ROCKIN' THROUGH MY 50's & BEYOND!
Traveling with Jessica Lynne and The Cousins to LRS Country Music Festival 2017
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable…
Where do you daydream? My childhood red, vinyl bean bag chair, was my favorite day dream vehicle. I would sit in it, and travel through space, time and dimension. Hours would go by, and I would be completely unaware. Physically I was a little girl living on a wheat farm in Eastern Washington. Mentally, I was an exciting world traveler. I am very blessed to have fulfilled most of my childhood dreams. College graduate. Mother to an amazing daughter and son. And, thanks to my 30-year career as a flight attendant, traveled the world.
Dreams don’t stop once you grow up, though. At least they shouldn’t. Two years ago, as I was sitting at one of my many concerts, I suddenly had a vision. I want to travel with a band someday. Be part of the creation of a big concert. 6 months later, Jessica Lynne asked me to join her music team. And then just this past month, my dream came true! I traveled with the band to the LRS Country Music Festival in Central OR. We hit the Big Show.
I’ve been binge watching the tv show, Nashville. You know that extravagant tour bus Juliette Barnes travels around in? That is still a dream waiting to happen. Our tour bus is Bryan’s SUV towing a U-Haul.
We packed the trailer, piled into the SUV and spent the next 8 or so hours, talking, sleeping, listening to music, and silently gazing out at the beautiful landscape. I really didn’t know what to expect. I had seen the advertising for the LRS Country Music festival. Jessica Lynne and The Cousins would be opening for comedians Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and then the band Diamond Rio. Very impressive! But, that was about it. This was the festival’s first year, so nobody really knew what to expect.
Central Oregon is a land of beautiful, wide, open spaces. Ranch country. After driving an hour out of Prineville, OR, we finally came upon Paulina. A tiny Western Town, that literally had a general store and post office. And above it on the hillside, we saw it. The stage. A giant, black performance stage looming in the distance. One of those first time, spine tingling moments, that you want to keep locked into your brain forever. We drove to the Check-In Area. Received our Artist lanyards and directions as to where to park. This was a weekend festival, and the grounds were filled with trailers, RVs and tents. We drove past them, and were guided to the back-parking area for vendors and artists. Bryan skillfully backed in our U-Haul next to a tour bus. We were here! And, it was time to the hit the ground running.
LRS stands for Lazy Rockin’ Stirrup Ranch. A private ranch, and the owners decided to create this music festival. Talk about dreaming big! While the band was getting setup onstage for soundcheck, I was back under the merchandise tent, setting up my table. And before I go any further, I need to introduce the Jessica Lynne and the Cousins band and production team for that weekend! Jessica Lynne (lead vocals/guitar), Kat Bula (fiddle/vocals), Raymond Hayden (keyboards/vocals), Paul Beaudry (bass/vocals), Kubby Casual (drums), Skyler Mehal (lead guitar), Bryan Groves (production manager/driver/jack of all trades), Austin Taylor (sound engineering) and myself (merchandise). I shared the tent with the LRS merchandise crew. I really enjoyed talking to them, and learning more about the festival. After the soundcheck was over, I received a text that dinner was being provided for the artists, behind the stage. The LRS crew said they would watch over our merchandise, so I walked over for dinner.
I was shocked! This was not just sandwiches and soda pop. Under a tent, were tables set up with white linen. Dinner was a wonderful selection of salads, salmon, beef and assorted side dishes. In addition to cold sodas, there was a bar. Not at all what I expected! The band had already eaten, and were heading up to the stage. It was almost ShowTime!
I finished just in time for their stage introduction. Out they came, Jessica Lynne and The Cousins! I sincerely became choked up. I used to see Jessica singing by herself in Sea-Tac as one of the airport musicians. And here she was onstage with her full band, opening the first LRS Country Music Festival.
This was the real deal, with cameras filming live feeds for a big screen next the stage. After videoing their first song, I went back to the merchandise tent, and listened to the concert from there.
I was the only person on the music team to get that perspective, and it was fantastic! After their set was complete, Jessica came back to meet her fans and give autographs. It was fun to see people loving her. The Wildhorse Harley-Davidson company REALLY loved her! They invited her back to their tent for some fun photo shoots. This is one of Jessica’s favorite photos from the weekend.
The concert continued with comedians Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guys. When the final act, Diamond Rio, came onstage, I broke down the merchandise table and joined the band. We all had backstage passes. After storing everything away, I joined them backstage, and found them smoking cigars with Larry the Cable Guy! Absolutely the friendliest and nicest man.
I was shocked to find myself hanging out in this location, and receiving this viewpoint. It was fantastic. A dream come true for me, and what a special gift. We all had a lot of fun singing and dancing. And Diamond Rio were a well-oiled machine, after performing together for over 30 years. A great memory was when they were coming offstage, and Jessica went over to introduce herself. They were one of her favorite bands early on. They said, “You don’t have to tell us your name, we know who you are.” A great night of success!
Next thing you know, we were driving back to Seattle-Tacoma, each trying to absorb and remember our own individual experiences. What I really appreciated, was being able to spend that time together talking and reflecting. Usually, the show finishes, everyone packs up and leaves. There is not a lot of social time, in the very busy lives of musicians.
It took a lot of effort, sacrificed sleep and energy to experience this weekend. But it was totally worth it. Dreams are worth making that effort.
Dream like when you were a child.
Meeker Day Festival: Jessica Lynne and The Cousins, Sweetkiss Momma and Limberlost
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to the turntable……
Even though I grew up on a farm, I did not listen to country music during my childhood. My Dad would turn the radio station in the pickup truck to country, but that was the only time I heard it. I don’t even remember my parents listening to very much music in the house. They didn’t own a record player, just a radio. I had a little 45 rpm record player that I would listen to as a child. Then in junior high, I finally used my allowance money to buy a turntable for full size LP’s. I loved rock, pop and Big Band 40’s style music (my Mom appreciated that!). I knew who Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash were, but that was the extent of it. It wasn’t until I met Jessica Lynne, that I started listening to Country Music. Now, I really love it! Just this past spring I’ve seen Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw/Faith Hill in concert. And during a recent Nashville layover, I saw a free concert with Brett Young and Kip Moore. And bought my first pair of real cowboy boots. I have some fun shows coming up as Jessica Lynne’s Merchandise Girl, so a perfect opportunity to wear them. YeeHaw!
Summer is a busy time for musicians. There are outdoor summer concerts happening all over. We, Jessica Lynne’s Merchandise Team, receive email updates as far as opportunities to work her shows. I saw a fun one was happening, the day after my birthday. The Meeker Day Music and Arts Festival, in Puyallup WA. It was going to be a great lineup! Limberlost, Sweetkiss Momma and Jessica Lynne and The Cousins. Sign me up!
Unfortunately, I was not able to see Limberlost. Their ShowTime was at 1 pm, and I live about 90 minutes away. We arrived home late the night before, since we had been to The Band In Seattle taping. I was not ready to rally that early in the day 😉. I love the sound of Limberlost! I wrote a blog about them earlier this spring. A hot and growing rock band from the Seattle/Tacoma area. I’m keeping an eye out for their future shows. They don’t disappoint. Other friends were there supporting them though, and I could see photos and talk to them later. Unfortunately, the sound system was not working properly during their set. So, if you saw Limberlost there, give them another chance! Krystle Pyette’s voice is powerfully amazing!
Sweetkiss Momma set was at 6pm, so I could make that. I drove by myself, having no idea where it was, or even what it was about. It was a good feeling to walk into the beer garden and immediately see and hug Jeff Hamel, the lead singer of Sweetkiss Momma! I had brought back Sweetkiss Momma from their European Tour last year (I wrote about it on a previous blog). It was time for them to go get set up, so I grabbed a glass of wine, and sat down at a table by myself. But not for long. In walked Paul Beaudry, Jessica Lynne’s bass player! Paul also toured with Sweetkiss Momma on their European Tour. We sat together to listen to Jeff Hamel and Sweetkiss Momma. I walk into a Music Festival, and know the musicians. Fantastic! It was an impressive set. I love the Southern Rock sound of their music. It was interesting talking to Paul about it, since he played with the band last year. He felt it had a more edgier rock sound now. I loved seeing Kubby (Kevin White) on the drums. He’s also Jessica’s drummer. I saw Raymond Hayden sitting out in the audience. And soon, Bryan Groves walked by, along with Jessica Lynne. It was like old home week! Mike Burt, Limberlost’s drummer, walked by later and gave me a hug. That is what I love about this group of music people. Everyone shows up to support each other’s bands.
Soon it was time to set up for the Jessica Lynne and The Cousins Show! Looking back, this was the first time I had sold merchandise at one of their shows, since last fall. It was fun to be back behind the table and listening to their music
Perlita Clark is a fan/friend/family member of our music group, too. Some of these photos are hers, since she had a better view of the stage. And, of Bryan and I at the merchandise table. Check out my new cowboy boots from Nashville!
After the soundcheck, it was time for their show to start. Jessica Lynne lead vocals, Kat Bula fiddle, Dillon Warneck lead guitar, Kubby Casual drums, Paul Beaudry bass and Raymond Hayden Keys. Once again, there were some sound issues at first. So, it was hard to hear the first couple of songs, which included a brand new one. But once the issues were resolved, it was time to get rockin’!
The stage was right next to a packed beer garden, and there was a lot of dancing going on. I do not know how to country line dance. It always looks like so much fun when I see other people doing it! Something to add to my To Do List; take line dancing lessons.
I really enjoy talking to Jessica’s fans when they come over to the merchandise table to buy her Cd’s and t-shirts. Hear their stories and where they are from. And at the end of the show, she always comes back to meet them and sign their CD’s. An individualized touch, that goes a long way. I know, because that’s how I started out. A fan who would anxiously wait until the show ended, and I could say HI! thank you and get a hug.
All in all, I would say my 7th year of Rockin’ Through My 50’s started out with a musical bang! In 2010, I had never talked to a musician, much less be friends with one. Now, in 2017, I am friends with many. And that’s a good thing.
Make sure and check out these bands website, for their summer concerts!
Jessica Lynne and The Cousins: https://jessica-lynne.com
Sweetkiss Momma : www.skmband.com
Limberlost: Limberlost Music on Facebook
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
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