This past Sunday, I had the privilege of attending the 4th annual Red Dirt Round-Up hosted by Cross Canadian Ragweed in the Ft. Worth Stockyards (right next to Billy Bob’s). It was a fantastic time, and as usual, it made for some great people watching. Below are some thoughts:
- Sorry, I have tried. I just don’t get Johnny Cooper. In Texas, I am seemingly out-numbered on this. I will say that he’s clearly got some talent and his band seems to have talent as well. That said, between his insistence upon beat-boxing (this happened on at least 2 songs) and his “Hey, I’m trying to sound like a 67 year old black man, even though I just exited the akward pubescent stage of my life” between-song banter, I just couldn’t warm up to him. That makes the second or third time I have seen him live and have felt the same way each time. Oh well.
- Boots are the new sandals. Male, female, new, old, hot or really hot. I was again out-numbered when it came to my footwear.
- Stephanie Briggs, the songstress from Oklahoma, tore it up in the mid-afternoon sun. With a shock of blue hair, Briggs didn’t let the fact that Cody Canada was playing lead guitar for her keep her from commanding the stage. Many of her songs were piano driven rock with a certain punk attitude. Her early, stellar performance set the pace for what would be a few more high-caliber performance on the festival’s “second stage”.
- The Band of Heathens showed why they are considered “emerging” by the AMA. Their effortless, expert mix of gospel, folk, rock and blues enraptured the crowd as they showcased a couple of new songs while mainly focusing on material from their self-titled debut. The show closer, “Don’t Call on Me” practically brought down the stage as a jam erupted where Ed Jurdi went nuts on the harmonica and Gordy Quist jumped on the drum kit to bang on the cymbals with his hand. Awesome.
- 100 degree heat + Beer + random country boy without his shirt + no sense of pacing = medical cart followed quickly by police cart. Unlike other events in the past, I am not talking about myself here, for once.
- Charlie Robison. Great. As. Usual. Almost everyone on that bill likely wants to be Robison when they grow up.
- Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit was tremendous as his band mixed tracks from both of his post-DBT albums with a few of his trademark Drive By Truckers tunes. When they closed the set with “Never Gonna Change”, I had a hard time determining if I was glad that Isbell is on his own now and doing his own thing or if I was bummed that his contributions to one of my favorite bands will not be a part of their mix any longer.
- To the D.J. that introduced Isbell to the crowd, it’s I-S-B-E-L-L, not Is-A-Bell…geesh. What does this guy have to do to have his name pronounced correctly? Same goes to the D.J. that introduced Charlie Robison. There isn’t an “n” in his last name…wow.
- Lucero was pretty good. They played a song or two from their upcoming major label release. “Hey Darlin’, Do You Gamble” was particularly interesting and well-done. Sound issues hampered the experience during their set, but nothing could deny the energy of their live rendition of “Joining The Army”. I spoke to Ben Nichols before their set, and he was pretty blown away by the size of the festival. Lucero is hitting the road with Ragweed soon, and Nichols was eager to get to know the guys better.
I ended up skipping out after Lucero, I’ll admit. I missed Robert Earl Keen, Randy Rogers Band and the friggin’ Wallflowers, not to mention the headliners. Missing those sets could’ve been really painful had I not caught such great performances earlier in the day. Being introduced to a talent like Briggs, catching my first Isbell show and being reminded why I dig Band of Heathens, Charlie Robison and Lucero so much makes for a great day of music, regardless of who might have played later that night.
About the author: I likes me some wine, women and waffles, not always in that order (but usually). Chaucer is cool, but fart jokes are even better. You feel like spikin' your country with a little soul or mix in a little rock without the roll? Lemme hear from ya!!