The sounds coming from the man behind the microphone were hauntingly familiar. I'd decided early on in his set, Sturgill Simpson's embodiment of the country music outlaws like Waylon, Willie and Hank was an easy spot. A group nestled near the stage debated which of those icons sons he had to be. "No, no that's Shooter [Jennings]," I overheard as I found my way to a more comfortable place towards the back. Inevitably he is in fact somebody's son, and while that can afford you certain traits, Sturgill is not a product of simple country music genes. This kid has a voice, lyrics and the beaten jeans that are certainly his own.
As for Mr. Dwight Yoakam, he has a style all his own. From the rhinestones to the boot scoots and shoulder shrugs, Yoakam has his performance down pat. He played a couple of Buck Owens' songs, just one Johnny Cash song, and got deep into his own catalog. Yoakam also knocked out a few from his latest release "3 Pears."
The Pageant was packed. The elderly sat, and the young ones danced in ways the old folks weren't sure about, but there was more than enough room for the lot of them. There were cowboys in camo-trucker hats, wide brims and straw hats, but all failed to compare to the one on stage. Yoakam's hat did just as cowboy hats were intended, it covered his eyes and hid just enough of his face to keep you wondering just what was under there.
All photos by Kelsey McClure.