What is there to say about a Will Hoge show that I have not already told you previously? Will is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter who consistently puts out quality albums. As for his live shows, well, hands down his is one of the best around (take my word for it as I attend many shows).
For over an hour and a half, Will performed songs that spanned his entire catalog and ranged from all out rockers ("Sex, Lies and Money") to ballads ("Baby Girl") to the well known, "Strong" and his latest, "Middle of America." Will has an energy, a presence and a voice that you just have to see (and hear) for yourself live. Make a point to get to a show.
As always, after the show Will greeted anyone and everyone in line for conversation, hugs, handshakes, and photos. He's the real deal and a class act.
Local band Bobby McGrath and the Brothers opened and since the previous time I saw them, I can say they have only gotten better (and they were good before!). The six piece group's sound was tighter with Trevor demonstrtaing some serious guitar chops. And of course watching Aaron on the keys is quite a treat. They performed two new songs that the went over well with the crowd who were left chanting "one more song" after their final number.
For more information on Will Hoge visit his official website
For more information on Bobby McGrath visit here
It may just be the best festival you are not attending (and maybe have never even heard of), The Braun Brothers Reunion Festival was held this past August 7-9th in scenic Challis, Idaho. The festival, billed as the 11th, but around for much longer, was founded by Muzzie Braun with his brothers Billy and Gary. What started as a one day affair blossomed into three and continues to grow.
The three day event features singer songwriters, alternative country, bluegrass and red dirt artists including Muzzie's sons, Cody and Willy of Reckless Kelly and Micky and Gary of Micky and The Motorcars. The BBR has an intimate and familiar feel with many (artists and attendees) returning year after year. There is a friendship and a genuine warmth among those in the crowd (sharing seats, blankets, food, and stories....and making sure that you had a clear view of the stage!) that also extends to the artists who seamlessly join one another on stage where the camaraderie is more than evident.
Thursday saw the event kicked off by Idaho native Jeff Crosby and the Refugees followed by an acoustic set from Chris Knight. Both artists are gifted songwriters whose performances held everyone’s attention. Following Chris came the Turnpike Troubadours, definite festival favorites, who brought just as much (if not more) joy, energy and talent to the mountains of Idaho as they did a NYC club a few weeks prior. Closing out the evening was Micky and The Motorcars who really gave a high energy, crowd pleasing performance of old favorites as well as new songs from their stellar July 31st release Hearts From Above.
Friday brought Radney Foster, Hayes Carll, and The Departed. The rains and winds came during the Departed’s set but no one seemed to mind (especially the streaker!). When things got a bit too wet, Cody Canada plowed on and performed acoustic and those who stayed through saw the terrific Rodney Crowell close out the night.
Saturday was an entire day filled with music for music lovers. There was a guitar pull (and stories) with members of the Braun family, Hayes Carll, George DeVore and Johnny Chops of the Randy Rogers Band, to name a few. The day also included a highlight of the festival: all of the Braun family (Muzzie, his brothers, the "boys," and their aunt) performing together. They were followed by the phenomenal Black Lillies, who made more than a few new fans, Son Volt and The Greencards, whose music just soothes the soul. The Randy Rogers Band “opened” for Reckless Kelly who closed out the three days with a pretty perfect set, including an acoustic solo of "Idaho" from Willy, under a beautiful moon. Many of the artists, including Cody Canada, Kym of the Greencards and Brady Black of RRB joined Reckless for various songs throughout their set. The festival concluded with everyone on stage for a giant sing a long of “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” leaving many already thinking of, and planning for, next year.
For more information visit the Braun Brothers Reunion official website.
I could go on and on and say how great the festival was, how I made many new friends, how the beer was cheap, the food was more than passable and the opportunity to meet the artists was pretty cool, but I'll just encourage you to check it out yourself. And if you cannot make the trip to Idaho, go give a listen to the artists who I mentioned above....your ears will be happy you did.
NB The trip from NYC to Challis was a trek, don’t be fooled. Two flights and a (beautifully scenic) 3 hour drive (four or so if you fly into Boise), but it was well worth it and I definitely plan on doing it again in 2015.