The Turnpike Troubadours were the headliners at Mile 0 Fest in Key West, Florida on Friday night (2-9), and despite putting on an top notch performance as usual, a half-pint visitor on the stage nearly stole the show. During a week that has seen many guest performers make their way on stage to sing each other’s songs, it was the son of Turnpike Troubadours lead guitarist Ryan Engleman who may have left the most memorable mark.
As many Turnpike Troubadours fans can attest, Ryan Engleman has a signature move during guitar solos where he puts his boot on the stage monitor and lunges out towards the crowd. Well like father like son, JR Engleman who had wondered on the stage early in their set took instruction from his dad of how to do the monitor stand as both the crowd and the rest of the Turnpike Troubadours watched along in stitches (see photos below).
But JR was not satisfied with this brief brush with fame. After perfecting the monitor stand, the younger Engleman slipped back behind the pedal steel guitar rig of Hammerin’ Hank Early (who was playing accordion at the time), adjusted the mic almost as if a little annoyed it wasn’t at the right height for him, and started singing away in the middle of a song. It was hard for some to see near the back of the stage, but the whole time a cameraman was beaming the activities of the young JR Engleman onto the jumbo screen blanketing the back of the stage. It was at this time that mom stepped in, and young JR made his curtain call.
The Turnpike Troubadours were not the only ones who made their Mile 0 Fest performances a family affair. Cody Canada’s oldest song Dierks Canada played with both Ray Wylie Hubbard, and his dad’s band The Departed over the weekend, holding his own and then some on lead guitar.
Other significant moments of the Turnpike Troubadours set included guest vocals from Jamie Lin Wilson on “Pay No Rent,” and bassist RC Edwards leading the band after the encore with fiddler Kyle Nix filling in on bass. Turnpike finished the set with Saving Country Music’s 2015 Song of the Year, “The Bird Hunters.”
Saturday’s Mile 0 Fest main stage lineup sees headliner performances by John Moreland, Shooter Jennings, and Cody Jinks. Stay tuned for more stories and a full recap from Mile 0 Fest upcoming from Saving Country Music. You can also keep up with the Mile 0 Fest doings via Saving Country Music’s Instagram, as well as Instagram feeds of photographers Brad Coolidge and Patrick Tewey who contributed photos to this story.
JR Engleman learns the monitor stand from pops:
JR Engleman decides tests his skills on vocals and steel guitar:
(caught on the screen behind the stage)