Muddy Roots Festival 2011: My Review

(photo: to the left is Lone Wolf, one man band and master craftsman <not only is he perfect, he’s Italian too!> and to his right is BluesBeaten Redshaw who you need to know about)

I have no idea how I’m going to capture the magic of what just happened to me over the past week. I’ve taken notes, saved receipts, downloaded photos from Facebook, and am working on a YouTube playlist.

We arrived at Muddy Roots Friday night and I saw Baby Genius in the sign-in line. We looked like kids at Christmas. Everybody was so stoked to be there. We camped across the dirt road from the people I’ve been conversing with online via blogs and podcasts. The whole night was surreal like you’re walking through a dream state but it’s really happening. We met up and the conversation was so easy and effortless. There was also this great kismet level of timing that I encountered repeatedly with Aran Buzzas. My first star-struck moment was when Pier came and got us to see JB Beverley play Rolling Stones covers while he sat on the trunk of a car. It was surreal. You know that voice like you know your own skin. After that experience, I vowed to wander. So I walked past our tent, up a small hill (the one Miller faceplanted onto) and first thing I found was Bob Wayne’s trailer with him and some friends sitting outside writing a song. And I’m watching the creativity process from Mr. Bob Wayne himself. It was awe inspiring. He’s cool as hell. He remembered me and my friend from the Brooklyn show in July and my heart just about lept out in celebrity joy. Walking around became an adventure. Everybody was there. It was like a family reunion for the family you wish you had. Rachel Brooke was just beaming with fiancé happiness.

Saturday was a storm of bands. The Ten Foot Polecats exploded the opening of the second stage. The energy they had was just off the charts and their set was powerfully good. Jayke Orvis then took over the main stage with his band of perfection. The musician camaraderie was great to see. The biggest Saturday highlight for me was Possessed by Paul James. He is the chaos theory contained into a musician. Triggerman told us his set would change our life and he was right. As soon as he started playing music, a wind came into the tent and literally tried to raise the roof. It didn’t work (phew! and rock-on to the tent assemblers). Wayne Hancock was just a gift to the stage and Owen Mays ended the evening in pure musicianship perfection when everything around him went wrong. And let me give a shout out to Owen. He is just the coolest dude.

I also attended a wedding that weekend. Jayke Orvis officiated the ceremony of our Baby Genius aka Uriah Freedom and his lovely bride, Markie Lee. I’m not gonna lie, I had a tear in my eye.

Sunday exploded with Left Lane Cruiser. I didn’t want to miss Last False Hope, so I trotted over only to find Mr. Owen Mays while LFH was sound checking. We shared his moonshine cherries. Awesomeness. Chris Miller introduced Last False Hope and they exploded onto their set with Jashie P’s energy at a level only hardcore goes to. He ran through the crowd and got us all going. They opened with Dying and Diseased and Rachel Brooke sang too! Then the rains came. In sheets, in buckets, it was everywhere all at once. The sound was cut and the band moved us all in under the tent with them. They completely rocked out the rest of their set acoustic with us inches away. It was absolutely the best set at Muddy Roots. The energy was pure gold and every single person in there was a part of it. Kudos to Last False Hope for meeting the forces of nature head-on and channeling its power through your music. Bravo!

I sloshed around the rest of the evening for as long as I could before the soaked-to-the-bone got to me. I wound up spending most of the night in the tent cocooned up in a blanket listening and grinning like a schoolgirl as six inches of rain poured onto us.

All in all, it was the best musical experience I’ve ever had. I know there are many people I didn’t mention here but you are no less in my happiest and best memories of this weekend. There is a wonderful feeling of family among us now that is much deeper than it was a week ago. I am humbly grateful to be a part of it and I cherish its awesomeness.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank some of the people who have been spoon feeding me all of this great music over the past few years: It Burns When I Pee is the Godfather of us all, Cracker Swamp Productions brings great things, ALL the writing, podcasts, chats, live events and news bits over at Saving Country Music is my lifeline. And the labels! Oooh the labels! I haven’t been this excited about labels since Stax! Hillgrass Bluebilly is the tits, the Farmageddon family is the best inlaws a girl could have, and  Rusty Knuckles is so so good. Last but not least, I first met Outlaw Radio Chicago at a Hank III show at Layla’s last year and my musical life hasn’t been the same since. Thanks everyone!

‘Til next year…


  1. Awesome, Gillian. My regrets are only that I felt like the entire weekend was on fast forward and there was never enough time to hang with all of the folks I wanted to.

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