“What’s better than a party to kick off a party” – Casey Campbell
I’ve been very fortunate to see some very good shows over my 38 years of life. It’s an understatement that I was fortunate to be in the beautiful Lexington, KY venue, The Burl, for the 2019 Kickin’ It On The Creek Pre-Party with Padre Paul Handelman, Senora May, and Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle. I can’t start the review without mentioning the Roberts Family of Estill County, hosts of the 5th Annual Kickin’ It On The Creek on Ross’ Creek near Irvine. I have been lucky enough to be in the company of Mr. Roberts and his family twice now and you will not find a finer ambassador for the musical renaissance in Eastern Kentucky. When you are around Byron you immediately become part of the KIOTC family. I haven’t even been to Ross’ Creek, but that will change in September and I cannot wait.
If you enjoy a good beer every now and again, Country Boy Brewing in collaboration with Kickin’ It On The Creek developed a special beer in honor of the festival which debuted at The Burl last night. A Wheat Beer with hints of Strawberry, Mango, and Coriander, it was a light, tasty addition to the experience.
The night kicked off with Texan via Missouri, Montana, then Army Rangers, Padre Paul Handelman. The Army Ranger turned San Antonio Rancher absolutely set the night off right. His raspy voice and high intensity fit right in with the Lexington, Kentucky crowd. Padre Paul’s one man band set up with guitar, kick drum, and cymbal playing paired with banjo player, Dan Johnson ripped off a set highlighting his most recent release “Unbridled”. Set staples included “Six Dollars” a tune that talks about the hardships of life on the road, “I’m chasing white lightening through the hills of Tennessee, find some picking friends down in Kentucky”. Needless to say The Burl crowd ate it up. Another highlight was a raucous cover of Ryan Bingham’s “Southside of Heaven”. Padre Paul Handelman is a Kickin It On The Creek must-see.
The second act of the night was Eastern Kentucky song bird, Senora May. Senora serenaded the crowd with songs off her debut album, “Lainhart”. Senora is an Estill County native and Kickin’ It is pretty much her land. The recently dubbed, “lady of the Estill Springs” rolled out a set including, “Don’t Need A lot”, “California King”, “Lainhat”, and “Family Tree”. “Family Tree” being fitting as the Kickin It community is constantly referred to as a family. Senora introduced the tune to the crowd as being part of her family. This is my third time seeing Senora and all three were in a completely setting, the first being outdoor at the 2018 Cumberland Mt. Fall Festival in Middlesboro, second being the Martin County Water Donation and now being The Burl. Each time has been better than the last. The Thursday before the Pre-Party, Senora played with a full band that included multi instrumental whizz, Josh Nolan on guitar. That is the one setting I have not witnessed her in and I’m hoping that iteration will be the Kickin’ It ensemble. If not, we will eat up Senora’s solo soulful styling and beg for more.
Byron Roberts then came back out to draw the luck winner of a pair of Kickin’ It On The Creek tickets, introduced an extremely important non-profit, Lady Veterans Connect who had been raising money for their cause throughout the night. Feel free to visit their site and throw some money toward a great cause, https://www.lv-connect.org/
I certainly was not ready for what came next.
I have listened to Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle some as they have opened for Tyler Childers and have gained recognition in the southern Ohio and Central/Eastern Kentucky music community. This was my first time seeing them live. It was a religious experience.
Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle were founded by guitarist/vocalist, Matt Wabnitz (Buffalo Wabs) and drummer/vocalist Casey Campbell (The Deacon). The Price Hill Hustle are rounded out by Bill Baldock on upright bass/vocals and Scott Risner on mandolin/resonator guitar/tenor banjo/vocals. The band website describes the band as, “American – from the mountains to Music Row, blues-gospel to traditional country, the Hustle combines parts of the American-born genre catalog to create an energetic experience every single night.”
The set kicked off with “Four Walls of Raiford,” a song that follows a chain gang, prison camp armed robber who served in Vietnam. The intensity continued to build over the course of the song as Risner picked on the resonator and Campbell using chains on the kit to create the chain gang atmosphere. From there the band took off and the crowd was soaring with them. Each tune gathering more intensity than the next. The floor was shaking from the stomping, the air thick with the late summer air. I felt like I was back in the praise songs on a tent revival of my youth. Campbell continually praising the crowd and the crowd giving the band energy at every turn.
Buffalo Wabs and the Price HIll Hustle Setlist: Four Walls of Raiford, Buffalo Canon, Ramona, Very Best, You Gotta Move, Ain’t No Need, Rockafeller, Lonesome Valley, So Long I’ll See Ya, Long Gone (From Bowling Green), The Wild, Mexican Home, Ramblin’ Man, Walkin’ Down Line Encore: Casey Campbell Speech, Great Change, Long John, Goin Home, and Stewball
I highly encourage any reader to find a Buffalo Wabs and Price Hill Hustle show near you and go. You will not be dissappointed. If you were lucky enough to score a Kickin’ It On The Creek ticket, do not miss this band.
If the Pre-Party is any indication, KIOTC will be a very special time this September.
Check out Padre Paul Handelman at https://www.padrepaulmusic.com/
Check out Senora May at https://senoramaymusic.com/
Check out Buffalo Wabs and The Price Hill Hustle at https://www.pricehillhustle.com/home
If you don’t catch Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle at KIOTC, you can see them for free at the Cumberland Mountain Fall Festival in Middlesboro, KY on Friday, October 4th.
Find out why Kickin’ It on the Creek was one of Kentucky Country Music’s Top 10 Festivals to Attend for 2019 by clicking here.