MoonRunners II – 2014: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

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. 

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2013 in Music

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:


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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Muddy Roots 2013

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.

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Lone Wolf OMB: Mine Us 13

 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

All My Friends are Brilliant

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 =
Husky Burnette =
Lone Wolf OMB =
Los Bastardos Magnificos =
Scotty Crow of The Gladezmen =
The Jonny Monster Band =
The Scissormen =
No Brow Productions (video) =

Muddy Roots 2012

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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ChristyFest 2012

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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2012 Summer Concerts

It’s barely May and I already have a beefy list going. I’ll update it as I find out more.

Saturday, May 12th = ChristyFest, Shippensburg, PA
Friday, May 18th
= Husky Burnette: Rodeo Bar, NYC
Tuesday, June 5th
= Jimmy Cliff: Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park
Friday, June 8th
= The Goddamn Gallows: The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY
Friday, June 15th
= Esperanza Spalding: Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park
Saturday, June 16th
= Ice T’s rockdoc “The Art of Rap
Sunday, July 1st
= Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: Brooklyn Bowl
Wednesday, July 11th = Buddy Guy at World Financial Center Plaza
Wednesday, July 11th = Tchaikovsky NY Philharmonic at Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Saturday, July
21st = Arturo Sandoval: Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park
Friday, July 27th – Sunday, July 29th
= Farmageddon Fest in West Yellowstone, Montana (I’ll be there in spirit!)
Monday, July 30th =
Public Enemy and Salt N Pepa: MLK Concert Series at Wingate Field, Brooklyn
Friday, August 31st – Sunday, September 2nd
= Muddy Roots in Cookeville, TN

XSXSW 5: A Virtual Review

Take care of the music, and the music will take care of you.
~ Jac Holzman, Founder of Elektra Records

And the momentum of greatness keeps keepin’ on! A gaggle of my favorite musicians, labels, podcasters, bloggers, and fans all gathered in Austin, TX this weekend to showcase our slice of amazing music that is happening today. Here’s the lineup

There’s also a charter: “The idea of XSXSW is to re-focus the event on music and people, to rekindle the spirit of the Austin music scene, as well as civic and Texas pride by using music to renew community, infrastructure, and people, instead of taxing them to their limits.”

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Yeah, I said it, Ex South by South West. This is the alternative to alternative. It’s underground music at its best. If I had a teleporter, I’d so be at this! Just look at the lineup! Holy smoke! Thankfully, my pals over at Saving Muddy Hillgrass bring the awesome to me via radio and the internets. Here’s the lowdown via The Trigger Man:

Hillgrass Bluebilly Records, Muddy Roots Music, and, along with KVRX 91.7, The Real Deal KOOK 93.5, and Cracker Swamp Productions are excited to announce the complete lineup for XSXSW 5, or “Saving Muddy Hillgrass”, a two day event happening parallel with South by Southwest, the annual mid-March music festival in Austin, TX.

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