Written by Eddie Ferranti
In the busy musical world I live in,  discovering new events to cover come out of nowhere sometime. Even in places you never expect like the Galveston County Fairgrounds in Hitchcock, Texas for instance.   

ImageThe Tenth Annual ‘Rowdy Day Fest’ took place from Noon to close to Midnight and was a most worthwhile undertaking. It started as a backyard jam with friends nine years ago and has evolved into a true music festival featuring up and coming Texas Country/Americana Music groups. Some of Houston’s favorite food trucks were there to take care of the grub including Foreign Policy Food Truck, The Waffle Bus, The Tin Box and The Pink Taco. 16 ounce beers sold for $4 and the covering for the gig included gigantic fans that kept it very comfortable even in mid August! Picnic tables abounded and you were able to bring your own chairs, too.

Andy McDonald and his fine staff rolled out the VIP status to HMR and it was sweet. The jambalaya they had on tap along with cold Shiners ruled! Everyone from the ladies at the front gate to the women serving me ice cold beer constantly asked if I was having a good time throughout this killer of a steal deal. 

My buds James and Ellen and I rolled up in time to catch 4 bands-all very energetic and entusiastic acts. 

DAVID GRACE   This was a power 4 piece that was for the most part pounding “Red Dirt” rockin’ funk from the get go.  DG comes from a musical family and his Bio says : “He managed to get his mother’s power while inheriting his father’s soothing mannerisms as a vocalist.”    Two highlight tunes were the milder ballad “Freight Train” and the first single on his upcoming album “I’m Gonna Roll”.  Dude had a good rapport with the fans, even tossing out free t-shirts, and seems to have carved a niche already. 

HUNTER MCKITHAN & THE OFFENDERS   This foursome featured the same lead guitarist and bass player from the David Grace Band.  They have 3 albums to their credit and have been around since 2007.  Again like DG they put on a energetic and rousing performance featuring an edgier sound with longer pronounced jams.  Plus they featured a major cool steaming version of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” done in true red dirt homage!  

ImageUNCLE LUCIUS   They were introduced as “The greatest band on earth” to a rousing ovation!   This was the one band HMR was very familiar with and the gate admission was worth it for them alone folks.  My best description of them is a 1970’s band all over again who is damn hard to “pigeon hole” into a particular style. I had the pleasure to meet up with lead singer, Kevin Galloway, in the VIP area early on and it was refreshing that he sought me out thanking me for coming.  We had met at the Mucky Duck a few times before and this gig was even better than before because they had Mark Williams sitting in on cello.  He has sparkled with the likes of Ginger Leigh and Amanda Pearcey before, but today he made their sound “classy” and enriched.  Teamed with Hal Vorphal on bass, Mike Carpentar on sizzlin’ lead guitar and vocals,  Josh Greco on drums and Jon Grossman on keys rounded the “trippy” jam that is Uncle Lucius. This South Austin wild bunch tours non-stop and they pride their live show as a sacred and energetic experience. Amen to that!! Big time keeper tunes in the 75 minute set included “Deceived”, “Pocket Full of Misery” and “Keep the Wolves Away”.  From the Black Crowes to a Pink Floyd type sound, these crazy cats can deliver. CATCH ’em when ya can!  

ImageJONATHAN TYLER AND THE NORTHERN LIGHTS   This was another band we were stoked to see.  I had missed them last year at Viva Big Bend Music Fest and was fired up to see them.  Following what Uncle Lucius had done would be a tall order, but it was more a continuation of bad ass for sure!   The band was formed in 2007 in Dallas, Texas and includes JT, Brandon Pinckard, Jordan Cain, Emotion Brown and Chase McGilliis.  Rockin’ standouts from their over the top set included an old hymn done with a nasty Texas spin “I’m a Pilgrim”, a janglin’ Georgia Satelites sounding power jam “It’s a Miracle” and piercing growlin’ guitar sound on “She’s a Woman”. 

Man these guys leave it all out on the stage even throwing in an eerie harmonica sound to the party.   It is easy to see why JTNL has opened for the likes of Leon Russell, Deep Purple, The Black Crowes (whom they emulate), Cross Canadian Ragweed, ZZ Top and Heart among others!  They’ve played the well to do festivals like Bonnaroo, Voodoo Fest, Summerfest, BamaJam and SXSW.  Their free wheelin’ party sound “infects” and grabs hold of you and won’t let go!  Love to see them in a small club down the road………   

ImageWhiskey Myers was the headliner for this show, but due to having TOO much fun we unfortunately had to bail before they went on.  A bunch of the younger audience was there for them and I’m sure they left satisfied.  In summary, Rowdy Day Fest was a rousing success to HMR.  It seemed too good to be true overall with the $10 advance/$15 door cover charge.   And as always, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a local nonprofit and this year event organizers have chosen Marshall Brown Foundation.   Nice touch.  It was the third year that RDF was held at Galveston County Fairgrounds on 10 Jack Brooks Road in Hitchcock.   Mark your calendars for August 2015, I know HMR will !