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).
Idaho is definitely a well kept secret. Since it’s been awhile since you’ve been, are you expecting anything different?
I keep up with the festival every year; I follow people who go and I often get phone calls from people when they’re there. I think overall, it’s gotten bigger, but as far as I can tell, it’s stayed the same. The whole Braun family does a wonderful job and I think the spirit remains the same because those Braun brothers, well, you can’t change them. It’s still a good down-home family event where people camp, listen to music, and have a good time.
Absolutely. It's a festival too, where everyone seems to genuinely care about the music.
Challis is a destination for everyone. If the whole town went to the BBR, there would be maybe 150 people there, so everyone who comes to the BBR had to travel at least a few hours to get there because even Boise is three or so hours away. You’re not going to go just because it’s happening like some of the festivals in the bigger cities where people go because it’s the cool thing to do and the place to be seen rather than caring about who’s playing. People come to Challis because they care about the music, so that breeds a really cool environment for not only the fans, but also for us because we feel appreciated and loved. It’s a big, happy field of people.
That's a great description!
When you play festivals like the BBR, do you get to watch and enjoy other's sets?
I always make sure I get to places early and know the line-up so I can go and watch people play and see what’s going on. I watch because they’re my friends and I want to support them, but I also really love music. I also think you learn a little more about somebody when you see them doing the thing they love to do. Sometimes someone’s personality is different on stage than it is in real life - they come out of their shell and you’ll see them steer a crowd and people’s feelings.
And if I see someone I know out there watching my show and I know that they know whatever song I’m going to sing, I’ll ask them to come sing with me. There are collaborations that happen at festivals that don’t happen on an everyday basis so whenever someone is there that can play this guitar that’s sitting here I’ll say, ‘Hey come play.’
At the BBR I’m playing a full band set, but the band is the BBR All-Stars, which I love! Willy [Braun of Reckless Kelly] will play drums, Joe [ Miller of Reckless Kelly] will be on bass, and maybe one of Jack’s [Ingram] guys will play and someone from Turnpike too. I’ll tell them the songs I'm planning on playing and they’ll learn them, but you never know what’s going to happen. There’s a nervous energy that’s present and that translates to everyone being on their toes and paying attention – nobody’s phoning it in. They’re professionals who are good at their job and I know that anything they play is going to be great - and then it always is! And of course, I'll probably get up and sing with people during their sets too. It’ll be a good time.
Being that everyone is pretty much from Texas and Oklahoma, is there anyone playing that’s new to you or you’re looking forward to seeing play?
I know everyone, but I have never seen Ned [LeDoux] play. Jeff Crosby is awesome. Lee Ann [Womack] is wonderful. I’m looking forward to seeing Randy and Wade do their thing and Parker [McCollum] too. It’s a great line-up. I’m really excited about my night because it’s full of my friends, like Turnpike and Jack, who I play with on a regular basis. It’s gonna be good. I can’t wait.
Switching gears a bit, your last album, Holidays & Wedding Rings, was released in 2015, have you been writing for a new record?
Man, I need to be because I have it in me, but I’m a one woman show at the moment doing everything on my own; so I try, and then I just have to stop because when I have down time, I'm with my kids. It’s one of the things I need to figure out time for this summer.
Balancing motherhood with everything else must be a huge challenge.
How about touring - besides the BBR will you be on the road much this summer?
I’ll be going to Oklahoma and Colorado with Courtney [Patton], Jason [Eady] and Adam [Hood] which starts at the Americana Music Festival in Telluride. Then it’s Idaho and California. I’m just hopping planes all summer long, which is cool. I wasn’t liking going out every weekend because there was never any routine with the kids, so now I try and tour in blocks where I will go out and then stay home for a while in order to keep regular time with them. Now we have a routine for when I’m home and one for when I’m gone, so we’re not flying by the seat of our pants. And the weekends at home are pretty great for family time, especially when they involve going to church, eating fried chicken, and swimming. I’m having a good time staying busy, playing cool shows, and getting to love my babies.
For all of the information on the BBR from lodging to the full lineup visit the official website HERE
The BBR is Rain or Shine
Tickets purchased online will be picked up at will call at the venue under purchaser’s name and are non-refundable.
Kids age 5 and under are free
Kids age 6-12 are $15 a day and can be purchased at the front gate even if it's sold out.
Tickets: BBR 3-Day Pass for ages 13 and up $124.30
BBR 2-Day Pass for ages 13 and up $86.30
To stay up to date with Jamie Lin Wilson, visit her official website, and find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Watch her perform "Just Like Heartache" HERE