Still along for the ride? Welcome to Day 5 Mile 0 Fest recap! It's been a long week, but stay with us. We still have the final day recap (Salty Bronc Sessions) ahead of us & all our individual interviews.
Starting our day with a face blasting wake up call, we caught the Vandoliers at Sunset Pier Mule Barn stage. The pier was packed compared to the previous days even in the blistering Florida sun. Listeners head banged to "Every Saturday Night" & danced around to the steady hard-hitting drum beat. Something about the Vandoliers brings people together, linking arms & spinning in circles to their closing cover of "500 Miles."
Following on the Sunset Pier was Adam Hood. Though from Alabama, I'd like to think Hood could hang with the Cajuns. His soulful blues twang met with hints of Southern Rock are sure to get you groovin'. We're deciding to call Adam Hood the Co-Write King of Mile 0 Fest, as he's literally written a song or co-written with practically every artist playing the festival. Sitting & listening to his discography at the pier, we couldn't help but wonder has he ever written a bad song?? The answer is a resounding NO. Special guest Jack Ingram sat side stage, staring lovingly at Hood's band with twinkles in his sunglasses. He meandered on stage during "Play Something We Know" exactly when Hood sings about calling security on a threatening fan.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the week was John Fullbright's set at the San Carlos Institute. Earlier we caught Fullbright at the Smokin' Tuna, but it seemed deeply out of place for Fullbright's sound. Beneath the crimson theater curtains, Fullbright & guitarist Stephen Lee played songs with such care, every stroke of Lee's guitar a harmony to Fullbright. Lee's guitar skills aren't overpowering or overstated, but rather a dance with Fullbright. There's a blatant understanding the two have playing together. Fullbright told stories about working with James McMurtry & Tom Skinner. He was even vulnerable in talking about breaking his finger in November & being intimidated by the 88 Key piano in front of him, yet still managed to bring an incredible smoky cabaret sound through the notes. During "Fat Man," Lee popped a Shiner Bock in the eerily quiet room on cue, triggering laughter from the crowd & even getting Fullbright to stop mid song with laughs. Fullbright received a standing ovation for his daring songwriting & bountiful singing. The San Carlos was probably my favorite venue of the week with the perfect musician choice for its listening room feel. Plus, the AC was nice!
Coming back down to Key West reality from the dark & cold Fullbright show, we caught Jamie Lin Wilson on the main stage, glistening under the bright sun. Her full band is a light & good feeling crew, keeping the crowd shimmying. A woman in the audience even got her exercise in for the day, windmilling her arms & high kneeing her legs to most of Wilson's set. Bowen appeared onstage to duet Charlie Robison/Keith Gattis' "Reconsider."
Following was the Steel Woods. The best way to describe their music is "a snakeskin hanging from a willow tree." They have a dark bourbon sound, outlaw music at its prime. Drummer Aaron Nelson did a slick song change by breaking down the beat & then sliding into another tune. There was a moment of duo electric guitars, playing in unison a gritty & nose crunching riff. The Steel Woods rocked the stage with true professionalism that was apparent in their instrumental presentation.
The 8 piece Josh Abbott Band made way on stage. It's important to note that Abbott had vocal difficulty, we're sure from spending the week doing Key West shenanigans before his set. However, he never complained or apologized, but pushed through to give the crowd the best show he could. The band played mostly older classics like "She's Like Texas," "My Texas," "Touch," "All of a Sudden," & more. New song "Brutus, Judas, & You" took a more rock 'n roll approach to the traditional Texas Country sound Abbott is known for. Abbott also dedicated song "Oh, Tonight" to journalist Brad Beheler of Galleywinter as an appreciation for the music journalism the publication has produced for over 20 years. This was a special shoutout for me as a journalist, having read hundreds of Galleywinter articles in my youth & into my adulthood.
Randy Rogers Band ended the amphitheater evening out, solidifying he is in fact the "GOAT" (greatest of all time) of Texas Country. Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of breakthrough album "Roller Coaster," RRB started with "Down & Out" & continued with songs from the decades. William Beckmann joined Rogers for "In My Arms Instead," taking the second verse. The band played new song "I Won't Give Up," introducing it as an anthem for hope, love, dancing, & "get naked" music. Unfortunately the heat of the day & the packed crowd took a man down during the new tune, passing out mid show. Rogers swiftly stopped the song & called for medics. A small amount of time passed before all was clear & the man was relocated (he is okay!) RRB then restarted the tune. RRB continues to put out solid Texas Country bangers with die hard fans for the ages. Overall, RRB made it look easy. The practiced musicians kept it entertaining, but thoroughly planned throughout. The Randy Rogers Band was a great ending to a remarkable lineup.
Over at the Smokin' Tuna, final Day 5 show brought the crowd. Kendell Marvel led the after party with many originals & several hits he wrote for artists like Gary Allan, Lee Ann Womack, George Strait & more. The Mile 0 Fest goers weren't ready for the festivities to be over & continued to party, sing along, & wander about the bar district.
Stay tuned for our update tomorrow on the FINAL show of 2024 Mile 0 Fest, the Salty Bronc Sessions at the Smokin' Tuna. Graycie York, RC Edwards, & Blake Lankford will take the stage.
Thank you all for stinking around this long. We can't wait to update you with all of our personal interviews of artists Kaitlin Butts, Jamie Lin Wilson, Dalton Domino, Bri Bagwell, & Josh Weathers.