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Welcome Home. Day One At Kickin’ It On The Creek

Kickin’ It On The Creek (KIOTC) is the music festival that you never knew you needed to attend. Now you may ask, “What are you talking about? It can’t be any different than every other music festival.” That’s where you’re wrong and if you choose to believe that and close this article now, it is 100% your loss.

Now don’t get me wrong here as we get started, large festivals have an importance and they serve their purpose well, but with these articles, I want to show you that what I say is the Gospel truth. I’ve covered festivals of all sizes and I assure you with everything in me that there is no equivalent to KIOTC.

Things like overpriced food, overpriced drinks, camping fees, large crowds where you stay sweaty and you’re not even entirely sure if it’s even your own sweat, long walking distances, expensive parking and so on…those things don’t exist at Kickin’ It On Creek.

Literally everything, outside of Mother Nature, that you can find wrong with a festival, is non-existent at Kickin’ It. Why is that? The answer is simple, Kickin’ It On The Creek is about the music, the community, the fellowship, and not the bottom line.

I often say that Capture Kentucky is a bed of belief where artists can grow. Kickin’ It, is where the cross pollination happens. Folks have travelled from nearly every state to attend and they take Kentucky’s music home with them.

The Roberts family provide the real magic though. It is held within those wonderful folks hearts. Their hospitality and willingness to open their home, hearts and wallet are abundantly clear at KIOTC.

You aren’t greeted with a “Hey!” or a subtle glimpse of recognition. You’re met with a smile and the best bear hug you can imagine. You’re home on the farm and everyone on the farm is family.

The music, the artists, the vendors, the media, and the security are all handpicked by the Roberts family and because of that, KIOTC feels way more like a family reunion with people you actually want to hang out with than anything else. The only difference? You’ll experience the best dang soundtrack possible and when you leave, you’ll immediately want to go back. That’s a promise that I’ll stake my reputation on.

So follow along on our journey, we could never do it justice, but we promise to give ya our all.

I arrived about 3 PM on Thursday. I was a bit delayed so my apologies to Chris and Jenn Shouse, as well as Chloe Edmonstone. I love their music and I trust they know that.

My day began with John Clay. John is one of my personal favorite songwriters, so I was really happy I made it in time to catch a few tunes.

John has been busy for some time as he’s been writing and recording a brand new album. He has also been working on a Blaze Foley tribute record as well, but he’s shelved that for a bit to finish his new album.

John always brings a variety to his show. Some old songs, some new. Some his, some not his, but one thing is certain, you always walk away entertained. The addition of fiddle player Blakely Burger and Jeremy Short was the perfect punctuation to a delightful set.

Geno Seale and the Porch Front Gospel were up next. Geno is one of the most humble, wonderful and beautiful souls you will ever be privileged to meet. So yes, this review will be a glowing one.

There’s a reason that Geno made our must-see list and that reason is defined in his song called “Red Britches.” Just good ole down home music, bluegrass delivered with a country accent by a rock and roll soul bathed in the Gospel.

Geno wrangled up an all-star band for this performance and they did not disappoint as the field in front of the stage began filling in. Most were crowding the stage, others were staking their patch of grass for their chairs and coolers.

The rest huddled up underneath the big tent that was added this year. I think I speak for everyone in the fact that I can not say thank you enough for that tent. The sun can be brutal until about 7 PM.

Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky’s Kelsey Waldon was the next amazingly awesome performer. I’ve had the privilege to speak with Kelsey a few times over the past year so. (You can read our interview here.) Having said that, Kelsey is a delight to speak with.

Waldon brings a refreshing look at life. She is a no bs type of gal and I think that runs deeply throughout her art. Her voice is uniquely Kentuckian and her songwriting is fearless.

Kelsey delighted the Thursday crowd, even hangin around a bit to chat with fans, including myself.

Morgan Wade was up next and I’ll be honest, I fell head over heels in love watching the new songs she’s been writing. Her path has not been an easy one, she recently celebrated her 800th day sober, that in and of itself is enough to be proud of her, but that path has been shaped, molded and crafted into some of the most intriguing songs I’ve experienced since the release of Tyler Childers ‘Purgatory.’

Morgan didn’t wait to kick our asses, her and the band came out swinging and never looked back. Now I told ya that I had fallen in love with her new music, that’s all been acoustic. Sometimes songs don’t necessarily translate well when adding a band. You’re just going to have to take my word on the fact that it translates incredibly well.

She’s a powerhouse vocal with grit, her songs are well crafted and her personality is simply adorable. Mark this down, Morgan Wade is about to be a flat-out star and it’s incredibly well deserved.

I missed Joseph Huber’s set last year, so I corrected my course this year. If you haven’t heard Joseph’s music before, I’d describe it as foot stompin, beer drinking jam grass. Stripped down to an acoustic guitar, upright bass, mandolin and a harmonica Huber’s music is tailor made for Kickin It On The Creek.

If you enjoy The Wooks, definitely give Joseph Huber a listen, you’ll feel right at home.

There are four Kentucky bands that I constantly praise and I do so unabashedly. Magnolia Boulevard, Johnny Conqueroo, Bedford and Joslyn and The Sweet Compression.

Three of the four were on the bill this year. The first one up was Bedford. They were scheduled later, but some logistics forced Joslyn and The Sweet Compression to switch spots.

I’ve been talking about Bedford for a long time now, it seems folks are finally catching on I could not be more proud of that. I believe with my entire being that these guys will someday be legends and I’m willing to bet that if you saw their performance, you likely agree.

They have so much energy, drive, talent, stage presence and it. Whatever the it factor is, Bedford gushes with it.

The moment that blew away all us Creekers away was when Bedford tore into The Allman Brothers classic “Midnight Rider” seamlessly morphed into “Santeria” by Sublime. It was a choir of “Oh Shit!” People were looking at each other in awe of these fellas and it was glorious to see all their hard work paying off.

My favorite performances were of the new song “Got To Go” and an old favorite in “Bone Orchard Blues.”

Now, it’s easy for a band to do covers, but what isn’t easy is doing them Justice. Bedford mixed in covers by Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin to shake some asses, but they hit the Kickin It crowd with both barrels to the face!

With stage lights going up and the spirits flowing down, Bedford supplied the party with one helluva setlist.

That certainly worked to the advantage of Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle. These guys are such a joy to watch and on Thursday night, they took us Creekers to Church.

Kicking off with Happy Birthday and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Four Walls of Raford”, which was a gift to Kenton, was the jolt needed to get the party started right.

Seeing a Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill isn’t easy to explain, but I’ll attempt it here. If time travelers made their way from say, 1890 to the present day, picking up the musical knowledge of those nearly 140 years along the way, armed with drums, a guitar, a bass, a dobro, chains, a washboard, suits, two vocalists, and all of ’em hell bent on putting the boogie in your bones…. That very long run-on sentence would get ya close.

There were many songs and guests. We were treated to my personal favorite songs in “Oh Ramona” and “Long Gone (From Bowling Green)”

Hear me out here, sometimes, you have to make a tough decision and you aren’t sure how folks will take it. I was enjoying the show so much, I decided to put the camera down and simply enjoy the moment.

Hopefully y’all can forgive me, because the first guest was none other than fellow Cincinnatian Arlo McKinley. Arlo joined Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle to perform a Bruce Springsteen song. Read that again. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. It was as epic as it sounds.

A Local Honey was also spotted as Montana Hobbs stepped up next. Then Jeremy Short took the night to a whole new level!! Holy crap!!

Then we were hit with the Ricky Nelson classic in “Hello, Mary Lou.” As a music fan, KIOTC is Heaven on Earth. You can have your Disney World, I’ll take Ross’ Creek.

Closing out the night was Joslyn and the Sweet Compression. I have dubbed Joslyn as the Queen of Kentucky. Her voice is by far and away the biggest, most powerful voice in our Commonwealth and I love her and the band with all my heart.

Having said that, Joslyn is much more than that soaring voice. She’s an entertainer. She’s flirtatious when needed, she dances all over the place, her spirit and joy on that stage always..ALWAYS crushes.

Mixing soul, funk and rock and roll seemingly come so easily to Joslyn and the band. Songs like “Love On The Double”, “Honey Be”, “What Did You Think Was Gonna Happen” were all equally epic. Then the folks onstage made the folks offstage collectively $h!t their pants. How? They threw Rolling Stones classic “Gimme Shelter” on ’em. We were also treated to Jeremy Short joining the band for a rendition of none other than Aretha Franklin. What an epic moment to see Joslyn tackle “Dr. Feelgood.”

I think if guitarist Marty Charters and Joslyn decided to write a song full of names from the phone book, it would still be amazing.

Look, I always say that all I do is point, shoot and tell the truth. So just trust me and give all these folks a listen. I’ll bet ya a dollar to a doughnut that you’ll be blown away.

So with that, I leave you with one question; How the hell could this day be topped?