I have returned from my not-long-enough vacation — but no vacation ever is — to Tahlequah, Oklahoma for the Medicine Stone Music Festival.
My second year at the festival managed to top the first, and it was good to get away with friends, the outdoors and good music.
I was excited for multiple new acts I had not seen live, but one in particular stood out from the weekend. Charlie Stout — a West Texas songwriter born in West Virginia — put on one heck of a show.
Stout is a talented songwriter with tunes ranging from comedic to tragic. He played original songs about death, the mice living in his walls and a West Texas rancher turned spaceship salvage specialist.
He played at 2:30 p.m. under the hot sun to a small — but attentive — crowd. It’s not a position many performers would want, but Stout was appreciative to have the opportunity and played his songs with the passion of someone on a stadium stage.
After the show, a friend and I chatted with Stout for a few minutes and went on our way. Throughout the rest of the day, we repeatedly ran into Stout and every time he stopped to speak with us — sometimes diverting his path through the crowd to say hello again.
It really impressed me and remembered one of the reasons I love the red dirt music scene. Even when many red dirt folks rise to a level of at least regional fame, they don’t realize their famous.
It was not uncommon at Medicine Stone to see musicians walking through the crowd or standing in the general admission watching a performance with all of the non-musicians. And I believe part of the reason they feel comfortable doing that is because they don’t think folks will realize it is them.
Jamie Lin Wilson, Kaitlin Butts, Stout and even R.C. Edwards who plays bass guitar for one of the largest names in red dirt and co-creators of the festival, Turnpike Troubadours, could be seen on several occasions standing among the masses or walking through the campground.
And to my surprise, no one really seemed to notice. However, I’ll admit that while I knew who many of these artists were, I didn’t approach them because I didn’t want to be a bother. I suspect that is the case for many folks.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet several artists from the scene, and they’re always appreciative of kind words and some manage to remain humble — almost to the point of naivete — about their status. It’s one of my favorite things about the scene, probably second only to the priority shown to the quality of the music itself.
Until next year Medicine Stone, and thanks for another great time.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.