Album Review – ‘Empty Rooms’ from Justin Clyde Williams

AVAILABLE NOW.

The world was a much different place in May of 2019 when Justin Clyde Williams released his four song EP, “Preamble.” Appropriately titled, meaning – “a preliminary or preparatory statement, an introduction,” the rising singer/songwriter returns with his first full length album – “Empty Rooms” – after navigating a literal work stoppage of the live music industry due to the coronavirus.

However, the title track isn’t a pandemic anthem but a heartfelt ballad of the struggle many artists face on the road to becoming a household name. Playing anywhere and everywhere, paying their dues, and with the unique setup of this album – literally recorded in an empty room on one take, with a single microphone, guitar and fiddle accompaniment by Matt Parks – listeners can not only hear, but feel that journey.

This entire album is a raw, powerful, unfiltered trip from start to finish. Few artists are able to tackle some of the difficult topics addressed in a few of the early tracks like Williams while also displaying the range to incorporate a quality love song or two. Ultimately, the record wraps with ‘Good Times‘, a song about the passing of one partner in a relationship but also with an underlying theme for Williams entire debut album – “it takes bad times, to know good times.”

The world may have changed, but Justin Clyde Williams‘ raw, natural sound that debuted when “Preamble” set the stage over two years ago still rings true. Capturing a roller coaster of emotions sure to reach a wide audience for multiple different reasons, it’s a safe bet Williams’ days of playing any “empty rooms” are behind him.

TRACK LIST:

1 – Blood On Your Hands

2 – Boys From Broken Homes

3 – Kansas City

4 – Livin’ Hard

5 – Back Turned To You

6 – Empty Rooms

7 – Breach The Gates

8 – No Demise

9 – Good Times

Upcoming Tour Dates:

10/8 – Lion’s Den – Pinetop, AZ

10/9 – Lion’s Den – Pinetop, AZ

10/11 – Sam’s Town Point – Austin, TX
10/12 – Hwy Bar – Arlington, TX
10/13 – Ironhorse Saloon – Oologah, OK

10/14 – Bucks Bar and Grill – Venice, NE
10/15 – The Mission – Jefferson City, MO
10/15 – Gene’s Country Club – Pevely, MO
10/16 – Captains Sports Lounge – Lake Lotawana, MO

See more at JustinClydeWilliams.com

Mile 0 Fest Announces Initial 2022 Lineup

The fifth Mile 0 Fest (initial) lineup is out and January can’t get here fast enough.

Five years ago Mile 0 Fest arrived on the red dirt and Americana scene down in Key West, Florida. A logistical hurdle just to secure artists and patrons at the southernmost point of America, the very first lineup was far too impressive for many to ignore. Every year since, the folks at Oh Wook! Productions and those working alongside their organization, including the city of Key West, have created arguably the best festival in the country, regardless of genre. Navigating a literal work stoppage of the live music industry just after the 2020 event, last year’s festival was delayed until April but a return to its traditional January dates has been set for the fifth installment (January 25-29) and the list of artists expected to join fans this year is especially impressive.

Displaying IMG_1907.jpg

BACK FOR YEAR FIVE: Wade Bowen, Cody Canada and the Departed, Mike and the Moonpies, Jamie Lin Wilson, Walt Wilkins, Jason Eady, Courtney Patton, Kaitlin Butts, Tina Wilkins, Bri Bagwell, Red Dirt Rangers

RETURNING FROM A PREVIOUS YEAR: Randy Rogers Band, American Aquarium, Reckless Kelly, Shane Smith and the Saints, The Band of Heathens, Micky and the Motorcars, John Fullbright, Adam Hood, Stoney Larue, Ray Wylie Hubbard, RC and the Ambers, Morgan Wade, Bonnie Bishop, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, The Dirty River Boys, Topo Chico Cowboys, Kylie Frey

MAKING THEIR INITIAL APPEARANCE: Parker McCollum, Ryan Bingham, The Dead South, Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights, Channing Wilson, Zac Wilkerson, The Hooten Hallers

Mile 0 Fest 2021: The Return

Live Music is Back…

photo: Brad Coolidge

One year ago during the final week of April, thirty-one different artists featured on this Mile 0 Fest lineup played to empty rooms as they fought to keep their music and life somewhat intact with virtual performances. Uncertainty loomed and many, entertainers and fans alike, wondered when (or even if) live music would return. A full calendar year later, those same songwriters and musicians finally got to gather with a reduced capacity crowd in Key West, Florida for what has become arguably the best festival in the country after only just four years in existence.

Every year various attempts are made to detail the soul of this festival with written reviews, still images, videos, and stories that only seem fathomable in tall tales but once you attend, you immediately understand that while these are all great – the true spirit of Mile 0 Fest cannot be captured. Many attendees have begun to describe it as a musical family reunion, not just for the countless acts collaborating on stages all across the four-mile island but also opposite the rail, as so many have grown to become close friends using the festival as an ultimate backdrop for their gathering.

North Carolina’s BJ Barham performs at Mile 0 Fest in Key West, Florida. Photo by Brad Coolidge (@bradfordcoolidgephotography)

Many scheduled events across the country missed their target dates, some twice, but the Mile 0 Fest crew took advantage of their surroundings and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. An abundance of open air venues led the festival to postpone for just three months and although uncertainty surrounded their initial revelation, the dates stuck and this past week may have provided the best festival experience ever. The absence of live music for the past 14 months combined with performers finally getting an opportunity to feed off the energy of a crowd led to an occurrence unlike any other.

It also seemed to elevate the performance of certain acts, especially at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater, where Shane Smith and the Saints received extended time due to some last minute cancellations and took full advantage w/ an impressive high-energy performance. Maybe it was the layoff, maybe not, but their set resonated with the sold out crowd, immediately becoming a high point among a really impressive lineup and North Carolina’s American Aquarium continued building on the momentum two nights later with a memorable set of their own. Before setting the amphitheater stage on fire, lead singer BJ Barham and his band entertained at the newly added Sunset Green stage where Barham couldn’t help but crack a smile when someone in the audience yelled, “I Saw A Tiger” between songs in reference to some of his virtual “Tiger King” related content released during lockdown.

Other memorable performances included Chance Anderson, Chloe-Beth, Lucas Jagneaux, Holly Beth, and Amber Watson all looking right at home on the amphitheater stage during their featured ‘Duets’ alongside Jamie Lin Wilson. Anderson and Chloe-Beth nailed ‘Because the Night‘, Jagneaux and Beth entertained with ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart‘, and Watson teamed up alongside Wilson for ‘Does He Love You‘. The backing band, featuring Shane Boeker (lead guitar), Alden Hedges (bass), Zachary Moulton (steel), John Henry Trinko (keys), and Giovanni ‘Nooch’ Carnuccio III (drums) also deserve a ton of credit for putting their own spin on each of these classics. Another gem included Drew Kennedy teaming up with Courtney Patton on ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life‘, but it was Mike ‘Moonpie’ Harmier who stole the show by leaping into the arms of Kennedy to end the evening.

First time invitees Max and Heather Stalling, Morgan Wade, and Roger Creager also each made quite the positive impression on their respective crowds around the island and periodic returnee Pat Green dialed up a fun set before the late night show on Wednesday. Mike and the Moonpies, alongside Courtney Patton, have also both become staples of the event continually pumping out quality performances no matter which stage they’re playing. Patton, joined by Kaitlin Butts, Jamie Lin Wilson, and Tina Wilkins created a truly memorable experience poolside singing ‘Waited‘ by the late Kylie Rae Harris. Both Courtney and Jamie Lin also shared an excellent new song, ‘Hard Time Lately‘, co-written during quarantine which Patton teased may be on an upcoming new album. The Moonpies initially played as part of ‘Honky Tonk Tuesday‘, a perfect match and hopefully annual event, while both of their regular full band sets rocked as always.

The Topo Chico Cowboys, Kennedy and Josh Grider, are made for this festival. Initially debuting armed with ‘Dollar on the Wall‘ and ‘Here’s to Friends‘ in 2020, everyone left the island this year as honorary members of the ‘West Texas Cloud Appreciation Society‘. Both truly capitalized on quarantine as each performed almost weekly as part of the Sequestered Songwriters, with Kennedy’s ‘Live From My Backyard’ and the ‘Grider Family Happy Hour‘ which happened live when wife Kristi joined Josh for ‘Islands in the Stream‘ at the amphitheater during ‘Duets‘.

Josh and Kristi Grider perform ‘Islands in the Stream’ at Mile 0 Fest in Key West, Florida. Photo by Brad Coolidge (@bradfordcoolidgephotography)

It’s literally impossible to witness each and every set available at Mile 0 Fest, even in a reduced capacity environment, but there are certain settings and lineup combinations you know will be extra special. It may be the artist, it could be the landscape, but there definitely are situations only Key West can create – including John Fullbright playing guitar, keys, and harp on the beach with the ocean serving as a natural backdrop – unforgettable.

As with any event, there were obvious highlights but the fact music was being played in front of appreciative and jovial fans was undoubtedly the best thing witnessed all week. For that, the entire Mile 0 Fest staff, from the very top to the army of volunteers, including the city of Key West and Monroe County, should all be commended for their efforts in being a part of helping to bring live music back. Yes, there are still precautions to take and no doubt the pandemic has changed a lot of how things used to be handled in the past, but the sheer joy this festival induced over the past week could not be ignored and 2022 should offer another opportunity to highlight the best (artists, bands, staff, and fans) in this industry right back to paradise.

CLICK HERE to reserve your spot and come find out for yourself what the fuss is all about. Also, make sure you check the RedDirtNC calendar for a full slate of events, including multiple acts from this festival, who have upcoming dates in North Carolina.

Mile 0 Fest 2021: Seven Things To Know Before You Go

Seven things you need to know before you go…

photo: Brad Coolidge

After postponing briefly from its original January/February dates, next Tuesday (04/27/2021) begins the fourth-annual Mile 0 Fest as a few thousand people descend upon Key West for one of the best vacations imaginable. For both first-timers and veterans alike, these seven items will enhance your experience as you prepare for four-plus days in paradise with the best in Red Dirt and Americana music.

1. Don’t Worry If Your Plan Goes Awry
Not everyone enters with a detailed plan but for some there are definitely certain shows which are deemed “can’t miss” depending on personal preferences. The good news is that the island is packed with so much talent that no matter who is performing it’s sure to provide a memorable experience. Even for those artists or bands you’ve seen countless times, Key West offers such a unique backdrop for the event that it furnishes a seemingly new adventure. Although historically rare, due to expected reduced capacity numbers at certain venues, some shows may fill up quickly but don’t worry should you be unable to attend. With so many different opportunities and quality performers on the lineup there’s something else out there which will be just as enjoyable. In fact, some of the best times can be had when there’s no set plan or schedule to follow.

2. Go See Someone New
Attending Mile 0 Fest not only offers individuals the opportunity to witness their favorite acts in a paradise setting but also the capability to find new favorites. Each of those more familiar acts performing later in the evenings was once a brand new addition somewhere on a lineup. Shows take place most everyday from 11:00am to midnight, offering plenty of time to explore so schedule in someone you’ve either heard about but haven’t seen live or a name you may not even recognize – chances are it’ll be well worth the trip.

3. Get Out On or In the Water
Word has quickly gotten out that both the festival and Key West have plenty to offer, making combining musical experiences with water expeditions a natural entertainment scenario. There’s no question a great time can easily be had landlocked on the island but getting out on the water offers some completely different and unique experiences. Mile 0 Fest offers their own opportunities with the Charity Fishing Derby, Tipsy Tiki rentals, and Cruise Series shows but anyone can also book their own trips with Fury Water Adventures. All patrons automatically receive a discounted rate on snorkeling, parasailing, eco tours, jet ski rentals, and so much more. If a pool is more your style then you’re also in luck as Dante’s, The Marker, and The Lighthouse Pool all offer a chance to enjoy a show while taking a dip or cool off in the ocean at Southernmost Beach Resort.

4. Make A Charitable Contribution
There’s an abundance of music and good times to be had all across the island but don’t miss out on an opportunity to make a difference while you’re in attendance. Mile 0 Fest is committed to giving back and there are multiple opportunities for contributions to the Red Dirt Relief Fund, Michelle Halpern Foundation, and Florida Keys SPCA throughout the festival with a sponsored Fishing Derby, Beard/Mustache Competition, and signed guitar auctions each night at the amphitheater. In addition, a member of Oklahoma country rock band Chance and the Takers, Michael Frost, is biking from Miami to Key West while helping to raise awareness for the Red Dirt Relief Fund (with a $10,000 goal) ahead of Chance Anderson’s performances at the festival.

<<CLICK HERE TO HELP SUPPORT THE RED DIRT RELIEF FUND AND #BIKEWITHFROST>>

5. The Mile 0 Fest App Is Your Friend
Consider the Mile 0 Fest app as your own personal key to the kingdom. Not only does it contain an up-to-date schedule but the push notifications are essentially priceless. Even if you prefer to view your selected shows in another medium, the app provides instant updates, potential schedule changes, and other alerts which can be extremely important. Regardless of how you choose to plan, make downloading the app a priority to enhance your experience throughout the entire festival.

6. Food
The festival focus centers on music but don’t let the ample opportunities for dining pass you by during the week. Many of the daytime venues offer substantial food selections, including The Smokin’ Tuna (which is rumored to have undergone some renovations in the past year), Garbo’s Grill, and Hank’s – all of which shouldn’t be ignored. In addition to the plethora of dining opportunities on the island, multiple vendors working the amphitheater also offer a wide variety of seafood and island selections for festival goers to enjoy.

7. Enjoy the Experience
The coronavirus pandemic effectively shuttered live music over the past year and although its impact lingers, opportunities for support are creeping up more readily every day. Mile 0 Fest took a risk in delaying their product only four months when many others were postponing for a full calendar year, but the timing appears to have paid off significantly. For many this will be their first live music experience in over a year and as everyone dives back into the mix one thing remains certain. Regardless of personal beliefs, the fact that live music continues to crawl back into existence is an opportunity which should be relished by everyone – especially those fortunate enough to attend this festival. Remember, for many of the artists, this too will be their initial shows post-pandemic so let’s show them the love and not let any moment pass without an appreciation for the opportunity to enjoy and support live, original music with a few thousand of your closest friends.

It’s a vacation, trip, festival, etc. unlike any other but it’s also important to remember that it’s the people of Key West and those in attendance, working, performing, and responsible for putting on the event – who make it extremely special. A boutique affair with yet another incredibly talented lineup ensures all of the music heard throughout the week will be spectacular, so have fun, meet new people, take care of your bartenders, and enjoy one of the best times you’ll have all year – guaranteed.

Mile 0 Fest Announces Full 2021 Lineup

The full fourth Mile 0 Fest lineup features rising stars, familiar veterans, and many festival fan favorites.

Just over four years ago Mile 0 Fest arrived on the red dirt and Americana scene down in Key West, Florida. A logistical hurdle just to secure artists and patrons at the southernmost point of America, the initial lineup was far too impressive for many to ignore. Since, the folks at Oh Wook! Productions and those working alongside their organization, including the city of Key West, have created arguably the absolute best festival in the country, regardless of genre. Navigating a literal work stoppage of the live music industry just after the 2020 event concluded, this year’s festival was delayed from its traditional late January dates but a return has been set for April (04/27-05/01) and the list of artists expected to join fans this year is especially intriguing.

BACK FOR YEAR FOUR: Wade Bowen, Jack Ingram, Cody Canada and the Departed, Mike and the Moonpies, Jamie Lin Wilson, Bruce Robison, Walt Wilkins, Jason Eady, Courtney Patton, Kaitlin Butts, Tina Wilkins, Bri Bagwell, Red Dirt Rangers, Raina Cobb, Nicky James, Chance Anderson, Jason Scott, Jake Flint, Blake Langford

RETURNING FROM A PREVIOUS YEAR: Randy Rogers Band, Pat Green, American Aquarium, Reckless Kelly, Shane Smith and the Saints, The Band of Heathens, Micky and the Motorcars, John Fullbright, Adam Hood, Old 97’s, Hayes Carll, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Stoney Larue, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jaime Wyatt, Kelly Willis, RC and the Ambers, Kevin Fowler, John Moreland, Drew Kennedy, Josh Grider, Jonny Burke, Holly Beth, Lucas Jagneaux, Brent Cobb, Johnny Chops, Cliff Cody, Waves, Chloe-Beth

MAKING THEIR INITIAL APPEARANCE: Lucinda Williams, Blackberry Smoke, Shovels and Rope, Roger Creager, Morgan Wade, Parker Millsap, The Dirty River Boys, Kyle Nix, Wight Lighters, Kylie Frey, S.G. Goodman, Max Stalling, Heather Stalling, Jesse Lynn Madera

If you’ve been any of the preceding years, then you already know – If not, book it now – check the reviews from 2018, 2019, 2020, some tips for all concert goers and we’ll see you in paradise soon.

Mile 0 Fest Forges Ahead with Initial 2021 Lineup

The fourth year of Mile 0 Fest is sure to offer a unique experience.

Four years ago a brand new festival, Mile 0 Fest, arrived within the red dirt and Americana scene down in Key West, Florida. A logistical hurdle to secure both artists and patrons at the southernmost point of America, the initial lineup was too impressive to ignore. Since, the folks at Oh Wook! Productions and those working with their organization, including the city of Key West, have arguably created the absolute best festival in the country and a global pandemic isn’t going to slow them down. Dealing with a literal work stoppage within the live music arena across America just after the 2020 event, next year’s festival has been pushed back from the traditional late January dates into late April (04/27-05/01) but Mile 0 Fest has revealed an intriguing initial lineup.

BACK FOR YEAR FOUR: Wade Bowen, Jack Ingram, Cody Canada and the Departed, Mike and the Moonpies, Jamie Lin Wilson, Bruce Robison, Walt Wilkins, Jason Eady, Courtney Patton, Kaitlin Butts, Tina Wilkins, Bri Bagwell, Red Dirt Rangers

RETURNING FROM A PREVIOUS YEAR: Randy Rogers Band, Pat Green, American Aquarium, Reckless Kelly, Shane Smith and the Saints, The Band of Heathens, Micky and the Motorcars, John Fullbright, Adam Hood, Old 97’s, Hayes Carll, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Stoney Larue, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jaime Wyatt, Kelly Willis, RC and the Ambers

MAKING THEIR INITIAL APPEARANCE: Lucinda Williams, Blackberry Smoke, Shovels and Rope, Roger Creager, Morgan Wade, Parker Millsap, The Dirty River Boys, Kyle Nix

If you’ve been any of the preceding years, then you already know – If not, book now – check the reviews from 2018, 2019, 2020, some tips for concert goers and we’ll see you in paradise next April. Until then, stay safe out there.

Mile 0 Fest 2020: Raising the Bar

Following are 10 of the best things witnessed during Mile 0 Fest 2020

Mile 0 Fest 2020 wrapped up last week after four-plus days in Key West, Florida and this year’s version was bigger and better than ever. Beginning with a stacked lineup of headliners – Jason Isbell, Whiskey Myers, Robert Earl Keen and Randy Rogers Band – even a monsoon couldn’t slow down the momentum built for this third annual festival. The Oh Wook! Productions crew has spared no expense as this event is quickly turning into a homecoming for attendees and an epic vacation for everyone who settles onto the island for good times, awesome music and an experience unmatched anywhere else. Beginning with the disclaimer that it would take an army to witness it all, in no particular order, here are the 10 best things experienced at a third consecutive Mile 0 Fest.

Mike and the Moonpies

Bursting onto the scene in 2018 fresh off the release of ‘Steak Night at the Prairie Rose‘, Mike and the Moonpies continued their momentum this year spreading ‘Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold’ (a surprise release from last August). From the kickoff party at Durty Harry’s following the Duval Street Party, until their epic set at the Truman Waterfront Amphitheater, the Moonpies fan base continues to grow.

Bassist Omar Oyoque was everywhere, completing three successful stage dives, crowd surfing and thoroughly enjoying his time during the week. Initially leaving the stage briefly during Honky Tonk Tuesday, Oyoque also splashed down in the pool at Dante’s during the Mile 0 Fest and Outlaw Country Cruise combined event midweek. Finally, a later set for Mike and the Moonpies this year at the amphitheater was well received by the capacity crowd on hand.

Honky Tonk Tuesday

Durty Harry’s began to fill up hours in advance of Jamie Lin Wilson taking the stage for what may have been the best show all week. After an energetic set from Wilson, it was Mike and the Moonpies time to shine. Both bands turned in quality performances but the jam session that ensued, including guest appearances from Courtney Patton, Jason Eady and Wade Bowen provided the perfect kick off to festival while giving patrons a glimpse of what to expect over the next four days.

In the end, Mike Harmeier gave a repeat performance of his shirtless, jean jacket wearing, bar hopping experience from night one a year ago. For those who were on hand to witness the sheer fun everyone was having on stage, in the crowd or simply watching Bowen tend bar, it was a moment they won’t soon forget.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Jason Isbell was a surprising but welcome addition to the Mile 0 Fest lineup, making his debut appearance Wednesday night on the amphitheater stage. Immediately, he and the 400 Unit band captivated attendees rounding out arguably one of the best ever lineups for a single night at the event. Oklahoma’s Tequila Songbirds were followed by Flatland Cavalry, Shane Smith and the Saints and American Aquarium before Isbell brought the house down.

One of the unique things about festivals is the ability to gather so many talented individuals who spend their time crisscrossing the country to entertain fans into one space in a singular moment. When Isbell took the stage, everyone was a fan – other artists on the bill spilled into the crowd, in addition to packing out a side stage area for viewing. An epic close to the festival’s first full day.

Uncle Bekah’s Inappropriate Trucker Hats

No matter where you were in Key West, one didn’t have to look far to find an inappropriate trucker hat created by Uncle Bekah. Exploding in popularity since the first year, her creations have gone viral in the Texas/Red Dirt scene.

Hats are available in a range of colors and although there’s already an option for seemingly every occasion, one can be created in seconds if you think of something new. In fact, many of the performing artists and their bands got in on the fun this year, sporting different sayings while on stage or simply roaming the streets.

The Tulsa Revue

Lingering from Friday night, rain greeted attendees on Saturday but it couldn’t slow down the fun. In fact, at the Southernmost Beach Stage where John Fullbright was slated to perform, it actually created a unique and even more memorable experience. Moving inside the beach cafe, Fullbright was joined by fellow Okies Jacob Tovar, Paul Benjaman, Paul Wilkes (bass) and Paddy Ryan (drums), forming a rendition of the Tulsa Revue.

The final performance for this particular space, Fullbright and his crew not only received chants for an encore after initially shutting things down (which they obliged), but also received two well deserved standing ovations from the full house on hand.

New Additions

Always looking for ways to improve, the Mile 0 Fest production team added in some new additions this year that continue raising the bar. Not only were there a few impressive first-timers on the bill – Isbell, Keen, Hayes Carll, Will Hoge, Senora May, Lucas Jagneaux, Brent Cobb, Cliff Cody, Jack Waters and the Unemployed, John Baumann and Jonny Burke to name a few, but venue additions and other new details were all top-notch.

Two, in particular, included a ‘Golden Ticket‘ awarded to fans which offered unique meet and greet opportunities with certain artists. Distributed by festival workers to individuals for a variety of different reasons – good gestures, passionate singing, quality dancing, funny clothing, etc. it was just one more way Mile 0 Fest goes above and beyond for their attendees.

The other was a joint effort between organizers of the festival and Cruisin’ Tikis Key West. Providing fans with two-hour tours on the water surrounding Key West and Sunset Pier, specifically, fans were able to enjoy certain sets from a floating bar creating both a unique atmosphere and seemingly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Topo Chico Cowboys

A few weeks ahead of the festival, Josh Grider and Drew Kennedy released two songs – ‘Dollar on the Wall‘ and ‘Here’s to Friends‘ – that have strong ties to Key West and the latter very well could have served as the anthem for this year’s event.

Naming themselves the Topo Chico Cowboys, their set was great and spotting new merch (that hasn’t been available long) all around Key West was great to see. Playing on a boat, in a bar and everywhere between, seeing these two share their love of music with engaging fans was fun to watch.

American Aquarium

Returning after their initial festival appearance last year, American Aquarium brought the same energy to two different full band shows during Mile 0 Fest, earning new fans and entertaining old ones along the way. Both lead singers B.J. Barham and Jason Isbell mentioned one another during back-to-back sets at the amphitheater, sharing briefly about their time together as the latter produced ‘Burn. Flicker. Die.‘ helping to catapult the continued rise of American Aquarium.

In addition to a powerful set on night one, the boys returned for a Thursday matinee performance on a beach at the Southernmost Beach Resort and it was equally as entertaining. The setting alone provides for a quality experience and getting to enjoy a full band show – another new addition (full bands at this venue) – while on the beach was great.

Reckless Kelly

In similar fashion, Reckless Kelly made their debut one year ago and was equally as impressive. Former Turnpike Troubadours lead-guitar Ryan Engleman joined the Braun Brothers (Willy and Cody), Joe Miller and Jay Nazz this year following David Abeyta announcing his retirement just after this event last February.

The band made their first 2020 festival appearance with a late night show on Thursday evening at Smokin’ Tuna. Greeted by a large crowd, lead singer Willy Braun broke into ‘The Pina Colada Song‘ until served on stage in an epic move fitting of the environment. Debuting a few new songs off their upcoming double-album release, both sets were high-energy and well received.

80’s Ladies

Jamie Lin Wilson and Courtney Patton went all in to make Friday night’s 80’s Ladies event one to remember. From wearing wigs reminiscent of popular hairstyles during the era, tossing out shoulder pads from their throwback attire and orchestrating a stacked lineup of performers, this was truly one of best shows all week and something that is only attainable in such a festival environment.

Backed by a stout, although makeshift, band featuring Cody Angel, Scott Davis and Willy Braun – numerous different artists took the stage to perform hits from women of country music during this decade. In a time where both fans and artists are hyper-aware of gender discrepancies associated within the music world and beyond – seeing everyone come together for an entertaining evening was truly a magical experience.

Overall, Mile 0 Fest 2020 raised the bar on an already amazing festival full of high quality music from extremely talented musicians, friendly people, and opportunities to create lifelong memories in paradise.

A few other shows and artists that made an impression during the week:

Jason Boland 20th Anniversary of Pearl Snaps, Cory Morrow, Kylie Rae Harris Tribute Hosted by Walt and Tina Wilkins, RC Edwards, Amber Watson, Jonny Burke, Chance Anderson Oklahoma Rock n’ Roll, Senora May, Charley Crockett, Shane Smith and the Saints, Lucas Jagneaux, Tanner Miller, Cody Canada w/ members of Waves, Whiskey Myers, William Clark Green, Cliff Cody and Kelley Mickwee

***CLICK HERE to renew or register for your opportunity to attend in 2021***

Mile 0 Fest 2020: Instagram Takeover Artist Previews

Mile 0 Fest 2020 kicks off one week from today…

Mile 0 Fest returns for its third installment January 28 – February 1 in Key West, Florida. One of the best festivals available to fans of red dirt and Americana music, Mile 0 Fest has rocketed its way into the top echelon of events with stellar lineups, unique experiences, an amazing setting and relentless work effort of those behind the scenes. The 2020 edition boasts arguably the best lineup of any festival – ever – and with 88 artists performing over 140 shows in four-plus days there’s no indication things will be slowing down anytime soon.

This year, RedDirtNC is excited to partner with four of those performers throughout the event in order to give fans, both in attendance and elsewhere, a truly unique perspective. Make sure you’re following all of our social media (Facebook, Twitter, InstagramRedDirtNC) but especially Instagram next Wednesday – Saturday (January 29 – February 1) for what promises to be some entertaining and fun content!

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29 – AMERICAN AQUARIUM

Mile 0 Fest Scheduled Performances:
WED (1/29) Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater, 8:10pm-9:10pm
THUR (1/30) 1800 Tequila Southernmost Beach Resort Stage, 3:10pm-4:10pm

-NC’s own BJ Barham takes control to kick off coverage and provide some behind the scenes footage and commentary during the first full day of Mile 0 Fest 2020.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30 – MIKE AND THE MOONPIES

Mile 0 Fest Scheduled Performances:
TUE (1/28) The Bacardi Durty Harry’s Stage, 10:30pm-1:00am
THUR (1/30) Dante’s, 11:00am-3:10pm
THUR (1/30) Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater, 7:00pm-7:50pm

-An inaugural member of the lineup from year one, the Moonpies are one of the hottest bands in the country and will be leading the charge on day two.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 31 – LUCAS JAGNEAUX

Mile 0 Fest Scheduled Performances:
WED (1/29) The Bacardi Durty Harry’s Stage, 12:00pm-1:00pm
THUR (1/30) 1800 Tequila Southernmost Beach Resort Stage, 12:30pm-1:30pm

-A Mile 0 Fest rookie, Jagneaux worked his way onto the lineup by virtue of winning the Texas Music Picker’s Songwriter contest and you’ll want to catch one of his sets to see why.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – CHANCE ANDERSON

Mile 0 Fest Scheduled Performances:
FRI (1/31) The Deep Eddy Smokin’ Tuna Stage, 12:50am-1:50am
SAT (2/1) 1800 Tequila Southernmost Beach Resort Stage, 12:30pm-1:30pm

-An Oklahoma native, Anderson impressed during each of the first two events and is back armed with new music you don’t want to miss.

American Aquarium Roadtrip to Raleigh VI: Preview

The ‘City of Oaks’ again plays host to annual pilgrimage for fans of American Aquarium next weekend, January 24-25.

Fans of the North Carolina based American Aquarium have become familiar with the late January trip to the state’s capital and annual roadtrip orchestrated by front man B.J. Barham. Inviting talented artists from other parts of the country, to those right here in our own backyard, Barham meticulously pieces together a solid lineup for the ‘Roadtrip to Raleigh’, now in its sixth year.

Initially gaining notoriety around the Carolinas with a tireless touring schedule, Barham continues working hard to connect with his fans and it is this persistence that has expanded their fan base and led to national tours with sell outs in tow. From humble beginnings the band now regularly visits Texas and has repeatedly played festivals like Mile 0 Fest in Key West (Florida), Music Fest in Steamboat (Colorado) and Medicine Stone (Oklahoma), in addition to traveling across the pond for European tours over the past few years – but none compare to seeing Barham perform on his home turf.

In years past, fans have traveled from all over the United States and even the world to experience these unique back-to-back American Aquarium performances, see others on each bill and take in the hometown sights often referred to by Barham in his lyrics. Once in Raleigh you can, hear “the church bells ringing down at old St. Mary’s” and experience “landlocked nights down at Slim’s” all on your own.

As always, Barham has mapped out the cities finest restaurants, coffee shops and other entertaining establishments (available here), in addition to a new after party each night at Slim’s, return of the ‘Tough Folks’ craft beer and custom tattoo specials.

The full 2020 lineup features, Mike and the Moonpies and Futurebirds on Friday night with Kelsey Waldon and Charley Crockett scheduled to perform Saturday – all ahead of American Aquarium who closes the show both nights. Late night, enjoy The Monologue Bombs (FRI) and Jaime Wyatt (SAT) over at Slim’s.

Mike and the Moonpies (Friday 1/24)

Futurebirds (Friday 1/24)

Kelsey Waldon (Saturday 1/25)

Charley Crockett (Saturday 1/25)

American Aquarium (Friday 1/24 and Saturday 1/25)

Mile 0 Fest 2020: Seven Things to Know Before You Go

Seven things you need to know before you go…

Two weeks from today, a few thousand people will descend upon Key West for one of the best vacations imaginable. For first-timers and veterans alike, these seven tips will enhance your Mile 0 Fest experience as you prepare for four-plus days of the best in Red Dirt and Americana music.

1. “It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint.”
This is saying many will hear prior to arriving on the island and during the first few days of festival – in particular at Tuesday night’s Duval Street Party. As cliche as it may sound, it is sage advice. Yes, you’re on vacation but this isn’t simply a one-night affair. Shows begin daily at 11:00am and last until 2:00am – that’s 14 solid hours of music for four consecutive days – plan accordingly.

2. Wear Comfortable Shoes
It’s likely a majority of people heading to the southernmost point of the continental United States are coming from cooler climates. With late January temperatures averaging between 71 and 77 degrees, flip flops are appropriate but if you’re not fully prepared to walk a considerable amount in them then consider something a little more practical.

<<CLICK HERE FOR APPROXIMATE WALKING TIMES BETWEEN VENUES>>

3. Use the Mile 0 Fest App
You’ll want to make use of this important festival perk routinely ahead of time, while on the island and following each show. From being able to plan your own personal schedule to receiving push notifications about updates or changes, there is so much useful information available at your fingertips. Maps, frequently asked questions, a new photo challenge and more already appear on the main menu, in addition to a new ability for offering reviews and feedback directly to the festival from every performance.

4. It’s 5:00 Somewhere
The Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater shows begin at 5:00pm ET but that doesn’t mean it’s where you should start. Each day there are events beginning at 11:00am ET and it’s here where you can meet new friends, find new artists, and make some of the best memories during the week. Go support these individuals and the variety of different venues associated with Mile 0 Fest across the island.

5. Consider the Environment
Key West is roughly four miles long and just one mile wide at the end of the Florida Keys. As a place dependent on natural resources and tourism, ensuring the sustainability of both becomes the responsibility of everyone who resides on the island. For this reason, expect paper straws and limited single-use plastics. Reusable water bottles are recommended and many venues also offer a discount on beer when using a provided cup of the same nature.

6. Charitable Causes
There’s an abundance of music and good times all across the island but don’t miss out on the opportunity to make a difference while you’re in attendance. Mile 0 Fest is committed to giving back and there are multiple opportunities to contribute to the Red Dirt Relief Fund, Michelle Halpern Foundation and Bahama Village Music Program through the festival sponsored Fishing Derby and signed guitar auctions.

7. Take It All In
From maritime museums to botanical gardens and Ernest Hemingway to Harry S. Truman, there is plenty to see on the island. Best suited for a few extra days before or after the festival, there are plenty of tourist opportunities to ensure you get the full experience of Key West. Mallory Square is known for street performances and sunset celebrations but the amphitheater also offers wonderful late day views from its grassy knoll along the back of the venue if you don’t want to miss any music.

It’s a vacation, trip, festival, etc. unlike any other but it’s also important to remember that it’s the people of Key West and those in attendance, working and responsible for putting on the event – who make it extremely special. A boutique festival with another incredibly talented lineup ensures all of the music heard throughout the week will be spectacular, so have fun, meet new people, take care of your bar tenders and enjoy one of the best times you’ll have all year – guaranteed.