After an incredible turnout for day one, music and bourbon lovers alike came pouring in for the second day of Bourbon and Beyond. The day would feature a massive array of talented artists including Alison Krauss, Trey Anastasio Band, and the legendary Robert Plant (with the Sensational Spaceshifters) mixed with interactive cooking sessions and bourbon workshops over at the Better in Bluegrass and Kentucky Gold stages. We will keep our focus mostly on the artists that played throughout the day.
Nashville based artist Patrick Droney kicked off the morning with his “New Classic” style and delivered an impressive 30 minute set. Droney proved why he has shared the stage with the likes of James Brown and B.B. King in the past with his ability to shred on a guitar. Mr. Droney is an artist that you should keep an eye out for as he continues to make more appearances at music festivals like these.
In a bright pink outfit, Maggie Rose brought a dynamic presence to the stage that radiated positive vibes throughout the venue. The rising country star left a strong impression with songs like “Change the Whole Thing” and “It’s You”. Maggie Rose was one of many great artist discoveries that I made throughout the weekend.
Up next was alternative country picker The White Buffalo. This guy truly has one of the most haunting, powerful voices I’ve heard live and sent chills down my spine throughout the set. Deriving from heavy Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen influences, The White Buffalo does a great job combining country, folk, and rock music all in to one and opens himself up to a wide array of listeners. One of the clear highlights of the weekend for myself was getting to hear him power through “Oh Darlin’ What Have I Done” towards the end of the set. This was probably my favorite discovery of the weekend that I made. The acts that the Danny Wimmer Presents team has turned myself and others onto continues to be a testament of how deep their lineups run from top to bottom in terms of quality music.
Many people didn’t know the name Samantha Fish going into the weekend, but by the end of her performance, it wouldn’t be forgotten by anyone in attendance. The blues guitarist melted faces with tasteful riffs as well as catchy choruses as her new record ‘Kill Or Be Kind’ is more straight forward rock focuses. The set consisted mostly of songs from her new album as well as a special guest appearance from her friend Kenny Tudrick to play his song “The River” that Fish featured on with him. Closing with “Bulletproof”, Fish electrified the crowd with her ability to elevate a song to the next level in a live setting. I highly recommend going to see Samantha Fish on one of her headlining tours so you can see what she can really do on a guitar with a full set in tow.
Del Mccoury has been playing bluegrass music for about 60 years now. The guy is absolutely ageless as the Del Mccoury Band showed no signs of rust on stage as they stormed through what was the only bluegrass set on the two side by side stages for the weekend. With his sons playing along with him, the band closed as expected with “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”. For me, was a highlight getting to see a legend in the bluegrass community take the stage and still bring the house down at the age of 80 years old.
Legacy British rock act Squeeze took the stage to the delight of many that have been listening to their music since the days of ‘East Side Story’ in 1981. The band made sure to bring out all their hits like “Tempted”, “Up The Junction”, “Cool For Cats”, and “Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)”. At the end of the set, they shocked the crowd by revealing that Dave Grohl was actually still in attendance of the festival after performing the night before. Squeeze brought Grohl out to play the drums on the final song of their set, “Black Coffee In Bed”.
Jenny Lewis started her career as an actress but has evolved into a very respectable musician with material ranging from country to rock to indie. She opened her set up behind a big piano with “Heads Gonna Roll”. In a sparkly jumpsuit, Lewis dazzled the crowd for 50 minutes and even threw in some material from her indie rock band Rilo Kiley, closing with “I Never”. Lewis impressed me with her stage presence and her variety of sound that each of her songs brought to the stage.
In the past, I had heard nothing but great things about Grace Potter, her music, and her live performance. Everything I heard lived up to the hype. Potter and her band put everything they had into what I thought was one of the most energetic sets of the weekend. The set was pretty split down the middle between her solo material like “Love Is Love” and “Repossession” as well as songs from her band The Nocturnals like crowd favorite “Paris (Ooh La La)” and “The Lion The Beast The Beat”. The energy that came from the stage was infectious and still remains to be one of the most talked about sets of the weekend. After what I saw, I will definitely do my best to attend Grace Potter‘s 2020 Winter Tour here in the United States.
Alison Krauss and her band played one of the most soothing sets of the weekend. Krauss‘ beautiful voice in front of bluegrass songs sounded absolutely fantastic as the sun began to set for the evening. In an hour, the artist worked her way through eighteen songs including some Willie Nelson covers like “I Never Cared For You” and “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground”. Krauss left the crowd as she closed with “When I’ve Done The Best I Can, I Want My Crown” as the biggest jam artist of the festival got ready to begin on the next stage.
For many years, Trey Anastasio has been recognized as one of the best guitar players out there. He has sold shows out all over the world with legendary jam band Phish. With that being said, there were many people at the festival on Saturday just to come witness the greatness of the Trey Anastasio Band. For an hour, the band mesmerized the crowd with extended jams of songs from Trey‘s solo career as well as some material from Phish like “Blaze On” and “Sand”. I had never really listened to much from any of Trey’s musical career but was absolutely mesmerized from the amount of talent that everyone in the band had. Just about everyone had their own solo throughout the set and showcased why they belonged up on the Bourbon and Beyond stage. Leaving that set, I had no doubt in my mind that Trey Anastasio Band had just performed my favorite set of the weekend.
For about 50 years, Daryl Hall and John Oates have wrote some of the most catchy rock/R&B songs in the world. This set would showcase many of those hits as they performed all six of their number one Billboard hits including “Maneater”, “Rich Girl”, “You Make My Dreams”, and more. The duo sounded timeless and was an extremely fun set for everyone there. Even Dave Grohl stayed in attendance to make sure that he could watch their performance. If you haven’t yet, you should definitely get out and see these Rock legends while they’re still out on the road to this day.
Closing the weekend was arguably the most legendary frontman of all time in Robert Plant. The Led Zeppelin frontman performed with his band the Sensational Spaceshifters. Plant is now 71 years old and although he can’t do those signature Zeppelin screeches, still has a timeless singing voice. Through eleven songs, the British singer sent the crowd through a mystic experience through his solo career as well as including some re-imagined versions of Zeppelin songs. One particular highlight was the epic, extended version of “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”. After not getting to perform last year because of the cancellation, the band delivered everything the crowd could have wanted and more. It was great for myself and many others to finally see this legend take the stage.
Saturday brought forth a diverse amount of music and provided something for all fans in attendance that day. Seeing a few legends as well as finding some new artists to check out is what these festivals are all about. As fans went home for the night, they constantly chattered about everything they had seen that day, but were also just as excited for what was to come the next day with Zac Brown Band, ZZ Top, Leon Bridges, and more.