Dallas' Main Street Garden is going to be the site of two very exciting concerts in April and May.
Last week it was announced that local alt-rock heroes Tripping Daisy would reunite after 17 years to headline this year's edition of Homegrown Fest in May. And now comes word from the same group that the second annual Old 97's County Fair will be an even bigger day of music than the stellar inaugural version of 2016.
Sticking with a roots-forward sonic direction, Grammy winning icon Lucinda Williams, soul legend Mavis Staples and alt-country band the Jayhawks will join the 97's crew, Rhett, Ken, Murray and Philip, for a day of family-friendly roots-rock shenanigans on Saturday, April 8 in Main Street Garden Park, where it was last year, and where Homegrown Fest will again take place.
Even with rainy conditions during last year's Old 97's County Fair, thousands came out for corny dogs, midway games, and most notably, a 40-foot Ferris wheel. The southern-rock intensive lineup of Drive by Truckers, Lucero and Deer Tick gave the event, which Miller had been contemplating for years, a cohesive identity from the very start.
It's impossible to not take notice that the headliners are recognized as trailblazers in their own ways. Williams, whose seminal 1998 album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is still considered by many to be her signature work, has never released an album that's short of spectacular. The 77-year old Staples, the resplendent voice of the Staples Singers, who are responsible for unassailable R&B classics such as "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There," sounds just as fine now as she did decades ago.
Unlike last year, when the festival bill featured bands that conceivably followed in the Old 97's cowpunk boot steps, the Jayhawks are one of the few bands touring today that can reasonably claim to have had as big of an impact on the past two decades of roots-rock bands as the Old 97's have. There's not a reputable list of All Time Top Alt-Country Albums that doesn't have, at the very least, 1992's superb Hollywood Town Hall and 1995's essential Tomorrow the Green Grass placed in an appropriately lofty position.
And, lest we forget, that by the time this festival rolls around, the 97's will have already released its new record, Graveyard Whistling (ATO Records, Feb. 24) which features a collaboration with Brandi Carlisle and is the follow-up to the all-killer-no-filler 2014 record Most Messed Up.
Joining the esteemed lineup will be local southern rock vet Jonathan Tyler, Ohio's twangy garage-rock queen Lydia Loveless, and perhaps two of the most loudly buzzing bands the Dallas country scene has had in years, the Vandoliers and the Texas Gentleman.
Tickets are on sale now: $45 for general admission and $100 for VIP access.