Day one of the festival really felt like day two after having attending the Westport Roots Festival Pre-Party. Each stage was packed with great roots music from near and far. The sun was high in the sky at noon when the festival started.
After a late night at the Pre-Party, brunch is an order. The Breakfast Sides (Springfield, MO) kicked things off on the outdoor stage. Normally when you see The Breakfast Sides it's the talented duo - Betsey and Chad or Biscuits and Gravy, but for this special occasion we ended up with the whole brunch menu. They were joined on stage by many KC favorites - Shannon O'Shay, Stas' Heaney, Dusty Rust, and Tyler Giles. It was a power packed set of bluegrass and honky tonk.
Tail Light Rebellion (Memphis, TN) over on the indoor stage rocked the crowd with an edgy punk, folk, and rock mix.
Randall Conrad Olinger (Denver, CO) brings the fire as a one man band with the steel guitar and drums. His set was full of power and emotion as he played the blues. His music hit like a gut punch with the heavy guitar sliding riffs and heavy blues. There's something about seeing him play that leaves you feeling connected to each other.
The Westport Roots Festival gives a special chance to see The Bastard Children of Booker Noe preform. The music may seem a little familiar as many of the songs are music for front man, Tyler Giles. Hearing them has all the quintessential country song components with guitar, sad songs, fiddle, and smooth harmonies. The Bastard Children of Booker Noe gives a fuller sound and the stunning harmonies of Kayley Reeder. You may recognize Kayley from behind the bar at The Westport Saloon or organizing this amazing festival, but on rare occasions we are gifted the opportunity to hear her sing. While much of the music is about facing yourself, heartache and whiskey, Buffalo Creek stands out as different as you drift to a country summer playing in the creek and loving life.
This song is for Travis
Eric Sommer played a bold set of folk and blues with the percussion style. His lyrics paint vivid picture. When he plays with a sense of humor, a zest for life, and fearlessly rolls around the Westport Saloon while playing the guitar. If you saw him after the show he probably gifted you with a clothes pin with his name on it.
Chris Rodrigues & Abby the Spoon Lady were fun to see. When I hear the word spoon, my first thought is not a musical instrument. Abby is a master at her craft; the spoons play a percussion instrument. "Spoons as an instrument are known as kautalakia and are often played within folk dance." -Abby the Spoon Lady This set had the power to transport you to a porch in the country While Chris sings, plays guitar, and played some drums (ok, a suitcase), Abby will get your feet moving. For one song Abby played the saw. She also had a circle of bells around her feet she played (like your teacher might have had on her desk many years ago). It was absolutely mesmerizing watching them play together.
The Underhill Family Orchestra (Mobile, AL) played a dynamic set of roots music meets pop in a way that just felt good all over. Their energy on stage was contagious. Their connection to each other quickly enveloped the crowd into a community within a community. This was a band with quirk and spunk. Come back to Kansas City soon please!
You couldn't help but notice Rachel Kate (Nashville, TN) when she took the stage with her flashy shades and dancing shoes. It was the music and Rachel's powerful voice that kept your attention. Rachel Kate's music is folk music with soul and blues.
The Dirty Beet Brothers (Illinois) playing a little Americana, bluegrass and rock.
Dane Talley and the Hitman a Kansas City honkey tonk band with a classic country feel.
Dig Deep feels like an exception to my thoughts on bluegrass as an old time music that has stayed modern. Dig Deep has a grit and speed with a little metal hair flying bluegrass style that leaves me craving a drink or three at the bar. They get down and dirty and their energy on stage is up to eleven. This fun band needs to be seen live to be enjoyed at this fullest.
Dusty Rust, the Kansas City Cow Boy, took along a few extra friends for the ride on this set. Dusty, Chelsea, and Tyler were joined with Stas', Betsey and Chad Graves. Dusty Rust is well loved in KC and in the greater roots community; the energy in the tent was buzzing. The energy kept building as people sang along to the psychedelic honkey tonk filled the tent. The chemistry was incredible-what a set!
Rock Bottom String Band (San Marcos, TX) mesmerized the crowd with the magic of the washboard. If your looking for some music to drink heavily to and have fun this is the band to listen to as they play drinking songs with a splash of punk, whiskey, and weed mixed into some bluegrass. Put your dancing shoes on and dance along into the rock bottom.