For a number of years now Chris and Bev Jackson have told us about
their Americana, told us everything that happens and what a good
time everyone has! Year after year they invited us along, and every
time we had to refuse, because we had other commitments! This year
they just wouldn't take no for an answer, so early on Thursday,
July 4th we were on our way! With us were Jim Kerr, who is the Secretary
of the Double 'K' CMC, which unfortunately has ceased to exist,
in Dumfries and also the Festival they run every year in May. Also
along was Iain Dobie, our very own webmaster and also a committee
member of the Dumfries Festival! Iain had offered to drive, so my
holiday started as soon as we dropped our car off at Iain's house
in Dumfries! (Thanks a lot Iain, it was appreciated very much!)
After a good journey we had a short rest, a shower and we set out
to the showground, found it quite easy! We were greeted by Bev and
her daughter Libby (sorry I didn't know you right away, Libby, but
its been a couple of years since you were in Scotland!)
Bev, considering what you have been through you are looking great.
Our love and prayers are with you, hurry up and get well - October
is not that far away!
As this was our first visit, it took a little while to find our
bearings, we settled into the Cedric Ford Pavilion, were Toni
Catlin started the night. She is a singer/songwriter from Vermont,
but is now settled in Nashville. She has a lovely voice and I am
sure we'll hear more about her
We made our across to the Lady Eastwood Pavilion to see Alan
Becks, who gave a great Buddy Holly Tribute. A lot of the lovely
American cars had already arrived and we were in awe of what we
saw while walking between the venues! On our return to the Cedric
Angel Montgomerie was doing his Willie Nelson Tribute and
Thomas Lavelle was Jerry Lee Lewis, both did a really great
job, but as I am not a fan of either, it didn't do a lot for me,
but the crowds enjoyed them.
We had intended to return to the other venue to hear Talon
do their Eagles tribute, but by then the heavens had opened and
we also had met up with friends Hannah Valize and Tom, so we stayed
where we were and had a very pleasant evening indeed! Seeing it
was the 4th July, the fireworks were appreciated very much - despite
a slight hic-up due to the weather! A great night - a great start
to the week-end!
Friday morning dawned and it was chucking it down, we thought
we'd have to swim there! After making a dash for it we got to the
showground while the rain was taking a break, but unfortunately
the news weren't good, it started to rain again and just wouldn't
halt and eventually Chris Jackson had to take the decision to close
the main stage and move the show inside to the Lady Eastwood Pavilion.
It was a good alternative and we soon settled into our new chairs
and enjoyed a brilliant afternoon of good music! Not strictly Country,
but that is not what this Festival is all about! This is about good
music, entertainment, friendship, cars, trucks, motorbikes and fun!
Something for everyone!
'Country Cattin', Hi Voltage and old friends 'The Landons'
put on a great show. We were especially impressed with 'Hi
Voltage', even more so when we found out they were from Edinburgh!
Luckily the weather cleared for the evening session and it was back
to the main stage outside!
.may be the rain had
stopped and was only threatening, but boy was it cold with an icy
wind! July? This was more like January in the arctic, but we stayed
- everyone stayed and we were treated to one of the best nights
First it was the 'Smokey Mountain Boys'. Now I know I must
be the only person on this planet who had never seen them and I
was really looking forward to it, but to be brutally honest, I was
disappointed. I liked their material, but I felt there was absolutely
no enthusiasm, I felt they didn't really want to be there, of course
that can't be, but that was the way they came over to me. We are
looking forward to seeing them again somewhere, I am sure that impression
or was it?
It has been a good couple of years since we saw 'Lazy Dog',
still as good as ever! Then on came the mighty 'Quill'. I
had earlier been introduced to Joy, the lead-singer - what a lovely
lady she is! But you want to see her on that stage now - wow! She
just seemed to take over or the music took over her - whatever!
The whole set was magic, lively and kept everyone warm! Her 6-piece
band plus 2 guest-players followed her every move. What a great
band - what a finish to our first day at Americana!
Saturday we woke to lovely sunshine, but by the time we were
ready to go, it was raining again. Would it be another wet day?
As if by magic, by the time we got to the showground the sun was
shining and burning a hole in us! We settled down and the suntan
lotion went on
yes, we came prepared!
and the show started!
'Debbie Lee' started the day and her strong voice worked
well with her backing band, which turned out to be the Landons.
She sang JoDee Messina, Terri Clark and Reba McEntyre songs. We
were well impressed with her version of Martina McBride's 'Independence
||'Lynette Morgan and the Blackwater
Valley Boys' was new to me, but they had everyone mesmerized
very quickly, listening to songs from Maddox Brothers &
Rose , Kitty Wells.
Quite an experience and very enjoyable!
Unfortunately the next band has never been my taste, but 'Kenny
Johnson & Northwind' certainly brought out his fans
and gave them exactly what they wanted. The bad news for them
also came when he announced that he would be retiring at the
end of the year. I am sure a lot of his fans will miss him.
|At last it was the turn of the act we had waited
for, singer/songwriter Paul Overstreet took the stage
and wow, did he leave an impression on us! This writer of so
many lovely songs gave us the most beautiful version of his
'When You Say Nothing At All'. Many more of his songs followed,
all accompanied with lovely stories of when, where and how that
particular song was written. It was absolutely magic and was
over far too quickly! Paul was born in Antioch/Mississippi,
he was on-time husband of Dolly Parton's sister Freida. He wrote
'Same Ole Me' for George Jones in 1982 and 2 CMA 'Songs Of The
Year' were written by him. In 1986 it was 'On The Other Hand'
and in 1987 it was 'Forever and Ever Amen', both songs were
recorded by Randy Travis and became major hits!
Next came Nick Willett
Nick comes from Chicago and
sure is going to be a big star. His musical style is a mixture
of Rock 'n Roll, Gospel, Country and Rhythm and Blues from his
father' s era. He has been compared to Elvis, but he really
is his own man. He sings quite a few Elvis songs, making them
his own, moving about the stage like a smooth panther! An absolutely
first class performance from a first class artist and a joy
to watch and listen! Sadly it was marred by the hundreds of
morons, who came forward from the back of the arena and decided
to stand in front of the people seated in front of the stage,
therefore spoiling it for a few hundred people! A little bit
of consideration for other people would not have been out of
Unfortunately one of our favourite bands, The Fever,
was playing on Stage 2 the same time Nick was on, so I just
had to go and listen for a while - what a great set they played!
All their favourites: Kickin' the Dust; The Thunder Rolls etc.
etc. Magic! I for one would have loved to have seen them on
the main stage. Rod MacLane,
their lead-singer must have one of the best Country voices on
the scene at the momentt - his Chris LeDoux songs are awesome!
Gail Davies, born in Oklahoma, is an act I have wanted to see
and hear for years, and now was our chance! Everything that has been
said about this lady is true - and more! She was absolutely brilliant!
Gail has toured with major acts like George Jones, Waylon Jennings,
Carl Perkins, Conway Twitty, Glen Campbell and many more. Her easy
relaxed performance and little stories coupled with her lovely voice
and beautiful songs, backed by some great musicians made this one
of the highlights of the week-end! Incidentally Gail has put together
and produced a Webb Pierce Tribute album. A lot of big names can be
heard here, i.e. Marty Stewart,
had patiently waited for Michael Ballew and his band, from
Texas - and we love the Texas style of Country - and he didn't disappoint!
Austin based Michael did his apprenticeship around the local Honky
Tonks and even worked the rock band circuit, before settling down
to his songwriting and playing the music he loves! Michael and his
'Damn Good Texas Band' treated us to a set of pure traditional Country
Music, mostly songs written by him! His set just seemed to fly past,
and all we can say is: When will he be back?
This brought the second full day to an end, what can I say, this
must be a dream, sitting in glorious sunshine among friends, having
a few drinks
listening to good Country Music
more can a body ask for?!!
Sunday morning came and it was back to the Showground, lovely
weather again! It was making up for the bad start of the week-end!
First we were treated to a great Gospel show with Paul Overstreet,
he had even brought in some of the local school children who happily
sung along with him! It finished far too quick, and then it was
the turn of 'Ian Calford and the Brakemen'. Good sound, Johnny Cash
sound-a-like with quite a few Johnny Cash songs i.e. 'Walk The Line'
and 'Folsom Prison'! A very good set, but I must be honest, I got
a little bored, it all was a bit 'samish'!
Then came '8-Seconds', a 'break-away' from 'Texas Nightlife',
if you can call it that! Myran Cox, the only American in the band
and in the American Forces stationed in this country, told us that
'8 Seconds' comes from the time a usual bull-ride lasts! I liked
his voice and the sound of this band a lot, but my goodness, did
they have problems. Myran burst 4 strings on his steel guitar, then
another one on his guitar, and there seemed to be a problem with
communication between the band members. Myran sang a lovely version
of 'The Dance' and dedicated this to Bev Jackson, wishing her a
speedy recovery after her lengthy serious illness, and thanking
her and Chris for their friendship shown to him during his stay
in England. He told everyone that he had a posting to Singapore
and that this gig was in fact their very last gig!
long-a-waited Rimshots took the place by storm, the crowd -
and us - just loved them! Their music covers a wide range of songs
and the stand-up bass and steel guitar round the sound off nicely.
I was especially impressed by their version of the 'Cattle Call'.
Can't wait 'till the Dumfries Festival next May when we'll see them
am afraid we are a little bit biased for the next act, the Dez
Walters Band. Dez and the band and us have been friends for
about 15 years, and I also run the band's Fanclub. We wondered what
Dez and the boys would do with that huge stage
it was magic.
I know - I know - I can't see past them, but everyone else who was
there felt the same! Dez's version of 'Where Were You When The World
Stood Still' must be one of the best - next to Alan Jackson of course!!
Then on came BR5-49, we had waited a long time to see this
rockabilly band, never having managed to catch them on any of their
trips to Britain, and as expected, we were well impressed! I had
often wondered were their name came from. Well it came from Junior
Samples' used car lot on the hit television show 'Hee Haw'. When
they started out, like loads of other bands, they had a hard time,
playing for tips in Nashville. Luckily Arista executives picked
them up and made them what they are today...one of the most popular
bands in the USA, Australia
and of course in Europe! They absolutely had the place jumping and
treated the audience to all their hits, with a bit of humorous chatter
thrown in. Then came 'There Stands The Glass', which is on the Webb
Pierce Tribute album, which has been put together by Gail Davies
and to everyone's delight she came out to join the band for this
song, especially since her son Chris Scruggs was part of the band.
Chris Jackson, the organizer, took the stage and told everyone that
the week-end had been a great success and that next year's event
would go ahead on July 10th to 13th 2003. He told everyone that
Bev was making a good recovery from her recent serious illness,
but that she still had a long way to go! Then he thanked everyone
for their good wishes on Bev's behalf! I must say it really was
amazing how well everything run after all the family had been through
over the recent months, full marks to their sons and daughters and
all the other helpers. I was especially impressed with the great
facilities, which normally have long queues on an event like this,
but not once did anybody have to wait. Also the security was great,
you always knew they were there, never 'in your face', but making
you feel safe!
Then, before we knew it - the last band of the week-end was on stage
- but what a band, no less than Glasgow born Lonnie Donegan.
Some people voiced their concern whether 71-year old Lonnie still
'had what it takes', the place was mobbed - people standing shoulder
to shoulder waiting to be entertained - and they were! Lonnie played
an energetic set and received 3 encores! What a finish to a wonderful
So it was over - a great big 'Thank you' goes to Chris and Bev once
again for not taking no for an answer! We had a ball! On the way out
Bev asked us if we'd be back next year - you better believe it, friend!