Oklahoma native and talented singer-songwriter, Kaitlin Butts, was up first for the evening. Walking out, dressed in head to toe black, the only color to be seen was Kaitlin’s auburn hair and a single red bandanna tied around her neck. Accompanied only by the pedal steel and her guitar, Kaitlin took the crowd through a handful of songs, adding details and anecdotes in between them. “Bored If I Don’t” about a bored housewife stuck in smalltown life, “Marfa Lights,” “She’s Using,” and “Wild Juanita’s Cactus Juice,” which reigns as one of the oddest song titles I’ve heard in recently memory, were just of a few of the songs within the set. This is the second time I’ve seen Kaitlin live and each time I’m struck by how pure her voice sounds. Her simple, no fuss approach to both her songwriting and singing are refreshing. It’s been four years since Kaitlin has put out an album and I can’t wait for the next one. Although some of the songs in her set are on her album, Same Hell, Different Devil, there are a lot that are not and it would be amazing to have the newer songs readily available. Honestly, my only complaint about the set was that so many people felt the need to talk during it. What a fantastic singer they missed out on, simply because they were too busy talking any number of less important topics.
Next in the lineup was the Austin based, honky-tonk band, Mike & the Moonpies. The band consists of frontman Mike Harmeier ,Caitlin Rutheford on guitar, Omar Oyoque on bass guitar, Zach Moulton on pedal steel and Kyle Ponder on drums. After the release of their last album, Steak Night at the Prairie Rose, in early 2018, it seems the bands popularity has been on the rise. These days they can be found playing larger venues, such as Tower Theatre or holding residency at the Winstar Casino at the Oklahoma/Texas border. Jumping right into the set, the band played a host of their best songs, including “Road Crew,” “Mockingbird,” “Steak Night at the Prairie Rose” and crowd favorite, “Beaches of Biloxi,” to which the front row enthusiastically clapped at all the right times. Every time I see Mike and the Moonpies I love them a little bit more, as their playing is top notch and the enthusiasm of the band, especially bass player, Omar Oyoque, is infectious. Other songs in the set included a cover of “Workin’ Man Blues,” “Might Be Wrong” and the band finished out the set with “Smoke Em If You Got Em”. If for some reason you have yet to see Mike and the Moonpies, you need to add them to your list. Their honky-tonk roots, stellar songwriting and laid back attitudes make for a fun show.
After a brief set changeover, William Clark Green and his band took the stage. I’ve only seen William Clark Green once before at a festival and I have to say, his set at this show far outshone that previous performance. Well known in the red dirt genre, WCG is a Texas staple. It was while he was in college at Texas Tech that William Clark Green first began regularly playing to crowds and from there his popularity has only skyrocketed. Joined by Steven Buehler on bass guitar, Josh Serrato on guitar, Sawyer McGhee on drums, and Steven Marcus on lead guitar, the energy that WGC and his band exude is unreal. Although the floor had filled up with fans for the previous two acts, more people squeezed into the crowed, pushing forward and singing along to their favorite songs. Singing along to “Hebert Island” the crowd was almost as loud as WCG himself. “Next Big Thing,” “Dead or in Jail,” “Creek Don’t Rise” and “Old Fashioned” made up the early part of the set. WGC has five studio albums to pull songs from, but the majority seemed to come from the last three albums : Hebert Island, Ringling Road and Rose Queen. Towards the end of the set, Steven Marcus, lead guitarist for the band, led “Friends in Low Places” and was joined by Mike and the Moonpies on stage. This was an amazing night of music, but having William Clark Green headline was a wise choice, as he and his band brought down the house with over ninety minutes of pure energy.
You can find more information about all three artists here:
Kaitlin Butts: http://kaitlinbutts.com/
Mike and the Moonpies: https://www.themoonpies.com/
William Clark Green: https://www.williamclarkgreen.com/