Mile 0 Fest Day 4 Recap!

Mile 0 Fest Day 4 Recap!

Howdy, darlings! We are on Day 4 of our Mile 0 Fest recap series. It was Freedom Friday, & things definitely got weird.

The beautiful Floridian sun shined down, a gentle ocean wind covered the Keys. The welcoming sound of Max & Heather Stalling flew through the air. We caught the Stallings at Hank's Saloon, a completely packed house (this would be the theme for the day). Known for incredible songwriting, the duo sang slow ballads, waltzes, & two-stepping tunes. Heather sang harmonies & gorgeous melodies on her fiddle. Personal favorite moment was their cover of Robert Earl Keen's "No Kinda Dancer" with the jammed crowd humming in unison.

Next we ran half way across the world to The Backyard Bar for William Beckmann. I'll be totally honest, it was complete & utter insanity in there. Once you found the entrance to the bar, a giant crowd (most definitely passed capacity) awaited Beckmann. The dance floor was standing room only, shoulder to shoulder. Every single chair, rail, table, standing space was taken. It was apparent this was where everyone wanted to be! Beckmann played his only island full band show, his beautiful raw country sound mixed with a Southwestern flair. Beckmann's vocal tone was reminiscent of peak Kyle Park era met with a coastal Jerry Lee Lewis. Beckmann's band put on a great show, forcing all the sardined watchers to swap arm sweat swaying in their spots.

Believing every Mile 0 Fest goer was at the Backyard, we stumbled upon an equally packed crowd for Courtney Patton & Jamie Lin Wilson at Hank's. Not surprising though for the talented festival veterans to draw a large group to their adventurous storytelling. It was so packed that several folks (including Adam Hood & his wife) sat on the ground in front of the small stage, myself as well. Patton & Wilson donned matching trucker hats and solid harmonies. Their duo vocals have a Chicks feel with Patton's lower range & Wilson's tenor. The two swapped stories of life & love, ending the show with their co-write "Hard Time Lately" about being honest in their best friendship. We spoke with Jamie Lin in a separate interview & can't wait to show you how much wisdom & love she has for the festival & its artists.

Hitting the next part of town, we caught Dalton Domino & Jacob Stelly at the Marker. First we have to set the scene to really understand what happened here: The Marker is a Hamptons style pool bar. It gives off country club cabana at the golf course you can't afford unless your last name is Musk vibes. Seated at the end of the glistening turquoise pool was Domino (bare foot & laughing) & Stelly (in socks & jandals). These two are also a set of songwriting best friends. They shared several dad jokes & road stories while keeping the listeners engaged. They cussed, they laughed (Domino laughed like a dolphin several times), & they absolutely brought their best foot forward singing beautiful, authentic songs. Stelly & Domino even had an agreement to sing something they didn't actually know. While Stelly made us believe he knew "The Moon Over Georgia," Domino evidently could not remember a more than a verse of the song he chose-- thus, winning the who-don't-know-it challenge. It was a hilarious juxtaposition while still having a serious & thought provoking songwriters session.

Over at the amphitheater, the Vandoliers marked their territory with sweat & shoe prints. In the words of the lead singer, "sometimes we're a punk band at a country festival, & sometimes we're the country band at a punk festival." This is accurate as the band brought forth the Flogging Molly style fire. Their electric personalities & expert showmanship influenced the crowd to fist pump & jump about. Head banging was had & stage stomping was encouraged! This band with a distinct raspy sound has the makings of a great bluegrass band that accidentally stayed at the anarchists meet up for too long. This was an incredible Mile 0 Fest debut for the Vandoliers. We would absolutely "walk 500 miles" across Key West to see them again.

Kaitlin Butts then shimmered across the main stage. Her staple country & western band wore matching embroidered get ups, & she shook her sparkly fringe with a fun freedom. Butts debuted a new song that was both comedic & scary, airing out the "tea" on familial trauma. Her Mile 0 Fest rendition of "Blood" took the high notes to new highs, proving what a powerhouse vocalist she is. Butts is an entertainer while also being raw & real with her emotional side, sharing personal parts of herself with the crowd. In the best way possible, her Mile 0 Fest performance was angry daddy issues in sparkles; & we absolutely love her for it. We have more for you on the upcoming single "Ain't Gotta Die to be Dead to Me" & the fresh new waves Butts is making in our Mile 0 interview. Stay tuned for its release.

Strap in because this next part is crazy! The band formerly known as Mike & the Moonpies dropped a massive life change at Mile 0 Fest, shedding the youthfulness of the Moonpie name & stepping into their seasoned Silverada light. Harmier did an open interview earlier in the day at their surprise name release party, but the crowd had mixed feelings about the name change. In true show biz fashion, the band rang in their first show as Silverada with a BANG! Dozens of beach balls were released into the crowd. The Kimes Ranch team launched t-shirts off the stage in their matching velour Silverada track suits (Harmier wore a green one with the new name stitched across the back). I'm not sure how many t-shirts were thrown out, but I got hit in the head several times by flying 80's style sketches of the band on tan canvas. Wade Bowen ran around with a t-shirt cannon like a child with a slingshot, sending t-shirts all over the amphitheater.

Silverada played new song "Anywhere But Here" with an early 2000s Shania Twain sound. Without question, Silverada is one of the best instrumentally solid bands in country music today. Every single song is a hitter. Every single note, key, time change is meticulously chosen & released without a hitch. Bass player Omar Yoke & Harmier have an immense amount of fun together on stage, leaning over each other's backs for guitar solos & bass slaps. If you were looking for honky tonkin', Silverada is it. Silverada is NOW!

For the final full band performance of the night, Shane Smith & the Saints opened up the gates of Heaven & let the ethereal light shine down on Key West. It is no secret that the Saints have THE BEST live performance known to man. I wrote about it in 2015 with Texas Music Pickers, & I am writing about it now in 2024. Their four part harmonies complete a rare full bodied sound, while all musicians play their instruments with expert level skill. Bennett Brown's fiddle playing cries a pure sound, exporting the crowd to an open mountain range on a cool Colorado wind. Surprise to no one, Smith broke several strings throughout the show yet never missed a beat while restringing & singing through. His rocking back & forth while playing is rhythmic & a staple to a Saints performance. Smith & Brown did a duo acoustic breakdown of Jimmy Buffett's "A Pirate Looks at Forty." It was beautiful & sweet & heart warming. In my live notes I wrote: "this was the way it was supposed to be sang, with feelings." I'd like to believe Buffett would have sat at the top of the amphitheater hill & shed a tear with the rest of us. Singing "Little Bird," the Saints beckoned the crowd to hold each other & sway side to side. The whole audience became one with Brown's angelic fiddle strokes, moving in unison like the lapping waves behind us underneath the full moon. It was a true moment of camaraderie & care.

The crowd didn't have enough when the Saints finished their set. In fact, the Saints had the only encore of the week so far. Smith returned singing an acoustic song accompanied by the keys that he & his wife wrote together. It was sweet, moving, & just what we needed to bring us back down to Earth after this face blasting performance. Shane Smith & the Saints have new album "Norther" releasing March 1st, 2024.

All wound up, no one was really ready to leave Day 4. The Topo Chico Cowboys (Josh Grider & Drew Kennedy) hosted the after party 70's night backed by several star studded musicians to include Paul Eason (Wilder Blue), Nick Gardner (Wade Bowen), & Heather Stalling. Patton wore hair beads & big round sunglasses, & Kennedy looked like Fred from Scooby Doo in his blue & yellow threads. All sorts of 70's songs were played from Butts singing "Heart of Glass" to Stoney LaRue's really outstanding version of "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)." Beckmann even sang in Spanish! The crowd got weeeeeeird. Booties were jiggling, arms were flying in the air like the giant blow up things outside of car dealerships. The whole shabang was groovy 'til the end. 

I'm sure you wish you knew what happened next on Duval street, but some things are better left to experience. It's going to be extremely, extreeeemely hard to beat Day 4 of Mile 0 Fest. Probably ever, not just this week; but we hope you stick around for our Day 5 recap & our full interviews to come!

As always, check out the stage diving (yep! That happened!) & the good clips on our Instagram @PickinPetalsMusic. See ya tomorrow!

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