Saturday, October 26, 2013

Braun Brothers Reunion & Idaho Vacation

The first full week in August of 2013 will be one I will never forget.  It was my first time venturing further west than Idaho Falls into the state and my first multi-day music festival.  The week was spent relaxing, sight-seeing, and jamming to the best bands in the Red Dirt/Roots Rock world.

We spent 3 days in Boise, relaxing, shopping, and enjoying the warm, sunny climate.  It is a cool city with a vibe similar to Austin.  Large enough to have everything yet unique.  There's a lot to see and do in Boise but it seemed like the time there was much too short.
Eagle, ID
Leaving Boise behind mid-week, we headed towards Stanley and the Sawtooth Mountains.  The drive up Idaho 21 is not for the faint of heart but the views are stunning.  The Sawtooths seem to jut up from nowhere and surround Stanley like a fortress.  Stanley is a quaint, very small village of 63 hardy citizens.  It's one of the coldest places in the Winter but the day we were there, it was a lovely 80 degrees.
Stanley, ID
From Stanley, the drive up Highway 75 along the Salmon River affords never-ending views of lush meadows, mountains, and valleys.  
North of Stanley, ID
Approaching U.S. 93, the landscape starts to change to more of a high desert climate, green changing to brown, and high peaks surrounding the valley.  Challis is a quintessential small town where they never really unroll the streets, except during the Braun Brothers Reunion.  Red rocks, foothills, and high mountains surround this small town and it was our home for 4 days while we were there for the area's premier music festival.

Challis, ID

Thursday was the first day of the 2013 Braun Brothers Reunion.  Being the music fanatic I am, we were there as soon as the gates opened each day.  The first day kicked off with Muzzie Braun and the party went on through the night's last and best performance, Micky & The Motorcars.  In between there were shows from Suzy Bogguss and Dale Watson.  Being in the midst of the standing room only crowd near the stage for the Motorcars was pretty exciting on our first night at the festival.

Micky & The Motorcars
Friday brought another amazing day of performances at BBR, everyone from No Justice to the Randy Rogers Band.  My favorites from this night were Corb Lund and the Turnpike Troubadours.  Todd Snider's performance was backed by The Departed, which was an unexpected treat.  Corb Lund's performance was only 45 minutes, but in that short amount of time, he played to an attentive crowd and won over many new fans.
Corb Lund
 After his set, Corb did a meet and greet with fans.  It was great to meet him and get his autograph.  Corb is from Canada and is huge there.  He's won several Canadian Country Music Awards and has been gaining new fans in the U.S., especially in the West and Texas.  The Turnpike Troubadours put on a fine set, sounding even more amazing live than on record.  They plowed through hit song after song (every song they put out seems to hit #1 on the Texas Music Chart), and some fun banter in between.  These guys hail from Oklahoma and are the epitome of Red Dirt music and have definitely found a new fan in me.
Turnpike Troubadours

Saturday was the biggest day jam packed full of music all afternoon and deep into the night.  The music kicked off at 1:00 p.m. with Tom Nazz and Jay Nazz followed by Gary and Cindy Braun and rocked all the way to the 9:15 headliner Reckless Kelly.  A very special portion of the event is the Braun family guitar pull.  All of the Braun brothers, Muzzie and his brothers along with his 4 sons jammed together on stage.  

Classics are sung, stories are told, and this is really the heart of the festival.  Saturday's events also meant meet and greets and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and get autographs and pictures from The Departed, Micky & The Motorcars, and Reckless Kelly.  After those euphoric moments, it was time for more music from Wade Bowen.  
Wade Bowen
The Departed
Wade is a Texas country favorite and fed off the crowd's adoration, singing all of his hits.  The Departed took the stage at 7:45 and rocked the stage from the first to the last note.  As expected, these guys thrilled the audience with their hits and a few Cross Canadian Ragweed classics.  Little did anyone know that a few weeks later, it would be announced that Seth James is leaving the group in November.  All of us fans witnessed a little piece of music history in Challis, it being Seth's last show there with The Departed.  Being almost front row for their performance, as well as headliner Reckless Kelly, was not only fun, but crazy.  Fans of Red Dirt/Americana/Texas music are passionate about the music and know every word to every song.  Most of them are normally drunk by this time of the night but they still hang on to every lyric.
Reckless Kelly

Reckless Kelly came out of the chutes with "Real Cool Hand," a song from their new album "Long Night Moon" and rocked out all the way to the all-star closer of "Six Days On The Road."  Having a close view of the stage provided amazing photographs and the ability to watch the impressive musicians work their magic.  The mix of the hometown crowd and those of us who came hundreds of miles to attend were treated to a fantastic last blowout show of the 3 day festival.  RK blasted through many of their hits, a couple new songs, and a few remakes.  
Micky Braun, Willy Braun
Many of the artists who performed at the event joined in for a few songs and for "Six Days On The Road" almost everyone helped out, including Micky & The Motorcars, The Departed, Wade Bowen, and Todd Snider.
Todd Snider, Reckless Kelly, Wade Bowen, Micky & The Motorcars
The 3 day festival culminated with this spectacular show, leaving thousands of happy fans something to hang on to as they head back to their normal lives.

Willy Braun, Muzzie Braun, Micky Braun

Sunday morning we departed Challis for the 500+ mile trek back to central Wyoming.  Leaving the valley behind, miles and miles of mountains (including Idaho's highest, Borah Peak) gave way to lava fields, valleys, and more mountains.  Before entering Wyoming, Idaho leaves us with beautiful Swan Valley and Victor.

The trip to Idaho and the Braun Brothers Reunion was relaxing, exhilarating, and epic.  I highly recommend this music festival due to its location, beauty, and unparalleled acts BBR draws every year. Gluten Free Lipstick & Lipgloss

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