Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy… On the 4th of July 2018 our favorite Brass ‘n Grass band from Wichita released their 4th album or EP, it’s only 23 minutes long… I’ve been told this is the first part of a two piece EP release.

It was a long wait for all the fans as “Hatchetations”, the previous album was released in 2013. But it sure was worth the wait! If you have been following the band for years like I have, you have noticed that with each year passing their sound evolved into a more complex pallet without forgetting about their past. The straight forward “on stage party” was sometimes brutally interrupted by long and slow build-ups, creating a dark and eerie atmosphere. The brass section took a huge role in this and by doing so, the drunken party boy in the front would start scratching his confused head… “Is this a jazz show? I came here to party dude…” But oh Holy Crow, was he wrong!!!

“Bowels & Constants”, the second song after the instrumental “Rümpletum” is the perfect example of the description above. The first two minutes of this five minute song is pure “scene setting”… Something is going to happen, it’s coming and I’m not sure if I want to be here to witness it… But I also don’t want to miss it! That is the feeling it gave me. The bass and vocals come in, a brass-section in the background, building up to the suspense… And then at the 3 minute and 15 second marker, like it was faith, There it is… The PARTY!!! The song erupts in a classic CNS tradition and it is marvellous!

The next one is ” All Men Created Equal” and I’m sure you have seen the video on youtube the guys made for this. (if not check below) I think we can say this is a typical Carrie Nation song, but for sure one of the best they have ever written. I can see crowds dancing and going wild on this one, I know I will, at the upcoming PICKING BONES festival in Belgium on the 21st of June. The band plays a headlining show that Friday.

We continue with “We All Believed” This must be the slowest and most depressive song the band has ever put on an album, and I mean this in a good way. This is angst, disbelieve and rebellion put together in one massive monolith of a song.  Phenomenal!
(for me this is not a song the band should play live, as much as I love it, this is a song to listen to at home, in the company of a good drink and a few dogs…)

I like concept albums, yeah I know, I’m one of the few. The great part of most concept albums is that the songs flow into each other. And with “We All Believed” ending and flowing into “Trismegistus”, which is nothing more than an interlude to get to “Gnosis” it still does the trick!

And with “Gnosis” we again get a song that the band is so known for. The perfect combination between string instruments and brass, up-tempo, great vocal parts, genius instrumentation and atmosphere! And all of this in under 4 minutes!

I think it is fair to say that Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy, with this album, have outdone themselves and that it is clear to see for all what a talented band this is.

Oh… A little bird told me that this one will be released on vinyl… Maybe…

Get the new album and shirts here:
https://squareup.com/store/carrienation-and-thespeakeasy

See “All Men Created Equal” here:

Get info about PICKING BONES 2019 here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1983479351716002/

And now for something completely different…

Yes, I know this website is mainly about “roots” music, but it still is MY website, so I can write about whatever the fuck I want. Deal with it! I’m going to be writing about pop music, yes, you’ve read that correctly, POP music… But not the kind of pop music you’ll hear on the radio or see in the charts. This is Satanic Pop Music! I can see you scratching your head, it was a new term for me also when I first heard it. And then again, this album has nothing to do with popular music… It’s a thing on it’s own…

About two years ago Nathan Gray, former singer for BoySetsFire, released his first self entitled ep, containing an eclectic mix of songs going from the dark electro powerhouse “Wolves” to “Corson – An Ode to Vital Existence”, the emotional up-call for taking your life by it’s core and making it yours! Now there is “Untill The Darkness Takes Us”, an epic journey into the past and present life of Nathan Gray.

Together with this album Nathan also released a book with the same title, I suggest you buy both to fully understand this album and feel its power. The record opens with “Heathen Blood” and as with “Wolves” from the first ep, this song grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go until you get the message. A venomous testament against organized religion and oppression by those institutions. A very powerful opener and a tone-setter for the rest of the ride.

As there are 13 songs on this album and I know some of you still have shit to do, I’m not going to go in detail on all of them (they are worth it). I’m going to bundle some and elaborate on others. One of the songs I will elaborate on is “Skin”, I hated the song the first time I heard it, it was the only one on the album I did not like, but the more I listen to it, the more I appreciate it. At first it has this very euro-pop vibe, think Covenant and Apoptygma Bezerk, bands I used to love dancing on but got so sick off hearing. For some strange reason this song gets in your brain and it stays there, it’s catchy as fuck! “Desire” is another song that has this euro-pop/dark wave influence with it’s uptempo dance beats and sing-a-long mid-sections.

Let’s continue… The piano songs, as I like to call them… “Damascus” and “Anthemic Hearts”. Two beautiful songs drivin by, you guessed it… Piano… Sigh… Do I need to explain everything? C’mon guys, get with the program… Serious now, both these songs deal with the same theme, and if you read the book you will truly understand them and appreciate them even more. Empowering…

Let’s descend into darkness… Follow me please, don’t touch the walls…  “At War”, Nathan unleashes his demons and takes no prisoners. We can hear a glimpse of his hardcore past, but mostly we hear an industrial battle anthem, and fuck yeah, I’m standing erect, ready to kill! FORWARD!!!

Now RISE up, feel the New Dawn, taste the fruits of your struggle and live your life freely! “Remains” and “Memento Mori”, both testimonies of how a person can take his own life back and start living again, one more electronic then the other… “Remains” could be a piano song, but because of the chorus, which is pure punk-rock in nature,  I did not include it.

“Until The Darkness Takes Us”… A slow moving song, a homecoming,  powerful lyrics… Again, read the book and you will understand… “Jettison” is a full on modern pop-rock song, a perfect combination of guitar and electronics. But so much more honest and fierce then the crap you hear on the radio.

“Lusus Naturae”, the second song on the album. I know it’s a little weird to talk about the second song at the end of the review, but this song holds special meaning to me. It’s one of the most “rocking” songs on the album and absolutely essential on this album, and if you want to know that special meaning…  Come see me…

This still is a site about roots music, but I hope you guys are openminded and will give this album a listen. Nathan will be on tour in Europe, starting early april. Check the tour dates on his website and go see him. Read the book and enjoy the record!

https://www.nathangraycollective.com/

East Cameron Folkcore from Austin, Texas are on a two week tour in Europe. I first got to see them at Muddy Roots last year and their performance was so incredible that there was no way I would miss them playing in Europe. There was no date in Belgium, but lucky for me there was one in Aachen, which is only an hour drive from where I live.

I got there early, so I got to hang out with them, talk life, have a drink and do an interview. They played a great show which you can see below. Last year they released “Kingdom of Fear” and for me this is one of the best “indie” albums ever made! Make sure you get your copy…

For more info on the band check out:

So after going through my hard-drive today I found some video’s that for some reason never made it online… I have no idea why or how. What ever… Here they are!

Steering Ships With Empty Bottles
Our good friends Cris and Henry will be back in Europe in april and they will play our official pre-party for Pirate Farm Fest. This one was shot in our back yard last year.

Jumpin’ Jim
Jim aka Jo Leinders is the singer for Belgian Psycho-Roots rockers Black Cat Bone Squad. I shot this video to get him away from his house so his girlfriend could plan his birthday party together with all our friends later that day. We got some great shots and he got a kick-ass party later that day.

The Freeborn Brothers
Just before their tour with Sean Wheeler and Zander Schloss our friends from Poland came over to record these songs in our livingroom. We had a blast!

It’s time again to promote some bands I got to know over the past months or that I know for years that I think you should give a try. We got a great response from the bands the first time, and from our readers. So I hope you will enjoy this list as much as I did making it.

Wicklow Atwater and the Fallen Flame (usa)
My friend Anni from The Kountry Kittens posted a video of these guys playing their set at Farmageddon Fest 2015. I was in awe… Hailing from Atwater Village, Los Angeles, California these five childhood friends create some fine Americana tunes that I want to experience live real soon. I hope we run into them one day.

Ando Ehlers (usa)
I think it was my co-worker Kevin that first turned me on to Ando. “Hey Tom, here’s some weird polka dude I think you will like…” Yeah sure Kev, polka… I love polka, dumbass… Hahaha, boy was I wrong! I loved it! And now Ando is in Europe and playing an Old Style Music Nights show this week. Enjoy the weird and wonderful world of Ando Ehlers!

Tim Vantol (hol)
Hailing from Holland this punk rock troubadour brings us some fine tunes with or without the support of his back-up band. He toured Europe opening for Chuck Ragan a couple of years ago and released two very good albums. I’ve seen him play a couple of times with a band and solo. With his charisma alone he can hold up a show. Great guy, great musician, great singer…

Toxic Shock (bel)
Aaaarrrgggg THRASH!!!! Remember back in the eighties/early nineties when metal and punk where still dangerous and fun? These guys from Antwerp will give you that feeling again. Pissed off, hardcore thrash metal the way it’s supposed to be played! Enjoy!

 

WE’REWOLVES (bel)
Dude… Another Belgian band? Hell Yeah! For such a small country we sure have a bunch of crazy ass bands. This is one of them. These guys are from my hometown, so fuck you! This video has it all, pizza, skateboards, beer and a whole lotta fun!

Harley Poe (usa)
You like your music with a little twist? Some dark fun? Some horror? Some sarcasm? Oh to hell with it! Enjoy Harley Poe! They killed it at Muddy Roots this year and I hope they will be back soon…

Okkultokrati (nor)
From Oslo, Norway comes Okkultokrati. If you like the old Hellhammer sound mixed with a hardcore vibe, you will love these guys. How I got to know these guys? I was at a record fair a few weeks ago and the cover of their “No Light For mass” album just intrigued me. I had no idea who or what this band was. I just bought the album… I’m glad I did!

Seuora (fin)
This could be to much for some of you, but I really like this band. They where on tour with Black Claw from Canada last month and they sucked me into their weird and dark songs from the first note. If you like Them Poor Bastards you will love this…

Nathan Gray (usa)
And now for something completely different… Nathan Gray, singer for “BOYSETSFIRE” and “I am Heresy” has released his first solo ep and I don’t think anybody had seen this one coming. A great mix between neo-folk, industrial, pop music and amazing song writing. Enjoy this statement of a song, that’s what it is… For me personally it’s the most exciting song lyrically that I have heard in years.

 

I woke up with a smile on my face in our cabin after a perfect first day and night. My troops were in good spirit, they survived day one of what is the emotional rollercoaster, called Muddy Roots! Kim (the little city girl) slept in the car because we had an eight legged uninvited guest. She made our rental KIA her nightly home for the rest of the festival… Kickboxing skills don’t kill spiders! After a shower and a “healthy” breakfast we were ready for day two. My list of bands to shoot was huge, but I should have known better. I have this weird habit of talking and drinking with people I like and love. And Muddy Roots is packed with people that I like and/or love… Damn you all to hell for being so awesome! Thank you!

Thinking back I feel like such a fool for missing out on the opportunity, but I did see every band I wanted to see. My camera wasn’t always near and by the time the sun went down I just put it away. I know myself, and I know that I like to party, camera’s and parties don’t mix. But what we got is priceless. The energy, the love, the musicianship, the passion. I would kill for just a little piece of the talent that these guys have. I just point the camera and press record… Enjoy folks… One day this will all be over, all good things come to an end. Let’s just hope we will be there when the fat lady sings! Don’t worry, the fat lady is still a skinny girl, we have years of mischief in Cookeville coming to us!

Lou Shields
I love Lou! I love him as a person and as a musician. What he does is so different then what anybody else does. His weird rhythms, his voice, the way he uses his feet… It’s a package of pure joy to watch! I was bummed out when I learned that Lou was playing at the same time, James Hunnicutt was, I didn’t really understand why, but hey… who am I to judge? But the folks at Muddy Roots have a good taste in music and Lou had a fair amount of people dancing to his tunes. I sure was one of them. Maybe that’s why I only shot two video’s?
Make sure to check Lou’s website and order some of his albums, you will not be disappointed.

James Hunnicutt
After catching me some Lou Shields to start the day it was of to James on the main stage. I prefer to see James play at a smaller stage because it feels more intimate, but the man deserves to be on the biggest stage in the world! I see no point in writing about his show. Just check the video, and the interview we did some months before the festival at our house in Belgium. (I think James’ aura is to big because the camera had trouble focusing on him…)
One more thing, I’m always amazed how good of a singer Geoff Firebaugh is. I mean, he’s a kick-ass bass-player, I just never see him as a singer, and every time he gets behind a microphone I’m blown away! Here’s to you Geoff!

Whiskey Shivers
“Oh boy, Oh boy, Oh boy” I was very excited to see these guys play! I heard some of their songs before but never had the chance to see them on stage. And from what I’ve heard, this was going to be one hell of a party, and it sure was. Another reason I wanted to see them was because this band is the biggest FUCK OFF to racism in the “roots” scene! They maybe don’t sing about it, but just being on that stage all together says enough to every idiot that ever made a claim that this movement is a “white” thing, and I know there’s a bunch of them out there. Fuck you, WE LIKE TO PARTY!!!

Hopeless Jack
You know what’s so fun about Muddy Roots? I’ll tell ya… Walking past a stage and thinking, “DAMN, this sounds good, who are these guys?”. That’s how I got to know Austin from The Hangdog Hearts, and that’s how I got to know Jack Beisel. We where looking for a place to sit and have another drink, and what do I hear coming out of the Cracker Swamp tent? This raw sounding blues, “blasting girls panties off” primitive energy… Holy Crow, these are just two guys having a bunch of fun and this is the result? I haven’t had fun in a long time I guess… And you know what’s the best part of this? Jack is such a nice guy! If they play in your town, go see them, even if you don’t really like blues, it’s so much more. You can bring your dad, but don’t bring your girlfriend, she may not come home with you…

Joseph Huber
Ex-.357Stringband, master song-smith Joseph Huber… What more can you say about him? Just enjoy the songs.

East Cameron Folkcore out of Austin, Texas left me speechless after their performance at this years Muddy Roots Festival just a couple of weeks ago. In a euphoric haze I picked up what I thought was their new album, it was not… it was their 2013 release called “For Sale”. An amazing album as well, but I don’t see the point in reviewing an older album when the band just released, what I can call, one of the best albums of 2015. So I turned to spotify to do this review, but that ended abruptly when after two songs Justin Bieber started talking to me about his new album… A lesser evil was the answer, iTunes. You can buy the cd or double LP via the links below. My order is in!

This was by far the hardest review to date. This album is so complex and versatile, it’s not just the songwriting, the lyrics or the blend of genres… This album takes you on an emotional ride with a message that is very universal. It is true that our world is changing and not for the better, they may sing about America or their own city, but on this day that the Belgian government decided that equality is no longer a right for everyone I feel their anger, fear and disgust. We are mere puppets that can be pushed around or at least that is what they want us to think, untill we can take no more, and when that day comes… WE DO FUCKING NOTHING!

I still have no idea what to call the style of music these guys play, they blend indie-folk(?) with hardcore like out-bursts, layered with strings and vocal harmonies. Now what makes this album so intense? All songs flow into each other in such a brilliant way like you’re listening to a story or watching a movie and what ever happens, you want to know what’s coming up next, it grabs you by the neck and seldom loses it’s grip.

The album is made up in four parts, Canto I: The grand illusion, Canto II: Through the Looking Glass, Canto III: The People Speak and Canto IV: Ship of Fools.

Canto I opens with “What the Thunder Said”, a spoken word piece with underlaying “ambient” sounds, strings and horns, telling us what our world today is all about. It’s not pretty, but damn… If you think about the words, they are all painfully true… The tittle track “Kingdom of Fear” follows and with this first real song the band shows you what great songs writers they are and also present you the level on which the lyrics have been written. If by now it wasn’t clear, this is not you average drinking, loving, losing and fighting album. This is a statement, a protest, maybe even a stand against todays world.

The more you listen to the album, and you have to really listen, the more you get pulled in and discover new sounds, new layers and new (hidden) messages. The footsteps at the beginning of “The Greater Fool” being one of these little things. The vocal harmonies on this song are of such a high standard and the layers just keep unfolding untill the end. This is a song of great beauty!
“Fracking Boomtown” is one of the songs that doesn’t asks it’s listener to think about it, it clear and simple. Fracking sucks! It hurts people and should not be legal! Period!

“When we get Home” with it’s almost classical like orchestration gives us the story of a soldier dreaming of coming home, and in this time of age we all know someone who was in a war that didn’t make sense, and maybe this song will help us understand their fear and uncertain thoughts on what to expect when the day comes…
I know a bunch of punk bands that wish they would have written “Protest Hero”. This song gave me goosebumps in the beginning and I had my fist up in the air at the end. It took me straight back to 1999 when we where on the street fighting police and nazi scum, raising our voice against racism and intolerance. It also remembered me of the feeling I got afterwards… “What was the fucking point? What did we gain with this, are we making a difference, are we not the same?”

Coming home to the city you grew up in or lived your whole life, seeing it all changed can be hard, and you wonder, “why?, is this what it became?” I think that when we grow older we think back and remember a false past, but that doesn’t make it less hard. “Our City” is a song that feeds this feeling, and this feeling of injustice only gets bigger when we realise we had a hand in it ourself. Absolutely one of the best songs on the album!
The more I listen to the record, the more I realise we lost our innocence a long time ago. The phrase in “Newspeak”, “Back when Orwell was sci-fi” makes it all so real…
“Into Hells Sea” picks up where “Newspeak” ended with the words “I hope you can swim” and takes us to our almost final ride filled with despair, lost love, fear and regrets… No this is not a happy record…

East Cameron Folkcore is one of those bands that deserves to be huge, but maybe never will. It will not be their fault, in a day of age where everything is cut into small pieces and fed to the masses without a critical thought needed, I hope they will never give up. There are people out there that need this music, this message to hold on, to feed and grow stronger and then rise up and say, “FUCK NO! NO MORE!” I hope this day comes soon…

https://eastcameronfolkcore.bandcamp.com/album/kingdom-of-fear
http://eastcameronfolkcore.com/folkstore.html
http://www.ghvc-shop.de/detail/east-cameron-folkcore-kingdom-of-fear

Muddy Roots Music Festival 2015… Number four for Inny and me. It’s becoming “normal” you would think, but every time we drive up there, a feeling of coming home takes over. This was number four in Cookeville, we did them all in Belgium, but this time it was extra special. We brought close friends with us and hoped they would have the same experience we had those three previous years. A feeling of freedom, friendship, honesty and pure joy (unless monday morning…) that’s what we where hoping they would feel. I’m damn sure they did.

Sophie, the rebel, doing her own thing, getting on my nerves, buying moonshine, handing out gifts and beer. I tried to take care of her, but I knew better, she’ll be alright where ever she is. Jo, my brother from an other mother (I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true), a wild-man if he wants to be, a caretaker if needed, a great songwriter and a friend for life. Kim, the little loud city girl, a heart of gold, a head full of lovely chaos and the temper of a furious cat (unless she encounters a spider…). And last but not least, Inny, my wife for eight years, my soul-mate for 15. My rock, my know it all head-buster, my Goddess. This was my troop, these where my travelers, these where my fellow pilgrims on the road to mud… We survived… These are our stories…

Mikey Classic and his Lonesome Spur
Muddy Roots without The Goddamn Gallows? HELL NO! Well yeah… but don’t worry, Mikey took on the heavy burden and we all knew he would deliver the goods… Check out his solo album. Is it Gallows Light? I’m not sure, some folks think it is, but for me it’s just Mikey doing his thing and doing it good! I had the chance to do merch for them at some of their European shows earlier this year and they welcomed me as an old friend. I love Mikey and the rest of them crazy idiots, even Avery…

The Barnyard Stompers
Casey and Megan… First time we ran into these guys, they where playing the open mic stage a few years ago. Casey was drunk as fuck and still being one hell of a frontman, while Megan kept the rhythm going on her drums like an army general pushing his troops into battle. The Barnyard Stompers do what they do, they don’t take shit from nobody, follow no trends and get shit done! I love it. They have songs that I wish ANTiSEEN would play, and they should!

East Cameron Folkcore
One of the bands on this years line-up that I never heard of. I gave them a quick listen while making preparations. They made it to my “must watch list”. And boy was I glad I went to see them and even more glad I filmed them. I shot more than just this, but for some reason the camera fucked up two other songs. But for the rest of their set I was dancing my ass off. They gave me a “Refused goes bluegrass” feeling. I know it doesn’t do them justice, but I think you know what I’m talking about.

The Urban Pioneers
Is there life after The Broken Band? Sure there is! Jayke is doing his thing, James always did it and Liz and Jarred are proving everyone wrong as well. What started as an in between project became a solid band playing all over the world. If you got talent, you got talent, it’s that simple.

Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy
“It’s my party and cry if I want to”, that’s the song that pops into my head every time the boys from Kansas come on stage. I don’t think they ever played this song, I’m sure they hate this song. But the fact is, that when they are playing, it’s going to be a party, and if you’re not feeling it… YOU SUCK! In this “scene”, I hate the word, these guys are on the same level as The Goddamn Gallows, and people may not yet know this, but I’m sure that they will make their mark and I wish them all the good things coming to them. TETTE BLOEWET!

The Calamity Cubes!
I know there where people at the festival only to see Dr. Ralph Stanley, I also know that some people came only because these guys where playing. Can you blame them? The Cubes are that good and anyone that says otherwise is a dick… Simple as that! They are responsible for some of the best songs going around our little ball of dinosaur shit and you better learn to live with it…

Sean and Zander
The Legendary Duo! That’s all… Enjoy!

After the Sean and Zander show I put my camera away, it was rum o’clock…

While on our trip in the USA we met up with our friends in the Kountry Kittens at the Lazy Z resort in Sonora. What a beautiful place… We shared a cabin with the most wonderful folks, Jayke, Anna and Michael James. Jo got him a cheap ass guitar at a pawn shop in Seattle… Jayke and Jo played some songs and this is what we got… Second song in the video is an original by Jo (Jumpin’ Jim) Enjoy!

Thank you Anni and the rest of the Kittens, we love you girls to dead!

After releasing the split-album with Belgium’s Black Cat Bone Squad earlier this year the boys from Milwaukee are back with a new full album. And what an album it is… This must be their best release up to this date, opening with the haunting “Sharpen up the meat cleaver”. This slow-moving song with the chilling sharpening sound in the back sets the sound for the rest of the album. It’s going to be a dark and unsettling journey through a land of misery, filled with thugs, bad woman and alcohol…

In “One last gasp” Henry has met his match and goes all the way to the bitter end. Love can be a bitch, ey matey… What really struck me while listening to this album is how perfect the mix of the instruments is. With lots of albums the washboard is somewhere in the back or way up front, but on this one it’s just in there. Lacking a drummer and relying on just Cris as the rhythm section it still sounds fantastic. Here’s to you Brother! CHEERS!!!

With “If we ever wake” and “Smoke in the eye” it becomes crystal clear that this album is not about having a good time and drinking with your buddies. You can feel the despise for certain people, not only for who they are but for their actions. But then again it never goes to tacky name calling, it’s cryptic and I guess I love how Henry plays with words.

With “2 devils” the guys wrote another great sing-a-long (as they have done in the past) that will be a hit at future live shows. It’s catchy as hell! If you are ever in need for words to break up a relationship, listen to “A thousand ways”. If after that you still don’t know how to break the news, you’re an idiot! For the first 30 seconds of this song, going by the tittle, you would think it’s going to be a ballad or corny love song, boy was I wrong… Haha, I’m pretty sure it was their intention. Thanks for the chuckling boys…

There’s one more thing I really like about S.S. WEB’s way of writing songs. While the music is up-tempo or there is a bunch of snare picking going on, Henry’s singing is at a whole different pace and this brings a sort of calm over the songs.

While the album goes on we come to another highlight in the form of “Bring me home”. A desperate call for the end that could bring doubt to the happiest person on this planet. I guess I’ll take another feel-good pill now, thanks again guys… Sigh…

We come to a close with two extremely dark sounding and slow songs, and I love them both. “Do they” seems to be a complaint against the hypocrisy of religion (I could be wrong). While “You can’t run forever” is a straight forward murder song. It takes balls to end your album with these two, because they leave the listener in a bit of a haze and pressing the repeat button to feel more depressed it not something most people would do. (I did…)

You can buy the record at live shows and it will be for sale online soon I was told. The i-tunes date is not set yet. But make sure you get your hands on this. It’s so damn good!

On the Belgian national holiday there where many places to go, but if you love some good old live music played by some amazing people, there was only one place to be! The first edition of Roots in het Park! It was a free festival with such a great line-up. Fishgutzzz, Philip Bradatsch, James Hunnicutt, S.S. WEB and to top it of, Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy! For most of the artists it was the last show of their tour, so they played their very best and had a great time hanging out with friends and family, old and new.

Thanks to Kurt from Rootstown Bookings and all the people helping out!

Enjoy the video’s we made, and we hope there will be more of this the coming years…

By now most of you have heard the news about Owen’s passing… I woke up to this at 5 in the morning to get to work and the news felt like a fist to the gut.

The first time I met Owen was last year at Muddy Roots in Cookeville, I think it was Lou Shields that introduced us to each other. He gave me a firm handshake and made a sarcastic joke about Belgium. I knew from that moment on he was a great guy. I had seen him play in 2012 and loved his songs from the first note. In a scene where most bands are  playing with dirty punk sound or attitude, Owen went the traditional path and I admired him for that.

From time to time we talked a little on facebook and he was always so thankful even if I couldn’t help, he was grateful that I tried. That’s a quality I miss in folks these days, you can’t always have what you want, but be thankful for people trying… Owen was like that, he was honest, straight forward, in your face and funny as hell!

It seems like last week, but Muddy Roots Europe is already a month away and that’s where I got to know more about Owen. He hung out at our camp every night, he sang songs to us while we shared drinks, burgers and stories. Owen was an amazing storyteller. People would gather around him and listen to him tell one of his crazy adventures, when the story was over he took a big sip of rum and played another song. He would then pass the guitar and let somebody else play and he would listen, really listen. He cared about that, people playing their songs…  Every time he walked up to our camp you could see smiles on people’s faces, and the biggest one was his. He was so happy being in Europe, playing songs, telling stories or teaching people how to play a better banjo. He was teaching Stefan from Black Cat Bone Squad how to play clawhammer. Stefan who is ten years older took it all in as a little kid, looking at Owen like he was god… It was beautiful…

If you look at what’s happening on facebook you know that Owen touched many hearts, he sure touched mine. We where making plans to do an interview and a (non)Beagle Session in Cookeville in September and I was so looking forward to it. I guess it’s never gonna happen… The news of his passing makes me so damn sad, but I try to think about that one weekend, just a month ago, and that puts a smile on my face. I hope you can do the same. Remember him as he was, one hell of a good guy!

Here’s to you Owen! You will never be forgotten! CHEERS!