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Susto Introduces Stagecoach Audience to Its Version of ‘Country’


Susto is an emerging band from Charleston, South Carolina and although the crowd was light with one of the earliest Saturday slots, the quintet proved they are definitely an act worth getting up for early to see.

Lead singer Justin Osborne, who spent time playing solo in South Carolina and Cuba, is the brainchild of Susto, a term that in Latin America refers to “fright sickness,” and is described as an out of body experience in the form of a panic attack.

Dark lyrics definitely drive Susto’s songs, and given their name, it’s almost as if music serves as a cathartic outlet to release some of life’s anxieties.

Osborne is joined by guitarists Johnny Delaware and Corey Campbell, bassist Jenna Desmond and drummer Marshall Hudson. Those assignments aren’t too strict, though, as Delaware, Campbell and Osborne all take turn on the keys throughout the set.

Finding a music genre box to put them in isn’t clear cut either. It’s an eclectic mix that’s been tagged as indie, alt-country, country rock and even, on their Facebook page, as gospel. The Nashville Scene likened their sound to “mid-’60s Everly Brothers records, complete with Glen Campbell-esque guitar parts.”

Their music ranges from eerie, sedated melancholy to faster, up-tempo power chords that combine with Osborne’s lyrics to tell tales of love lost and the highs and lows of small-town living.

As those who did shake off Friday’s hangover fast enough to get to the festival grounds for Susto can attest, there’s just something about their subtle stage presence that sucks you in and leaves you wanting more.

The band opened the set with the moderately paced song “County Line,” and then later kicked it into a higher gear with the yet-to-be released catchy track “Cosmic Cowboys,” which is scheduled to debut on their new album­­ (release date TBD).

The keyboard-driven “Dream Girl” is another slow and steady tune, and despite its creepy and dark lyrics, Osborne’s husky refrain is supremely catchy.

“Well, I don’t know her even if she knows me and when I look up to see her I see something gruesome, she’s gonna eat me alive…with my skin in her teeth and my blood on her blue eyes.”

After playing “Black River Gospel,” “Friends, Lovers, Ex-Lovers… Whatever” and “Smoking Outside,” Susto brought the short set to an energetic finish with “Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wine.”

Signed to the South Carolina-based independent label Hearts and Plugs, Susto was one of the only independent acts to appear on the Stagecoach lineup. As Osborne shared with us later in the afternoon, the appearance marked the first major festival they have played, also helping to make a west coast tour possible.

“It’s been a blast,” said Osborne.” We are having a great time. It’s a real honor to be on a lineup with such iconic people.”

We look forward to seeing what’s next for this young band, and recommend you try to catch them during their North American tour. Dates here.

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Stagecoach Roundup: Saturday Sizzles with Sam Palladio, Chris Stapleton, John Fogerty & More …


Although temperatures cooled quite a bit in Indio, Calif., for day two of Stagecoach,Saturday’s lineup of country music artists sizzled.

Nashville‘s Sam Palladio Pursues Real Life Solo Career

Sam Palladio was a hot press item over in the festival’s media tent during the afternoon, thanks in large part to his starring role as heartthrob Gunnar Scott on ABC’s hit drama Nashville. On the show, his band The Exes with Scarlet O’Connor seems to be on the verge of breaking it big, and the Brit actor/musician is hoping to find equal success with his own solo career in real life.

Palladio recorded his first EP right before Christmas this past year, and gave festival attendees a taste of his new music and style with a late afternoon set on the Palomino stage. And just like his media session, Palladio drew an avid and extensive audience.

But it was an interesting juxtaposition. For fans of the show – and based on the number of collective female shrieks, there were loads in the Stagecoach crowd, Palladio’s real-life look and music seem much edgier than the sappy and moving love duets that he’s well-known for in the television drama.

Dressed in a flowery Hawaiian shirt, black jeans with a handkerchief hanging out of his back pocket, and noticeable silver hoop earring, Palladio delivered a fun, high-energy set at what was apparently his first-ever American festival.

He used the short set time wisely, highlighting his new material, like “Heartbreak Blues,”  “Headed to the Fire” and “Faster Than a Bullet,” while also serving the Nashville masses with fan favorites like “Fade Into You” and “You Can Count on Me.”  Since his co-star was absent, Palladio kindly invited all of the ladies to sing her parts.

While actress Clare Bowen may have been absent, Palladio’s other former television ex, Zoey Dalton, played by Chaley Rose, was there to cheer him on.

Not that he was short on adoration.

Stapleton’s Star Continues to Shine

Chris Stapleton has swept just about every awards show in the last year, including picking up two Grammys for Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance. His star is so bright, and with such crossover appeal to boot, that the Kentucky-born singer/songwriter/guitarist was invited to play both Coachella AND Stagecoach.

Indeed, Stapleton’s solo album Traveler really doesn’t have a throw away song on it, making his early evening set time a must for most Stagecoach goers.

He kicked off the set with “Nobody to Blame,” getting a mega assist from an enthusiastic audience ready to sing along.

Stapleton was outstanding, per usual, on “Traveler,” “Might As Well Get Stoned,” “Fire Away,” and of course “Tennessee Whiskey.”

And while one festival-goer insisted that Justin Timberlake was going to be a surprise guest (remember that epic CMA moment when the two paired up?), Stapleton kept things in-house.   He used the song’s melody to instead introduce his tight band, including his wife Morgane (tambourine and vocals) whom he sang to: “Love me, love me, love me my wife. Love of my life.”

The married couple shared many tender moments between them onstage. With the wind in full force, Morgane stole his cowboy hat for herself before passing it off to a tech. She tried to then keep her husband’s long locks at bay, and although a futile effort, the subtle interplay did not go unnoticed.   As one person commented, Chris Stapleton and his wife = #lifegoals.

I Hope You Dance

For more than 15 years, Lee Ann Womack has heard stories about how her song “I Hope You Dance” has changed lives and marked pivotal milestones.  It’s got to get old. But, we’re not going to lie. We sprinted over from Chris Stapleton’s set at the Mane Stage to the Palomino tent, just hoping to catch this ONE song.

Played second to last, Womack was joined by thousands of voices for a truly epic sing-along moment.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance. I hope you dance …

I hope you dance.

Rodney Crowell Rolls Through Set

Just next door to Womack, Rodney Crowell was holding court in the Mustang tent and we were able to catch a bit of “Even Cowgirl Get the Blues” and his excellent cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.”

Crowell is always masterful and tonight’s set seemed no different.

Fogerty … Still Fantastic

Prior to John Fogerty taking the Palomino stage on Saturday night at Stagecoach, a mini documentary about the legendary singer/songwriter and his journey with Creedance Clearwater Revival aired on the side screens.

Anticipation built throughout the film as Fogerty recalled his experience at Woodstock and how 1969 was such a monumental year 1969 for him as a musician and influencer of his generation.

Finally, as Fogerty kicked his set into high gear with “Travelin’ Band,”  fans began rushing over to a tent that was already bursting at the seams. That didn’t stop fans from spilling wide and far into the fields, or erupting into the chorus for “Green River.”

“Who’ll Stop the Rain” was a set highlight, a song he introduced by explaining that he wrote it right after coming home from Woodstock. Throughout the tune, psychedelic ‘60s images flashed on screen, along with shots of places like San Francisco’s Haight/Ashbury, which perfectly captured the essence of the song.

There was also no shortage of Fogerty’s soaring guitar solos over long stretches of purely instrumental pieces, thanks to his very talented band.


The Band Perry Invites Crowd to Get Wild, Crazy & Loud

Playing Stagecoach festival for the second year in a row, the Band Perry brought their pop country performance to the Mane Stage Saturday night, making every attempt to turn the evening into a dance party with their hit songs and a few unexpected covers.

Kimberly and her brothers, Reid and Neil, have mastered their highly-choreographed set list and the fine art of interacting with their fans. The sibling Perry trio launched their hour-long set with  a dramatic drum roll to intro “Better Dig Two,” and a few songs in, Kimberly insisted that her audience “Get a little bit crazy. Get a little bit wild, and get really, really loud!”

They rolled through “Chainsaw,” “You Lie” and new songs “Best One Yet” and “Stay in the Dark” before transitioning into a series of covers. All three member’s voices came together in harmony for Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” and then a unique mashup of the Eurthymics “Sweet Dreams,” Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” and CeeLo Green’s “Crazy.” Naturally, the fans were singing along and getting loud, just as Kimberly requested.

Following the series of covers, the band played another new song titled “In It Together,” which interestingly, was written on their tour bus the night they left Stagecoach a year ago.

Of course, the band performed their famous hit “If I Die Young,” but Kimberly started it off with a twist, slowing it down and softly singing the chorus line before her brothers joined her on the same mic to sing it the way fans know and love.

The slow, heartfelt number is a bit somber, but the Band Perry soon cranked it right back up with a countrified version of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” which through the well liquored up crowd in dancing frenzy.

Get a little bit crazy. Get a little bit wild. Get really, really loud? Mission accomplished.

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Jamestown Revival Spreads Their Movement at Stagecoach


“Jamestown Revival is more than music.  It’s an idea, and it’s a movement.  It’s grass roots, and it’s back porch.  Our strength is in numbers, but our individuality is ever present.  We appreciate the simpler things, and we know where we came from.  We value timelessness over trendiness, and quality over quantity.  We are Revivalists…”

So reads the band’s description on their YouTube page, and during a nearly hour-long midday set at Stagecoach’s Palomino Stage on Saturday, Jamestown Revival proved that their blend of southern country, Americana and rock is stirring a movement.

“Wow.” “Killing it.”  “Unreal.”

Those were just a few examples of the praise that quickly found its way to the twitter universe, along with some live streams on Periscope.

Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay became friends at age 14 in their hometown of Magnolia, Texas.  By 15, they had written their first song together, but it wasn’t until years later when the then-college roommates got serious about making music as a duo.  But eventually, while spending time on Texas ranch land owned by Clay’s family, the pair sat out on an old back porch with guitar and keyboard and started to write music.

“We wrote them with a different mindset, with a duo mindset, and they were built around harmony and they just had a different vibe. That was really the start of Jamestown. It started that day,” Clay said in an interview with

The childhood friends borrowed their band name from the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, with the idea in mind to leave behind the old and head out on an adventure. (They also note Credence Clearwater Revival as a huge influence.) So they took their dream and headed west to Los Angeles, where they found inspiration for the songs that appear on debut album Utah.

Its track “California (Cast Iron Soul)” earned an immediate and hearty reaction from the audience, which led quickly to a clap, sing and stomp-along from the Stagecoach crowd.

California, I don’t even know you.
You’ve taken me away from home.
Old Magnolia I’ll never get over you.
The feelings running straight to my bones.
Someday I’ll be coming home.
Someday I’ll be coming home.
With a cast iron soul.

The boys did return home, or close to it, anyhow.  After recording Utah, (named after the cabin in Utah’s Wasatch mountains where they made the album), JR would eventually opt to move to Austin, about 200 miles away from Magnolia.

JR also paid tribute to home during their Stagecoach set with a “song they wrote about the good ol’ boys” called  “Head On” that saw them working the stage and at times, sharing a mic to blend their voices, which only added to the communal sense of the performance.

Another set highlight included a shout-out to Merle Haggard as JR gave a poignant cover of “Silver Wings.”

It was an overall emotive and awe-inspiring performance, and we’re betting that the “movement” grew exponentially after Saturday’s solid showing.

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The Malpass Brothers Wave the Banner for Pure, Traditional Country Music


Traditional, pure country was revitalized opening day at Stagecoach thanks to the Malpass Brother’s outstanding performances of legendary covers and original songs dedicated to their heroes.

These good ‘ol boys brought their Southern roots and love for all things retro to the Palomino stage in Indio, Calif., during a midday set on Friday.

Lead singer Christopher Malpass introduced the band to the audience by sharing two questions they get asked the most:

“Do you really talk like that and is that your real hair?”

So of course, Christopher drawled the answer to both, explaining that “We’re from North Carolina. And yes, this is really our hair. Yes, this is how we really talk.”

Christopher and Taylor Malpass are as authentic as it gets, and stay true to the deep love they have for the traditional country music first introduced to them on their granddaddy’s phonograph records. From their ’50s throwback pompadour hairstyles and mutton chops to their western outfits and infamous Elvis-like hip swivels, these siblings proudly wave the banner for traditional country music, and they are adamant about preserving the art.

“My brother Taylor and I do the type of music we do because this music speaks to us, and speaks to the souls of its listeners,” said Christopher. “For us, traditional country music is the ‘real deal’ – every song portrays life’s joys, heartaches, problems and happiness. It comes from the heart, and has depth and truth. Nothing is sugar coated. Our goal, really, is to see this music be revived, to help ensure it doesn’t fade away.”

During their mid-afternoon set, the brothers preached that gospel by performing several covers to honor a few of their country pioneers.

Christopher perfectly captured his music idol Johnny Cash with flawless renditions of “Folsom Prison Blues” and his personal favorite “Luther Played the Boogie.” When taking over singing duties for a cover of the Faron Young/Willie Nelson track “Hello Walls,” Taylor’s bellowing vocals also nailed the command and presence shared by those greats.

Other notable covers included Nelson’s “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time,” Jimmy Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No 4 (California Blues), where Taylor ripped off stellar leads on his Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gent guitar, Marty Robbins’ “Begging To You” and Merle Haggard’s “Working Man Blues.”

Haggard’s recent passing has hit the brothers hard, as the country outlaw legend was a huge champion of the Malpass siblings.  The duo spent more than 7 years working with Haggard, touring with him and even recording torch track “Memory That Bad” at his studios.

And when it comes to creating original material, the duo firmly upholds the musical styling and qualities that would make their idols proud.  Taylor’s guitar work on “Memory That Bad” perfectly accentuates Christopher’s sincere vocals and lyrics, resulting in a single that already seems country timeless.

The brothers planned to end their set with an homage to Cash via their original number “Man In Black Is Wearing White,” and had even begun to unplug their instruments at its conclusion.  But the crowd was so pleased with the set that they began asking for “just one more.”

So instead, they threw up another song in honor of Haggard with “Working Man Blues,” thus concluding an outstanding west coast showing for this southern duo. But thanks to the Malpass Brothers, the audience got to take a journey of its own, as it was like opening up a time capsule and rediscovering some of country music’s best offerings.

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Stagecoach’s Friday Roundup: Kristian Bush, Dale Watson, Lucero, Eric Church & More


The hipster, celebrity crowd that came out in hoards the last two weeks to the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio, Calif., for Coachella has been totally transformed for this weekend’s Stagecoach festival. Western hats, boots and Daisy Dukes are now abound as country fans flooded the grounds today for the annual three-day festival.

Here are some highlights from our Friday roundup:

Most Self Deprecating & Most Ready to Have a Good Time

Kristian Bush had to take the trophy for self-deprecation on Friday, immediately walking up to the mic on the Mane stage mid-afternoon and saying to the crowd:

“Oh, it’s that guy from Sugarland; I didn’t know he could sing.”

A few songs later, he remarked, “This is my third time playing here – first time singing.”

All was delivered with a huge grin on his face, though, and Bush was definitely ready to party. “Hearse With a Trailer,” his debut solo single, was a mega crowd pleaser, made even more entertaining with his band’s choreographed “dance” moves. (Anyone out there re-watch the film, Purple Rain, in the last week or so? Bush and band’s synchronized turns and moves with their instruments called to mind those by the flashy Morris Day and his group, The Time in their final performance in the film.)

Bush also riled up the crowd with a few Sugarland hits, too, including “Stuck Like Glue” and “Baby Girl.”

“My rule is if I wrote it, I’ll sing it,” he said of the latter. “I wrote this when we weren’t even really a band yet. I think it was a Tuesday.”

Debonair Dale

Austin, Texas country artist Dale Watson may be downright old-style honky tonk, but he does so with such finesse that he exudes a sense of sophistication. Dressed to the country nines, Watson and his Lone Star band rolled through an exemplary set that had those at the Palomino stage eating out of his hands.

Like literally. Gals and guys repeatedly yelled. “We love you Dale!” particularly after his boisterous “Exit 109.” He followed up that fun, high-speed number with a moving tribute to the late, great and legendary Merle Haggard with “Here in Frisco.”

Jana Kramer Jolts

A familiar face from her role on CW hit show One True Hill, Jana Kramer is also making a name for herself in the country scene.

Sporting a Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers T-Shirt, Kramer sizzled with confidence jolting the audience wide awake straight out of the gates with sing-along “Pop That,” “One of the Boys” and “Don’t Touch My Radio.”

She also showcased her softer side with a cover of Brad Paisley and Alison Krause’s “Whiskey Lullaby,” one of the saddest country ballads ever.

Just Try Not to Grin

Although perhaps not a “household name,” Billy Joe Shaver is hugely respected as a writer within the genre. And with an infectious grin, you just can’t help to love him or his real-deal country music.

The Mustang stage crowd ate up his late afternoon set with whoops, cheers and laughter. Even Shaver couldn’t hold back his chuckle during his performance of
“That’s What She Said Last Night.”

“Got a brand new cellphone — AT&T,” he sang. “It was a little bitty thing, just right for a country boy like thing. My girlfriend took a poke at the thing. Then she threw it away.She said Billy I know you’re attached to that thing, but it’s too small for me.”

Whiskey Drenched and Wonderful

Call them southern rock. Call them punk. Call them alt-country. We’ll just go with plain ‘ole good. Lucero shined with their soulful blend of lyrics, vocals and musicianship during their near hour-long set.

Singer Ben Nichols sounds like he just downed a bottle of whiskey, and that’s a great thing. On “When You Decided to Leave,” you can just feel his sincerity and regret as he he sang the lyrics:

“I try to be a good man/But I’ve done so wrong for so long/I don’t know if I can help but be a bad man.”

Midway thru the set, the rest of the band took a break as Nichols played a brand new song he wrote about a month ago.

“My brother did the movie Mud with Matthew McConaughey and he’s working on another one,” Nichols told the crowd. “I’m hoping he uses this one in the soundtrack.”

And it seems that maybe he’s found a way to be a good man.

“One more night here without you, and then to you I will come back.
They ain’t never take me a way again.
I’ve had enough of that. I’ve had enough of that.
I can tell my loving,
I can prove my heart is true.
Might not be good enough for them, but I just wanna be good enough for you
I wanna be good enough for you.
Remember how it felt the first night, it’s love we can’t afford to lose.
I’ll take care of you the rest of my days if that’s enough for you.
If that’s enough for you.”

Creepin’ with Eric Church

Nashville’s rebel rouser Eric Church had a sea of country diehards ready to continue the  party by the time his 10:15 p.m. headlining set rolled around on Friday night.

Although his latest hit is titled “Mr. Misunderstood,” there was no discord happening at Stagecoach as Church followed Chris Young’s upbeat set  and closed out the night in stunning fashion. Fans sang along with the country crooner, toasted along to “Drink In My Hand” and buzzed with anticipation as percussive shakers helped intro “Creepin,” giving the cut a swampy, southern vibe.

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