Stupid Good 4th of July Lineups in Texas Forcing Fans into Quandary
One thing is for sure, the 4th of July in Texas is going to be hot. It’s also going to be a happening time for country music; so much so it’s going to be a hard to know where to point your nose.
It was already setting up to be a good 4th of July for country music in 2015 with the holiday falling on a weekend this year. Willie Nelson’s long-running 4th of July picnics have been bivouacked around Billy Bob’s Texas in Ft. Worth for the last four seasons—aka the “World’s Biggest Honky Tonk.” When Billy Bob’s began to release an extended 2-day lineup for 2015’s festivities, it looked like it was shaping up into one of the best picnics yet. Merle Haggard, The Turnpike Troubadours, Ryan Bingham, Jerry Jeff Walker, Chris Stapleton, Whitey Morgan, and on from there …except there was no Willie.
Apparently that’s because Willie was planning on shaking things up this year by shifting from Ft. Worth back to Austin to stage his legendary picnic at the newish Austin 360 Amphitheater just south and east of town. The venue is part of a huge Formula 1 racing complex, with plenty of space for parking and patrons to spread out. It was also the space for the inaugural Red Fest country festival last late summer.
And not to be outdone, Willie once again has put together a stellar lineup that includes all the mainstays of his picnic like Ray Wylie Hubbard, David Allan Coe, any and all of his offspring’s music projects, as well as Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Merle Haggard, Kacey Musgraves, Jamey Johnson, Eric Church, and many others. Basically it’s cross-Texas a country music conundrum that you can’t lose no matter which location you choose. Make sure to pack sunscreen.
Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic
”Willie Nelson & Family ”Eric Church ”Merle Haggard ”Kacey Musgraves ”Sturgill Simpson ”Asleep at the Wheel ”Jamey Johnson ”Jason Isbell ”Leon Russell ”Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real ”Billie Joe Shaver ”Ray Wylie Hubbard ”David Allan Coe ”Chris Stapleton ”Johnny Bush ”Insects VS Robots ”Folk Uke ”Amber Digby ”Raelyn Nelson Band ”Pauline Reese
Billy Bob’s Texas 3rd & 4th of July Weekend
Friday July 3rd
”Merle Haggard ”Ryan Bingham ”Chris Stapleton ”Green River Ordinance ”American Aquarium ”Corb Lund ”Grady Spencer & The Work ”The Buffalo Ruckus
Saturday July 4th
”Turnpike Troubadours ”Jerry Jeff Walker ”Hayes Carll ”Shinyribs ”Whitey Morgan & the 78’s ”The O’s ”The Buffalo Ruckus ”50 Peso Reward
March 30, 2015 @ 5:58 pm
Living in Texas, that’s a bad problem to have.
March 31, 2015 @ 5:16 pm
not a bad problem to have.
March 30, 2015 @ 6:27 pm
Ah, an embarrassment of riches. I wish we had this “problem” on radio.
March 30, 2015 @ 8:54 pm
I saw that one for Willie and I almost fell out of my chair.
March 30, 2015 @ 9:03 pm
Does Merle play Billy Bob’s first?
March 30, 2015 @ 9:36 pm
Yes, Billy Bob’s on the 3rd, Willie’s on the 4th.
March 30, 2015 @ 9:05 pm
”¢Willie Nelson & Family ”¢Eric Church ”¢Merle Haggard ”¢Kacey Musgraves ”¢Sturgill Simpson ”¢Asleep at the Wheel ”¢Jamey Johnson ”¢Jason Isbell ”¢Leon Russell ”¢Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real ”¢Billie Joe Shaver ”¢Ray Wylie Hubbard ”¢David Allan Coe ”¢Chris Stapleton ”¢Johnny Bush ”¢Insects VS Robots ”¢Folk Uke ”¢Amber Digby ”¢Raelyn Nelson Band ”¢Pauline Reese
Ladies and Gentleman the REAL CMA Fan Fest.
March 30, 2015 @ 9:10 pm
Turnpike Troubadors over Merle is an abomination.
April 1, 2015 @ 4:00 am
Yeah, I know it’s silly to get upset over the placement of the names on these dumb lineup posters, but why not put Haggard at the top in this case?
Admittedly I’m not a Texas/Oklahoma guy, so maybe I’m underestimating the Troubadours’ popularity in that region, but I would think Haggard would still be the bigger draw.
April 1, 2015 @ 7:27 am
I would say the Turnpike Troubadours and Merle Haggard are probably an equal draw at this point, in Texas that is, if not a slight edge to Turnpike. You could still make the case deference should be shown to Merle, but Turnpike is the hottest band in Texas country right now hands down.
March 30, 2015 @ 11:27 pm
I like how they got Eric Church so that everyone has an opportunity to go use the facilities.
March 30, 2015 @ 11:54 pm
I was thinking the same thing, Eric church is kind of a weird choice especially with who’s gonna be there but yeah I guess people will have to go to the bathroom at some point.
March 31, 2015 @ 10:43 am
Most of Willie Nelson’s 4th of July picnics recently have featured a mainstream artist or two. Last time I went, it was Justin Moore, and it was even worse than what I expected. To the one true God, I almost rushed the stage. A couple of years before I saw Brantley Gilbert at the Picnic. It’s the promoter’s bid to be inclusive I guess, and though Eric Church may seem like a fish out of water in that lineup, it’s a much better choice than Justin Moore or Brantley Gilbert.
Though my issues with Eric Church have been well-documented here, his set may get extra attention from me to see if he tries to be more respectful with his set, and to see how the crowd reacts. If you commit to booking a mainstream artist, it could be much worse than Eric Church.
March 31, 2015 @ 12:24 am
He does have some very good music, even on his new album. I respect his talent, he just has a dose of egomania. Well a overdose of it. Ah hell, he’s either swimming in it or truly thinks he’s country music Jesus. But still, he can sing.
Cool Lester Smooth
March 31, 2015 @ 1:33 am
You’re describing exactly why I avoid artist interviews. I have no interest in learning that Eric Church, or whoever, is a complete asshole. He writes good songs (even if I’m not huge on his last album), and he’s good at singing them.
I have no interest in learning enough about any artist’s personal life to have to presage every discussion of their work with a dissertation about how my passionate hatred of their immortal soul totally has no bearing on the fact that I find their music obnoxious, as Trigger does with every single one of his Church reviews.
March 31, 2015 @ 5:56 am
I could agree with you if he actually wrote good songs and was good at singing them.
Cool Lester Smooth
March 31, 2015 @ 10:28 am
That’s just a silly thing to say.
There’s a reason Trigger gave Chief 1 and 1/2 guns up, despite hating the guy as much as he does. It’s a very good mainstream country-rock record, (even if that’s not the same thing as being a good country record).
Songs like Creepin, Over When It’s Over and Lightning are good music. Period.
March 31, 2015 @ 9:27 pm
I was a huge fan of his first and third albums. But you’re right, his fourth one stunk up the place.Maybe he’s an every other album artist?
April 1, 2015 @ 4:31 am
Eric Church intrigues me. Clearly, there is talent there, and although he seems to be pushing the envelope in terms of country-rock, you could easily say the same thing about Waylon in his day. (Actually, you could say the same about Sturgill right now with some of the heavier, psych-rock infused moments on Metamodern , which is something people rarely mention about his music.) Having said that, based on the singles I heard it obviously seems like some of the stuff from The Outsiders (such as the title track) was more like straight up hard rock, and indulgent hard rock at that.
Anyway, sometimes I look at the mainstream artists in other genres such as pop and hip hop who are hailed as great and innovative and think, man, who is the equivalent of that in mainstream country? Traditionalism aside, who is the big, mainstream country artist who is both hugely popular and critically acclaimed? Miranda Lambert? Eric Church, maybe?
Anyway, I say all that to say that I should probably get around to checking out Eric Church sometime. I guess I’ll give Chief a listen.
Cool Lester Smooth
April 1, 2015 @ 8:21 pm
Chief is fairly country, and very, very good (even though I hate “Homeboy”).
From what I’ve seen, he intentionally went very un-country with his last album so that he would have more room to experiment sonically going forward, rather than being pigeonholed as “good rock-country.” (It doesn’t make me like the album, though).
I’d probably say Zac Brown Band is the biggest critically/commercially loved artist in country-ish music, at the moment.
March 31, 2015 @ 12:26 am
Fantastic! Wish I could get to the Willie Nelson picnic.
Interesting to note that the poster lists Eric Church and Kacey Musgraves above Merle Haggard. I imagine it’s about attracting different fan bases but for me Merle would be listed under Willie. But still a fantastic line-up! As Michael implies, this is what the CMA fest should look like!
Cool Lester Smooth
March 31, 2015 @ 1:34 am
They probably figure that anyone who’d buy a ticket for Merle has already bought one for Willie, haha.
March 31, 2015 @ 4:03 pm
So, with a venue this large, Willie’s picnic tickets won’t sell out quite as fast? Do I have time to clear schedule and make travel plans from OH?
March 31, 2015 @ 4:29 pm
maybe one of these days we’ll see Jason Lee Wilson getting his due at one of these festivals. If you don’t know who he is, well, you should!
TX MUSIC JIM
March 31, 2015 @ 7:14 pm
BBT’s on the 3rd Willie’s picnic on the 4th the word epic weekend comes to mind. What does not kill me makes me stronger! Looking forward to both!
March 31, 2015 @ 11:16 pm
THANK GOD none of those events scheduled Ms Swift . You laugh …..but I swear TS is the new version of the WHERE’S WALDO game .Is there anywhere she ISN’T ? Pick an Award show , a Talk Show , a Fashion show , a Chesney concert , A Brit TV program , a fan’s b-day party …anywhere – if you look closely you’ll eventually spot WALDO ….er TS there somewhere . They used to call this kinda thing OVEREXPOSURE . I still do .
April 1, 2015 @ 3:52 am
Woah. Sweet fancy Moses, what a lineup.
Between these two events, it seems like almost everybody who’s anybody in “real” country music is going to be in Texas on the July 4th weekend.
The only prominent exceptions I can think of would be Brandy Clark, who I assume will still be on tour with Alan Jackson, and maybe a couple of the Texas guys like Wade Bowen and Aaron Watson. Regardless, this lineup this comprehensive. Hell, they might as well go ahead and name these two collective events “Saving Country Music” Fest.
April 1, 2015 @ 7:43 am
Eric Church I would say is in the top 5 least detrimental to today’s mainstream Country music. Great songwriter and entertainer. Although I respect Triggs opinion, I would say I have to disagree with most of his overall assessment on Mr. Church. And just like I respect Triggs opinions, I equally respect all of yours..but sometimes I can’t help but stop and wonder how many of you jump on the bash train, just cause it’s what’s popular to believe on the site/about mainstream artists in general. Much like the way mainstream listeners gobble up whatever their local mainstream Country radio channel plays for them and tells them is good.
April 1, 2015 @ 7:50 am
My opinion on Eric Church in this particular matter is that I’m fine with him being included on the lineup, they were likely going to include a mainstream artist or two and it could have been MUCH worse than Eric Church, and it will finally give me an opportunity to see him in the flesh, and I look forward to giving him the same change I give every live performer to win me over.
April 10, 2015 @ 9:36 am
I believe you’re exactly right. Most of these people bash Eric Church because it’s the popular thing to do on here. I have followed Eric’s career when he only played to a couple dozen people in the bar at most. He is a good songwriter and has worked hard to get where he is. I’ve also done the same with Sturgill Simpson and his meteoric rise. Will some of these same people start to bash Sturgill like they do with Eric if he becomes accepted by the mainstream? That scares me.
April 1, 2015 @ 6:47 pm
I would go to billy bobs because Eric douche bag church is not on the bill.