You Say You Want a Revolution: TTMR 2017 Breakdown
Toyota Texas Music Revolution (TTMR) is 21, and therefore now old enough to drink beer. I decided to throw a few back myself to celebrate, after I headed over to Plano’s Oak Point Park on Saturday afternoon, Day Two of KHYI’s signature music festival. From a foot-tapping time with the family Castro band to a surprising performance by Kiefer Sutherland, here is a breakdown of TTMR 21’s headlining bands.Watch Our TTMR 21 Video >
I started my TTMR adventure on Saturday with Castro, the family band formed by American Idol alum Jason Castro and his siblings Michael and Jackie. The band is the perfect spring and summer band, with a pop/folk vibe (a la The Lumineers) and honest, intimate lyrics. With alternating lead vocals and instrumentals, Castro sang of chasing dreams (“Diamond Dreams”), unrequited love (“Good For You”) and professing love (“Waters of Jordan”).
The band didn’t just play, though. They performed. The act capitalized on their sibling relationship in a way that welcomed the audience along for the ride. In between songs, Michael played the teasing big brother, Jason played the kid prodigy and Jackie played the kid sister, just happy to hang with the boys.
And those songs! Michael’s vocals were a bit more free-flowing and soulful. Jason offered a sound that was welcoming and engaging. And every time Jackie sang, you could almost hear her smiling and/or channeling Sara Bareilles. The Castros have distinct vocals, but somehow each song sounded like a “Castro” song. The trio were also super personable and took the time after the show to shake hands and take dozens of snapshots with fans.Castro >
Let’s get something clear right up front: Kiefer Sutherland is not another celebrity putting out a crappy vanity album. I’m just as surprised as the next guy, but Kiefer put on my favorite show of the night. Sure, Kiefer might have looked the rock star part – with the exact same polka dot button-down, black vest, skinny jeans and statement hat combo that I have in my very own closet – but I don’t think he was acting. His songs were every bit the product of a devout singer/songwriter and practiced music lover.
Vocally, Kiefer Sutherland offered a velvety rasp somewhere near the sexier side of Jakob Dylan and the grittier side of Mellencamp. Kiefer listed other influences up front, even covering Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” and much to my utter glee, “Honey Bee,” one of Tom Petty’s lesser-known gems. Fitting for a man with so many characters under his belt, his band seemed to transcend genres. There was something very folky, very rock, very outlaw about them.
Personal favorites from the band were “Not Enough Whiskey,” which is a country romp on regret, “Down in a Hole,” which could be some alternate reality ACDC or ZZ-TOP b-side and “Going Home,” a Tom Petty-esque rollick. Kiefer Sutherland, to summarize, is sort of a rock star.Kiefer Sutherland >
I have a theory about why Josh Ritter is known as the nicest guy in music. Here it is: How could he have time to be anything but nice? It must take every spare minute to concoct such wonderful poetry. The dude is a bona fide wordsmith.
Mr. Ritter was well-dressed, more composed and quieter than some of the fest’s other bands. His show was all about the words. He likes to bring people in. He welcomes them. Listening to him live was like walking through a lyrical labyrinth. Except in Josh Ritter’s labyrinth, instead of a minotaur, you get heartwarming melodies, fantastical instrumentals and the sense you are in the snow globe of a good man’s mind.
He has a beautiful ability to evoke emotion. And that’s always something worth experiencing.Josh Ritter >
Kacey Musgraves was everything we all expected her to be. She was equal parts Dolly and Willie. In other words, a rebel songbird. Her fans loved her, and the crowd turned into a karaoke bar with her hits “Follow Your Arrow,” “Biscuits” and “Pageant Material.”
Kacey made a solid headliner for TTMR 21 because she combined the many facets that have made this festival great for so many years. Her music, and even her style and performance, evoked the country music of times past, while her lyrics were progressive, inclusive and rebellious. The coolest thing about Kacey is that she brings people into country music by sticking to her own moral principles.Kacey Musgraves >
Toyota Texas Music Revolution, now in its 21st year, is the brainchild of the music-obsessed staff at KHYI, who are constantly sticking it to mainstream country radio by playing music that crosses many lines: Americana, folk, country, Texan, classic and always genuine. Turn your radio dial to 95.3 The Range and follow them here:KHYI Website > KHYI Facebook >
Check out more photos from both days of TTMR 21 // photography by Jennifer Shertzer, Ronnie Blea and Jordan Buford: