what, I just hope there’s enough time to sample it all before the end of the weekend.
8/31 11:15 AM: Fans and vendors came streaming in all last night and now the grounds are beginning to fill up. Only a few of the choice camping spots in the shade of the tress are left. Folks are pumped for the music that will begin at 2:30 PM on Stage 2.
8/30 9:15 PM: Folks have been rolling in like crazy here. The site is really filling up and the fest doesn’t officially start until tomorrow. Have seen Viva Le Vox, Filthy Still, Rusty Knuckles Records, J.B. Beverly, and a bunch of other folks roll in through the front gate.
8/30 3:00 PM: The dignitaries keep rolling in. Just saw Chris Johnson, the Godfather of the Deep Blues Fest and his entourage show up. And Rachel Brooke, fiance Junk, Rachel’s brother and traveling party just pulled up in Rachel’s grandmother’s Class C RV.
8/30 2:45 PM: The Voodoo Kings Car Club volunteering to build the doors for the cabins. These are some good dudes!
8/30 12:50 PM : Have seen some concerned about weather. The Issac remnants are scheduled to go significantly west and north of the fest at the moment. The forecast may say 30% chance of rain, but more than likely it will rain a bit for maybe 15-20 each day and then pass. Please special provisions have been made for rain this year. Stage 2 and Stage 3 are on higher ground, and the tents are bigger to accommodate more folks. Don’t let weather be the reason you don’t make it to Muddy Roots!
8/30 12:30 PM: Muddy Roots ain’t just about music, it’s got kick ass food too. The Gator man just finished setting up!
8/30 11:155 AM: Cabin city is almost complete. A crew has been working for weeks to provide air-conditioned cabins. Put the doors on and they’re done!
Wednesday night 8/29: We’ve been working all day getting the site ready to go. Tents are in the air!
A couple of things worth noting: In the Field Guide I said that the word was AT&T phones were working, but I found reception on my AT&T smartphone VERY spotty. The older yout AT&T phone is, the more likely you will have reception. Also if you notice from the pictures below, Stage 2 has been moved farther back than last year so it is on higher ground and because it is a much bigger tent, so plan for longer walks between Stage 1 and Stage 2. Stage 3 is in the middle.
If there’s one thing you can expect from Dale Watson, it’s a new album on the way. With 21 major albums under his belt in 17 years, the iconic pompadoured Texas music legend has been nothing less than prolific.
His last album The Sun Sessions with its Johnny Cash-infused vibe came out in October of 2011 so you’d figure it’s about time for him to release some new material, and that’s exactly what he’ll do on Monday (8-27) when he debuts his new single “Daughter’s Wedding Song”; the first single from his upcoming album I Lie When I Drink due out in early 2013.
“I’m often asked to recommend a song for the father/daughter dance,” Dale says. “I usually say Merle Haggard’s “Farmers Daughter.’” The only problem is that, in the song, the mother is gone. So one day I told this couple I would write one special for the dance. While writing, I drew on my two daughters for inspiration and started crying halfway through it. I figured if it hit my heart strings, maybe it’ll hit the heart strings of fathers and daughters everywhere.”
Like The Sun Sessions, I Lie When I Drink will be released on Red House Records. And for those that can’t wait for some Dale, he will be playing at the Muddy Roots Festival in Cookeville, TN Friday night (8-31), right after Little Jimmy Dickens, and right before Wayne “The Train” Hancock.
Here’s Dale performing the song “I Lie When I Drink”
From certain people’s perspectives, when they look at the top of the pyramid in independent country/roots they may see Hank Williams III, or maybe Shooter Jennings. But there is a whole other sphere based in and around North Carolina that have The Avett Brothers at the top of the heap. Just like Hank3 and Shooter, the Avetts have made their name in quasi-country, but unlike Hank3 and Shooter, they’ve not been helped by their names. Just like Hank3, the Avetts are wildly influential, spawning some great bands, and some unfortunate doppelgangers (see Mumford & Sons), but they’ve also made it far beyond the Hank3 ceiling, now regularly selling out arenas.
It’s curious how rarely these two sides of the roots world come together, but if you take the Avett’s energy and exploration of emotionalism, mixed with the rawness of underground roots, what you get is the Wichita, KS-based Calamity Cubes. Banjo, guitar, and upright bass, they’re not afraid to bare their naked soul in a song, or come crashing into the mosh pit instruments and all.
They say to make it in music today you need a distinct voice. Well The Calamity Cubes have two of them; the deep, brooding baritone of Brook Blanche, and the whimsical, character-filled sighs of Joey Henry. Bass player Cody Oh! is not afraid to sing one too, or be the solid harmony backing up Brook and Joey. Get them all going at once and it’s something special. Live, it is the energy of The Calamity Cubes that first captures you, but soon you gravitate toward the soul encapsulated in the vocals, and the ponderous nature of the songwriting.
Old World’s Ocean puts The Calamity Cubes’ bevy of talents on glorious display. Excellent songwriting is conveyed through flawless vocal performances and inventive music. The Cubes are mostly a tale of the two songwriters Joey And Brook, with each singing their own compositions, but the album starts off with a very collaborative song “Anchors The Way” where the three men’s voices weave and intertwine.
One of the slight misgivings I’ve had about the Cubes in the past is Joey Henry’s tendency to strum the banjo instead of pick. Outside of of certain ragtime circles, banjo strumming is somewhat unaccepted, but in “Anchors The Way” and other Calamity Cubes songs, Joey shows how the banjo’s unique ring set to an engaging rhythmic pattern can do wonders for the shivers housed along the human spine.
Brook Blanche is credited with the lion share of the songwriting on Old World’s Ocean, and supplies the songs of drinking and heartache. One great thing about The Calamity Cubes is they each display such great character through their music and appearance, and they are so distinct and unique, yet counter-balance each other perfectly. Brook seems a wash of emotions and chemical imbalances that bring his wide, dark, and tall lug to a submission of sways and binges.
Songs like “Rock Chalk” and “Lillybelle” convey a man with little or no control of his delicate side, who’s moaning voice bellows out from the very inner depths of dark human emotions. “Lillybelle” is helped along by an excellent guitar solo by contributor Paul DeCeglie, and marks one of the album’s best tracks along with Brook’s “Empty Bottle” that rivals any country drinking song in depth of songwriting. “Thought I Lost You” is a respite from Brook’s depression, whose genius is in the song’s short length and sweet message.
Joe Henry with his muppet-like hair and disarming warmth draws you in with his whimsy, poetic nature, and his romantic’s heart. His arrangements are more loose, abstract affairs, like musical roller coaster rides. “Bathwater” has a gospel heart, but with a much more progressive, loose approach that’s the perfect vehicle for showcasing Henry’s elevated vocal prowess. Joey Henry closes out the album with the sweet and slyly-wise “Traveling Lovers Lullaby”.
Gospel is one of the building blocks of The Calamity Cubes sound, and makes another appearance in Kody Oh!’s contribution “Salvation”. The other side is represented by Brook Blanch’s skeptical and jaded “Same God”. Strong opinions of politics and religion in music are usually no no’s for me, and this song would fit in that category. But that’s my personal hangup and it would be unfair to say that this song isn’t touched by Brook’s astute songwriting like all the others.
With only three players and no drummer, The Cubes are usually too busy holding down the rhythm to add traditional “solos” to their music. But on Old World’s Ocean they bring in a stable of solid contributors including the aforementioned Paul DeCeglie, and players from another Wichita-based band Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy to help clothe the compositions.
By being unafraid to display their vulnerabilities, yet having an inherent rawness to their music and releasing it through one of the most “hardcore” labels in roots circles in the form of Farmageddon Records, The Calamity Cubes create a unique and important nexus in string-based roots music, and do so while putting out creative, innovative, and entertaining tunes that touch all parts of the musical anatomy.
Two guns up!
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Old World’s Ocean does not have an official release date as of yet, but can be pre-ordered from Farmageddon. It has also been previously made available in limited quantities at XSXSW 5, Farmageddon Fest, and will be available in limited quantities at the upcoming Muddy Roots Festival.
The Muddy Roots Festival is nigh upon us, and folks from all around the country and world will be making the trek to Cookeville, TN in a few days for the premier event for underground/independent roots music.
If you have been there before, you know you are about to be a part of one of the best music experiences of your life, and if this is your first time, you will realize that soon.
Most of the information you need to know about the Muddy Roots Festival can be found on their website, but here is a more in-depth look for folks who want to be prepared, as well as some updated information about the lineup and such.
This is all the info you need in one place, so print it out, bookmark it and pull it up on your phone during the fest, and most importantly, have fun!
Free Music Downloads
Whether you’re attending the Muddy Roots Festival or not, you should take advantage of the 30 free songs Muddy Roots has made available from this year’s performers. It’s the perfect thing to listen to on the trek there and back, or to live vicariously through the music if you can’t be there.
The Schedule & Lineup
Please be aware and help spread the word that there has been some changes to the lineup and schedule since it was initially released in May, principally that T Model Ford and GravelRoad will not be performing because of his recent health issues, and neither will Slim Chance and the Can’t Hardly Playboys. Other names have been added, and others moved around to fill spots. The most up-to-date and accurate schedule is printed in the latest edition of The Rambler Zine which is available for $1, can be viewed online, and will also be available for free at Muddy Roots. SCM’s calendar goddess has also made the schedule available in multiple PDF formats that you can print out or download below.
Provisions have been made this year to reduce the overlap of the performances so that hopefully folks aren’t torn between who to see, but I would recommend looking over the schedule and doing some planning before you leave for the fest. Also be realistic and plan for downtime, hanging out at camp with friends and/or impromptu jams in the campground, seeing bands that you DON’T know, etc. etc. And please be aware as always the schedule is subject to change.
There will be a 3rd stage set up this year that will act as an “open mic” stage, and where movies etc. will be shown. If you’re planning to show up and play stage 3, you may want to reach out to Muddy Roots beforehand or as soon as you arrive to make sure you are secured a spot.
Stage 3 – Open Mic Stage – Movie Screenings
This year, Stage 3 is an Open Mic stage for artists and bands that are attending Muddy Roots and want an opportunity to play. Some acts that have been confirmed to be playing are:
- Ray Lawrence Jr.
- Black Eyed Vermillion
- Los Bastardos Magnificos
- The Dirt Scab Band
- Sean Wheeler, possibly with a very special guest (wink,wink)
- Don Maddox (second set)
There will be certain times on all three days of the fest where Stage 3 will be reserved for specific events. For example, Don Maddox will be doing a second set and telling stories for a recording. Beyond that, performers are encouraged to sign up and play on a first come, first serve basis, as long as they are respectful to the other performers and take no longer than 30 minutes on stage. Artists or bands that are performing on the other stages over the weekend that, for example, want to play acoustic sets or collaborate with other artists on side projects are also welcome, but please be respectful of the folks who may have not had a chance to play yet. There will be a sign-up list, and please understand it will be a loose, organic situation that everyone must work together to make work.
There will be a PA provided for sound on Stage 3, but performers will be expected to help with their own sound, and supplies of mic/cords/etc. may be limited, so come prepared. Please understand that with the unlimited amount of people that could show up wanting to play the open mic, playing does not mean you get free admittance to the fest. However open mic performers are more than welcome to sell merch, or possibly play twice, as long as they are respectful to the other performers.
Movies will be shown late at night Thursday night for early comers, and possibly other nights on a big screen. There will also be screenings of The Folksinger and We Juke Up In Here during evening sets at Stage 3.
Food, Drink, Alcohol, Merch, & Vendors
The Muddy Roots Festival has plenty of food vendors on site that will be cooking all day and all night, including breakfast fare. The famous hippie bus that was such a big hit last year will be there again, and so will a new vendor selling gator. And of course there’s hamburgers and hot dogs, vegetarian choices, just about whatever you would want to eat, so bringing your own food or running into town is not necessary, but unlike many festivals, you can bring your own food, beverage, alcohol on-site if you want. As hot as it can get in late August in middle Tennessee, I would recommend everyone arrive with a stock of water. There will be beer available at the June Bug bar, and not at baseball game/Bonnaroo prices. Everything is fairly reasonably priced.
Along with food and beverage vendors, there will also be craft vendors, and of course plenty of merch and music you can purchase to help support the bands. Jack White’s Third Man Records will be driving their mobile merch van out from Nashville for the event for example, so bring an few extra bucks for goodies to take home. This year Muddy Roots is setting up a “General Store” that will be located at the back of stage 3 where all the bands will assemble their merch. They will also be selling sundries, snacks, and Muddy Roots souveniers.
There are no reserved camp spots at the June Bug Ranch. The festival is in a very large open field with a ridge down the middle where all the stages and vendors set up. Around the edge of the field are woods where you can get shade, and those are the areas that tend to fill up first. Camping is first come, first serve, so if you plan to camp, the earlier you get there, the better. You can camp right by your car, pull up an RV or trailer, take as much space as you want, it’s no problem, and the camping is free with your admission. All camping is primitive and so there are no electric or water hookups, but there is electric and water on the site if you need it, as well as an ice vendor who makes the rounds all day.
The best part about camping is that you will always be right by the action, and don’t have to worry about DUI’s. Everything is within walking distance. Even if you’re planning to stay in a hotel, it may not be a bad idea if you’re driving in to pack a tent and a sleeping bag just in case. There will always be plenty of room to set up.
There are also air-conditioned, lockable cabins for rent but by none other than Muddy Roots blues performer Cashman, but supply is limited at this point to Thursday, Sunday, and Monday. You can rent them at the Muddy Roots Online Store. Tent and sleeping bag rental is closed for 2012, but consider they do offer that service if you are attending next year. Campers can arrive a day early (Thursday Aug 30th) and stay a day late (Monday Sept. 3rd).
Parking is free with admittance as well, and just like camping, is sort of “find the best spot” in the designated parking areas. The areas near the stages and vendors on the top ridge should be kept clear for the people working the festival and attendees with special needs. All roads and paths should be kept clear as well. Muddy Roots IS wheelchair and elderly accessible.
There is no seating in front of either of the stages, so even if you’re not planning to camp, you may consider bringing folding chairs for certain events. The Muddy Roots Festival and the June Bug Ranch are completely self contained, so there’s no reason to leave the fest once you get there, unless you want to.
Showers / Style Tips
Hot showers are provided on site for no additional charge. There will be hand washing stations by the portable toilets throughout the grounds. There is not water throughout the camping areas, but there are some spigots in and around the vendors that you can use. Dress comfortably. Wear good shoes. Worry about staying cool first instead of looking cool. Expect rain. And for the ladies, here’s some beauty tips specifically catered to Muddy Roots:
There is ample hotel space in Cookeville to accommodate everyone attending Muddy Roots, so don’t worry about a run on rooms. The fest’s lodge of choice is the Key West Inn which is the closest hotel to the grounds and also provides a shuttle to and from and offers a special rate. The Key West Inn may fill up, so book early if you can. Aside from that, there are numerous choices for hotels in Cookeville. Cookeville also has plenty of grocery stores, big box stores, restaurants, etc, whatever you might need if a need arises.
In Case Of Rain
In 2011, torrential rain from a tropical storm made for a muddy Muddy Roots on Sunday. This year, provisions have been made in case of major inclement weather, mainly that Stage 2 and Stage 3 are going to be set up on higher ground, where water is less likely to pool. Both the Stage 2 and Stage 3 tents are going to be bigger as well. If rain forces the closing of the main stage, then all the performances will be moved under the Stage 2 and Stage 3 tents. All Stage 1 performances will be on Stage 2, and all Stage 2 performances on Stage 3, and then times will be the same.
Cellphone / Internet Access
The first two years of Muddy Roots, AT&T phones had trouble finding signal, though Verizon and some other carriers were fine.
The word is this year AT&T phones are working fine. UPDATE: After my first day out on the site (Thursday), I found AT&T service out there VERY sketchy. If you have AT&T, likely the older your phone is, the better chance you will have at reception.
Internet access is available at the front bar of the June Bug Ranch if needed. Take into consideration that power outlets are only scantly available throughout the site, so maybe consider packing in an extra battery or have some other plan for staying charged.
Make The Most of Your Trip to Middle Tennessee
Whether you’re driving or flying in, take note that Muddy Roots is only an hour from Nashville. Lower Broadway is where much of this music originated. Take a gander into Hatch Show Print, The Bluegrass Inn, and the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. Take a tour of The Ryman Auditorium. The Country Music Hall of Fame has exhibits up right now on Minnie Pearl and the Bakersfield Sound.
Just as you may be traveling to Muddy Roots, so are many of the bands. Check the SCM Calender and see if maybe on your way you can catch one or two on a tour stop.
If you want to volunteer at Muddy Roots to help make the festival better, or if you have any questions or concerns, email nashville rockabilly at gmail dot com.
Take Care of Yourself, and Muddy Roots
Last year the Muddy Roots Festival experienced extreme heat, and then extreme rain. Many folks not used to being out in the heat and eager to get their party on ended up missing many of their favorite bands because they were in their camp with various symptoms of heat exhaustion. Eat, hydrate, and sleep well first, and then worry about whatever fun things you want to pour down your gullet. Trust me, this will make for a more pleasant experience.
If you’re planning on camping at the fest, expect there to be noise all night. People are there to have fun. At the same time, be respectful of your neighbors. There is security at Muddy Roots, but the best way Muddy Roots and other independent festivals can stay cool and not have the restrictive environment found at most corporate festivals is by people taking care and policing each other, handling problems around the campfire, and being understanding.
Understand the Muddy Roots is where a lot of independent/underground roots music is presented to the rest of the world, and that the rest of the world is watching. People causing problems leads to rules, and rules lead to a less fun time for the rest of us. There is a list of rules that you can read near the bottom of the Muddy Roots website, but this biggest one is DON’T BE A DICK.
The Muddy Roots 2012 Schedule has been changed and updated. For the latest Schedule check out the 2012 Muddy Roots Field Guide.
Saving Country Music is pleased to bring you the official performance schedule for the Muddy Roots Festival 2012 in Cookeville, TN Aug. 31st-Sep. 2nd. It includes a whopping 10 new additions from the previously-released lineup, including Grand Ole Opry icon and Country Music Hall of Famer Little Jimmy Dickens, and Texas country music legend James “Slim” Hand. Along with California country godfather Don Maddox of The Maddox Brothers & Rose, and two great blues legends Robert “Wolfman” Belfour and L.C. Ulmer, Muddy Roots has the roots covered. Muddy Roots will have an unprecedented 5 artists perform who are in their 90′s!
The lineup additions also include two former members of the .357 String Band, Derek Dunn and Joe Huber, and musician/photographer/videographer Joshua Black Wilkins. And once again there will be a car show thrown by the Voodoo Kings, burlesque shows and a pinup pageant.
There will also be a STAGE 3 that will be a open mic setup where artists and bands can perform as well.
Please Note: Dates, times, and performers are subject to change. There has been more space built in-between performances from last year to reduce the amount of performance overlap.
- Little Jimmy Dickens
- James “Slim” Hand
- Don Maddox of Maddox Brothers & Rose
- Robert “Wolfman” Belfour
- L.C. Ulmer
- Joshua Black Wilkins
- Derek Dunn
- Joe Huber
- Lone Wolf OMB
- Kara Clark
2012 Muddy Roots Schedule
Friday Aug. 31st
- 4:00 – Hardin Draw
- 5:00 – Owen Mays
- 6:00 – J.B. Beverly & the Wayward Drifters
- 7:00 – Don Maddox
- 8:00 – Little Jimmy Dickens
- 9:00 – Dale Watson
- 10:30 – Wayne Hancock
- 12:00 – James “Slim” Hand
- 2:30 – Johnny Foodstamp
- 3:30 – Filthy Still
- 4:30 – Lone Wolf OMB
- 5:30 – Husky Burnette
- 6:30 – Cashman
- 7:30 – Hooten Hollers
- 8:30 – James Leg
- 9:30 – Bianca 13′s House of the Rising Sun Burlesque
- 11:00 – Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies
- 12:30 AM – Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band
- 1:30 AM – Viva Le Vox
Saturday Sep. 1st
- 11:30 AM – Peewee Moore
- 12:30 – Slim Chance & The Can’t Hardly Playboys
- 1:30 – Valerie June
- 2:30 – Sean Wheeler y Zander Schloss
- 3:30 – Rockin’ Kitty Pinup Pageant
- 4:30 – Last False Hope
- 5:30 – James Hunnicutt
- 6:30 – Calamity Cubes
- 7:30 – Joe Buck Yourself
- 8:30 – Goddamn Gallows
- 9:30 – ANTiSEEN
- 10:30 – Hillbilly Casino
- 12:00 AM – Reverend Horton Heat
- 11:15 AM – Hushed & Guilty
- 12:00 – Cutthroat Shamrock
- 1:00 - Pearls Mahone
- 2:00 – Joe Huber
- 3:00 – Dad Horse Experience
- 4:00 – Kara Clark
- 5:00 – Hellfire Revival
- 6:00 – Left Lane Cruiser
- 7:00 – Immortal Lee County Killers
- 8:00 – L.C. Ulmer
- 9:15 – Robert “Wolfman” Belfour
- 10:15 – Possessed By Paul James
- 11:30 – T-Model Ford
- 12:15 AM – Kittie Katrina w/ Syrens of the South
- 1:00 AM – Restavrant
Sunday Sep. 2nd
- 11:00 AM – DJ Vintage Rockabilly- Muddy Roots
- 11:30 AM – Voodoo Kings Car Show
- 12:15 – Reverend Deadeye
- 1:15 - Rachel Brooke
- 2:15 – The Defibulators
- 3:30 – Pinebox Boys
- 4:30 – The Defibulators
- 5:00 – Soda Gardocki
- 6:15 – Tom VandenAvond
- 7:15 – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
- 8:30 – Joshua Black Wilkins
- 9:30 – Dr. Ralph Stanley
- 11:00 – O’Death
- 12:00 AM – Legendary Shack Shakers
- 10:00 AM – Sunday Services
- 10:15 AM – DJ Gospel Country
- 11:00 AM – Everymen
- 12:00 – Camptown Ladies
- 1:00 - Derek Dunn
- 2:00 – Sarah Gayle Meech
- 3:00 – Atomic Duo
- 4:00 – McDougall
- 5:30 – Pine Hill Haints
- 6:30 – The Dirt Daubers
- 8:00 – Special Guest
- 9:00 – Molly Gene Whoaman Band
- 10:15 – Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
- 11:30 – Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
(This story has been updated)
Mississippi blues legend T Model Ford, who became a roots icon along with R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and many other older blues artists from Mississippi through Fat Possum Records, has suffered a stroke. This is not the first stroke T Model has suffered, but the people around him were describing the always-jovial, 90+ years-old blues player’s spirits as “uncharacteristically low.” Since then his health and spirits have improved some.
T Model was admitted to Greenwood Leflore Hospital in Greenwood, MS over the weekend after suffering a stroke, or possibly a series of strokes. According to T Model’s wife Miss Stella, initial tests indicated some serious blockages, and T Model was to undergo angioplasty and start physical therapy. However, because of his age and general health, angioplasty was taken off the table. Since then his health “…has improved a bit and has regained partial use of his right hand and can walk a bit using a walker,” according to family friend Randy Magee. Today, (Wednesday 5-23) family friend Roger Stolle reports that T Model was scheduled to be discharged from the hospital and sent to a physical therapy facility closer to his home.
Family friend Randy Magee visited T Model Ford at King’s Daughter’s Hospital in Greenville, MS yesterday, 5/25 and reports:
T says he’s doing fine folks. He had just come from physical therapy and his lunch came shortly afterwards… let’s just say loss of appetite IS NOT among T’s problems. He showed me that he could move his right arm, hand and fingers, but confided that he couldn’t remember how to play his guitar. He was telling me that he’d forgotten how to sing and a speech therapist came in to start working with him. I gave Stella some cash that some friends from the Netherlands sent for T and left him with the therapist as he already had a room full of family there.
T Model Ford, born James Lewis Carter Ford is the last surviving blues man from the original crop of artists the label Fat Possum Records sought out to make records of and preserve their sound beginning in 1992 from the North Mississippi region. He regularly tours with the Seattle blues band GravelRoad, and is scheduled to play this year’s Muddy Roots Festival. T Model’s actual age is unknown, though it is thought he was born sometime between 1921 and 1925. He recorded 5 albums for Fat Possum from 1997-2008, until moving to Alive NaturalSound Records. T Model’s sound along with the other North Mississippi blues legends has been given credit for inspiring the sounds from artists like The Black Keys and Scott H. Biram.
The Ford family is seeking donations to help with expenses. Information on where to donate can be found below. The Saving Country Music donate button has also been activated in the top right column of the site, so folks wishing to donate through paypal can do so there.
SEND DONATIONS DIRECTLY TO BANK:
424 Washington Ave
Greenville, MS 38701
OR MAIL CARDS, CHECKS, ETC. TO HOME:
443 South 7th Street
Greenville, MS 38703
This upcoming June 15th would have been Waylon Jennings’ 75th birthday. The Littlefield, TX native died in 2002 from complications with diabetes, a disease he battled for years. Waylon fans have been celebrating Waylon’s birthday in informal “Waylon bashes” for years, from back porch picking sessions to full blown concert events in and around Waylon’s birthday. This year, The Waylon Fund, an extension of the TGen Foundation that is searching for a cure for diabetes is bringing a national focus to Waylon’s birthday bashes by organizing these various Waylon tributes into a national benefit.
From Nashville to New York, from Detroit to Seattle, fans will be getting together to raise funds for diabetes research and to pay tribute to one of country music’s biggest Outlaws. From Billy Don Burns to Shooter Jennings, from Rachel Brooke to Jackson Taylor, bands and artists will be giving of their time to help out a good cause.
“We have a built-in Waylon fan base here who are happy to support a progressive diabetes research fund in his name,” says Dana Armstrong the local organizer for the Waylon tribute scheduled for June 17 at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, AZ. “We have held Waylon tribute nights in the past, and if we can raise awareness and some funds for TGen in this way, I know we will have a good time doing it. Waylon’s music and pioneering spirit have always been influential to Valley Fever, and you’ll see that in a lot of the bands that play here…”
Support for The Waylon Fund from the 8 different tributes around the country happened organically. The idea started when one of Waylon’s relatives in his hometown in Littlefield contacted TGen to see if the birthday bash they were planning in nearby Whiteface, TX could go to benefit the foundation. Soon volunteers and organizers were popping up all over the country, ready and willing to help with the cause, including Muddy Roots that will be throwing the birthday bash in Nashville at Robert’s Western World, and the 3-day Honky Tonk Throwdown in Detroit.
And if you can’t make it to one of these benefits, you can do the next best best thing: put on a Waylon record and donate online.
Current List of Waylon Bashes benefiting The Waylon Fund:
Whiteface, Texas – June 16, 2012
The Rowdy Johnson Band
William Clark Green
Jackson Taylor and the Sinners
Sergio and the Outta Luck Band
- Billy Don Burns
- Chelsea Crowell
- Clark Patterson
- Rachel Brooke
- Bull Halsey
- The Orbitsuns
- The Howling Diablos
- Horse Cave Trio
- Paul Lamb and the Detroit Breakdown
- JJ and the BTs
- Crooked Little Reasons
- Alison Lewis
- Ryan Dillaha
- Afternoon Round
- Desolation Angel
- Pat V & The Detroit 3
- Matt Dmits
- Switchblade Justice
- Bixy Lutz
Tempe, Arizona – Valley Fever Country Music Night
Yucca Tap Room – June 17, 2012
Seattle, Washington – High Dive – June 15, 2012
The Outlaws (a Waylon tribute)
Jeff Fielder’s Redheaded Step Children
Plus special guests!
Houston, Texas – Firehouse Saloon – June 16, 2012
Nashville, Tennessee – Robert’s Western World
June 17, 2012 – 6-10 p.m.
The Silver Threads
Special guests to be announced
New York, New York – The Wayland – June 15, 2012
(More info coming soon!)
Crestview, Florida -Don’s Ice House
June 15-16, 2012
(more details coming)
From the outside looking in, one may look at the lineup of The Muddy Roots Festival for example, and wonder how a throwback legend from Texas like Wayne “The Train” Hancock, a hillbilly punk freak from Tennessee like Joe Buck, a golden-throated singer from Michigan like Rachel Brooke, a crazy hellbilly songwriter from the Pacific Northwest like Bob Wayne, and a blues legend from Mississippi like T-Model Ford could all be booked right beside each other and it work seamlessly.
This illustrates the dramatic sonic and geographical diversity that goes into creating what we know now as the underground country roots, or “Muddy Roots” world. Below is a list of the disparate origins of Muddy Roots music that came together from a mutual understanding and appreciation of the roots of American music, and the epicenters where this music originated from and/or is thriving today.
The revitalization of Lower Broadway in Nashville.
In the early 90′s, lower Broadway street in downtown Nashville comprised the last bastion of old buildings that symbolized what Music City used to be. Overrun with dirty bookstores and titty bars, and The Grand Ole Opry’s original home The Ryman shuttered, young cowpunk and neo-traditionalist musicians like BR549, Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, Hillbilly Casino, Greg Garing, and Joe Buck and Layla, commandeered lower Broadway and revitalized the strip into the tourist destination it is today. Emmylou Harris‘s legendary concert with the “Nash Ramblers” in 1994 also breathed new life into The Ryman, and later Hank Williams III would cut his teeth in lower Broadway venues like Layla’s Bluegrass Inn.
The fierce appreciation for country’s roots combined with an independent, punk mentality is what revitalized the most historic portion of downtown Nashville, and created the foundation for the blending of country, blues, and punk that Muddy Roots music would spring from.
Not just Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, but Bobby Bare, Kris Kristofferson, and especially Tompall Glaser’s “Hillbilly Central” renegade studio in Nashville is the origin of the Outlaw spirit behind underground country roots, the “Do It Yourself” attitude to not allow labels to arrest creative control from the artists and to always respect the elders and traditions of the country genre while also allowing the music to innovate.
Underground country and Muddy Roots is very much a construct of the “post punk” music landscape. As punk music and scenes began to become stale or gentrify, punk artists and fans looking for the raw approach to music, and many times raised on traditional country and bluegrass, began to turn back to their own roots and put down their Flying V guitars for fiddles and banjos. This is where some of the fast, aggressive approach to roots music comes from, on both the country and the blues side, as well as the DIY spirit, and the grassroots approach to scene building and album production.
After Hank Williams III’s stint with the punk metal band Superjoint Ritual is when many punk and metal heads found themselves listening to country music again. In 2006, when Hank3 recorded his album Straight to Hell at home on a consumer-grade machine and put out an album with a Parental Advisory sticker on the front through one of Nashville’s major labels, many barriers were broke down and parameters set for how Muddy Roots music would evolve.
North Mississippi Hill Country Blues & Deep Blues
One of the reasons both country and blues music can work right beside each other in Muddy Roots is because in many cases they are both being infused with punk, just like artists Scott Biram and The Black Diamond Heavies do. Many times the infusion is with a very specific type of blues from the North Mississippi Hill Country, brought to the attention of the rest of the world by Fat Possum Records in the early 90′s, just about the same time lower Broadway in Nashville was being revitalized by young country punks.
One of the first events that put these like-minded blues and punk blues musicians all in one place, and included a few country-based artists as well was the Deep Blues Festival put on by Chris Johnson in Minnesota starting in the mid 2000′s. Deep Blues fest was where the relationship between blues, punk, and a deep appreciation for the roots of blues by young white musicians was codified.
In a similar way to infusing both country and blues music with a punk edge and mentality, rockabilly artists in the early 90′s like The Reverend Horton Heat pioneered “pyschobilly”, a punk version of rockabilly. Just like their blues and country counterparts, they were neo-traditionalists, staunchly educated in and preservers of the roots of the music.
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Part and parcel with the sonic diversity of underground country roots is the geographic diversity. Unlike many other past music movements that sprang up in specific geographical areas (or maybe in a few general areas, like East Coast vs. West Coast), Muddy Roots has epicenters all across the country as illustrated in the map below.
1. Tennessee (Nashville)
As explained above, Nashville has played the most vital role in the formation of underground country roots, from the Outlaw country music movement in the mid-70′s, to the revitalization of lower Broadway beginning in the mid-90′s, and today with the Muddy Roots Festival just an hour east in Cookeville, Nashville and Tennessee remain the major Muddy Roots epicenter, including the up-and-coming east Nashville, home to many venues supporting underground musicians, and the home of Hank Williams III, arguably the most important musician to the formation of a country music underground.
2. Austin, TX
As the”Live Music Capitol of the World” and a huge music town, Austin follows only Nashville in it’s importance to Muddy Roots music. Home to Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Scott Biram, Dale Watson, and many other underground roots musicians, as well as one of the epicenters of the original country music Outlaw movement and a lot of independent music infrastructure, Austin is a vital epicenter in underground roots.
3. The North Mississippi Hill Country
It’s not just any old blues that builds the nexus between blues and country into that unique underground roots concoction, it is a specific type of blues from the north Mississippi Hill Country. Fat Possum championed the sound of artists like RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, T Model Ford, and many others beginning in the early and mid 90′s. That sound has since been picked up and combined with punk by artists like Scott Biram, The Ten Foot Polecats, Restavrant, and The Black Keys to form what is more commonly referred to today as “Deep Blues”.
4. Michigan – (Detroit, Flint)
On the surface maybe one of the most unlikely epicenters for country and roots music is also possibly one of the most vibrant. The home base for artists like Whitey Morgan & The 78′s, Rachel Brooke, The Goddamn Gallows (Lansing), as well as a vibrant local scene with bands like Some Velvet Evening, Michigan has grown just about as many underground roots acts as anywhere else. To grow good roots bands you need support, and events like the legendary “Honky Tonk Tuesdays” at Club Bart in Ferndale created the community and collaboration that have allowed Michigan roots music to thrive.
5. The Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin)
The Upper Midwest is the proving ground for many early and influential Muddy Roots bands, including the Gothic country stalwarts Those Poor Bastards from Madison, WI, the premier punk/bluegrass .357 String Band from Milwaukee, and Trampled by Turtles from Duluth, MN. When you throw in Michigan as an Upper Midwest state as well, the region becomes one of the strongest in the country for roots music.
Minnesota was also the scene of the crime for the original Deep Blues Festivals, and is the home of Chris Johnson, the founder of Deep Blues, and the owner of Bayport BBQ, a blues-based venue near St. Paul. Along with Weber’s Deck in French Lake, MN, they make Minnesota an Upper Midwest roots haven.
6. Arizona (Phoenix)
It only seems appropriate that one of the places where Waylon Jennings began his legacy from would years later become an underground country epicenter. The original home of Hillgrass Bluebilly Records, and a must-stop for touring bands going to or coming from The West Coast, Phoenix feels like home for many, and is home to artists like Ray Lawrence Jr. , Junction 10, and “Valley Fever” every Sunday night at the Yucca Tap Room. Hillgrass Bluebilly events are where many underground roots artists would meet for the first time, sparking collaborations on albums and tours that created a coagulating effect in an otherwise spread-out movement.
7. The Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is like a factory for underground roots talent. Bob Wayne, Larry & His Flask, McDougall, James Hunnicutt, Hillstomp, and Brent Amaker are all from there, and the list goes on and on. And then when you start digging deeper, many artists who are now based out of other places originated from there, like some of the original members of BR549. Both Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson did time in the Pacific Northwest early in their careers. And we can’t forget the punk world’s Eddie Spaghetti and the Supersuckers started doing country side-projects in the late 90′s and collaborated with Steve Earle.
Bluegrass is big in the area, and there seems to be a kindred spirit between the rainy west and the deep South because of the rural life and landscape, and because many of the original settlers of the Northwest were originally from the South. With a population that tends to support the arts and music, and many specific neighborhoods and venues and festivals like Pickathon that cater to the roots scene, the Pacific Northwest is one of underground roots’ biggest power players.
Montana may look like a lowly outpost on the map, but it played a vital roll in the formation of underground roots in the mid to late oughts, specifically with a promotion company called Section 08 Productions putting together the “Murder in the Mountains” tours. By bringing together artists from all around the upper part of the country like Rachel Brooke, JB Beverley, .357 String Band, Bob Wayne, Slackeye Slim and others, they were one of the first to take the theoretical underground roots scene, and give it some substance. Section 08 Productions has since morphed into Farmageddon Records, and is still based in Montana.
9 – California
California has always been the force in country music just behind Nashville and Texas, and that counts for underground country and roots as well. Where California played a key role in the formation of underground country was the interjection of punk influences and the transition of punk fans. Mike Ness of Social Distortion, Jon Doe and Exene Cervenka from the band X doing country side projects in the 80′s and 90′s is what led to the punk/country nexus. The Devil Makes Three from Northern California were one of the very first bands to bring a punk attitude to string music, The Pine Box Boys from San Francisco were one of the pioneers of Gothic bluegrass, and Los Duggans from LA were an important Deep Blues band.
10. North Carolina
Boasting some great music towns and big time roots music labels like Rusty Knuckles, Ramseur Records, and Yep Rock, North Carolina can make the case for itself as having the best music music scene and the most infrastructure right behind the big boys of Nashville and Austin. It also doesn’t hurt that one of the most successful roots acts in recent history, The Avett Bros., call North Carolina home.
11. Chicago, IL (Bloodshot Records)
Chicago will always be a big important part of underground roots as the home of Bloodshot Records. Bloodshot was one of the first labels to put their money where there mouth was in 1994, being “drawn to the good stuff nestled in the dark, nebulous cracks where punk, country, soul, pop, bluegrass, blues and rock mix and mingle and mutate.” As home to artists as important and wide ranging as Justin Townes Earle, Scott Biram, and Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Bloodshot Records’ impact and influence will always make Chicago a roots epicenter.
12. Central Florida
The scene in Central Florida is young, but burgeoning. Being the home of artists like the legendary Ben Prestage, Lone Wolf OMB, The Everymen, and many more, Florida is primed to become one of the underground country and roots hot spots.
13. Lawrence, Kansas
As a college town with a music school, Lawrence, KS is one of the best mid-sized music towns out there. Lawrence brings the support for live music, and not just for the usual college-town indie rock fare. It is home to bands like the long-running Split Lip Rayfield, and the high energy Calamity Cubes, and some of the coolest music venues you can find, like the Jackpot Music Hall, 8th St. Tap Room, and The Bottleneck.
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Other important epicenters: Little Rock, Arkansas, and specifically the legendary Whitewater Tavern. Bloomington, Indiana, a big music and roots town, and home to Austin Lucas, Davy Jay Sparrow, and many more. And Denver, CO, home to Slim Cessna’s Auto Club amongst many others.
Country music madman, the Outlaw Carnie Bob Wayne has just announced he has a new album coming out May 22nd, 2012 (April 9th in Europa) from Century Media called Till The Wheels Fall Off, and that the album will feature a duet with none other than Hank Williams III called “All My Friends” that will be released MONDAY (3-26-12). ***UPDATE – Song has been released and can be PURCHASED HERE.
“When I recorded my first album Blood to Dust, I had about 30 songs written to choose from.” Bob explains. “The next two albums I recorded were a lot of older songs that I had in the bank. Then with the Century Media release of Outlaw Carnie we made kind of a “best of” album. I can tell you this, this album is EXACTLY where I’m at right now in life!”
Bob Wayne began his country career after years in metal bands when touring with Hank3 as a guitar tech. Wayne and his song “Working Man” appeared on Hank3′s 2008 album Damn Right, Rebel Proud as a duet. His new album, just like all of his albums, was recorded by Hank3′s steel guitar player Andy Gibson, and Hank3 had a little input as well.
“I had just gotten home from 312 shows in 17 different countries with no break. The day I got home Andy and I started breaking everything out and getting it going. My ears were completely burned out from touring so hard and I had gone over to his (Hank3′s) house to play him some tracks and he gave it a listen. It was pretty funny because I thought we were almost done mixing, and he looked over at me and goes, ‘Wheres the acoustic guitar?’ Then I started really listening and he was right!”
Though Andy Gibson has always recorded Bob Wayne’s albums, Bob explains that the process has evolved dramatically over time.
“Back then we were recording on an 8 track machine. The next two records were also done in this fashion. As Andy helped with several more Hank 3 albums and a Goddamn Gallows album and several .357 String Band records, his studio became more and more advanced, better mics, more recording knowledge, better gear all around, etc. Also through the years I was touring constantly on these songs and I became more confident in my singing. I think that’s pretty obvious in the performance differences from my early recordings to now.”
“The funny thing is when I hear people talk about really liking the old cd’s and now that Century Media signed us were all overproduced or whatever, that’s really funny to me because they have nothing to do with the recording except give us money (laughing), it is still just me and Andy in here grinding it out. The biggest difference in the way we recorded back then and the way we record now is we track the drums and bass and acoustic guitar and vocals live. Before we didn’t have enough equipment to do that so we had to record everything one at a time. I really like recording the foundation of the record live as it is more true to what we actually sound like.”
Along with Hank3 and Andy Gibson, Wayne also had help on the album from Donnie Herron (BR549, Bob Dylan) on the title track that was written at the 2011 Muddy Roots Festival.
“It was at Muddy Roots hanging outside my camper one night. Brook from The Calamity Cubes happened to be walking by and Jean “La Diabla” from Holland was there as well. We ended up writing the song together right there in the campgrounds! A few fans even stopped by and listened! “Spread My Ashes On The Highway” is probably my favorite song on there. It actually kind of got me chocked up while writing it. The lyrics about all my friends quitting their jobs and hitting the road to travel and have fun kind of got to me. I actually wrote most of that driving by myself down some highway in Holland after playing the last show of a 312 day run.”
Hillgrass Bluebilly Records, Muddy Roots Music, and savingcountrymusic.com, along with KVRX 91.7, The Real Deal KOOK 93.5, and Cracker Swamp Productions are excited to announce the complete lineup for XSXSW 5, or “Saving Muddy Hillgrass”, a two day event happening parallel with South by Southwest, the annual mid-March music festival in Austin, TX.
The “X” in XSXSW stands for the independent spirit of the event, attempting to re-create the original magic and focus of SXSW by bringing together artists, fans, media, and music management in a healthy environment free of the rigors that plague the modern-day SXSW landscape, and where music and people are the first focus.
XSXSW 5 will be showcasing talent from as far north as Michigan, as far west as California, as far east as Florida, and as far away as Australia, while also highlighting some of the best Texas talent, from the 17-year-old fiddle phenom Ruby Jane, to the legendary elder-statesman of authentic country music, James Hand. This is the 5th year of XSXSW, started by Hillgrass Bluebilly in 2008, and joined by Muddy Roots and Saving Country Music this year to create an event with even more local scope, and international impact.
Within the principle of putting people first, then music, and using music as a bridge to build community, XSXSW 5 is being held at Austin’s legendary Moose Lodge, an institution harkening back to a time where values and community were more closely cherished. The sprawling facilities will house 3 stages, a full bar, food, camping, plenty of easy and free parking, and lots of great music and good times.
The Moose Lodge is perfectly located for SXSW goers. It is outside of the madness that SXSW brings to Austin’s downtown corridor and the surrounding neighborhoods, making it the ideal destination for locals who want to enjoy great local and national music, but do not want to deal with the drama and headaches SXSW usually affords. Yet at the same time, it is mere minutes from downtown, making the short trek for hardcore SXSW attendees quick and simple.
And if you can’t make it there in person, the event will be broadcast LIVE at http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/live.
The artists and organizers of XSXSW 5 ask you to head over to the Austin Moose Lodge on March 16th & 17th to take in real, authentic roots music sung from the heart and from some of the best talent from around the country. XSXSW 5 is thrown with the idea that a song can change a life, and music can change the world. Come on by and see where a song takes you!
Admittance: Donations start at $10/day. Doors open at noon. Tickets at the door.
Main Stage – Friday 3/16 Presented by KVRX 91.7
- 2:45-3:15 – Moonhangers
- 3:15 – 4:15 – Chili Cold Blood
- 5:15-6:15 – Run On Sentence
- 7:00-7:45 – Old Gray Mule
- 8:30-9:15 – Rachel Brooke
- 10:00-10:45 – Owsley Brothers
- 11:30-12:30 – Possessed by Paul James
- 1:00 am – Restavrant
Cracker Swamp Stage - Friday 3/16 by KRVX 91.7
- 1:00 PM – 1:45 – Patrick’s Beard
- 2:00-2:45 – Farmer Barrett
- 4:15 – 5:15 – Pearls Mahone
- 6:15 – 7:00 – Lone Wolf OMB
- 7:45 – 8:30 – Captain Mudhole
- 9:15 – 10:00 – Husky Burnette
- 10:45 – 11:30 – James Leg
- 12:15 – 1:00 am – Soda
- 2:30-3:30 – Pearls Mahone
- 4:30-5:30 – Ruby Jane
- 6:30-7:30 – Hashknife Outfit
- 8:30-9:30 – Soda
- 10:30 – 12:00 James “Slim” Hand
- 1:00 AM – Sunday Valley
Saturday – Cracker Swamp Stage 3/17 by KOOK 93.5
- 1:30 – 2:30 – Water Tower (Bucket Boys)
- 3:30-4:30 – Rachel Brooke
- 5:30-6:30 – Lone Wolf OMB
- 7:30-8:30 – Calamity Cubes
- 9:30 – 10:30 – Hellbound Glory
- 12:00 – 1 AM – Tom VandenAvond
Stage 3 will be an outdoor stage where performers will be warming up, and jamming and collaborating with other artists. Stage 3 will be active only when there’s no performance on the main stage.
The Austin Moose Lodge is located in east Austin, minutes from downtown at 2103 E M Franklin Ave Austin, TX 78723, easily accessible from the airport by 183, and from downtown by either MLK Blvd or Manor Rd.
The leader of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers recently extruded a new musical tentacle into the creative world in the form of The Dirt Daubers, an old-time mountain string band of sorts that he fronts with his lovely wife Jessica. Their album Wake Up, Sinners! I continue to assert is one of the gems of 2011 and foolish to be overlooked. The release of a new video last week for “Get Outta My Way” and a current tour has recently given the project a renewed push.
But with a series of slight disturbances in what for lack of a better term we’ll call the “underground country” movement recently, with some wondering if it has lost its way, or even dying, I asked JD Wilkes being one of the elders for his counsel, and if The Dirt Daubers was his answer to a style of music that needs to mature.
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Col. JD Wilkes: I’m not trying to do anything that isn’t just completely natural to where I’m going, my natural inclinations and aging myself. I’m almost 40, and sometimes it’s kind of embarrassing to see someone over 40 rocking out. I started off as a blues harp player. That’s all I am. I like playing blues, and I can play it in a loud band and I can play it in a soft setting. I guess I’m just trying to enjoy both sides of it. The Shack Shakers fulfill a sort of therapeutic function for me. At the same time I’m not getting any younger, and The Dirt Daubers touch base with the roots of what The Shack Shakers is all about. Old country blues, hillbilly blues. That’s what I like to play. I’ll always be a blues player.
I think more people in the mainstream get off on the blues, it informs rock & roll, it informs R&B. Country has a stigma. The twang of country, the Southern accent, Hollywood has done its level best to humiliate us and has created a stigma that you’ll never get beyond. Little, lowly Muddy Roots Festival will never compete against Hollywood, and the onslaught of negative connotations it heaps upon The South and country folks. And plus, it isn’t like it was in the 50′s or 40′s anymore. The reason that pop country is so popular is not because people are so stupid, it’s how the times have gone. We’re a slick, fast food, instant gratification, mini-mall culture now.
The honky tonks are almost ironic, the square dances are ironic. It’s all done in the underground as sort of a joke instead of being a function of the rural people anymore. That’s sad because I’m a nostalgic person.
But here’s the hope: In the same way people are going back to farming, even if it’s hipster ironic farming, at least it’s a start in the right direction. I foresee a return to one room schoolhouses as the public schools crumble. I think the home schoolers will band together and have “old school” school. I could see a rejection of all of this crap by more and more people as the years go by. But it won’t happen overnight unless there’s a cataclysm.
You see irony as things catch on more because it starts to percolate up into an upper higher echelon of people. Hipsters and yuppies will embrace what we do out of irony. We do it for other reasons. We loved our grandparents. We remember what it was like on a farm or in the country, or listening to the music our grandparents listened to. There’s a lot of things we do to romanticize the past. I don’t do it out of irony, I do it because I feel it in my bones. Some people do it to fit in and belong to something, wear a certain badge, have a certain tattoo so they could feel part of a greater whole. And some people are just old souls trapped in young bodies. Some are artists, or people that had a combination of artistic sensibilities, nostalgia, and a certain kind of upbringing.
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The Triggerman: In the late 90′s when you started on lower Broadway in Nashville, did you even know what hipster irony was? Here in Austin, TX it’s an epicenter for hipster culture, but when you start talking about hipsters and irony, some people from the outside looking in are confused, unfamiliar with the term or who it refers to.
Col. JD Wilkes: I consider myself a hipster in a way, I know what’s hip, I know what’s ironic, I know what’s funny. I’m hipster compared to some people, but I’m also from Paducah, KY so I can’t be too hip. But that’s what I’m saying, Austin, TX is one of those places where country music is trickling upwards, to that upper echelon of the gentrified yuppie class. It’s entertaining and ironic for them. But it’s that age old discussion of what makes something campy and what makes something kitchy. Something is campy if you’ve got a tongue and cheek element to it. But if you genuinely like it even if it is campy, is it still campy?
Camp is out of the gay world, the gay movement. John Waters films with pink flamingos, that’s camp. Peewee’s Playhouse. B-52′s is as camp as it gets. But at what point do you say, “Oh I really do like pink flamingos or this old TV set from the 50′s, or this old wallpaper?” I don’t think it’s because I’m a closet gay or anything, maybe I just like stuff from the 50′s? What if that was a better time?
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The Triggerman: Is blues keeping “underground country” alive?
Col. JD Wilkes: Blues will always get you further. It was the blues in all the throwback music resurgences. That was at the heart of it. The rockabilly, the swing revival, O Brother Where Art Thou, it was the blues in there, the country blues at least, it wasn’t necessarily the twang. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are winning Grammy’s now. More people can feel that for some reason. It’s an important sonic invention, the blue notes, it catches your ear. It makes you feel something that the major scale doesn’t always illicit.
But if you’re a white guy, a hillbilly, a Southerner, or whatever, you have to be careful to not come across as a mistral act. Be proud of who you are. Be yourself. That was what the rockabilly acts were best at. They were blues, Elvis was playing the blues, but they were unabashedly white hillbillies. Just “be yourself” no matter what color you are. I like it when black people play country and I like it when white people play blues.
That’s the great thing about America, that’s where the integration starts, in the art and music.
The first year of the Muddy Roots Festival was about breaking ground. The second was about breaking even. The third year will be about breaking the mold of everything a music festival can be.
Muddy Roots isn’t just a festival my friends. No. It’s an act of solidarity. It is a force of the collective Will of real roots fans united from disparate backgrounds, coming together to say “We are here, and things can work differently.” It is proof that music can be true to it’s roots, while still innovating and moving forward. It is an example how success can be measured not simply by money and numbers, but by the amount of memories made, the amount of friendships forged, and the strengthening of community through a focus of sustainability. The Muddy Roots Festival isn’t just a big party, it is principles and philosophies in action; it just happens to be one hell of a good time as well.
Find below the additions to the initial Muddy Roots lineup, and then the rest of the linuep below that. “I gotta say man, this line up is our dream team all star lineup. I can’t wait!!” says Muddy Roots Promoter, Jason Galaz.
Additionally, Muddy Roots is working on potentially providing a 3rd stage that would work as an “open-mic” stage. When putting together a festival like this, there will never be enough spots for all the bands that want to play, and all the bands the patrons might want to see. This open-mic concept is something Saving Country Music has lobbied hard for, but will only help with the cooperation of bands and fans, sponsors, and volunteers. To stay up-to-date on all the Muddy Roots news, stay tuned to SCM, and make sure to sign up for the Muddy Roots mailing list.
- Ramblin’ Jack Elliot
- Dr. Ralph Stanley
- Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
- Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers
- The Goddamn Gallows
- O’ Death
- The Dirt Daubers
- Slim Chance and the Can’t Hardly Playboys
- Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
- Camptown Ladies
- Owen Mays
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- The Reverend Horton Heat
- Dale Watson
- Wayne Hancock
- Possessed By Paul James
- T-Model Ford w/ Gravel Road
- Joe Buck Yourself
- Cutthroat Shamrock
- Cletus Got Shot
- Sean Wheeler y Zander Schloss
- Husky Burnette
- Rachel Brooke
- Viva Le Vox
- Reverend Deadeye
- Hooten Hallers
- The Calamity Cubes
- James Leg
- Peewee Moore
- Scott McDougall
- The Pine Box Boys
- Left Lane Cruiser
- Valerie June
- The Atomic Duo
- Molly Gene the One Whoaman Band
- Hillbilly Casino
- Immortal Lee County Killers
- Pearls Mahone
- Filthy Still
- Sarah Gayle Meech
- Pine Hill Haints
- Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band
- J.B. Beverly & The Wayward Drifters
- Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies
- The Defibulators
- Tom VandenAvond
- Dad Horse Experience
- The Cheatin’ Hearts
- Last False Hope
- James Hunnicutt
Farmageddon Records, home to such roots acts as Jayke Orvis and The Goddamn Gallows, has announced they’re throwing a full-scale, 3 day festival this summer, July 20-22, just outside of scenic West Yellowstone, Montana, behind the Longhorn Saloon on Hebgen Lake.
Farmageddon founder Darren D knows a little something about promoting shows, and even more about Montana, being from the Big Sky State. He started in the music business on a mission to bring roots talent to the region.
“We decided to throw a festival to give the Western half of the US a destination to see roots music,” says Darren. “There has been a lot of momentum building up to the festival in the last few months, and we have had a fair share of international interest as well. We are certainly aiming to make our festival a destination for anyone and everyone who enjoys this kind of music.“
So why West Yellowstone?
“If you are going to throw a music festival it’s important to make it a destination point for the folks that are making a long distance trek to be there. West Yellowstone is home to the label and is right on the SW entrance to Yellowstone National Park. This is a great way to make a summer vacation out of the trip.”
“This particular part of the country is stunning, and if folks haven’t had a chance to visit the park yet this is a great excuse to do so. There are ample places to camp in and around West Yellowstone Montana, and there are also plenty of motels and hotels in the area. West Yellowstone is a small town, and it defiantly gives off a small town feel when you visit. It’s really the perfect place to do a festival.”
A few years ago, the one last piece that seemed to be missing out of the underground country/roots structure was a good festival, or group of festivals. Since then many artists have participated in festivals like The Heavy Rebel Weekender and Pickathon. The Deep Blues Festival has been resurrected, the 2nd Annual Lowebow Fest will be going down in Orlando March. And The Muddy Roots Festival has risen to become the flagship festival for underground roots/country. Folks worried that the Farmageddon Festival may somehow take away from Muddy Roots, or that Farmageddon artists may no longer participate, need not worry according to Darren.
“We will be promoting the Muddy Roots Festival heavily at the first Farm-Fest. There is easily enough folks out there to support both festivals, and we wouldn’t be surprised if you see familiar faces at both events. We are huge supporters of what Muddy Roots is doing, and we will continue to support them and their efforts. We are all planning on attending Muddy Roots this year again, how could you miss it! This is really geared toward the folks who live on the left side of the country, and it’s not going to be a carbon copy of Muddy Roots, so people who decide to attend both won’t be seeing too many repeat performances.“
As can be seen from the lineup below, there will not just be Farmageddon artists performing, but many folks from the greater underground roots community. (note: lineup can change)
- Shooter Jennings
- Southern Culture on the Skids
- Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
- The Goddamn Gallows
- Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band
- Stevie Tombstone
- Graham Lindsey
- The Calamity Cubes
- Filthy Still
- JB Beverley & The Wayward Drifters
- Calamity Cubes
- Soda Gardocki
- Black Eyed Vermillion
- Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies
- Carolina Still
- The Pereeze Farm
- James Hunnicutt
- Ugly Valley Boys
- Cletus Got Shot
- Sean K Preston
- Danny K & The Nightlifers
- Owen Mays
- Tales From Ghost Town
- The Deadnecks
- Tom VandenAvond
- Angie & The Carwrecks
- Shivering Denizens
- Husky Burnette
- Dog Bite Harris
- The Cheatin’ Hearts
- Philip Roebuck
- Whiskey Dick
- Ronnie Hymes
- Slackeye Slim
- Ando Ehlers
- Danny Infecto
- Saint Christopher
- The Dead Tree String Band
- Aran Buzzas
- Hard Money Saints
- Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy
2012 will go down as the year that the roots music revolution went transcontinental, as the Muddy Roots Festival heads over to the Old World to storm the beaches of Europe with a ridiculous lineup of talent. Though the festival is happening in Europe, it will mostly feature American acts, similar to the lineup of the original American Muddy Roots Festival going down in Cookeville, TN August 31st-September 2nd, but a few European acts will be featured as well.
“The inspiration for doing a festival over there came from the fans,” according to Muddy Roots promoter Jason Galaz. “We had just as many people come to Muddy Roots from other countries as from Nashville. Seems like they deserve a party in their own back yard. You could say I got a “calling” from the Good Lord to spread the Muddy Roots Gospel to every living creature.”
The invasion will go down June 9th and 10th, at the Cowboy Up Steakhouse Saloon in Waardamme, Belgium. Please note this is the initial lineup. More bands will likely be added later, and other bands currently on the list could change.
- Wayne “The Train” Hancock (Sunday Headliner)
- Hillbilly Moon Explosion (Saturday Headliner)
- Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours
- Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies
- Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band
- Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
- The Hackensaw Boys
- James Hunnicutt
- Derek Dunn (formerly of .357 String Band)
- Molly Gene the Whoaman Band
- Reverend Deadeye
- Tom VandenAvond
- Heinrich XIII and the Devilgrass Pickers
- The Buckshots
- Tio Gringo
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