Red Dirt, Red bud, Red eyes

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Posted August 29, 2007 by Hearsay in Music

Cross Canadian Ragweed embodies the “weed, whites, and wine” lifestyle of the Red Dirt-Texas Music practitioners, but apparently Cody Canada and his gang aren’t as stoned as they look.

Case in point: Tweaking the lineup at the Second Annual Red Dirt Roundup was genius, man, genius. Last year’s bill wasn’t much different from all the other Texas Music festivals – and there are tons. These events lose appeal when the same musicians play year in and year out and do the same songs every time. Their sets are usually less than an hour, and so it isn’t a chore to come up with a new show once in a while. Ray Wylie Hubbard did the same set at Larry Joe Taylor’s annual festival for years before finally writing a new batch of songs and becoming fresh again.

Joe Pat Hennen has played the festival for 19 years in a row and still trots out essentially the same tired set every time, including covers of “Geronimo’s Cadillac” and even “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” for chrissakes. Any so-called songwriter who trots out that Dylan warhorse might as well admit the well is dry, retire from music, and sell insurance in Abilene. Last year’s Red Dirt Roundup was hosted and headlined by CCR and featured familiar country-rock artists who scamper the club circuit between Texas and Oklahoma. The 2006 show was fun, but there was nothing particularly special about it.

This year, though, CCR juggled the lineup and added uncommon spices to the mix – Son Volt, Gary Allan, No Justice, Chris Knight, and headliner, The Black Crowes. CCR did something uncommon among artists who host their own festivals – they exhibited humility (and business savvy) and demoted themselves to an opener. (Hey, even though CCR puts on a good live show, they’d have trouble following the Crowes.) The event is from noon to midnight on Sunday at the Stockyards North Forty outdoor venue next to Billy Bob’s Texas. … Music lovers in Fort Worth from the late 1970s to early 1990s have a soft spot for The Juke Jumpers, an eclectic bar band founded by Jim Colegrove (now of Lost Country) and Sumter Bruton, the talented guitarist who works days at his record store, Record Town.

The band split up more than 10 years ago but is reuniting to celebrate its 30th – that’s right, 30th – anniversary with shows this Friday and Saturday at J&J Blues Bar, 937 Woodward St. The band’s lineup changed somewhat over the years, but most of the members will be on hand, including bassist Jim Milan, drummer Mike Bartula, keyboardist Craig Simecheck, and sax player Johnny Reno. “JJ’s” is the perfect spot for a reunion – The Juke Jumpers were the first band to play there when it opened 21 years ago. “They’d sprayed the ceiling with some kind of stuff to make for better acoustics – as soon as we hit the first note, it all shook loose and started snowing in people’s drinks,” Bruton said. “We had that stuff in our amps for years.” The band will be pushing its latest CD, The Juke Jumpers On Stage, a live album cut in 1988 at the gone but not forgotten Caravan of Dreams.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.


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