2009 Artist Lineup

Blue Mountain

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Living and playing in Oxford, Mississippi since the late eighties, Blue Mountain has been a part of the same musical confluence that shaped a number of great American musicians, from Elvis to Tammy Wynette to Robert Johnson to Alex Chilton. The five hundred miles from Nashville to New Orleans is a fertile musical crescent with Memphis and North Mississippi firmly in the curve between the Delta and the foothills of Appalachia. Cary Hudson and Laurie Stirratt, who grew up listening to gospel, country and bluegrass, and Frank Coutch, from Utica, which is out from Vicksburg and also firmly in that magical slice of geography, began banging on a Muppets drum kit at five and honed banging skills to Keith Moon, Charlie Watts and the Replacements. They all often heard the late bluesman Son Thomas play around Oxford, and any Sunday night they could drive out to Junior Kimbrough’s juke joint in Chulahoma and hear Kimbrough or R.L. Burnside play in their distinctive north Mississippi blues style. It was here, deep in the American South, that Blue Mountain learned how compelling and visceral a live show could be. Hudson and Stirratt created original songs written in a traditional spirit, but with the hard edge of rock ‘n’ roll. Coutch joined the band in 1994 after original drummer Matt Brennan left, and his kick-ass percussion worked perfectly behind the rock-a-blues guitars. An early example is the foot-stomping anthem “Jimmy Carter” from their first release, Dog Days (1995), a song that became an immediate favorite with the band’s growing audience. With the release of Homegrown (1997) and Tales of a Traveler (1999), Blue Mountain received worldwide acclaim for hard-rocking songs like “Bloody 98,” “Generic America,” and “Sleeping in My Shoes,” as well as for Hudson and Stirratt’s sweet harmonies on “When You’re Not Mine” and “Myrna Lee.” Their last studio album, Roots (2001), was entirely traditional – plain, but emotionally rich songs about drinking, sex, longing, and death. Even plaintive Old English songs like “Young and Tender Ladies” and “Rain and Snow” were interpreted in Blue Mountain’s earthy, sinewy style and perfectly captured the sensuous, raw energy of a Blue Mountain performance. Serving as a retrospective for a career defined by songwriting brilliance and emotionally charged live performances, Tonight It’s Now Or Never was recorded live at Schubas Tavern on March 11, 2001 in Chicago – an evening which turned out, as the title says, to be the night of now or never. With Ted Gainey on drums, Laurie Stirratt on bass, and Cary Hudson on guitar, Blue Mountain treated their faithful fan base to a rollicking show of hard-driving classics. Fatigued by the relentless touring, Coutch had left the band to work on local music projects, and Stirratt and Hudson’s marriage had ended. Although they struggled to stay together musically, the break-up was just too raw, and Blue Mountain disbanded. But relationships are like rivers; they rise and fall. During the past six years Stirratt played and recorded with Danny Black and Chicago-based Healthy White Baby, co-wrote and recorded a CD with her brother John and started an independent record label, Broadmoor Records. Hudson toured extensively and recorded 3 solo records and has been involved in many musical projects. After reuniting and playing a few experimental shows in Oxford, Chicago and St. Louis, it looks like Blue Mountain is back, tougher and better than ever, with a whole ‘nuther era of that great Blue Mountain sound. The past is water under the bridge. TRUCKSTOP HONEYMOON www.truckstophoneymoon.com www.myspace.com/truckstophoneymoon There ain’t nothing nice about Truckstop Honeymoon. They play banjos and wash tubs. They sing about adultery and oil refineries. It’s break-neck breakdowns or heart-break waltzes. Like a Dodge with a burnt out clutch, their music has two speeds and no reverse. Katie Euliss learned guitar, piano and bucket bass in the streets of New Orleans. She scammed enough money from tourists to buy Lucky Strikes and smoked oysters for six years. Then she met Mike West. Part entertainer, part snake oil salesman, Mike lived by pickin’ banjo and selling cds that he claimed were a curative for hangovers and small mindedness. Together they began a perpetual tour of North America, Europe and Australia. They spent their wedding night in the Tiger Truck Stop, somewhere between Lafayette and the Atchafalya Swamp. Truckstop Honeymoon was born.

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