Highlights From Music Fest 2018

Picking your favorite performance at Steamboat Music Fest is kind of like choosing between barbecued brisket, jalapeno sausage, or baby back ribs, it’s all so dang good (And apparently I’m craving some Texas Barbecue.) There are however a few shows that really stood out for me over the course of this multi-day, star-studded event. I’ll never forget watching Chris Knight, Bruce Robison, and Lee Ann Womack share the stage for some amazing acoustic performances. When there’s that much talent on stage together it can sometimes have the effect of upping everyone’s game and I believe that was certainly the case here. Plus, the fact that they all go back several years and are obviously very comfortable with each other lead to some great stories between the tunes. Lee Ann Womack and Bruce Robison talked about how early in their careers Bruce and Chris used to fight over the couch at Lee Ann and her husband Frank’s old house in Nashville because of how bad the dry wall was in their guest room, and it must have been pretty bad drywall for a guy who’s 6 foot 8 to prefer the couch. The usually reserved Chris Knight also told a hilarious story about being asked to play a gig for fourth graders at a low point in his career and how he contemplated what he would say to make some of his darker songs appropriate for that audience and he quipped, “Well kids, this is what you do when someone crosses you…. You track him down and kill him,” then he added that he ultimately didn’t get the gig and proceeded to play his fan favorite “Down the River”. On Sunday Dickson Productions put together a tribute to Gary P. Nunn, one of the most humble fore founders of Texas Music. The show started with a handful of the artists he influenced like Michael Hearne, Doug Moreland, Matt Skinner, Kyle Park, Bri Bagwell and more playing some of their favorite Gary P. Nunn songs. Then before a pre-produced tribute video followed by a set by Gary P. and the Bunkhouse Band, several of his closest friends that call themselves the Tejas Vaqueros gathered on stage and sang “Friends for Life”. That group included Thom Shepherd, Kevin Fowler, Cody Johnson, Roger Creager and many others. Without a doubt my favorite performance by a new artist to the genre was Charley Crockett opening up for BJ Barham on Sunday night at the Chief Theater. I watched Justin Frazell bring him on stage at the historic venue in downtown Steamboat, following Justin around is usually a good way to catch some great shows. I’ve seen Charley perform before but every time he gets even better and I’m really glad to see the Texas/Red Dirt audience embracing his very unique and refreshing blend of Ernest Tubb-type Honky Tonk Music and Memphis Blues. Do yourself two favors today, check out Charley Crockett’s music if you haven’t already and start making your plans for Steamboat 2019!

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