So, we are finally recovering (somewhat) from the most glorious week of the musical year. MusicFest 2014 is in the books. It was another tremendous success from the fine folks at Dickson Productions. If you haven’t made this trip yet, you seriously need to consider it. You’ll be glad you did.
This year we were fortunate enough to have a 2014 Chevy High Country 4×4 as our chariot to the Rockies. It makes a 17 hour road trip seem like a trip around the block. There is PLENTY of room for gear and backseat passengers, plus we have the luxury of turn by turn navigation, XM radio, and enough power outlets to support a small village. The heated steering wheel never ceased to amaze me. Then again, I am easily entertained…especially when sitting in a truck for a day or so.
Of course we stopped at Whataburger before we left the friendly confines of Tejas. We got out of town a little later in the day than usual, so we set our sights for Colorado and we were off.
After a few stops for bio-breaks, tons of great tunes, and some playoff football discussion, we cleared Raton Pass and rolled into Trinidad in time to catch the late SportsCenter and get some sleep.
The next morning, we were off. Oddly enough, it was 60 degrees when we hit Denver, while 23 back home in Dallas. We had no problems with weather AT ALL through Silverthorn, Kremmling, and Rabbit Ears Pass. We had a rather uneventful and pleasant drive into Steamboat Springs. We checked into our condo, unloaded gear, and headed off to The Grand to see who was in town.
Little did we know that we had just beat the weather that was going to wreak havoc for the many, including members of our crew for the coming days.
We were able to organize gear, charge batteries, sort equipment, and get plenty of needed rest before the throngs of people hit town. Two days later, several cancelled flights, and lost luggage aside, we had our entire team assembled and ready to rock.
The First Note show is the official kickoff of MusicFest. This year it included Randy Rogers, Kent Finlay, HalleyAnna, Wade Bowen, William Clark Green, Dr Hartman, and Kyle Park. Music was officially underway.This was an awesome line-up. It was wonderful hearing the stories of Cheatham Street and the kind words about Ken and his impact on these young artists careers and lives.
From here we bounced to the Outdoor Stage to catch Bri Bagwell and then Jack Ingram just as the snow started. It needs to be noted that one of the highlights of MusicFest is Jack Ingram’s outdoor show. He sort of takes it to a new level each year. Sometimes barefoot, short sleeves, crowd surfing, standing on speakers, walking a rail in the crowd, who knows…always something, and ALWAYS entertaining!
Now a mad dash to The Grand to catch Lincoln Durham. Lincoln was a newcomer to MusicFest and he blew the roof off the place. We were looking forward to his sets, as we were pretty sure he’d deliver and make some new fans. He did not disappoint.
From here was was BACK to the tent to catch Reckless Kelly.
After an amazing show by Reckless, a crowd favorite in the tent, we ran over to one of the new venues, The Sheraton Ballroom, to catch Paul Thorn and Shinyribs. FULL DISCLOSURE: I must interject here to say that Paul Thorn is one of my long time favorites. Wade Bowen’s crew turned me on to Paul Thorn well before Wade cut Mood Ring. Not only is his songwriting incredible, he is a funny guy. I mean FUNNY. It is somewhat like a Ray Wylie Hubbard set in that he has really funny crowd interaction and stories. It is very entertaining and well worth the show. And while I am interjecting, I will go ahead and say that Shinyribs stole the show this year. Every year there is a standout that catches on like wildfire, and for us, Shinyribs was the one this year. These guys are SO cool, so nice, and so much fun. They are not only a crowd favorite, but an artist favorite, and I think that is extra cool…country cool so to speak.
Here’s a little example of what I am talking about. Shinyribs can be for the other artists artists. You don’t often see this happen. Keep in mind that this room is a listening room with tables etc…unless Shinyribs is playing.
To close out our work night, we high-tailed it over to The Grand Ballroom to catch Hayes Carll close the evening, and what a fine evening it was.
I’d say my Day One highlights were Lincoln, Shinyribs, and Paul Thorn. All guys I truly dig, and was sincerely hoping people would give a chance. Thankfully they did, and boy does it only get better from here! All in a days work…