Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss, Jamie Lin Wilson Conquer Key West
Key Western Fest has just concluded in Key West, Florida, wrapping up a week of revitalizing the country music from the ’90s for today’s fans. Though there were many great performances—including from headliners Neal McCoy, The Oak Ridge Boys, Clint Black, and Clay Walker—one of the things you heard some people murmuring about during the week was how the women of the era have held up better over time and shined more than some of the men.
This most certainly included Suzy Bogguss, who put on a pretty incredible show Wednesday evening (2-1). If you want to see a master class in performance, how to center a song in music, how to exude grace and class at every turn, go see Suzy Bogguss in concert. She played with just a standup bass player and an acoustic/B-Bender guitar player, and that’s all she needed to hold the audience in rapt attention and get them singing along.
Pam Tillis was one of the highlights of the week as well. When she performed Thursday night (2-2), she said, “I’ve been around so long, I’ve done bell bottoms three times.” But good country music never goes out of style. Pam Tillis is the perfect example of that. She still has it like it’s 1991 and she just released “Maybe It Was Memphis.”
As George Jones once asked, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” Well down in Texas (and in Key West too), that answer is resoundingly Jamie Lin Wilson, who has been doing her part to keep the songs of women like Pam Tillis and Suzy Bogguss alive, along with adding her own new original songs to the country music canon.
Jamie Lin not only acted as an emcee for much of Key Western Fest, she performed with Suzy Bogguss at the 150-year-old San Carlos Theater in Key West as part of a more intimate showcase during the week. The two have been friends for some years, and had some great stories to tell. And when Wilson joined Bogguss and her band on the harmonica, it was heavenly.
Shortly thereafter their theater show, Suzy Bogguss and Jamie Lin Wilson jumped into a Jeep with Pam Tillis and went zooming around Key West, singing some of their favorite songs together as they breezed by landmarks like Ernest Hemingway’s house. If nothing else, you have to appreciate just how much the childhood dreams of Jamie Lin Wilson were realized in the moment.
A full recap of Key Western Fest is on the way, but the kismet the women of the festival forged over the week was worth worth highlighting unto itself.
For more highlights from Key Western Fest, follow Saving Country Music on Instagram.
February 5, 2023 @ 1:07 pm
Too cool for JLW and great recognition. I’ve always enjoyed Pam Tillis’ greatest hits and her Mel Tillis record. I was extra impressed with how gracious she was on a 90s era podcast. Trigger, do you know Tom Mooney from Lubbock? It’s one of his.
February 5, 2023 @ 1:10 pm
I don’t know Tom Mooney personally, but have read/listened to his stuff over the years. Does a good job covering good music from West Texas.
February 5, 2023 @ 4:27 pm
Any news about new music from Jamie Lin? Her last album was half a decade ago.
February 5, 2023 @ 6:43 pm
Half a decade? That seems extreme.
I also had my fourth kid in that same time frame. Ease up a little. Either way, follow along on any of the socials and you’ll see I’ll have new music out with a week or so, then steadily throughout the year. Lots of collaborations and new songs.
February 6, 2023 @ 9:13 am
Ok I admit I overdramatized some, but aren’t you at least a little bit glad that you have such a rabid fan halfway across the world? 😉
I admire you enormously for combining motherhood with extraordinary musical achievement, and, of course, I agree that the former comes first. My own mom had eight kids and successfully owned and ran two pharmacies (and still took it all in stride, took care of scores of other people besides, and regularly went to classical music concerts etc. in the evenings), so I had opportunity to observe the joys and challenges of that combination from up close. Very happy to hear new music’s on the way. I wouldn’t wanna be putting any pressure on you, but I think it’s time you took home the SCM AOTY trophy 🙂
February 6, 2023 @ 11:28 am
Ha. A sincere thank you for the interest. It’s a bit of a sensitive subject around here. 😂
February 7, 2023 @ 3:02 pm
Love 90s country music
February 5, 2023 @ 5:12 pm
Pam, Rosanne and Lorrie all daughters of H-o-F fathers and all potentially H-o-F’ers in their own right.
February 5, 2023 @ 5:40 pm
What was attendance like compared to Mile 0? Were places like the Tuna and Dante’s used too?
February 5, 2023 @ 6:24 pm
I will have a full review of the fest coming up, but the attendance was slightly less, though it was pretty packed Friday night.
The Smokin’ Tuna was used for Mimosa brunches and afterparties with Kendell Marvel, but not like the first year of Mile 0 or anything.
February 5, 2023 @ 5:42 pm
Suzy Boggus is one of the female gems from the late 80s and early 90s who continues to make music and play small shows from time to time and generally slips under the radar. She is an elite singer that Chet Atkins was so taken with, he recorded a duet album with her. She and husband Doug Crider have also written some stellar songs along the way. I caught a small show with her and Matraca Berg about 10 years ago. It was all acoustic, just her, Matraca, and another songwriter whom I have forgotton. I think it was the gal who wrote Strawberry Wine. Anyway, Suzy played guitar for the three of them and it was one of those magical events years later you still talk about. Ive always been impressed with Suzy’s ability to make a melody her own.
February 5, 2023 @ 7:09 pm
We were there for the entire time. Best acts were Suzy, Pam, Clay Walker, Clint Black, Asleep at the Wheel and Oak Ridge Boys. Jamie and Suzy on the Thursday afternoon with Craig and Rob was a real highlight.
February 5, 2023 @ 8:25 pm
I was enjoying following along on your instagram account.
When I was in high school (1990-1994), I was a big fan of Suzy Bogguss and many other women of that country music era. I often think about how much “smarter” and more progressive their music was compared to what’s mainstream today – Bogguss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, Kelly Willis, Joy White… All those female artists would be considered Americana today, because no way in hell would pandering country radio play them today.
February 6, 2023 @ 5:31 am
I am very glad that you’ll enjoyed yourselves in Key West, Florida! As a Jeep owner( I have two), I approve of your driving naked in Key West!
February 6, 2023 @ 9:09 am
My first Mile 0 Fest was this year. If I can ever swing it, sticking around for this fest too would be amazing and would help to quell the regret of how much I missed at Mile 0 Fest just by virtue of so much going on.
February 6, 2023 @ 9:41 am
Now, that there is one dangerous jeep load of ladies. New Charlie’s Angels?
February 8, 2023 @ 1:07 am
Jamie Lin is pure country gold. Benn saying this for years
March 9, 2023 @ 9:35 pm
It’s a good thing that Jamie Lin is driving, ’cause Pam takes corners on two wheels.