Every August, the town of Challis, Idaho plays host to thousands of visitors 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 Wade Bown who is making a return appearance at the festival, this time with buddy Randy Rogers. As part of our continuing series showcasing the artists performing at this year's Reunion, Bowen graciously took some time to talk about playing the festival, musical friendships, and what's ahead.
You’ve been out to the BBR on a few occasions now. Do you recall when you first headed out to Idaho for it?
I’ve been coming off and on, but I don’t really remember (laughing). All I know is that I want to go every year, and sometimes it doesn’t always work out, so I’m very, very glad that we can come back this year. It’s such a great time.
It is! Besides having a strong friendship with the Brauns, what draws you back and makes the BBR special for you?
Well, the setting is just one of a kind, the atmosphere is incredible, and the people who attend are so much fun - they truly love music. But the main reason I go is because I love the Braun family. Yes, they can make me laugh harder than anyone, and I love to hang out with them, but that family is really musically smart, both in the way they play, the stuff they listen to, and the friends they associate with. They have this wealth of knowledge about music, and it’s a real pleasure to be around them and soak all that up. They’re a great family whom I respect and love to death.
Did you become fast friends when they moved to Texas?
I didn’t start doing music until 1998, so I probably didn’t meet them until 2000-2001, but yeah, we go way back. I’ve made no secret that Reckless, who is this perfect blend of rock and country, has always been one of my favorite bands, and Micky [and the Motorcars] even played my wedding…that's how much I love these guys. I think everybody loves the Brauns though, they’re a trip to be around, and just good people.
You know, Willy and I played some shows in the UK for two weeks last November and had more fun than I can even explain. We laughed so hard the whole time; him being there made the trip an absolute blast. Our big joke was #sightseeing when all we were really doing was just hanging out in pubs (laughing). We thought we were so funny.
I remember seeing your Instagram posts, and it sure looked like a great time was had over there.
You’re bringing Hold My Beer and Watch This with Randy [Rogers] to the BBR. Will you have a band or will it be the two of you acoustic?
There will be a band of some sort, probably a version of our No Standards Band who are out with us on the Hold My Beer Tour.
I believe my band though, has been asked to back Jack Ingram, so I’m definitely going to jump up and try to steal his show (laughing). And that’s a big joke because I could never steal Jack’s show - he’s too damn good. I mean, you can try, but Jack will out do you every time even if it means hanging from the rafters (laughing). I love him, but I will find a way to heckle him a little bit, only because him using my band gives me that privilege (laughing).
He really is one of the best. In addition to Jack, is there anyone else you’re looking forward to seeing?
I’m looking forward to seeing and meeting Ned [LeDoux], and I always love watching Lee Ann sing. It’s a great lineup with a lot of people I know and am friends with, but I’ll say this, if you’re a part of the BBR, it’s not because you’re doing someone a favor; every artist who plays there is about the music first and foremost. I know we’re honored to be on the bill because I know how picky those guys are when it comes to music. I’m glad they respect us enough to invite us. We’re proud to be a part of it.
Like the artist, that goes back to what you mentioned about the people who attend, they truly are there because they care about the music.
Being that playing music is what you do, do you enjoy being in the audience and catching other artist's sets as well?
I love it. Before anything else, I’m a fan of music; that’s how it all started, and that’s never going to leave. I don’t get to see a lot of shows, so I especially love playing a festival like this one where we can hang for a couple of days. It’s fun for me to sit back and watch live music, and I’m excited about doing that at the BBR.
Before the BBR you’re playing some shows with Miranda Lambert, including two shows at Red Rocks. To borrow a phrase from Reckless, no big deal.
(Laughing) Miranda and I have been friends for so long. She’s such as good person and is one of those people who will never, ever get too big for their britches. She was kind enough to put us on these shows with her even though she sure didn’t have to. And I’d like to think we contribute a pretty good crowd for her and hopefully, it [being out with her] makes sense; I know musically it feels like it does. I’m looking forward to playing these shows and catching up with her. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
No doubt! In addition to touring, you’ve been busy with your Garage Mahal You Tube series and the Country Cover Song Challenge [Bowen and Rogers recently recorded a version of “Rita Ballou”] with The Next Waltz, but what about new music? When can we expect a new Wade Bowen album?
I finished up my album – which Miranda was kind enough to sing on - and we should be coming out with a single before year’s end, with the full album maybe in February.
When I started the recording process for this one, I made a point to take a deep breath, and not rush myself. I think the fans are patient and understand that we want to make sure the record's done right and is the best it can be. It’s been hard though to hold off and not play the songs every night, but every once in a while we’ve been throwing some new stuff in and teasing people with it. I’m excited about it and ready to get it out there.
For all of the information on the BBR from lodging to the full lineup, please visit the official website HERE
Tickets: BBR 3-Day Pass for ages 13 and up $124.30
BBR 2-Day Pass for ages 13 and up $86.30
Tickets purchased online will be picked up at will call at the venue and are non-refundable. One day passes will be sold at the front gate while supplies last. The BBR is held rain or shine.
Kids age 5 and under are free. Kids age 6-12 are $15 a day and can only be purchased at the front gate. Kids age 13 and up pay full adult price.
To stay up to date with Wade Bowen visit his official website
Watch his Garage Mahal on You Tube HERE
Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Purchase his music HERE