Article by Tim McLaughlin, Photography by Hapless Guitar Photography
Food Trucks / CHECK
Beer Garden/ CHECK (whiskey too)
Picnic Area/ CHECK
Local & Nation Acts/ CHECK
Some guy giving out lightbulbs/ CHECK
Well if you are going to go, you should go BIG.
Lera Lynn- Looking out at the crowd
This mantra has been embraced and then some by the festival’s creators. The name of the event and a good portion of the acts had a “country” feel, but there was a pretty diverse lineup. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the second of two-day festival, but I was not left wanting after seeing portions of all 18 acts on day one.
If you create it they will come
Many of the acts were from the Nashville Tennessee area, but acts came from as far away as Texas, Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky, California, Oregon, and the United Kingdom. I was very happy to see the organizers included some Indianapolis musical acts as well.
This was certainly a “band centered” festival. There was one solo act and two duos, but the bands took center stage, and none were shy. The lone solo act (Jeremy Pinnell) was a real pleasant surprise as his story telling both between songs and in his lyrics were about the most folksy thing you can imagine. Not to say that he was more than any other.
William Matheny- Guitarist Bud Carroll
Guitar / acoustic duos were limited, but the range of bands was impressive. There was William Matheny who was folksy but his Flying V lead guitarist was great; out-of-place, but great. The slightly political, “we need to act like grown ups” message from Texas Blues man Jesse Dayton was a pleasant surprise. His George Straight story was top shelf too. But to be honest, Blues is my favorite and his playing stood out to me.
Amanda Shires set was a pleasant surprise. Black leather outfit with red stiletto heels was overshadowed by her singing and violin playing. She may have also had the best/coolest drum of the festival. Jade Bird’s set was good fun as she really embraced the crowd, and as if we couldn’t tell she still told the crowd that she was from the UK. We were very glad to have her.
Brandon Whyde’s set was early and was a victim of their slot. Many missed out on one of the most soulful voices around, and his band was killer in their own right. Bigfoot Yancey closed out their stage under a bright moon in front of a grateful audience. I was glad to see they were able to get the drummer for their set.
Bigfoot Yancey- Mike
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band really brought their A Game for the home crowd, and the crowd showed their love back. The set included a mix of old and new songs, and a dead thumb guitar playing lesson by Rev. Not only that Breezy put on a washboard clinic.
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band- Rev
The big finale
St. Paul & The Broken Bones- Paul Janeway
The night was closed out by Alabama’s own, St. Paul & The Broken Bones. The band had guitar/ keys/ bass/ three horns and a sequined caped, glittered Nike sneakers, soulful voiced Paul Janeway front and center. I remember when they sold out Radio Radio in Fountain Square a few years back, so I was glad to finally catch them. This was the perfect band to end an epic day of music.
By the way, I never did get that free light bulb.
This inaugural event was a musical success and they have already announced they will be bringing it back again in 2019.