Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jason Boland "High in the Rockies"

Jason Boland & the Stragglers recorded a new live CD entitled "High in the Rockies" over the course of four scheduled tour dates in the west including Laramie Wyoming at the Cowboy bar, Ft. Collins at the Aggie theater, The Musicfest in Steamboat and the last show at the BlueBird theater in Denver.
I was at the Musicfest but i didn't make that show because i didn't want to leave the show at the Grand Ballroom but i did make the show at the Bluebird and had all access to photograph the show. The Bluebird theater is a very small old theater off Colfax and seems like it will only hold about a hundred people but they have a very impressive and steady list of bands that roll through.
I talked with Roger Ray about the shows and he said that
all of them have gone very smoothly, no songs had to be stopped and re started and if any mistakes were there they haven't heard them yet and they can be corrected later. The first single to be released to radio which Jason stated that "Its not like it matters, they wont play it anyway" will be their cover of the old Danny Flowers song "Tulsa Time" which was made famous by Oklahoma's gentle giant, Don Williams. Each show had the band playing some different songs each night so i cant say that the songs they played in Denver will all make it onto the new CD but i know they were pulling out some good old tunes as well as some songs off the latest "Comal County Blue" disc. Cowboys in Laramie Wyoming was mentioned as their favorite place they visited out of the four stops and they mentioned how good the crowd was and the energy they returned to the stage. I was asked to submit a few photos from the Denver show so i am hoping at least one will be used in the packaging! Click here to view a video of "Proud Souls" shot that night and my You tube channel has a few more videos from that night too. UPDATE: Two of my photos from this show have been chosen to be used in the packaging on the new "High in the Rockies" CD to be released 4/20/10 and one will be this shot above used as the back cover!

Friday the finale of the Musicfest

Friday came way too quick, i could have easily stayed for another week in Steamboat, i didn't feel like i met everyone i wanted to meet although i did meet most of the people i have been talking with for the last two years on Facebook but have never actually met in person. I also met plenty of new people that shared the same passion for this music as i have and made quite a few business contacts that may pan out later on down the road.After Jack Ingram played his outdoor show, i rushed over to the big tent to check out a band that all my friends in the Carolina's and the rest of the Southeast have been talking about called Sons of Bill and their manager contacted me to ask if i was able to catch their show and maybe get a few photos. I was impressed with their tight harmonies, musicality and versatility, playing many styles of music ranging from Americana to good ole southern rock & roll. Sons of Bill recently started to venture into the state of Texas and are receiving positive press from Texas media outlets and from music fans. Sons of Bill are from Charlottesville, Virginia and are five guys of which three are brothers hence the name Sons of Bill. Hayes Carll was scheduled to open the day in the tent but had to leave the Musicfest because of the flu which unfortunately also put Billy Joe Shaver out of commission earlier in the festival so Sons of Bill got things started.
Johnathan Tyler & the Northern Lights took the stage after them and i missed their shows in other venues during the week so seeing them on the big stage in the tent was something i was looking forward too, they too are another group i have heard great things about but have not seen yet. A few minutes into the first song i realized that these guys just plain rock, big time seventies southern rock and blues influences with a slight jam band feel. I saw Jonathan walking around in Steamboat at some of the venues and you could not help but notice him with his white fur coat and long hair.

These guys can do a power ballad, a blues standard or a straight up rock and roll song with with attitude and mojo. Reckless Kelly was up next, i had to leave to go back to our condo to get my laptop because i was out of space on my cards. I thought i could quickly take the shuttle up to Storm Meadows Christie Base, get it and head back but the shuttles were pretty slow and not at all on schedule like they claimed, one driver said that another one would be by in five minutes and 20 minutes later i was still waiting. When i got to the condo ambulances and fire trucks were still there after just responding to a fire in our complex and the alarms were still going off. I decided to just unload my cards then so that i didn't have to do it in the tent but i still brought the laptop back so i could do it again.
I made it back just in time for Katie Key and her Best in Texas and the Texas Music Chart awards presentation with Chicago Cubs baseball player Randy Wells. Randy is a recent convert to Texas and Red Dirt music and thanks to Stoney LaRue he has discovered many other bands in the genre. Randy is a frequent concert goer at Joe's bar in Chicago and i got to talk with him after they handed out awards to Cross Canadian Ragweed (twice) and Jack Ingram and also John Dickson of Dickson Productions who's company spends all year prepairing and working to put on the Musicfest as well as many other festivals in various parts of the country such as the Big Music Cruise.Cross Canadian Ragweed then took the stage rocking out crowd favorites like Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Wanna Rock & Roll" who later joined them on stage ith his son Lucas on guitar along with Stoney LaRue, Willy and Cody Braun, Micky Braun, Adam Oder, Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights. Lee Ann Womack joined Ragweed on stage too and later Cody and the band played an all star version of "Boys from Oklahoma" with various guests including KNBT, New Braunfels Texas radio's Mattson Ranier making up words to the song on the spot.After the finale in the big tent i made it to see Wade Bowen and his band do their finale in the Grand Ballroom, Lee Ann Womack joined Wade on stage for a song and Sean McConnell also sang along on his song "Somewhere Beautiful" and later an all star line up gathered together on stage to sing "Hey Jude" as the final closing song to what many have said was the best Steamboat Musicfest yet. Dont forget to check out all the videos i have taken everyday too by clicking here.

The outdoor concert with Jack Ingram.

Friday was the last day of the Musicfest and part of the festivities always include an outdoor concert and Jack Ingram performed the show again. I wanted to see this show because i think Jack is a great entertainer and because it was outdoors whereas all the other shows during the week are indoors, so it makes for some different photos.

Doug Moreland started the show off and i didn't make it on time for that but i did manage to catch most of Jack's set before i had to run to the big tent to get some shots for a band called Sons of Bill. Everytime i see Jack i have been treated to a high energy show sometimes filled with surprises and this time i wasn't let down, some may think he's crazy but Jack was barefoot and Crazy on the outdoor stage where it was below 10 degrees, maybe less. Before starting the song he removed his ski boots and his socks and performed his hit "Barefoot and Crazy" in bare feet and a t-shirt claiming that "this is about as good as i am gonna get my guitar tuned" in such a cold environment. The outdoor concert is always free for everyone, not just Musicfest attendees and walking up to the base and hearing the music reverberate off the mountain was a great way to start my day.

Click here to see my video of Jack singing "Barbie Doll"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thursday (day three) at the Musicfest in Steamboat.

Well i tried to keep updates going everyday when i could, about what was going on but because of another horrible Internet connection (time to get a broadband card) i had to give up and wait until i got home. So going through all the shots i took, i realized just how many shows i did miss that i wanted to see. It is nearly impossible to make every show, even if you only stay for a few songs just to get some photos, by the time you get to another venue and wait in line its just not worth it. So i went to the shows i was interested in as much as i could, i still missed a lot and what photos i did take did not turn out as good as i had hoped, here are a few that i like.Thursday the 7th was a tough day to decide which shows to see, i was out till the early morning the night before and really didn't get around to anything until the afternoon, so that made the decisions a bit easier since i had already missed some good shows. I ended up going to the Grand and staying there. The line up there was full of bands and musicians that i either really like or haven't seen before like Walt Wilkins and later that night Chris Knight but Ray Wylie Hubbard, Wade Bowen, Lee Ann Womack, Dean Dillon, Randy Rogers, Cody Canada and Stoney LaRue were also on hand. So i felt pretty confident about my decision and after a song or two i knew there was no second guessing.
Walt Wilkins, Ray Wylie and Wade sharing the stage together was a great start. Ray Wylie Hubbard released a new CD at the Musicfest called "A: Enlightenment B: Endarkenment Hint there is no C" and i just love that guys deep dark gritty blues mixed in with his great sense of humor. The Wylie Lama played "Drunken Poet's Dream" which is a Hayes Carll song that is now on Ray's new release. Wade played a new song that i have heard he has played elsewhere but i had yet to hear it called "Matches" and i finally got hear Walt Wilkins perform "Trains i Missed" which is one of my favorite songs.
After a short break Chris Knight, Stoney LaRue, Randy Rogers, Cody Canada, Dean Dillon and Lee Ann Womack stepped onto the stage. Stoney started things off with the song "Straight Faced Clown" and Chris Knight did "Heart of Stone" and "Crooked Road" and Dean Dillon, who has written over 50 songs for George Strait alone performed "The Chair" and "Set em up Joe" which nearly brought down the house but it was Cody Canada and his son Dierks singing "Bluebonnets" complete with Dierks introducing the song and then singing it along with his dad for the first time ever that had everyone talking, smiling or crying. I also tried to take a lot of videos of some of the performances and you can view video i took of this and some of the other songs played at this show here on my other site i have set up for this just click here: Lee Ann Womack performed "Last Call" and "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" and "I Hope You Dance" with Stoney Larue and Randy Rogers singing harmony that sounded absolutely beautiful. Randy Rogers performed the bands new song "Interstate" and "Don't Tell Me the Truth" one he wrote with Dean Dillon. Stoney also sang "Empty Glass" by Gary Stewart with everyone playing guitar at the same time. Cody Canada also performed "Brooklyn Kid" before Bruce Robinson and his band took the stage and i went out to talk with friends and meet some new ones. Texas music fans are some of the most passionate music fans i have ever met, and i think i made a lot of new friends.I ran into Stoney probably at least twice a day going in and out of condo's and venues and he is such a phenomenal talent and such a nice guy, always willing to stop and say hi.
Seeing Walt Wilkins and especially Chris Knight perform for the first time was also one of the highlights of the festival for me, Walt is one of the nicest people i have met and Chris is just as intimidating as the dark themes running through his songs.
I also really liked how Dean Dillon explained to the crowd that the real country music was there with him on stage and coming from places like Texas and not Nashville.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day Two of the Steamboat Musicfest

Well i tried to get to Bear River to see Jonathan Tyler but by the time i got ready to go i figured i wouldn't make it on time but i did want to see the Band of Heathens
so i was able to catch that show. I have never seen them before and i have heard so many great things. I like their energy and how they take turns on vocals. Later Roger Ray (Jason Boland's band) and i walked over to the big tent as Brandon Rhyder was nearing the end of his set. The sound in the big tent is so good, Brandon sounded great with his strong voice and great harmonies. Shiner Beer hooked me and my group up with free Shiner beers in the big tent so after a few Shiner Bocks Seth James and his band took the stage, Seth 's guitar playing is effortless and guitarist Geoff Queen is one of the best around plus Sean McConnell joined him for one song. Stoney LaRue then took the stage and by then the crowd was feeling good enough to dance. Stoney's music and attitude is just infectious, and even though we've all heard the songs plenty of times, it never gets old.
Randy Rogers closed the night down in the tent, i talked with Brady Black earlier in the day and he said that their new single will be released in May and they

performed a few of the new songs like "Interstate" and announced the title of the new CD but right now i can't recall it, maybe later it will come to me.
After Randy's show we went to the Steamboat Grand to see Micky & The Motorcars, who i have really been listening too a lot since their new "Live at Billy Bob's" disc came out, it was packed in there so i just took a few photos and walked around, Wade Bowen handed me almost a half cup of Jager so by that time, my memory was pretty much shot.
So i walked over to Chaps which is a bar in the Grand where everyone seems to hang out at and i talked with Ray Wylie Hubbard along the way after i had just bo ught his new CD " A. Enlightenment, B. Endarkenment, There is no C" that he released this week here at the Musicfest.
Eventually we went up to the seventh floor for the private party that goes on everynight after Chaps closes and i got to talk with Gary Wooten and Roger Creager for a while. We finally made it home after a long cold walk at about 5am.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Photos from day one of music at the Musicfest

Taking every show in here at the Musicfest in Steamboat Springs Colorado is nearly impossible, actually it is impossible. But that's ok, you just decide where you want to go and then enjoy the fabulous music. The first day here is just for checking in, meeting your roomates and getting situated and maybe socializing. The second day is when the music starts with the "First Note" in the Steamboat Grand ballroom and in the new Dung Beetle saloon inside the general store which is also inside the Grand. The first show in the Grand was an incredible way to kick things off. Starting off with an all female acoustic line up of vocal powerhouses, and guitar players who also have great songwriting skills to match. Members of the groups The Trishas, Kelly Mickwee, Liz Foster and Jaime Wilson joined with one of my favorite female vocalists in any genre of music, Bonnie Bishop and Kathleen Braun too. Walt Wilkins also provided guitar and some harmony vocals and later Tina Wilkins also joined in once her flight arrived. I gotta say that i became a fan of Liz Foster, that girl can sing! Tina Wilkins debuted a song she wrote as a female response inspired by the Johnny Cash song "Ive Been Everywhere" that had the crowd going with laughter as her lyrics rattled off a theme of trying to find a good man who could be in one of any number of occupations mentioned in song just as Johnny Cash named cities and states in his song. After the women were done, the men took the stage. Billy Joe Shaver was scheduled to be one of the artists on stage but was unable to make it because of the flu so Willy Braun joined Cody Canada, Charlie Robison and Robert Earl Keen trading turns playing acoustic crowd favorites and songs they felt like doing often trading jokes between songs.