One of the best parts of The MusicFest at Steamboat are the specialty shows. These #OnlyAtTheMusicFest performances show off artists’ creative sides, with tributes, collaborations and a whole lot of fun. Take a look at a few of the special shows planned for the 2022 fest.
Courtney Patton and Jason Eady formed Sequestered Songwriters during the Covid-19 pandemic. The couple, along with around 30 of their musician friends, gathered virtually each week for a guitar pull paying tribute to a legendary artist or theme. Tips from fans led to the formation of the Sequestered Songwriters Relief Fund, which has since awarded over $30,000 to help musicians in challenging times. Special at The MusicFest, Patton, Eady and a few of their friends (including Wade Bowen, Cody Canada, Matt Hillyer, Kelley Mickwee, Max and Heather Stalling, and Jamie Lin Wilson) will join together in the Grand Ballroom for a live guitar pull featuring mountain songs.
Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen: Hold My Beer and Watch This
An interesting (and perfectly suited) pairing. The sight of Rogers and Bowen literally holding each other’s beer while the other performs a song fits the mood of the festival. Of course, the duo has a song called “Hold My Beer” that celebrates the age-old dilemma of having to do two things at once and also not wanting to take your beer in the restroom. Certainly, festival-goers will understand.
Django Walker and Jerry Jeff Walker’s Band
Django Walker spent decades playing with his father, Jerry Jeff Walker, and his famed Lost Gonzo Band. But for the first time at The MusicFest, Django will lead the band in honor and tribute to his late father, whose songs inspired generations of songwriters and country artists around the globe. Walker will again perform some of his father’s most beloved songs with original members of the Lost Gonzo Band, taking head duties in what Walker says is sure to be a “special” and “surreal” moment. The once-in-a-lifetime occasion is layered with reverence — the Lost Gonzo Band was honored at The MusicFest in 2012. Ten years later, they’ll gather to celebrate one of music’s true songwriting heroes and, even more importantly to them, their friend.
The Songwriting of Dean Dillon
Seeing that Dillon has written over 50 songs for George Strait, Alabama, Brooks and Dunn, David Allan Coe and Gary Stewart, among many others, he deserves the right to gloat a little. There’s a reason he’s in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame (you know, with people like Dylan and Shel Silverstein). Here, he takes the stage himself, performing and commenting on his songs that others have chosen to cover. Hearing a classic songwriter analyze his own work should prove amazing.
Boys From Oklahoma and Kentucky
Cody Canada, Stoney LaRue, Chris Knight, Mike McClure—four guys from two states that equal a lot of great music. Although the stylistic differences between these four artists aren’t that pronounced (especially not determined by region), there are enough variances to ensure a pleasurable listening experience. All four of these gentlemen are dynamic performers who are capable of hushed simplicity and roadhouse rockers.
Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights’ Tribute to Led Zeppelin
Anyone who has witnessed one of Tyler’s shows in his hometown of Dallas knows that the guy likes to rock as much as anyone. It’s not difficult to imagine a young Tyler rummaging around record stores in search of Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti (just to name two Zeppelin classics). Tyler’s own songs (and appearance) have always shown the influence of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. The most difficult decision may be which songs make the set list and which are sadly left off.
Taste of Lone Star Luau
Thom Shepherd and Coley McCabe bring the feel of their Lone Star Luau music festival to Colorado. The duo will play alongside other Texas singers and songwriters for a show that combines the tropical feel of Jimmy Buffet songs with Texas Red Dirt music.
Braun Brothers Reunion Showcase
FOR the Braun Brothers—Cody and Willie of Reckless Kelly and Micky and Gary of Micky and the Motorcars—country music is a family tradition. This year they’re bringing the family band energy to The MusicFest with a special Braun Brothers Reunion acoustic set. Their festival of the same name happens every year in Idaho and features many MusicFest veterans. The Braun Brothers’ free-flowing jam and song swap will feature special guests and will be emceed by award-winning KOKE FM personality Eric Raines.
Kylie Frey will kick things off during the day with the national anthem at The MusicFest Village, accompanied by a 21-gun salute from Steamboat Springs–based veterans’ nonprofit Warhorse Ranch. That night, gather at the Big Tent for Jade Marie Patek’s performance of the national anthem. Warhorse Ranch will also present the colors and frontline workers will be honored for their work during the pandemic.
Dos Borrachos featuring Kevin Fowler and Roger Creager
In celebration of their album of the same name, Creager and Fowler toast everything good about tossing back a few adult beverages. Get a taste of their annual gathering at The Big Cabo Fest in Mexico. This is literally music to drink to as these “two drunks” revel in beer, tequila, salt, women and just having a good time. This is shindig party music played with surprising clarity. These two kindred spirits will definitely thrill the masses with amusing tales of well-oiled amigos.
Roger Creager: The Piano Man Show
Creager sits at his piano and takes requests—it kind of sounds like when they play Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” at a sporting event. Creager plays popular favorites and some classic numbers from Texas artists and the swollen (and well inebriated) crowd “sings” along. Interesting how cover songs can be so successful in unifying a crowd. The familiar tunes, especially in the hands of a master like Creager, feels like snuggling under a comfortable blanket near a campfire
Midnight River Choir’s Another Door
Midnight River Choir will celebrate the release of their new album, Another Door, at The MusicFest 2022. Their first full-length since 2014’s Fresh Air, it features a slew of guest performers, many of whom join Midnight River Choir during their set. The album was co-produced by MusicFest regular Zac Wilkerson along with producer Adam Odor and George Strait’s production manager, Paul Rodgers. The collaborative effort resulted in a sound that is familiar yet more mature than previous releases. Midnight River Choir frontman Eric Middleton called the album a “grownup version” of the folksy, funky blend of country and rock that the New Braunfels-based quartet is known for.
Honcho Music Group at the Dung Beetle Saloon
Management company Honcho Music Group helps develop young artists and guide them through the music industry. Honcho musicians Dalton Domino, Jacob Stelly, Jordan Nix, Parker Ryan, Slade Coulter, Chris Canterbury and Kat Hasty will showcase songs they’ve been writing over the past year in this show at The Dung Beetle Saloon.
Sunday will indeed be a fun day as not only will Vanilla Ice perform everything he’s doing these days, but Eleven Hundred Springs’ Matt Hillyer with Copper Chief will lead the “sharp dressed men” through a killer set of songs in tribute to ZZ Top. You want more? How about the finals of the washers and cornhole tournaments? Still wanting more? Well, just check it out because this is one Sabbath that is guaranteed to be like no other.
Slappers, Bangers and Certified Twangers
2021 was a busy year for American Aquarium. In addition to releasing their Daytrotter Sessions vinyl, the band put out two volumes of ’90s country songs, which they affectionately titled Slappers, Bangers, and Certified Twangers. The band will be showcasing classics like “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” and “Some Girls Do” during a special set at this year’s MusicFest. While the album’s title might invoke a party vibe, the songs hold deeper meaning for American Aquarium frontman BJ Barham. This music is “how we learned how to build melodies,” he says. “It’s how we learned how to tell an in-depth story in less than three minutes.” MusicFest fans will also get a chance to hear material from American Aquarium’s upcoming 10th studio album during their set of original songs and Barham will share an intimate set of acoustic solo tunes.
Before relocating to his native Australia, Kym Warner will grace the stage at The MusicFest with The Grassmen. The revered mandolinist said he couldn’t think of a better way to say goodbye to the States than spending a few days in the mountains jamming and partying with his friends. Reckless Kelly fiddler Cody Braun will be one of several special guests joining Warner and The Grassmen for a set of bluegrass and classic country standards. Braun has been sitting in with The Grassmen and honing his bluegrass chops in recent months when his tour schedule allows.
Real Life Real Music with Kyle Hutton
For almost 15 years, musician and music historian Kyle Hutton has been showcasing country music’s best storytellers on his weekly radio show “Real Life Real Music.” By mixing candid conversations with intimate, one-of-a-kind performances, he gives fans a behind-the-scenes look into the meaning and origin of their favorite songs. Hutton will once again bring his beloved show to the MusicFest ON AIR Media Lounge giving MusicFesters a chance to listen in on conversations with some of their favorite artists, sponsored by Real Life Real Music and Sequestered Songwriters.
Created in 1975, Austin-based KOKE-FM is dedicated to playing independent music—giving airtime to the Americana, Texas Red Dirt and Texas and Oklahoma artists and songs not played elsewhere. Even Willie Nelson started off playing on KOKE-FM. At this MusicFest Media Lounge show, the station’s Eric Raines will interview singer-songwriters such as Reckless Kelly, Stoney LaRue, Jason Eady, and Courtney Patton intermixed with performances. Enjoy some great music while getting to know these artists on a deeper level.
Toast with Doug Moreland
Moreland is quite the character, and he’s brought his countrified version of toasting to another level over his many years at The MusicFest. Plus, the dude’s music is classic, hardcore honkytonk, with a sense of humor nodding with sincere appreciation to the likes of Jerry Reed and Buck Owens. Moreland’s way with words and wit could find him toasting anyone and everyone and it’s always done with tongue firmly planted in cheek.