Stagecoach Festival 2016 arrives in Indio, California this weekend (April 29, 30, May 1). The desert festival showcases the talent, sound, and scope of Country music in 2016. The possibilities and potential ofthe artists calling themselves Country is caught in the net that festival organizers Goldenvoice toss over the Coachella Valley in April every year . The idea of putting on a Country music as part of the successful Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival came in 2007, and was fueled by optimism more than experience in the genre. The first festival marketed to farm equipment outlets though Goldenvoice soon discovered that promotions could be in a wider arc as a community of kickers and cowboy angels was drawn to the desert.
As in years past, the main stage (Mane Stage) hosts the Top of the Pops for Country music with 2016 presenting headliners Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, and Luke Bryan. Where Stagecoach differs is in the way it uses the two side stages to host headliners for the Roots music community. In 2016, the Mustang and Palomino Stages play host to Emmylou Harris, John Fogerty, Marty Stuart, Billy Joe Shaver, Rodney Crowell, Lucero, Lee Ann Womack, and a host of other musicians claiming dual citizenship in the Roots and Country music communities. A son of the Roots community begins the charge as Chris Stapleton takes his place on the Mane Stage in 2016.
A good indicator of how Roots music is finding equal footing in the Country marketplace is our list for Stagecoach artists. In the past three years, the list has jumped up to include five more slots each year. Stagecoach 2015 went up to fifteen artist places and in 2016, the number of artists included moves to twenty. The list could easily have gone to twenty-five but we have a festival to catch and will offer a full re-cap of Stagecoach 2016 in May 2016.
So please, find some sand, set up a wind machine, and set the dial for rock’n’roll honky tonk Country music as Stagecoach 2016 roars into the desert for another successful Sold Out festival.
1 – Deeper Well - Emmylou Harris (from the album Wrecking Ball) - The 1995 release of Wrecking Ball gave Emmylou Harris one of her twelve Grammy trophies. The Daniel Lanois-produced album covered Neil Young, and took the “Wrecking Ball” title of his tune for the album name. Neil Young lent harmonies to his song, and Emmylou was joined on the album by Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and Larry Mullen, Jr (U2).
2 - Rockin' All Over The World - John Fogerty (from the album John Fogerty) - For his second solo release, John Fogerty decided to self-title the 1975 John Fogerty album. The album is out of print, though the track “Rockin’ All Over the World” is still something that John can claim as a real time event.
Find out more about John Fogerty
3 - Outlaw State Of Mind - Chris Stapleton (from the album Traveller) - Chris Stapleton puts out a unifying call to the Roots music community and its resident outlaws. Chris weaves a snaggly guitar line through the track that threads ‘people all across the land’ together in an “Outlaw State of Mind”.
4 – 52 Vincent Black Lightning - Robert Earl Keen (from the album Happy Prisoner, The Bluegrass Album) - Robert Earl Keen went to a Bluegrass backing for his most recent release, Happy Prisoner, The Bluegrass Album. He borrows some wheels from Richard Thompson as he spins his tune, “52 Vincent Black Lightning”, around the album.
5 - The Way I'm Livin' - Lee Ann Womack (from the album The Way I’m Livin’) - Lee Ann Womack received the title of progressive traditionalist for her The Way I’m Livin’ album. The 2014 release was her first for Sugar Hill Records.
6 - I'll Go Stepping Too - The Earls of Leicester (from the album The Earls of Leicester) - Jerry Douglas brings the songs of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs to Stagecoach. The Earls of Leicester use string band music to toss off the warning that leaving the boys at home is not an option in “I’ll Go Stepping To”.
7 - Down Here - The Turnpike Troubadours (from the album Turnpike Troubadours) - The Turnpike Troubadours will take the exit for Stagecoach 2016. The guys shake of Oklahoma red dirt into the California desert as they let you know ‘you’re gonna be all right’ “Down Here”.
8 - It's Hard to be an Outlaw - Billy Joe Shaver (from the album Long in the Tooth) - Time moves on and Billy Joe Shaver still writes Outlaw Country into each and every line of his songs. In his personal life, he is finding it is hard to get arrested as he is joined by Willie Nelson in “It’s Hard to Be an Outlaw”.
9 – “Can't You Hear Them Howl” - Lucero (from the album All That a Man Should Do) - Heading west on Interstate 40 will take Lucero directly from their Memphis, Tennessee home out to the desert. Most of the journey borders the Route 66 Mother Road as the guys roll down their windows in “Can’t You Hear Them Howl”.
10 - Famous Last Words of a Fool in Love - Rodney Crowell (from the album Tarpaper Sky) - Rodney Crowell follows the drum beat as it underscore the “Famous Last Words of a Fool in Love”. Rodney performs a solo set at Stagecoach and a solid bet will be he and Emmylou will join in for duets from their most recent releases.
11 - A Day at a Time - Dale Watson (from the album Call Me Insane) - Dale Waton pulls his rig into the parking lot at Stagecoach, grabs his guitar, and hits the stage with the wisdom of “A Day at a Time”. Dale is playing his Ameripolitan music on a track from his recently released, Call Me Insane.
12 - Goin' Down Rocking - Whitey Morgan and the 78's (from the album Sonic Ranch) - Whitey Morgan rises up out of the guitar haze with the promise that he is “Goin’ Down Rocking”. The track is from his recent release, Sonic Ranch.
13 - Bulletproof - Amanda Shires (from the album Down Fell the Dove) - Amanda Shires tells the story of Tiger Bill and his mysterious bag of goodies. The track is from her last album release, Down Feel the Dove.
14 – Susto (EP coming in summer 2016) - Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, Susto offers a cut from their upcoming EP release and promise a full second album release by late 2016. Susto founder Justin Osborne drew inspiration for the band’s music from discoveries he made while in Cuba along with the homegrown music scene in Charleston.
15 Doin' OK - Cody Jinks (from the album Adobe Sessions) - Cody Jinmks wants mama to know that he is fine in a track from his recently released album,Adobe Sessions.
16 - Ghost Town - Sam Outlaw (from the album Angeleno) - California Country is represented by Los Angeles-based Sam Outlaw at Stagecoach 2016. Sam talks of a “Ghost Town” materializing and then disappearing in the desert sand.
17 – Bacon - Chessboxer (from the E.P. Apollo) - Nashville instrumental machine Chessboxer play strings that glides from wild mountain music into the quietly played tones of Chamber music in their most recent E.P. release, Apollo.
18 Civilizations - William Elliott Whitmore (from the album Radium Death) - William Elliott Whitmore sings for the lost voices of “Civilizations” being eaten alive by industry and technology. He addresses the message to the world with the opening line, ‘don’t mind me, I’m just living here’.
19 - Less Honkin' More Tonkin' -The Deslondes (from the album The Deslondes) - The Deslondes have been scratching an itch all the way from their native New Orleans, Louisiana. They finally got to the desert and can get out of the van to get rid of the “Less Honkin’ More Tonkin’ Blues”.
20 - Rescue Me - A. Rae and the Rescue Dogs (from the album Songs About Dogs) - Alexa and Avery Rae were born into a musical family. The Orange County pre-teens shared a love of music as well as big hearts for unwanted pooches. They put together a honky tonk tale from the other side of the bars as A. Rae and the Rescue Dogs ask to “Rescue Me”.