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LJT 2019

LJT is nigh upon us once more.  For twenty years it was my home each April.  Now, I stand on the sidelines like a proud coach and watch all the crazy college kids following in our footsteps.  I personally retired from LJT a couple years back.  But, Galleywinter remains a presence on the grounds. We’re sending our photographers out there to document all of it this year.  If you see Tim Murphy, give him something good in front of the glass.For me, the moment that cemented it was time to hang it up was when a young lady walked up to our group on the walk back from the mainstage with a beer funnel and said to her friends, “Hey guys! Let’s shotgun a beer with the dads.”  It was at that moment that I realized it was time to pass the baton.  No Dirk-style tributes or Witten going to Monday Night Football offers required.  It was just time.  

LJT is a special place.  What was started around a small campfire guitar pull gathering has blossomed into the biggest festival in the state each year. The Taylor family are some of the best I’ve ever encountered in the music industry.  They have grown and adapted each year with the needs of an event this size.  It’s hard to make everyone happy, but they certainly try.  In the early days, the music was the sole focus.  Then, some knuckleheaded college kids from San Marcos and many like them from across the state started crashing the party.  We upped the testosterone and adrenaline levels.  It was pre-Jackass Jackass style stunts, drinking more than our fill and rowdy carousing for about 21 hours out of each day we were there. Our first forays happened in Meridian.  That site still holds my favorite memories of the festival.  Be it, Jack Ingram crashing in our RV.  Ragweed playing acoustic in front of a flaming teepee. Watching folks skinnydip in the North Bosque River like they actually were at Woodstock. Conversations with deputies on horseback. Wallet on fishing line trick. Guitar pulls to sunrise.  “Borrowing” LJT’s ATV with Josh Grider and Drew Kennedy to drag race Randy Rogers on bicycle.  Campsite hopping with Josh Abbott, Evan Felker, Courtney Patton, LJT and more.   Doug Moreland doing chainsaw art at our campsite.  Using a state of the art camcorder to record all the debauchery to watch when we got back home.  Flying RRB’s “Wendy” from a flagpole.  A barely out of grade school Maren Morris jamming campsites alongside Johnny Cooper. Emptying our RV’s dirty water into an old cooler we found and putting a free beer sign on it.  Somebody lighting approximately 6,000 blackcats in our campsite vicinity at 5am. And plenty other things that still aren’t fit to print and probably never will be.  Let’s just say many of our early to mid LJT experiences made Motley Crue look like boy scouts.But, much like the Crue, the music was always at the centerpiece of our adventures and misadventures.  That was the main reason we went.  And each year, the music kept us coming back.  It’s still the alluring vixen we can’t get enough of. As we transitioned from shotgunning college kids into shotgunning dads our vantage point from the mainstage has moved further back.  What was once the mosh pit is now the front from of the Chicken on a Stick stand.  Casual observers to the rowdiness all around.  It’s a new generation’s time for exploits, memories and Caligula level partying.We used to have to take everything we’d need for 5 days.  The only things we purchased on site were ice, fried chicken and burritos.  Now, there’s a bar, beer store, and enough vendors to fill up a county fair.  The transformation has been amazing.  What was once a barren landscape is now full of good times infrastructure.I’ve seen hundreds of artists perform at Melody Mountain Ranch over the years.  Some have played each year since the inception, some are debuting this year.  When we first began going and people would ask where we were going each April it was hard to describe.  What in 2001 was “Uh, it’s this music festival that’s kind of like a Redneck Woodstock.  Pat Green type bands play there.  It’s really rowdy.”  Became “LJT” by 2009. The name is synonymous with songs, good times, Spring Break level rowdiness and completely Texan.  It’s an experience to be certain.  It’s one I’m glad I took part in for so long.  But, now I watch it from a Jerry Jones luxury box a la Tony Romo at a Cowboys game.  Chase your dreams, kids.  Be nice to one another.  Share some food with your neighbors. Hit up that late night guitar pull. Try to take care of one another out there. Keep it loose, lit and loud…but always have someone in the group in control. Erath County Jail thanks you in advance.

Here are the sets we’ll be especially tuned in to. Where will we see you?

Mon April 22
Josh Grider
Six Market BlvdTue April 23
Wade Bowen
Pat GreenWed April 24 
Max Stalling
Adam Hood
Shane Smith and the Saints

Thur April 25Kylie Rae Harris
The Damn Quails
Jason Eady/Courtney Patton
Kaitlinn Butts
John Baumann
Flatland Cavalry
William Clark Green
Randy Rogers BandFri April 26Steve Helms
Chris Colston
Coby Wier
Dirty River Boys
Kody West
Read Southall
Koe WetzelSat April 271100 Springs
Walt Wilkins
Jarrod Morris
Prophets and Outlaws
Roger Creager
Josh Abbott BandReplyForward

{Brad's Corner} April 2019: Horses Ain’t the Only Thing in the Back

{Brad�s Corner}

If Billy McFarland taught us anything it’s that the paradigm of hosting a music festival in 2019 isn’t what it was in 2009, 1999, 1969 and so on.  He taught us more than that, but as someone who helps throw a very minor music festival, that takeaway from the Fyre Fest fiasco was astounding.  He convinced thousands of people to give him millions of dollars for something that didn’t even exist…or did it?  It existed in the Instagram-tinged minds of the young demos across this country. As real as you believe Kylie Jenner’s talent to be.  It was pure hype over substance.  That’s nothing new to the music industry.  But these guys took it next level.  Thousands of people signed up for a first year festival taking place in an exotic locale without any infrastructure. 

Once upon a time, in the late 80’s, a guy named Larry Joe Taylor had a similar thing happen.  Except his location was very real and very much not exotic.  Just a couple dudes and a dozen people around a campfire was the inaugural LJT fest.  A decade later, a couple guys ran a website that had a rabid following of folks that would reach thousands of page views per day and decided we need to get all these people together.  Thus, Django Walker was contacted and the first Greenfest took off at George’s. The hype machines for both of those events were internal.  It was the place to be on the strength of relationships and music; not posts, filters and boosts.

As the years have gone by, the importance of gritty music in the larger scheme of many people’s lives has lessened to a sad degree.  As Lefsetz pointed out some time ago, technology is the new rock n’ roll.  There is no monoculture anymore.  It’s all underground and building something from a core.  The biggest singles, movies and shows in the world don’t ever reach the same mass appeal they once did.  It’s about finding your tribe and expanding that one unique, authentic interaction at a time.  Festivals will soon run out of headliners and Dave Grohl hasn’t been able to clone himself yet. 

In the Texas scene, the biggest names are constantly pushing boundaries and crossing state lines to take Texas to the masses.  This leaves touring voids filled by hungry bands coming up the ranks.  Be a part of being able to say “I saw them when ___________.”   Blank being anything from there were only 5 of us at the bar that night to I saw them at River Jam with some of the coolest music fans and friends I’ve ever encountered.

 It’s not like previous decades when we had a small culture and were all interested in the same things. Today, even your friends have not seen the same TV shows you have.  There is no monster record everyone is jamming unless it is meme level “Old Town Road” stuff.  LiL NasX is a meme maker, not a music creator.  And he’s cracked the code for attention moving forward.  Kids were on top of this track months ago.  It reached cultural mass by spreading on social media and in short burst platforms.  The way Pat Green did 20 years ago and the way Koe Wetzel did two years ago.  Having a “viral” hit to any degree causes the needle to move rapidly.  But, the tank remains full by moving that needle a nanteenth of an inch at a time. 

Take the time.  Dig in.  Share it.  There are artists and songs and albums out there begging for your attention.  Give it to them.  And if you love it, let your friends know.  Be just as passionate about the music you love as you are the last show you streamed on Netflix.  I’m as excited about Game of Thrones as anyone…but by God I’m just as excited for the new Randy Rogers Band record to drop.  And, that’s where the future lies.  Building a loyal fanbase, delivering the goods and having them spread your goodwill. 

Putting a horse in the back will get you shine, but putting horses in the back makes a career.


-Baseball time is here.  And the only thing I’ve been confused by so far has been the Joey Gallo/Nomar Mazara celebration.

-It’s Masters week.  Rooting for Tiger, then the field.  Anyone but Patrick Reed.

-River Jam deets are live.

-Have been unable to stop jamming the new records from QCNH, Hayes Carll, Ryan Bingham, Joey McGee and Austin Meade.

-Things like legend and GOAT get thrown around a lot these days.  But Dirk Nowitzki truly fits the bill on all of it.  Glad I got to see his career firsthand all these years.

-Father Time has a new teammate on the undefeated team: pollen.

-The Dr. Pepper shake at Whataburger is as awesome as it sounds.

-Sorry Tech.  You still have The Blue Light.

-This month’s recommended album: Robert Ellis – Piano Man.  Not to be confused with the Billy Joel landmark, Ellis’ latest traverses his familiar ground of lush soundcapes, layered production, off-kilter lyriscim and downright catchy tunes.  He always makes me think.  And while thinking I’m normally tapping my toe.  Plus, I’m a sucker for any record that includes a tribute to my drink of choice Topo Chico.

-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain

{Brad's Corner} March 2019: The Sun Shines on The Dreamers

{Brad�s Corner}

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I hope that life without a chaperone is what you thought it’d be I hope your brother’s El Camino runs forever I hope the world sees the same person that you’ve always been to me And may all your favorite bands stay together -Dawes “All Your Favorite Bands” The words of Taylor Goldsmith rang out […]

Premier: Austin Meade – “Growing Pains”

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