Mile 0 Fest Day 3!

Mile 0 Fest Day 3!

Welcome back to Mile 0 Fest recaps! We are on Day 3.

Starting our day off was Lance Roark at Smokin' Tuna Saloon. We had the privilege of seeing Roark at Born & Raised Music Festival in Oklahoma a couple months before, so we knew it was about to be good. This show was tight, rehearsed, & perfect. Roark's fiddle & country sound is reminiscent of younger Shane Smith & the Saints. I'm excited to see what comes of this feel good music band.

Josh Weathers stole the Tuna stage next, solo acoustic with his kickdrum pedal. Weathers use of the pedal is strategic, keeping the crowd stomping & in the rhythm. This is Weathers' first Mile 0 Fest, but his cult following (literally a cult, I will not be swayed by this) sang his every song. He sang beautiful renditions of 90's country songs while impersonating Whitney Houston, George Strait, & other greats. A moment we have to recognize is "I Will Always Love You." Weathers told us of the experience he had singing for President Trump's Inauguration First Dance, but the thing that stuck with us was the performance. In this crowded, kind of grossly sticky bar, Weathers sang Dolly Parton's lyrics with ease. Every person in the bar waited for the key change & high notes of Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You." I am not exaggerating when I say the entire bar was dead silent. 200-300 people in complete awe as Weathers belted notes. You could hear a heartbeat in the silence between soft words. Weathers truly stopped time.

* Side Note: Weathers made a keen observation during his set. He spotlighted Uncle Bekah's Inappropriate Trucker Hats as a genius, but also an insane invention. Weathers thanked Bekah for making it cool to say exactly what you're thinking & be exactly who you are just by a quote on a hat. He did mention that it was also crazy to say wild things on a hat, but he appreciates it all the same. As do we, a Mile 0 Fest staple!

John Fullbright graced the Tuna stage next. Now, I may be biased as I've been trying to see Fullbright for almost 5 years. It is deeply apparent that Fullbright does not give a single damn about what's happening in the crowd. He is there to sing to his hearts content for HIMSELF. He & Stephen Lee surpassed this atmosphere. Ripley's Stevie Ray level lead guitar held a beautiful space in time while Fullbright screamed (we mean screamed, but gorgeous yells???) into the ether. Fullbright took us to another world. His bluesy, dirty vocals held us in purgatory. He has a severeness about him. The harmonica screeched while his key playing droned out the outside noise. I'm quite sure he sold his soul to the devil to play the deeply emotional & lyrically dark music he plays... but dare I say I'm glad he did?

The songwriter portion of the festival began next door at Hank's with Dalton Domino & Jonathan Terrell. Terrell writes honky tonk, bar light tunes sure to make your baby wanna swing. Domino writes heartfelt, introspective songs about growth & heartbreak. Together the two captivated their curated audience. Domino made a surprise gesture by calling up Race Ricketts to play his original "Pulling Weeds," yet to be released. Terrell sang songs he wrote for Mike & the Moonpies, while Domino sang his unreleased ditties. Several notable songwriters were in the audience, waiting to soak in a part of the lyrical genius.

Taking the main stage for the night was Meg McRee. I must admit, I did not come to see her. I just stumbled upon, & Lord was I put right into my place. Her soft & gentle vocals soothed the crowd while remaining rock 'n roll. Her lead guitarist was a woman (not that we need to specify, but also need you to understand the rarity) who SHREEEEEEEEEDDDDDED the stage. When McRee exited the stage, she welcomed her beau Ben Chapman with a kiss & exchanged caring "I'm so proud of you" pep talks. The thing about Mile 0 Fest is that they're going to exalt family units, & we're going to love them for it.

Ben Chapman mounted the main stage, singing new single featuring Anderson East. The single releases March 8th. Chapman has a psychedelic country rock sound, vibey country if that's a genre. His band is tight, & it's impossible not to fall in love with the incredibly good vibes his band puts out. For a full interview, keep up with us HERE! We have much more of Chapman & McRee coming.

Probably the most looked forward to band of 2024, Red Clay Strays sprawled out across the stage. The entirety of the crowd sang virtually every song. The Strays played new song "Drowning," a soulful, high intensity vocals tune. Regardless of the silk shirts & slicked back hair, the Red Clay Strays have an old soul sound that surpasses Elvis Presley himself live. It's a captivating, almost entrancing melody the lead singer holds throughout each tune. The only way to describe the show was the band mopped the floor with a truly phenomenal performance.

Perhaps maybe the only bands able to follow the newcomers was American Aquarium. Now I shouldn't have to introduce you to the insanity of BJ Barham, but I will. BJ (lead) jutted his legs out 90% of the time like a Russian doll, dancing about the stage with severely strummed rhythm guitar. (We will be sore from head banging solely from this performance.) Barham debuted new song "Cherokee Purples." I may be wrong, but it sounded reminiscent of staying at grandma's house, the sweet innocence of childhood meeting the dirty reality of adult life. American Aquarium also played new tune "Crier." Barham set the "bar" (haha) for the rest of the artists this week. Hundreds of folks sang every word, fists in the air, madness filling the night sky. A nearby watcher exclaimed "good luck following THAT!" & they were dead right. American Aquarium solidified their placement in the Red Dirt hall of fame tonight, & I doubt anyone in attendance would disagree.

Between sets, the Mile 0 folk raffled two more guitars. A Morgan Wade signed guitar sold for $8500 & another sold for $11000 with all the Thursday artists' signatures. Truly an amazing feat for the various charities Mile 0 Fest supports!

Morgan Wade then followed. Wade is a phenomenal songwriter & excellent vocalist. However, her polished Nashville sound was demure & serene compared to the previous acts. We appreciate her deep cuts & sang along to most songs. It's important to note that she mentioned this was her first show back since a  November surgery. Her vocal tenacity was still beyond perfection, a raspy gorgeousness that is undeniably hers. The festival crowd swayed to her love songs & cried out to closer "Wilder Days."

The after party hosted by Adam Hood felt like a big damn family jam! Hood really put into perspective just how powerful his songwriting stronghold is. He invited Them Dirty Roses lead singer up for a couple of songs, beginning his line of featured guests. Hood wrote songs for and with Chapman, Taylor Hunnicutt, Ben Danaher, Courtney Patton, Josh Abbott, Wade Bowen & more-- all of whom joined him to sing the songs they co-wrote. Hood is not only an accomplished & decorated songwriter, but an entertainer. His sly half smile kept the crowd engaged as he played his own tunes & shuffled through a live country music playlist specialty picked by him.

Ending day 3, we took to Duval! Rick's Bar was our first stop & quickly the most popular place to be. Upon arrival we ran into Bri Bagwell & Paul Eason, Stoney LaRue, members of Shane Smith & the Saints & more. The Red Clay Strays made their home for the night at Rick's karaoke bar. Lead singer Brandon Coleman's wife & Strays drummer John Hall took the stage, singing "Picture" by Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow while Coleman proudly recorded his wife & friend. Django Walker, Tanner Usrey, Josh Ward, Hunnicutt, McRee, Chapman, the Red Twerk & more showed up to karaoke, packing the place with high talent. 

We continued a great night with Pizza Joe's & specialty hang Shots & Giggles. The remainder we will not speak upon, but Duval street is a sacred place for festival goers.

Stay tuned for several full interviews to include Bri Bagwell, Josh Weathers, Jamie Lin Wilson & more! As always, you can watch live show snippets & updates over at our Instagram @PickinPetalsMusic or our Facebook page. See you tomorrow for day 4 recap!



1 comment

After reading this I now know I have to make it a priority to attend mileOfest at least once

Robert Murphy

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