Every August, the town of Challis, Idaho plays host to thousands of visitors from around the country and the globe for the annual Braun Brothers Reunion Festival. A family-friendly event for the music enthusiast, the BBR brings both well-loved and up and coming artists together with their fans in a picturesque setting for three unforgettable days. This year, the BBR will be held from August 10th-12th and will feature fourteen plus artists, including Parker McCollum who made a notable entrance onto the scene with his 2015 album, The Limestone Kid. As part of our continuing series showcasing artists performing at this year's BBR, McCollum very kindly took the time to talk about the festival, his current single, and more.
The Limestone Kid was an incredibly well-received full-length debut. Was music something you always wanted to pursue?
I knew that I wanted to be a songwriter and play music for a living from a very early age. When I was twenty, I met Corby Schaub [formerly of Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses] who offered to produce for me. We released a four-song EP [A Red Town View] and then we made a full album [The Limestone Kid]. We sent a song from that album, “Meet You In The Middle,” out to Texas radio and around the same time, I won the Larry Joe Taylor Songwriting Contest. Those two things together took us from having no shows, making no money, and having no career whatsoever to the exact opposite. It was like the flip of a switch from doing nothing to doing something non-stop. We released a couple more singles from the album and hit the road hard for the past two years, and now, we’re ready to release our second record in July.
The new album, Probably Wrong, will be released in three parts. Why did you decide to release the record in that fashion?
I was listening to John Mayer, who released The Search for Everything in the same way, explain how people today consume music and how they're more likely to listen to singles rather than a full album. I realize it’s hard to get people to dive into records nowadays, but I like making records, and I don’t ever want to stop making records. Releasing the album like this is a way of giving people what they want while still doing what I want to do. Probably Wrong will be released as Sessions One, Two, and Three. Session One, which drops July 7th, is four songs, Session Two is another four songs, and Session Three is all eight tracks, plus the last two songs.
Every year in August, the quaint town of Challis, Idaho plays host to thousands of visitors from around the country and the globe for the annual Braun Brothers Reunion Festival. A family-friendly event for the music enthusiast, the BBR brings both well-loved and up and coming artists together with their fans in a picturesque setting for three unforgettable days. This year, the BBR will be held from August 10th-12th and will feature fourteen plus artists, including rising Texas-based band Blue Water Highway whose frontman Zack Kibodeaux very kindly took the time to talk about the festival, their current single, and more.
In college you were preparing for a career in opera, so what occurred that made you change paths towards writing and ultimately founding Blue Water Highway?
As a child, I took voice lessons and performed with the All-State Choir [in Texas] which led me to college where I was gearing up for a career in opera. At college, I started writing songs, which was like my secret side project. Now and then, I would show my opera friends what I had written, and they always responded positively. So, I had this kind of push and pull inside me between my love of writing, playing, and performing and opera – and eventually, the love for performing my music in a band context won out. After graduation, I changed direction and Catherine, who studied opera alongside me and felt the same way, came along…..and the rest is history.
Joining Zack to complete Blue Water Highway were Greg Essington (multi-instrumentalist), Catherine Clark (harmony vocals), Kyle James Smith (bass) and Zach Landreneau (keyboards, lap steel, guitar, accordion, and more). The band released a self-titled, six-song, EP in 2013 and followed that up with the full-length LP 'Things We Carry' in 2015.
You recently came off the road from a run of dates with Reckless Kelly, and in August you will be joining them in August for the BBR. How did that come about?
We played a show with them, and after they saw us, they invited us to the BBR and to go out on tour with them. There are times when you tour with people and you don’t hit it off, but the Reckless guys are super cool. We had the opportunity to hang out and get to know them; and they treated us very kindly. I’m a super huge fan of theirs, and they were a big influence on me when I started writing, so being able to tour with them, and spend time with them was really a meaningful experience. We’re very fortunate and I think, I hope, the tour helped reinforce the fact that they hadn’t made a bad decision (laughing). We had a great time being on the road with them and are so excited about heading out to play the BBR.
Every year come August, the quaint town of Challis, Idaho plays host to thousands of visitors from around the country and the globe for the annual Braun Brothers Reunion Festival. A family-friendly event for the music enthusiast, the BBR brings both well-loved and up and coming artists together with their fans in a picturesque setting for three unforgettable days. This year, the BBR will be held from August 10th-12th and will feature fourteen plus artists, including singer-songwriter Jamie Lin Wilson. In the first of a series of features to introduce you to the artists at this year's festival, Wilson very graciously agreed to talk about the festival, her musical family, and more.
Throughout the years you have played with members of the Braun family at various events, have you ever played the BBR?
I played the BBR in 2009 as a member of The Gougers, but The Trishas never went and I’ve never gone as a solo artist, so when I asked if they had any open spots this year and then they asked if I wanted to come, it was a very easy decision to say yes. It’s my birthday weekend too - and a kid-less venture - so it’s going to be extra fun.
Awhile back, someone mentioned to me that, particularly in this business, when you make close friendships, you really cherish them. It's something that you seem to have with the Brauns and other members of this musical community.
I say this all the time, but the thing about the music scene in Texas and Oklahoma that I really don’t find in any other region - and maybe it is there and I just don't know about it because I'm not there - is that everyone supports one another. We aren't in competition with one another. We want to help one another and lift one another up, make each other have better shows, songs and gain more fans. We’re close friends who do the same things, love the same things, and have similar passions - and over the years, we have come to really love each other. Because, as musicians, we typically work at the same time and don’t live close, we don’t get to see one another as much as we like, so festivals like the BBR are so cool because we get to get together like a big family. We cherish these festivals because they’re like mini-reunions - and crazy amounts of fun. It’s a big friendly thing happening…..and Idaho, well that’s just America’s best kept secret. I can tell people all day long how beautiful it is there, but until you go, you wonder how you didn’t know just how beautiful it was all along. And coming to Idaho from Texas in the middle of summer where it’s 187 degrees, well, it’s a nice reprieve (laughing).