The first year we all went to Muddy Roots (2011) will always hold the torch. Every year is different and this year might be my favorite.
I’m running through the highlights in my mind and the list is never-ending…
Another 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.
Not only did Rachel Brooke come to NYC to sing with a full band, we got to spend time together. Rachel with a full band is the bee’s knees. On bass is Brooks Robbins and he is just the coolest cat. We sang Rocky Horror Picture Show songs in the van on the way to the gig. Her brother Andy is on drums and he is so good, and is a fellow sound aficionado. On guitar is Nick who gave me my perfect show moment when I heard him start up Serpentine Blues. During the show, Rachel sang a few songs with just her guitar, and there wasn’t a dry eye in Public Assembly during Life Sentence Blues.
Rachel Brooke’s new album, “A Killer’s Dream” shows her progression as an artist, and it’s a joy to be a part of as a fan. I still think everyone needs to own her Demos. They are simply a woman and her guitar and it is perfection. With a base so strong, she can only go up. This album wonderfully showcases her progression as a songwriter, instrumentalist, and band member. She collaborates with Viva le Vox (love them!) and I get the feeling they were like kids in a candy store picking and choosing all the instruments heard on this album. It’s old blues and bobby socks.
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…
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.”
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 savingcountrymusic.com, 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.
What an amazing year for my underground favorites! Hank 3 became free, Muddy Roots was the festival of all festivals, the podcasting world became my CNN, and record labels turned out greatness like it’s their job.
As for hip-hop, I don’t have anything that gives off fireworks. ‘Lil Kim’s single “Black Friday” was an awesome dis war against Nicki Minaj but then face-planted with the ill planned release of her mixtape. The uber spectacle of Jay-Z and Kanye’s “Watch the Throne” just didn’t do it for me (though I kinda love the fun factor of the Otis video). There’s a new mixtape out by Lupe Fiasco called “Friend of the People” that’s been floating around. The final product is supposedly cancelled and what I’ve heard is very political and just what I’ve missed about hip-hop, but I’ll wait until the release to review it because I’m unsure if my copy’s legit.
A L B U M S :
Bob Wayne: Outlaw Carnie – As much as I think Bob Wayne walks on songwriting water, this cd is just too clean and polished for me. I’m too loyal to the previous releases of most of the songs. That said, I’m on the edge of my seat for his next release which will have the song I saw him write at Muddy Roots!
Caitlin Rose: Own Side Now – Thanks to Triggerman’s review, I bought this cd and it’s always somewhere in my rotation. The songs are well done and I look forward to listening to her future projects. (see video below)
Caleb Klauder’s Foghorn Trio: Sud De La Louisiane – I went to a house party where they played and was instantly captivated by their talent. I got a bit on YouTube and recommend this to anyone whose interested in the country French sounds of the Louisiana bayou. (see video below)
The Goddamn Gallows: Seven Devils – How I love this band! They are so talented and just about nothing beats their live shows. They reminds us why we love punk and what punk should be.
Are you goin’? ‘Cause I’m goin’.
THIS is the music festival for you if you’re sitting there thinking (a) “I liked country music back when Hank Williams and Waylon Jennings ruled the roost, but what I see on CMT gives me a rash.” or (b) “I was weaned on rock and punk but I also have a Johnny Cash t-shirt.”
It’s during Labor Day weekend in Cookeville, TN (right outside Nashville). There’s camping, hot showers, and they’ll even set up a tent for you to rent. Or, if you’re a city slicker like me, the hotel down the road is $46 pp per night. (All the info is on their website)
And the music. Holy bunches of greatness, the music. The amazing Wanda Jackson is the big cheese, along with Don Maddox and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers are headlining. I’m looking forward to seeing every other band just as much. Nobody beats the voice of Wayne ‘the train’ Hancock or the pure energy of Possessed by Paul James. I could ramble on an on with my music nerd obsessions here but suffice to say if you’re wondering what’s going on in underground country, this is our Woodstock. So be there, ’cause it’s gonna be great!
Last weekend James Hunnicutt and Rachel Brooke came into the city to sing at Otto’s Shrunken Head. The gig was fantastic. Their voices are so pure and perfect, their souls pour out in each note.
Before the gig I got a chance to walk them around a bit to get pizza near Irving Plaza then to Union Square and back. Hopefully, on their next visit to the city we’ll have more time to see Times Square and Rockefeller Center and Central Park and Brooklyn and everywhere!
After the gig (at dawn) we headed to my place to crash for a few hours before they had to hit the road again. In a moment of awesomeness, they sang a song for me in my kitchen and I YouTube’d it:
The experience was fantastic as I’ve been such a fan this is a little dream come true.