Did you hear about Mucklewain? A brand new festival they held in Harriman, Tennessee, in August. Unbelievable SlackerCountry line-up (Steve Earle, Todd Snider, Scott Miller, Lucero, the Yayhoos, Jason Ringenberg, Kevin Kinney, Daddy – Will Kimbrough & Tommy Womack, Cory Branan, Allison Moorer, Webb Wilder, Mic Harrison, and more). We didn’t get to go but Brother Dave and Mary Ann did and graciously sent in this review for us.
Mucklewain is a music festival that was held on August 19, 2006, in a big field in Harriman, Tennessee. Actually, it was a southern rock and Americana music festival. Better yet, it was a damn good time.
Mucklewain is the brain child of Joie Todd Kerns and Johnny Mark Miller of Les Honky More Tonkies, a kick-ass southern rock band. They named the festival after Tunis Mucklewain, a Revolutionary War-era Melungeon who posed as an Indian to spy on the British.
Kerns and Miller wanted to create a “working man’s music festival” for hard working bands and fans. The intent was to keep costs down ($30 advance tickets, $45 at the gate) while providing a musical forum for southern American rock bands that don’t get much airplay.
We arrived at Mucklewain a little before noon, parked in a big field, and rode in a school bus to the festival. Upon arriving at the festival, the first band, Mic Harrison and the Hi Score, was already rocking. Some people might remember Mic Harrison from the V-Roys. The band got the crowd dancing with some upbeat country rock songs.
We found a nice shady spot on the hill overlooking the two stages, laid our towels down, and settled in for the day. Including the songwriter stage, there were 30 musicians and groups playing at Mucklewain. The majority of the bands played on either of the two main stages that were set up opposite each other in a large field. When one band finished playing, the next band would be ready to start on the opposite stage.
The smaller songwriters stage was set up at the top of the hill. The only time we really spent at this stage was listening to Webb Wilder. Although Webb performed solo, he still performed crowd favorites like “Human Cannonball” and delighted (confused?) the crowd with his wit (“I come from a part of Mississippi that processes stumps”).
Headliners for the festival were Scott Miller and the Commonwealth, Steve Earle, and Todd Snider. Scott Miller is a local favorite and whenever he performs in East Tennessee, a crowd forms. Mucklewain was no exception. Scott had the crowd singing and dancing as he performed songs off his new CD, “Citation“, as well as some songs off earlier CDs.
Steve Earle, performing solo with an acoustic guitar, opened with “F*** the FCC” but then played some old favorites including “Someday” and “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied.” He made a brief political statement about supporting the troops by bringing them home now before launching into “Rich Man’s War” and ended his set with “Copperhead Road.”
Todd Snider’s set was one of the most entertaining of the day. He performed with a full band, including Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack and played songs from recent CDs, “The Devil You Know”, released in August, and “East Nashville Skyline”, released in 2004.We only wish he had shared more stories. He can make you laugh.
As with any music festival, there are always performances and occurrences that survive until the next day for you to share. Some of these for us were the following:
- Dash Rip Rock…the lyrics were funny, the tunes were upbeat, and the performance was entertaining.
- Brian Waldschlager channeling Mick Jagger as he pranced across the stage rocking the crowd with southern sounds.
- $2 COLD beer
- Sitting on the hill and watching people migrate between stages for each new band.
- Being enthralled by the righteous hula hoop girl.
- Every 30 – 45 minutes a cannon would go off…we suspect it was set up in a cornfield to keep the crows away but it always woke up the crowd.
Les Honky More Tonkies defines the term Southern Rock. They were great.
- Both of Mary Ann’s sandals broke but the barbecue lady provided tape to hold them together.
- Brief rain showers were like a mist tent, very refreshing.
- More $2 COLD beer.
- Jason Ringenberg’s cowboy outfit.
- Before and after performances a lot of the musicians were seen in the crowd and on the hill listening to other bands.
- Trent Summar and the New Row Mob. Loved the performance and can’t wait to see them perform again. Trent was all over the stage, kicking his legs in the air, doing jumping jacks, and copping a beautiful Heisman Trophy pose. The songs had energy and the lyrics were entertaining. The funniest part of the festival was when The Yayhoos told Trent to “Shut the f*** up” so they could perform.
- Kevin Kinney, formerly of Drivin ‘N Cryin, performing “Straight to Hell.”
- Loved the $2 COLD beer.
- Will Hoge ROCKED out with a highly energetic set.
Mucklewain was a wonderful way to wrap up the summer. We had a truly outstanding and relaxing time listening to music. Kerns and Miller did a great job of organizing the festival and seeing that it ran on time. The wait for a school bus, a beer, some food, or a port-a-potty was always minimal. They said they wanted to create a festival to celebrate southern American rock music. That they did. We hope they’ll do it again next year! Go to the Mucklewain web site for more pictures and reviews.
– Brother Dave and Mary Ann