Born & Raised Fest 2022 Featured Top Flight of Independent Country
The third weekend of September was the busiest weekend in independent country, Texas/Red Dirt, and Americana/roots all year. In Nashville, you had the massive AmericanaFest going down. In Louisville, Kentucky, you had Bourbon and Beyond. In California, you had the inaugural Beachlife Ranch festival. And these were just the nationally-impacting destination festivals, not to mention a dozen other events impacting on the local and regional level. But if you chose instead to go to Born & Raised Fest in Pryor, Oklahoma just east of Tulsa September 16-18, you chose wisely.
Held on the same grounds as the massive Rocklahoma gathering, Born & Raised boasted one of the best lineups all year on an incredibly crowded weekend. Just the Friday night lineup alone was worth the effort, with some of the best songwriters and performers in all of country music booked one after another: Tim Montana, Dalton Domino, Joshua Ray Walker, Kendall Marvell, Jamie Lin Wilson, American Aquarium, Zach Bryan, and Mike and the Moonpies. It was like a murders row of sad bastard songs.
Jamie Lin Wilson turned in a career-defining set, facilitated by the fact that she had assembled one of the greatest superbands in the history of Texas/Red Dirt with “Hammerin'” Hank Early from the Turnpike Troubadours on steel guitar, Drew Harakal of Cody Jinks’ Tone Deaf Hippies on keys, and former Reckless Kelly guitarist David Abeyta.
But of course, it was headliner Zach Bryan who was the primary focus of Friday. “My name is Zach Bryan. I grew up 10 minutes from here,” he said as he walked out onto the stage to the biggest crowd all weekend. Pretty much the entire State of Oklahoma was there to witness it. Stores and restaurants in the area had reportedly closed early so people could make the homecoming show.
Zach Bryan isn’t a superstar, he’s a phenomenon, and it all started in north east Oklahoma. He hasn’t forgotten them, and they haven’t forgotten him. Country music is music from the country—hometown boys and girls raising their voices and sharing their experiences in compelling ways the entire world can enjoy. But there’s nothing like hearing an artist in their hometown.
Mike and the Moonpies had the impossible task of playing after Zach Bryan on a side stage as everyone in Oklahoma was filing out into the parking lot. Only one band could pull this off, and that’s exactly what Mike and the Moonpies did, winning over a crowd that included a lot of folks that had never heard them before, but stumbled onto their next favorite band, and what very well may be the best band in all of country music at the moment.
There were no real opening acts at Born & Raised, just acts who happened to play early. William Beckmann is one of the fastest rising artists in Texas music, thanks to excellent neotraditional material like his song “Bourbon Whiskey,” which had the crowd crooning along early on Saturday. But perhaps the most impressive part of his set is when he finished with a song he sung in Spanish, which Beckmann is skilled at showcasing the beauty of, and might even compliment his voice even better than country. Believe the hype in this young man.
Charles Wesley Godwin (who won SCM’s 2021 Album of the Year) is now past the hype phase, and is well on the way to becoming his own superstar after spending so much time recently opening for Zach Bryan, and being a part of that massive wave. One of the few mistakes of the festival was booking him at a 1:00 pm spot, when Godwin drew a much bigger crowd than both Natalie Hemby, and Margo Price who both played on the main stage in later and more prominent spots. Similar to Under The Big Sky Fest earlier this summer, there is a strange disconnect between the popularity of artists such as Zach Bryan and Charles Wesley Godwin, and artists booked after them in lineups.
For her part, Natalie Hemby turned in a good performance after Godwin, but unfortunately, few if anyone was there to see it. Hemby was responsible for arguably one of the greatest moments all weekend as well. Ready to leave the stage, she was told she had time for one more song, and decided to perform “Rainbow,” which she co-wrote with Kacey Musgraves. The fact that Hemby almost didn’t perform this song is crazy, because nobody who was there to see it didn’t feel a mist in their eyes, or goosebumps down their spine. It was pure magic.
Margo Price played an inspired set as well, in front of virtually nobody. It was astounding how few people were there, and in an important late afternoon slot. Seeing the crowds (or lack thereof) at festivals really helps expose the holes in the hype machine that has captured media and some of the industry when it comes to certain artists. Up-and-coming songwriter Kat Hasty, who played at 1:00 pm on the main stage on Sunday had a significantly bigger crowd than Margo Price did. Midday side stage performers like Flatland Cavalry and Ray Wylie Hubbard had significantly larger crowds than some of the main stage acts.
It was damn good thing that the crowd finally showed up for Tanya Tucker who had to play into the blazing afternoon sun starting at 6:00 pm, but still put on a Hall of Fame worthy performance (read set review). Tucker could have very well headlined the whole festival, and done so admirably. She was that good.
But instead, headlining duties on Saturday night fell to Cody Jinks, who of course was killer. And along with being the Saturday night headliner, Cody Jinks was also a guy who was everywhere all weekend, similar to Jamie Lin Wilson. Friday night Jinks was stage side for Jamie Lin’s set. On Sunday he showed up to sing with Whitey Morgan, and later with Jamie Lin Wilson on the VIP acoustic stage. He also brought Tennessee Jet out to sing with him on Saturday night. Cody Jinks wasn’t just the Saturday night headliner, he was the Born & Raised fest host along with Jamie Lin.
There was also a cool moment during Cody’s Saturday night set where he got the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to his 10-year-old daughter, who later showed her appreciation by throwing glow sticks to the crowd. Cody’s whole family was there over the weekend, adding to the family-like atmosphere of the fest conferred from the artists to the attendees.
Two kickass women of Texas country in Courtney Patton and Summer Dean helped start Sunday off. Jamie Lin Wilson showed up early to sing with Patton, and the two turned in a chill-inducing rendition of the song “Casualty,” which will appear on Patton’s new album Electrostatic out October 7th.
Then it was the turn of Them Dirty Roses to leave everyone agog. As if the Gods of Southern rock themselves came down from the Heavens to smite a new band out of the hard Alabama iron, Them Dirty Roses is one of those bands that can grow hair on your chest just from listening to them. This is a band you listen to while overdosing in a tour bus lavatory at the age of 27. They can deflower virgins simply by them being in the audience.
Whitey Morgan never receives enough love from these independent mega festivals, but he did from Born & Raised, even though once again with generally poor attendance earlier in the days and especially with the oppressive heat on Sunday, there just weren’t that many there to experience it. They missed out when Cody Jinks came out for the final song to sing with Whitey.
Leading up to the headliners of Lynyrd Skynyrd, you had the three of the biggest names in Texas country all taking turns on the stages with Wade Bowen, The Randy Rogers Band, and the Josh Abbott Band. Once again, Jamie Lin Wilson showed up to sing with Josh Abbott, who just like Whitey Morgan, sometimes gets a little unfairly overlooked by some of these festivals. But not Born & Raised.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was quite the experience. With a performance preceded by an extensive retrospective video montage, they took the stage Sunday night to a roar, and proceeded to run through the Greatest Hits catalog with precision.
Though nostalgia for Lynyrd Skynyrd is hard to deny, so is the fact that no original members are currently touring with the band. Guitar player Gary Rossington is still around, but not currently performing as he is regularly battling heart problems. Johnny Van Zandt is a fair replacement for his brother that died in the notorious Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash, and since Rickey Medlocke originally played with the band in the early 70’s, he also has some legitimate ties to the Lynyrd Skynyrd legacy.
But Lynyrd Skynyrd is also one of these legacy rock bands that only play the hits, and precisely how they appear on the record. Unfortunately, no photos are available, because Lynyrd Skynyrd would not allow them. They’re also that kind of band.
Born & Raised 2022 was not without it’s hiccups. The reason Tim Montana, Joshua Ray Walker, and Dalton Domino were not featured here is because yours truly was stuck in Friday arrival check-in hell during their respective sets. This was partly due to arriving right before the fest (was in Nashville covering AmericanaFest earlier in the week), but logistical snafus were more common this year than last, when it should have been vice versa since 2021 was the inaugural year.
I personally was removed and detained by security for being in areas I had every right to be in, twice, which also resulted in missing most of American Aquarium’s Friday night set. Though security is most certainly a paramount concern for live events these days, some of the rules and the aggressiveness in implementing them was a bit nonsensical, with even the security seeming to not understand them properly at times.
For example, Born & Raised was selling high-end water bottles branded with the festival logo as souvenirs, which came in handy on a weekend that got progressively hotter. But because these bottles were not clear, they immediately became contraband, and people weren’t allowed to bring them on the grounds. There were also some complaints about ticket upgrades, accessibility, and other issues as it seems the promoter AEG was trying to tighten the screws on access to up sell as many patrons as possible.
But all of those issues aside, Born & Raised Fest has established itself as the premier music festival in the Texas, Red Dirt, and independent country space. Larry Joe Taylor Fest may still have more attendees, but Born & Raised has the better curated lineups that appeal to a national audience, and is quickly making its own legacy and traditions right in the heart of Red Dirt country.
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All photos by Kyle “Trigger” Coroneos
September 22, 2022 @ 7:49 am
I see Graycie York played. Did you hear her play?
I absolutely loved her ep this year. A short 4 song acoustic ep entitled Sad Bird. Super raw and honest. The singles Texas Rain, Patsy Kind of Night are standouts as well.
September 22, 2022 @ 8:23 am
She played late after Cody Jinks on Saturday. Saw probably the first half of her set before my legs gave out from trying to cover two stages all day. From what I saw, I thought she was really good. Good songs, and she had a full band backing her.
September 22, 2022 @ 8:23 am
The crowd for Margo cracks me up. I guess because of racist misogynistic homphobes or something.
Ballpark on how many was there on Friday night?
September 22, 2022 @ 8:50 am
Look, I really don’t want it to come across like I am picking on Margo Price. Some of this is not her fault, and she puts on a great show live. I think some folks who would have really enjoyed her set missed out.
But if you’re a festival like this, you cannot be booking artists for prominent slots in your lineup on the main stage when they just do not draw. Festivals commonly make the mistake of slotting artists off of what they pay them as opposed to how prominent they are when the festival comes around. If your top afternoon performer is not drawing at all and nobody is there to see them, you’re going to have downstream problems. Under The Big Sky Fest in Montana earlier this summer did this same thing, slotting Zach Bryan before Margo Price, when Zach probably drew more attendees than the headliners. There is just no finger on the pulse of what is happening out there.
Born & Raised is a pretty redneck festival, but Under The Big Sky is not. And it wasn’t like other women on the lineup weren’t supported. Jamie Lin Wilson played to a big, supportive crowd Friday night. Tanya Tucker’s set had a good crowd. Courtney Patton at 11:30 am on the third stage had a bigger crowd than Margo. Kat Hasty who played at 1:00 on Sunday had a decent amount of folks there to see her.
Meanwhile, Flatland Cavalry was put on a side stage when they played the main stage last year. Charles Wesley Godwin is who really got screwed her, because he deserved a much more prominent slot. I feel like it would be irresponsible to not point out the consistency of this issue.
I don’t know how many people were there Friday night, but it was absolutely massive. I think someone estimated about 15,000. It was definitely the biggest crowd of the weekend, which otherwise felt generally lighter attended than last year overall.
September 22, 2022 @ 2:44 pm
“Look, I really don’t want it to come across like I am picking on Margo Price” says guy who has a constant axe to grind with margo price.
at least be honest about the fact that she hurt your wittle feewings and you really can’t get over it.
September 22, 2022 @ 4:27 pm
The numbers don’t lie. If you don’t want to believe me about there being almost nobody at Margo’s sets and believe the photos were doctored or something, just ask others that were are Born & Raised and Under The Big Sky. If I wanted to grind an axe with her, I’d say her sets sucked.
September 22, 2022 @ 4:29 pm
i didn’t say the numbers lied. i said you have a bone to pick and you should just own up to it.
September 22, 2022 @ 4:41 pm
I have no bone to pick with Margo Price or anyone else. Whenever I’m covering an artist, it’s my job to reset all previous opinions, and call balls and strikes as I see them. If I say Margo Price sucks, that’s an opinion that can’t be argued. If I say nobody was at her set and it’s found to be untrue, it erodes my credibility. It wasn’t just that the crowds for Margo Price were thinner than other performers who played before her. It’s that they were shockingly small, and now at two events I attended this summer. And this is not without consequences. If a promoter pays $25,000+ for a late day performer and they draw less than 100 people in front of the stage, the promoter is paying $250 per patron just for that one act to perform. These are the kinds of decisions that can drag a festival down. To me, there is a borderline grift going on in these instances. You absolutely cannot justify Zach Bryan, Charles Wesley Godwin, and Kat Hasty playing before Margo Price when nobody is there to see her. It’s pretty important that someone speaks up about what’s going on.
September 23, 2022 @ 5:59 am
Well, it does speak well for her at least that she played her heart in front of a miniscule crowd.
Tickets just went on sale for a March show she’s doing at the fabled 9:30 Club in DC (capacity 1200). I think it’s at least the second show she’s done there, so my guess is that she draws enough people here. But the DC area has long been roots rock/Americana friendly (e.g., Little Feat was particularly loved here). And Margo does have a kind of “Last Waltzy” vibe.
September 22, 2022 @ 9:21 am
The thing I’ve noticed with Margo Price is that I’ve heard far more about her from media giants like Rolling Stone than I actually have from people who listen to her.
In contrast, I know lots of people who listen to and support Jamie Lin Wilson, Josh Abbott Band, Whitey Morgan, Charles Wesley Godwin and others, yet I see a lot less about them in the media other than this site.
September 22, 2022 @ 10:03 am
Yeah, this times a million.
September 22, 2022 @ 11:26 am
So true Steve G. Margot is someone media fawns over and trys to prop up. Reality is, she’s not a huge draw. I’ve seen her at a Stapleton show and less than half the crowd even watching. I suspect she has pockets of fans here and there, but as Trig mentions the Red Dirt scene doesn’t pay much mind to her. Personally, I always thought if she would take a cue from her hero Willie Nelson, she might learn to be gracious and inviting to all regardless of their alliances, she might get further.
On another note, Kendall Marvel. Real deal. Saw him in a 100 seat honky tonk. He’s got the package. Killer writer, GREAT voice and sound to fit. His album he did on Auerbachs label is killer. Gorgeous melodies, songs that have something to say. No criticism meant Trig, I know you have written about him, but man he’s someone more SCM regulars NEED to hear.
Sorry to hear you got hassled by security when you had legit credentials. I’ve been there too. Not fun. Sometimes there are misunderstandings.
September 22, 2022 @ 12:00 pm
I need to dig deeper into Kendall Marvel’s catalog! I came across him while listening to Whitey Morgan and Gethen Jenkins (two favorites of mine), and he was a suggested artist. I loved everything I heard.
September 22, 2022 @ 12:02 pm
Kendell Marvell was great. This was my first time seeing him. This recap was getting too long, but I did do a popout for him on Instagram:
His new album “Come On Sunshine” is out tomorrow.
September 22, 2022 @ 3:54 pm
That is kind of funny, but I gotta respect her if she still put effort into the show.
September 22, 2022 @ 4:27 pm
Margo Price performed like she was playing to a packed arena.
September 23, 2022 @ 9:31 pm
I was at Under The Big Sky. Hardly a crowd of dumb rednecks and racists. I was in attendance as a man the backside of forty surrounded by twenty-somethings when Zach Bryan played. It was nuts. They knew ever word to his songs. The place was PACKED at five p.m. His set ended and I stuck around because I was eager to listen to Margo Price. The place EMPTIED. For real. I was about fifteen feet from the stage with NOBODY behind be except for all the really far back concert dwellers that couldn’t care less what was playing. I ended up walking over to the second stage and enjoying Hogslop String Band who probably had more people over there going crazy than the couple hundred watching Margo Price. She would do just fine playing before Sturgill and Tyler, but she can’t draw flies at these festivals that don’t have a clue who she is. I didn’t think she was that great anyway. Morgan Wade destroyed on the second stage the night before right before Jamey Johnson. It ain’t a chick thing. I just don’t understand the Margo Price hype. Not for me I guess.
September 22, 2022 @ 8:27 am
Karma is a bitch Margo Price. Badmouthing SCM on Twitter while you’re high but supposedly clean and sober? Payback time girl!
September 22, 2022 @ 8:48 am
Omar looks like he is having the BEST time!
September 22, 2022 @ 9:18 am
It was a great weekend. I missed out on a lot of the early Sunday performances because I went straight to the VIP tent so I could have a front row seat for Cody Jinks. Then as soon as he was done, I hauled ass to the main stage to watch Whitey. I think the heat kept a lot of people in the VIP tent along with those metal bleacher seats. Those things were hot as hell during those afternoon slots. But I braved the burned ass for a lot of them. We also had some issues with security on bags and water bottles but overall it was an amazing weekend full of amazing artists and amazing music.
September 22, 2022 @ 9:42 am
I was there for the full weekend and had a great time. I saw you working so I didn’t wanna poke you. If you’re looking thru your pictures and see a middle aged guy on the railing in Horizon tent a lot with a big smile on, that’s me.
A few highlights for me that you didn’t mention:
Kendall Marvel – heck of a song writer and great singer to boot. When he played “Either Way”, I didn’t even miss Stapleton. He sang the hell out of that one.
American Aquarium went all killer, no filler, barely letting one song resolve before jumping right into the next one. Jamie Lin coming out was great.
Leah Blevins did more with less since it was just her and a guitar player. The songs really felt great in the stripped back setting.
Tanner Usrey was my big surprise of the weekend. His recorded output has been fine but live, his voice really boomed and his band was powerful.
Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers “Hold My Beer” – the interplay between those two guys really made the set stand out. Even if the ladies next to me just wanted to bone the fiddle player…
Muskrat Jones turned in my favorite instrumental performance of the weekend. The man was a monster on that steel.
I felt bad for Natalie Hemby – her crowd was super thin and I think the attendance issues at the main stage were exacerbated by the large VIP area being pretty empty. It also didn’t help having her as a Nashville act at a Red Dirt-ish fest.
Margo and her “I’m a badass, look at my middle fingers” schtick is growing thin. Her first two albums had the songs to back it up but the last album and what I’ve heard from the upcoming one haven’t been great.
But all in all, I had a great weekend. I’d do it again next year if the lineup is good enough.
September 22, 2022 @ 10:22 am
Natalie Hemby would have done much better on the Horizon stage, and Margo Price on the 2nd stage. I appreciate Born & Raised wanting to book women in prominent spots, but you have to put them in a position to succeed. Songwriters like Natalie Hemby get gobbled up on massive stages like that, and do better in more intimate settings. There is nothing undignified about playing a smaller stage if it suits the artist better, and the crowd will be larger for them. On the main stage, anyone with a GA ticket is 50 yards away at Born & Raised, while their right up against the rail at the other stages. I also agree, Natalie and Margo are Nashville names at a Red Dirt fest. That put them at a disadvantage as well.
September 22, 2022 @ 9:51 am
Love me some Dirty Roses. As much rock as country but they are fun to listen to cranked up to 11…..
September 22, 2022 @ 10:02 am
Cody Jinks IS The Man…At Home AND In My RECORD STORE !….I cannot Keep His Vinyl in Stock. As Far as Collectibility, Right NOW is The Time to Buy, His Viny Is GOING THRU THE ROOF !
September 22, 2022 @ 10:05 am
I’m loving how these guys who are roughly my age now are developing similar Dad bods to me. Love you, Wade and Randy…
September 22, 2022 @ 5:00 pm
How does a person get closer to your age?
September 22, 2022 @ 10:18 am
Has industry already given up on their darling?
September 22, 2022 @ 2:20 pm
Speaking of Zach Bryan: He got a pretty sizable feature/interview in the New York Times today:
September 22, 2022 @ 2:40 pm
Any thoughts on the upcoming changes to the chart world? Starting in January Mediabase will become the only country radio chart, as Billboard will cease their more competitive, more honest BDOS system and adapt Mediabase’s terrible tracking methodology. The Mediabase chart is a constant revolving-door, it’s WAY too easy to get to #1 on Mediabase. Look, Billboard Airplay may not be perfect but it’s always been a more accurate snapshot of what’s happening on country radio. On Mediabase, not only do more songs hit #1, chart runs are much shorter and songs go recurrent much faster. Under BDOS, long runs at #1 aren’t the norm but they do happen, and it’s exciting and unpredictable to see songs last a long time at #1 and in the Top 5, it’s fun to see records broken and to be surprised by which songs do it. These changes will bring those long runs to an end. After this switch you will never see another song last longer than 3 weeks at #1, and even that long of a run would be generous. The age of massive, era-defining super hits is sadly almost over.
September 22, 2022 @ 2:54 pm
BDS, not BDOS. I don’t know why I made that mistake
September 22, 2022 @ 4:30 pm
I may have something on this at some point. But generally speaking, consolidating the radio charts will probably go as well as consolidating radio ownership. The more charts and panels, the better in my opinion.
September 22, 2022 @ 3:01 pm
And it appears that this is not happening in January, it’s happening in November
September 22, 2022 @ 5:06 pm
If you forget the history and just listen to the current band itself with Rossington, they are still one of the best bands going. They get a bad rap from some because of the greatness of the original band, but standing on their own currently, they are as tight as any band out there. And people seem to respect that. They keep showing up to listen.
Shame about Flatland Calvary. How could they not be on the main stage?
September 22, 2022 @ 7:12 pm
No doubt Lynyrd Skynyrd puts on an excellent show, and all the players are top notch. I was just hoping to see Rossington, and was a little disappointed when he didn’t come out on stage.
September 23, 2022 @ 4:40 pm
Sure hope he gets well enough to play. It’s just that link he provides. I haven’t heard a health update lately.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 22, 2022 @ 6:24 pm
Margo should probably start releasing country music again if she wants to stay relevant.
I’m glad you mentioned Beckmann’s bilingual abilities. I’m guessing it was “Danced All Night Long” that you heard? When I heard it on his album, I couldn’t believe how good his accent is. One of my pet peeves is when country singers try to sing in spanish when they don’t really know the language. The pronunciation is usually cringy af, and the lyrics usually dont have modern or correct grammar. Not so with William.
September 22, 2022 @ 6:42 pm
It was “Volver Volver” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_TdyZMDbdk
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 22, 2022 @ 8:48 pm
That’s an awesome rendition.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 22, 2022 @ 8:52 pm
The confidence to do that and pull it off with no backing vocals or band says a lot. That kid is very impressive. I feel like the mainstream has to take notice of him soon. He’s too good to ignore.
September 22, 2022 @ 7:11 pm
I loathe the Spanglish song on a country record. It’s so trite and cliche, and rarely good. What Beckmann is doing here is excellent, and really needed in the country space.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 22, 2022 @ 8:54 pm
It’s a plum that’s been ripe for the picking since The Mavericks heyday. I’m gonna have to figure out a date to see him live soon.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 22, 2022 @ 8:58 pm
I mean the demand is definitely there. We tried to make Los Lonely Boys a country act just to fill the void. Maybe one day we could even see a crossover artist from a campesino genre. That would be the shit.
September 23, 2022 @ 7:48 am
I saw Zach Bryan Wednesday night in Boston. Me and my wife got tickets months ago. I’ve always liked him and wanted to see him live. At this point for Zach, it was a small place to play. 3500 capacity. Completely sold out.
Have to say it was weird. Me and wife are right at 50. We have always gone to lots of shows, all sizes all types. LOTS of Shows. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a show like this. First show, I did feel a bit old at LOL, but not unwelcome, and we did run into another couple we know. The crowd was extremely young. The crowd was riled. The crowd sang ever single word to ever single song. It actually was a huge positive for me thinking about it. I like ZB lyrically. Seeing these kids appreciate lyricism at that level is a good thing. Singing deep meaning songs at the top of their lungs instead of the crap we get from all the forms of Pop music these days. Just was a bright spot for me.
My wife was talking about shows, where its usually the gals dragging the guy to, etc.
She was really surprised how much the guys were into this show, belting out the lyrics and completely into it.
Great performance. Him and his band seem to have found themselves now.
I’m sold. Great Nite.
I think we got tickets for like $40. I will say, I would not be there if I paid what some these kids said they shelled out on the secondary market.