Nestled in the mountains of central Idaho, the picturesque town of Challis bustles every August when it plays host to the Braun Brothers Reunion Festival. Regarded as one of the state’s premier musical gatherings by both attendees and artists alike, the BBR is a family-friendly event that draws thousands of visitors from across the globe, bringing artists and fans together in an unparalleled setting for three unforgettable days.
This year, the BBR will be held from August 9th-11th and will feature fifteen plus Americana, Texas, and Red Dirt artists, including singer-songwriter Courtney Patton who recently released her stunning new album, What It's Like To Fly Alone. In the first of our series highlighting the artists at this year's Reunion, Courtney very kindly took some time to speak in depth about her new album, the BBR, and the role closest to her heart, being a present, loving mom to her children.
Congrats on the album! The reception has been an amazing one.
It’s the best reception I’ve ever gotten from both critics and fans and it’s been wonderful. It seems like people are latching onto this record more than my other ones, and I don’t know why because I feel like I put just as much work into it as the others, but I’m incredibly glad. The hard work is finally paying off which makes my heart happy.
It’s much deserved.
What It’s Like To Fly Alone was self-produced. Was this the first time you took the production reins?
Yes, this is the first time I did that. When I made Triggering A Flood, which Jamie Lin Wilson and John Ross Silva produced, I was still working a full-time day job, so a lot of decisions were made without me simply because I just couldn’t be there. The last one [So This Is Life], Drew Kennedy produced and while he did hire the musicians and pick the studio, I was much more involved. And this time, I did everything myself, which was both terrifying and very rewarding. I didn’t give anything up and in the end, I got the record I 100% wanted. I made every decision from the songs, to who mixed and mastered it, to the graphics, so when it came out and people were enjoying it, it made me feel even more proud because I knew I did all by myself.
What an incredible accomplishment and so very rewarding to see such a labor of love be loved by so many. Was there anything else you approached differently?
Something I did that was a pretty big deal for me was co-write [six of the twelve tracks are co-writes]. I work very well by myself, but going into this record, I knew that letting go in that regard and doing more co-writing was something I wanted to work on. I called in help from writers I trusted and we either finished ideas one of us had or put ideas together and the songs came. Learning to be a co-writer was a fun part of the process for me.
Another thing I did for the first time was put liner notes in, which as a fan of music is a really big thing for me. I’ve always enjoyed not only being able to listen to records, but to hold them, read the words and see who wrote the songs and played on it. I also made vinyl, which I have never done before. As fans, Jason and I love vinyl, so putting out vinyl was another way for me to give back to the fans. And finally, I just tried to be more present and in contact with my fan base on social media. I made friends with so many people who are such good advocates for the music. They really are Patton’s Army and it feels good to know that people have my back and love and support me. It’s a comforting feeling to know that I’m not going unappreciated.
Absolutely, that must do the heart good. While this album has many personal songs on it, it also seems you wrote pure story songs on this one, like “Round Mountain” and “Devil’s Hand.”
Again, that’s me challenging myself as a writer. I never thought I would be good at writing that way, I thought my niche was telling personal stories about what I was going through. People responded to that, but with this record, I wanted to pull myself back a bit and tell an honest story, fictional or not, that people could relate to. “Round Mountain” is entirely fictional. “Open Flame” is fictional, but not so far removed from something I had gone through in my life that I could not tell it truthfully.
The ones that I wrote myself, “Shove,” the title track, and “Fourteen Years”, which is about my sister, are the most personal, and real, songs to me. Those three kind of wrote themselves, and honestly, I don’t know if they’d be the same if I asked anyone else to write them with me.
A favorite time of the year is rapidly approaching - The Braun Brothers Reunion Festival. The daily line-up for the festival has been announced and tickets are now on sale. The BBR is an amazing three-day event with top-notch musical performances from esteemed artists in the Americana, Red Dirt, and Texas music scene, all in an unparalleled setting. If you're assessing the Summer Festival offerings, the BBR in Challis, Idaho is a trip worth taking.
Thursday, August 9th
Jeff Crosby and the Refugees
Cody Canada and The Departed
Micky and the Motorcars
Friday, August 10th
Jason Eady and Courtney Patton
Rosie Flores and the BBR All-Stars
Asleep At The Wheel
Saturday, August 11th
The Braun Family
Bruce Robison and the BBR All-Stars
Mike and the Moonpies
In the coming weeks, I'm thrilled to once again bring you Artist Spotlight features where you can catch up with, or get to know, some of the artists who are at this year's BBR.
For now, head on over to their website for all the info.
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 Micky & The Motorcars. In the conclusion of our series highlighting some of the artists at this year's Reunion, Micky Braun very kindly took some time to speak about his family's festival and more.
Your family has been hosting the BBR for almost forty years now, do you recall any early memories?
My earliest memory was from the late 80’s, around ‘88-‘89, when Dad was playing at a dance hall in Stanley. We played there three nights a week and Dad played five or six. The first year he did that I remember he had his brothers come up and do the Reunion.
There are so many wonderful things about the Reunion from the location to the artists to seeing new friends. What makes it special for you?
Even though I moved to Austin, Idaho is home and has always been my favorite place, so when the Reunion rolls around, I look forward to being home. I grew up here and have a cabin here now, so I enjoy seeing old friends and hanging out with my friends from the road. It’s nice to be able to spend time with such a good group of people, enjoy their company, and the Idaho weather.
Besides the fact that the BBR has grown, has it changed for you in any other ways?
It’s changed a little bit almost every year. With it growing, it’s more about trying to keep it at a place where everyone is happy. Our main goal is to have the right amount of people so that everyone can be comfortable, enjoy themselves, and not worry about being overrun with long lines or having nowhere to sit. A daily capacity of 3500 people is the number we feel comfortable with; we reached that number last year on Saturday, and it’s coming close on Thursday and Friday this year.
It almost triples the size of Challis for those few days.
It does, but I think it’s good for the town, not that they’re surviving on us, but it gives them a nudge – at least we hope it does anyway - in the middle of Summer which is nice for the restaurants, hotels, and the businesses in the community. It’s a cool thing to be able to do this in our neck of the woods and work with the city council and people from all over the town, many of whom I know from when I was a kid.
With the countdown to the 2017 Braun Brothers Reunion Festival well underway, the Brauns of Reckless Kelly and Micky & The Motorcars - Cody, Willy, Gary, and Micky - are getting you ready with a playlist chock full of their favorite tunes from the artists performing at this year's Reunion.
Stream the tracks while you pack for, and travel to, Challis, or if you're simply hanging out and in the mood to hear some great tunes. And if you like what you hear, be sure to visit the artist's website and pick up a CD or two.
For all of the information on this year's BBR, which will be held August 10th-12th in Challis, Idaho, visit HERE. For a complete listing of song titles and artists, see below
Artists and Song Titles
Braun Brothers - 1000 Cups Of Coffee, Yankee Fork, The Cowboy From Mackay
Reckless Kelly- Nobody’s Girl, Wicked Twisted Road, Ragged As The Road
Micky and the Motorcars- Hearts From Above, Careless, Tonight We Ride
Jack Ingram - Good Night Moon, Keep On Keepin’ On, Mustang Burn
Old 97’s - Salome, Time Bomb, Victoria
Blue Water Highway - Miss California and the Bad Man, Steamboat Song
Lee Ann Womack - A Little Past Little Rock, Mendicino County Line, I Hope You Dance
Dirty River Boys - Highway Love, Teenage Renegade
Ned Ledoux - Brother Highway, We Ain’t Got It All
Jeff Crosby And The Refugees - This Old Town, Silent Conversations
Wade Bowen - Sun Shines on a Dreamer, Mood Ring, My California
Randy Rogers - This Time Around, Kiss Me In The Dark, Neon Blues
Hold My Beer and Watch This - I Had My Hopes Up High, In The Next Life
Jamie Lin Wilson - Ordinary People, Seven Year Drought
Turnpike Troubadours - Good Lord Lorrie, Gin, Smoke, and Lies
Cody Canada and the Departed- All Nighter, True Love Never Dies
Parker McCollum - High Above The Water, Meet You In The Middle
In anticipation of this year's Braun Brothers Reunion Festival, a few of the artists taking the stage contributed some of their favorite tracks from their fellow performers for an all new playlist guaranteed to get you ready for Challis! Stream the tunes below and then to head to the artist's website to learn more and pick up a CD or two.
The BBR will be held August 10th-12th in Challis, Idaho. For all the information visit HERE
Artist & Songs Chosen
Jamie Lin Wilson - Meet You In The Middle, We're All In This Together
Blue Water Highway - Question, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Parker McCollum - Diamonds & Gasoline, Mendocino County Line
Dirty River Boys - Evangeline, Question
Jeff Crosby - Volcano, You Had Me At My Best
Jack Ingram - Let's Get Drunk & Get It On, I May Hate Myself In The Morning
Wade Bowen - Radio, She Don't Love You
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.
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 esteemed singer-songwriter Jack Ingram who makes his BBR debut. As part of our continuing series showcasing the artists performing at this year's Reunion, Ingram graciously took some time to talk about playing the festival, musical friendships, and much more.
You’ve taken part in Reckless’s Softball Jam, but have you been out to the BBR before or will this be your first time?
I haven’t been to the BBR, but I have known Reckless, Micky, and Gary for many years. I love them, I love their family, and I love their music. Like a lot of musicians down here, they’re brothers in arms. I’ve wanted to play the Reunion for a long time, but I was either too busy, or they didn’t offer enough money for me to get up there (laughing), so I had to tell them to quit being cheap and I’ll come (laughing). Finally, it worked out this year, and I’m so glad it did because I really do feel close to them in a lot of different ways.
It’s funny, I can be acquaintances, and friends to a certain extent, with people that I don’t like musically, but when I know what someone is going for in the music world, well, that’s always a basis for a good friendship with me. I guess it’s like any job where if you know someone and they’re hacks and you know they don’t care and they’re just going for the most common denominator bs you can probably be friends with them, but you’re not going to give them your heart because you know they’re not going to treat it well, and they’re not going to give you theirs because they don’t give their heart to their work. When I meet people and love what they do, and more importantly how they do it, and I think they’re going about it for pure reasons then right there I think we have a chance to be really good friends and if I like them personally, the way I really love these guys, it immediately becomes a friendship like your best friendships where you can pick up where you were the last time you saw one another.
Those are some of the best kinds of friendships. Being that you all have the same careers, does seeing one another at a festival like this or Steamboat make it more special?
It’s about that, but more importantly, when I had hits and was being mister country star, it was great to have friends in the business that regardless of everything else, understood the what and why. The Reckless guys, if they didn’t like what I was doing, they’d say, ‘Oh man that sucks for Ingram that he had to do that because you know he hates it,’ instead of calling me a sellout. There’s a big difference there, and there are only a few other artists who understand fully what other people are doing.
I do love seeing them because we don’t see one another often. A lot of times people get together and say let’s not talk about the business, but no matter how hard you try, sometimes you don’t have anything else to talk about and with these guys we have other things to talk about; we really do understand each other and can let ourselves be our true selves because we really do care about one another. There’s this code with Willy and Cody, almost like a Mafia thing (laughing) where we’re lifers. When they say to me or I to them that a person is a lifer, we know this person is going to be around a long time, so it’s okay to invest in him or her, like Jamie Lin Wilson. No matter what degree of success she finds it doesn’t matter, she’s going be here. So those types of friendships, like what I have with Wade and Randy, Todd and Rodney, they’re cool. We don’t have to know all about each other; we just know.
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 Jeff Crosby who returns to the BBR for his fourth year. As part of our continuing series showcasing the artists performing at this year's Reunion, Crosby very kindly took the time to talk about playing the festival, what's ahead, and more.
When we last spoke, you were thinking of relocating to Nashville. Did you eventually make the move from L.A.?
I've been in Nashville for about six months, and although it's quite an adjustment from Southern California, I am loving it. It has much more of a small-town mentality and a communal vibe where instead of someone handing me a business card and asking me to check out their band after every gig I play, people tend to be more interested in exchanging numbers to write together. It’s really refreshing.
Sounds like a welcome artistic environment. Your most recent full-length, Waking Days, was released in 2015. Can we expect new music in the near future?
I’ve got another record ready to go. At the beginning of this year, I went to Portland and worked with Greg Williams [Blitzen Trapper, Dandy Warhols, Jesse Malin] who I met when I was playing with Jerry Joseph. Greg was really into my music and suggested we do a record together, so we got it done, and now I'm just working out all the details to get it released.
Waking Days was very atmospheric Folk-Rock. Does the new album stay along those lines or will we hear something different?
It’s a lot different. Between almost dying [Crosby suffered a medical scare in early 2016] and coming out of a seven-year relationship, it was just prime time to, well, either become a complete alcoholic or write a really good record -- and I'm hoping I got the latter. After both of those experiences, I got reclusive and wrote a bunch of songs in different places like Alaska, Mexico, Nashville, and Idaho and when I put the songs together, it was like a journal of the last two years of my life. I'm really happy with it.
I'll look forward to hearing it! You're on the road quite a bit, recently coming off of a tour with
Micky and the Motorcars.
We had such a great time on that tour. It was cool to get to know those guys more than just saying a quick hello backstage at a show. Those Brauns are a special group who are just so insanely talented. To watch them play every night and see the bond between Micky, Gary, and the whole band was something else. I just love them.
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 The Dirty River Boys whose blend of Country, Punk, and more translates into high-energy tunes and an intense, unforgettable live show. As part of our continuing series showcasing the artists performing at this year's BBR, The Dirty River Boys' Marco Gutierrez very kindly took the time to talk about playing the festival and more.
Later this Summer you guys will be heading to Idaho to play the BBR. Will this be your first time at the Reunion?
This will be our first time at the BBR. We've known the Brauns for awhile now, and over the years have developed a good friendship with them. They’ve treated us very well, especially in the beginning when they had us open quite a few shows for them throughout the country - that's something they didn’t have to do, and we’re very grateful for it. We like and respect what they do, and we're looking forward to being at the BBR.
The Dirty River Boys - who, in addition to Gutierrez on vocals, guitar, banjo, and bass, include Nino Cooper (vocals, guitar, harmonica, and mandolin), Colton James (vocals, bass, guitar, and banjo) and Chris Hausler (drums & percussion) - play on Saturday, the last of the three days. Will you be able to stay, enjoy Idaho, and catch some of the other artists?
When we got asked to play, it was an easy yes, and then we booked a two-week tour around it, but I think we'll be able to hang around for a bit. I’m just really excited because I know it will be a great couple of days with our peers and friends, many of whom we don’t get to spend a lot of time with. I’m looking forward to seeing my buddies play, and I’m stoked to see the Old 97’s, a band that I was into long before I even knew about the Texas music scene.
Your last album was 2014's well-received eponymous release. Can we expect a new album anytime soon?
It’s been entirely too long since we put out a record, but it's in the works. Chris and I have been getting together to demo songs and piece things together, and we’re hoping to get into the studio in the next couple of months.
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.