For 23 years now, KHYI 95.3 The Range’s Texas Music Revolution (TMR) has consistently brought outstanding country and Americana musicians to North Texas. What better way to celebrate than by headlining both nights of this year’s music festival with artists who have been a part of Texas music for over 23 years? On March 29–30 at Plano’s Oak Point Park and Amphitheater, Junior Brown headlined Friday evening, with Robert Earl Keen closing out the festival Saturday night.
Friday | Day One
Junior Brown bills himself as “The American Original,” and he really is. No one does what Junior does, which is play his own creation – the “guit-steel.” It’s a double-neck guitar that features a typical electric guitar on top and an eight-string lap steel guitar on the bottom. (The lap steel has a C13 tuning, for all you guitar nerds).
In the hands of lesser musicians, the guit-steel would come off as a gimmick. However, Brown transitions from picking the electric guitar to using slide on the steel guitar effortlessly. He even broke a string during Friday’s performance and just kept rolling.
Brown enthusiastically – and at times, playfully – performed his biggest hits, including “Highway Patrol” and “My Wife Thinks You’re Dead” as well as songs off of his new album, “Deep In The Heart of Me.” He ended the show with a surf medley that included a little flamenco run, finishing things off with an instrumental version of “Secret Agent Man.”
Friday’s lineup also featured George Dunham’s Bird Dogs, Big Gus & Swampadelic, Garland native Woody Lee and the laid back sounds of Max Stalling.
Saturday | Day Two
Robert Earl Keen’s music has been a Texas staple since his first album, 1984’s “No Kinda Dancer.” Keen performed songs off of his recent bluegrass album, “Happy Prisoner,” and some of his most popular songs, such as “The Road Goes On Forever,” “I’m Coming Home” and the out-of-season stocking stuffer, “Merry Christmas From the Family.”
Midway through the set, Keen gave the band a break and performed “The Porch Song” solo. He also shared the story of meeting Lyle Lovett while they were both attending Texas A&M University, and how Lyle added verses to help complete “The Porch Song.”
Keen’s character driven, straight-to-the-truth lyrics and irreverent style have helped him build a loyal fan base. His shows are more like a campfire sing along where everyone knows the words than a concert.
Saturday night also featured vocalist Lee Ann Womack, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers (formerly known as The Refreshments), critically acclaimed Fort Worth newcomer Vincent Neil Emerson and McKinney’s own Zane Williams.
At last year’s Texas Music Revolution, the “new artists you need to hear” had to be The Texas Gentleman. This year, let’s give the nod to Jaime Wyatt. As darkness fell Saturday evening and unseasonably cold wind blew across Plano’s Oak Point Park, Jamie heated up the chilly night with an energetic set of straight-up country rock.
Based in Los Angeles, Jaime definitely comes from the Haggard/Owens/Bakersfield side of country music. And like Merle Haggard, her outlaw past is not just a corporate image, she actually did eight months in the L.A. county jail before accepting a plea bargain. So when she sings “Stone Hotel,” she draws upon personal experience. Jaime also sang many of the songs from her latest album, “Felony Blues” – she’s definitely an artist to keep an eye on.
This year’s TMR also introduced a new event to the festival. Spectators received an up close view of the dynamics and risks of the “most dangerous eight seconds in sports” – bull riding, provided by Chute 2 Productions. For some of the competitors, their ride only lasted a couple seconds. But that’s when things get really precarious, as the threat of being gored or stomped is certainly real. Ricky Sampson was the winning rider of the day, and he received a guitar autographed by many of the TMR performers.
Congratulations to KHYI and City of Plano for producing another entertaining, enjoyable event for music fans of all ages. Here’s to many more TMRs to come. To paraphrase Robert Earl Keen: “May the road go on forever, and the party never end.”KHYI 95.3 The Range >