MoonRunners2014The Outlaw Radio: The Compilation Vol. 1 (2009) hit like a sonic boom in this tiny genre of artists. The first riff you hear is Dad Horse Experience’sGates of Heaven”. It is song after song of the best of the best. Now, it’s a sold-out festival at Reggies in Chicago. I met Jashie P shortly after the comp release at Layla’s in Nashville at a Hank III show. I thought he was a celebrity with the online radio show, a band, and a mix tape that helped introduce us to a whole new world.

And the festival! It’s another family reunion with great music. It’s fan heaven, I love the feeling of star struck; watching Calamity Cubes walk by will always give me a shiver. The Godfather of the fest this year is Gary Lindsey. The fact that I was surrounded by people who also revere Gary Lindsey is just another cool part of this. If you’re a Tom Waits fan, ask him to tell you the story of how they met. It’s fantastic.  (more…)

In tune with the weather, we saw a super storm of fantastic music in 2013. We’re going to be listening to these albums for years to come. I can’t bring myself to put these in order because they mean so many things; they’re not meant to be ranked.

Here are my crème de la crème of 2013:

MUDDY:

Ok… there is one in another stratosphere: Possessed by Paul James. This entire album is a journey from the moment you hit play:
Hurricane (track 1) by Possessed by Paul James

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PPJ stageAnother stellar Muddy Roots experience to recover from. Though I missed many who could not make it, the joy and magic is still there. Things could not have happened better. I spent the experience with close friends whom I’ve known for decades and ones I only see here. The serendipitous events of the weekend made it another amazing ride. (more…)

 Lone Wolf OMB is a force of nature that is somehow captured and communicated through music. Last year, Don Maddox watched his set at Muddy Roots and told him he’s got the best timing he’s ever heard. It’s true. What he does can’t be done. And on top of that the guy has riffs that just send you spinning. I’ve had this on repeat for weeks and I heartily recommend it.

Above is an album cover youtube I made of the song “The Masked Marvel” which is my current favorite. “Mama’s Boy” holds steady as the sweetest and “Baby, Don’t Hold Back” is another gem.

You can find Mine Us 13 here

In the post-coitus glow of Muddy Roots, my pal Rev. Nix of Cracker Swamp Productions, got a bunch of the boys in the studio and this is what came out:

Brownbird Rudy Relic = brownbirdrudyrelic.com
Husky Burnette = www.huskyburnette.com
Lone Wolf OMB = www.lonewolfomb.com
Los Bastardos Magnificos = losbastardosmagnificos.com
Scotty Crow of The Gladezmen = www.gladezmen.com
The Jonny Monster Band = www.jonnymonsterband.com
The Scissormen = scissormen.com
No Brow Productions (video) = www.youtube.com/user/nlindsay03

Again, I have receipts, notes, stickers, phone photos and videos, and somehow they tell the Muddy Roots story. The stink from my luggage of mud, sweat, and moonshine was enough to keep airport security from thoroughly searching my bag after they found my stash of Gatorade in the side pocket.

This year was about extremes. There were extremely high points and extremely low points. For instance, I, and everyone else, still have not recovered from Possessed by Paul James’s cancellation. I can only shudder to think what must have happened to keep him from us. I send him my best wishes and good luck. That said, DAMN! Eeeeveryone was looking forward to his set. And my personal loss on not seeing Black Eyed Vermillion on stage 3, or anywhere on the grounds. I’ve had a fan crush on Gary Lindsey since he bled and screamed for me back in the AssJack days. Plus, I want to hear his version of the Tom Waits interview.

There were many high points as well. There were sets that melted my face off. James Leg. Scissormen. Dad Horse Experience. Husky Burnette. Lone Wolf. They all KILLED it. But the man who gave me my Muddy Roots religious experience was Dr. Ralph Stanley. Holy moly. Not a dry eye under that tent. I’ll get to all this in a few…

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One of the things I like most about our genre is that we’re so small; everyone pretty much knows everyone and we adore each other like family. BJ Christy and his wife, Coley, invited all of us over to their house in palatial Southern Pennsylvania last weekend for their own mico-festival, ChristyFest. Our friendships stem from Muddy Roots, live podcasts with chat rooms over the past few years, and Facebook. Due to lack of a working teleporter, there were some people who just weren’t able to make it, and they were so very missed by all of us.

I brought with me a visiting friend from London to experience what American music is without Auto-Tuned corporate commercialism. These bands are all working class people. Nobody showed up in a limo, brought an entourage, or presented any airs. Hell, Olds Sleeper slept in tent in the side yard. The rest of us were on air mattresses (why does my butt always wind up hitting floor?) couches, and spare beds.

We came in late Friday night to the hospitality of the Christy Family and friends: Blake Clayton, Podcasting God of IBWIP, Molly Nelson, Andy, Editor of RNZ Magazine, Kimberly Moore (we call her Rosie), Lone Wolf (Brunoooo!) and Mr. Cracker Swamp himself, Rev. Nix (Gary and Melissa got in by the hair of their chinny chin chin on Saturday). The Christy children, Sean, 11, and Liam, 5, are such great boys. Sean is 11 going on 25, and you just wanna smooch and snuggle little Liam. Beej was marinating meats, and futzing with the grill and smoker. Yum. We all stood in a circle under the magnificent night sky until we were too tired to talk.

Olds Sleeper was the first to arrive on Saturday and he and Lone Wolf hit it off and were jamming out on the front porch within minutes. We then moseyed off to the stage under the big tent and the festivities began.

Olds Sleeper started it all and he’s one of those artists that is like a fountain that just keeps giving. At the end of his set, he managed to completely sum up the high and low points of my life of the past year and I got to lay down in the grass and let his music wash over me as he weaved together the songs “May the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Rainy Day Women 12 & 35”. The man is a lyrical genius.

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