Blake Shelton at the inaugural Shaky Boots festival in Kennesaw.
The inaugural Shaky Boots festival rocked Kennesaw like no other music festival has in North Georgia ever before. There’s something about the South, in this blessed mountain area nestled among the pine trees, that welcomes one and all with open arms. For the brightest stars in country music – and a few rising stars too – for one weekend in May they called Kennesaw home. We certainly hope Shaky Boots will be a Southern staple for country music in the future.
These south Georgia girls at Shaky Boots are the definition of Pretty Southern.
I’m a Southern girl, born and bred south of the Mason Dixon line, and for almost 20 years I’ve called Georgia my home. When I first moved to Kennesaw in 1996, this place was the sticks. We had a mall, and a few grocery stores, but the closest WalMart was at least 20 minutes away. Now, according to Shaky Boots promotional team, Kennesaw is considered Atlanta…and I couldn’t be prouder. Kennesaw has truly come into its own, and Kennesaw State University has grown exponentially over the past two decades. Who would have thought that we would see dozens of country stars simultaneously perform this once tiny suburb of Atlanta?
The two days I spent covering the Shaky Boots were hands down the best time I’ve ever had in my hometown. It was pretty cool when folks asked me “Where ya from?” that I was able to say “Right down the road. I’m even crashing at my parents’ house for the weekend!” Lord knows it beats the pants off paying for a condo on the beach, or sweating your fanny off in a field somewhere, just for a music festival.
Here are a few highlights from the inaugural Shaky Boots Festival – Where Kennesaw meets Coachella.
When it comes to fashion statements expect everything in between. Sure there were plenty of jean shorts, American flag tank tops, and boots made in every form and fashion. But then there’s this…
Talk about Southern pride and country strong.
‘Merica. F*** Yeah. Yours truly with this awesome dude
Another great moment was getting to talk politics with Ketch Secor –the front man and founder of Old Crow Medicine Show. He has some profound and pragmatic views on the importance of legalizing gay marriage in the South. I reminded him that in Georgia we can’t even drink booze before 12:30 pm on Sunday – even at Shaky Boots – so it would be a long time coming before the fair state of Georgia would even give our brothers and sisters the right to say “I do.”
Your truly, Old Crow Medicine Show’s frontman Ketch Secor, and Katy Ruth Camp.
Now this is one festival highlight that might be on the Pretty Southern lifetime achievement list: shotgunning a beer with Eli Young Band. The group was in the media tent getting interviewed by Cody Alan from CMT Top 20. It started pouring down raining outside, and y’all know that in the South, when it rains, we pour. So, Jon Jones, James Young, and yours truly decided to shotgun a beer!
The guys told me this was one of the traditions they had on tour with Kenny Chesney.
Now let’s talk about the up-and-comers in country music. There’s a true rising star in Nashville, and it’s a constellation named John and Jacob. This fearsome group of five gentlemen are one of the best bands I’ve seen in a hot minute.
John Davidson and Jacob Bryant met in Birmingham when they were still in grade school and bonded over their passion for music. Fast forward to present day and they’ve added Jake Thrasher, Austin T. Smith and Trevor Davis to their band. They traversed Europe with The Band Perry and wrote the hit single Done. Their song “Be My Girl” was featured on the ABC hit Nashville. Check out our interview with them thanks to @Periscope
Another one of my new favorite country bands is The Railers. If you’ve never heard these fine folks perform then do it now.
Their tracks have lyrics that are so catchy, and their look is quintessential modern country. The Railers also definitely have my favorite quote for 2015:
“In the South, it’s not Koombaya, it’s Koom-ba-y’all!”
Honorable mention – and a giveaway!
Representing AT&T as a Digital Brand Ambassador was pretty awesome.
The kind folks at AT&T reached out to me to help represent their brand at the inaugural Shaky Boots Festival. They sent over this awesome AT&T survival kit which really came in handy during the festival, especially when the rain hit!
AT&T is also offering a giveaway! If you post a comment to this blog, you’ll be entered into our raffle for a free AT&T GoPhone.
Special thanks goes out to Mason Jar Media for their help coordinating the event coverage. We can’t wait for Shaky Boots 2016! Comment below for a chance to win an AT&T Go Phone!
It’s also a privilege to partner with AT&T as a Digital Ambassador for Shaky Boots!
Keep up with us on social media at Shaky Boots using #GoodToGo #LoveTheSouth
They sent over a Shaky Boots survival kit complete with a sweet AT&T GoPhone to help make sure we’re #GoodToGo this festival season, plus sunglasses, poncho, sunscreen, water bottle, selfie stick, micro-lens for our camera, and a rocking speaker so we can keep the party going at tailgate.
It’s also thanks to AT&T we’re able to giveaway two (2) tickets for Saturday to two of our lucky readers -one (1) ticket each. If you’ve already got friends going to the show, Pretty Southern and AT&T are going to send you to party with them for free! Let’s see who our winners are…
Here’s the lineup for Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are still available for purchase here. Be sure to keep up with our coverage of the festival using #GoodToGo and #LoveTheSouth
It’s a pleasure and a privilege today to introduce y’all to the music of Jenn Thornton and her debut EP – Roll With It.
Miss Thornton’s sound has the pure, crisp feel of old time country but with a modern twist. A native of Oxford, Ga. (seriously it’s on the map), Jenn was raised on classic country and Southern gospel. Not only did she inherit her grandfather’s guitar but she also inherited his musical talents. After graduating from the University of Georgia, her first gig in the music business was singing in a bluegrass band that was touring out west. Although she enjoyed the tour, an irresistible opportunity was presented to move back to Nashville and pursue her solo career. Jenn jumped head first into the writing scene and began her growth as an artist in country music mecca.
Jenn quickly gained the attention of some of Nashville’s top producers who served as her mentors and helped develop her personal artistic style. With this fire under her seat, she hit the pavement even harder in Music City. Booking out writers rounds, writing sessions, working with stylists, and recording her first solo EP has all just been part of her progress. Her sincere and yet brutally honest approach to story telling only makes one fall more in love with her
Pretty Southern caught up with Jenn to discuss her first EP and what it’s going to take to make her dreams come true.
When did you discover your passion for singing?
I was born with the natural instinct to entertain. From the time I was able to walk and dance, I would jump around on the coffee table, holding the remote as a microphone, singing along to Elvis, Patsy Cline, and the Judds. The desire to sing came along very early too. I grew up in a family full of musical talent. I can’t remember life with out it. My grandfather would always get us together after big family dinners and he and my uncles would play guitars, as me and my family sang old gospel music and of course Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, and other traditional country artists. I come from a family with 12 female cousins. It was practically a family choir! Singing has always been more than just a talent for me. It is a way to connect with myself and others, which is where the true passion lies.
What have you been up to since graduating from UGA?
After graduating with an Agricultural and Applied Economics degree (random I know), I have pretty much gone the complete opposite of my degree. I am very thankful for it and my time well spent at UGA – Go Dawgs! – but my creative side has since taken over. I moved to Jackson Hole, Wy., and worked on a dude ranch as a wrangler. That’s where the opportunity to preform and reconnect with singing began. I played in a popular, local bluegrass band for a while. I decided that I wanted to make singing, songwriting and sharing my music my career. So, I moved to Nashville.
What inspired you to pursue your passion for music?
My true inspiration for what I do comes from the undeniable capability that a song, lyrics, and instruments combined can change one person’s day, month, year, or even life.
The power of a song can reach the saddest and the happiest; when no one else can listen or understand, music can. That’s why I decided not only to sing, but also to write music. I love people and want to share the talents I’ve been given as much as I can.
What was the album creation and development process like?
Wow! It was incredible! I had never done any studio work prior to this EP. My producer, Nick Baumhardt, was so awesome. I was there for the development of everything. I got the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented musicians. The entire process was very educational for me. I learned a lot about how to listen for certain things and just how important sound levels and placements are in a track. Developing the guitar licks was probably my favorite part because it really made my songs come to life. It was such a rewarding time as a songwriter and a singer!
What’s distinctively Southern about your sound?
Honestly, keeping it country is important to me. I have huge influences in my music from traditional country, Southern rock, gospel, and even some blues. I intentionally wanted to have banjo, fiddle and pedal steel in my songs. All of those instruments are true testaments to country music and provide sound from the past and the present. Oh, and there’s the undeniable twang in my voice that keeps it Southern.
Where do you want to be a year from now?
My primary focus of this year is to tour and continue to grow my fan base. I will be writing and promoting myself as an artist and a songwriter. I hope to be writing for not only myself but for other radio artists in the near future. And I am always open to record labels and radio! This next year holds some exciting times. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
Tyler Boone is the next big thing in local, Southern rock. His music is distinctly Southern, with a blend of blues, acoustic, and rock with a dash of pop for good measure. Tyler’s latest single “Take Aim” represents all of his influences in the South to create something brilliant.
“I grew up in Charleston and started playing in the music scene when I was 16 years old. I was heavily influenced by all the other musicians I have played with throughout the years. My last two records were produced in Charleston with Ocean Industries and came out with a very Southern sound with the help of the producers Eric Rickert, Jeff Leonard Jr. & other fellow local musicians.
Here’s Tyler’s new video “Take Aim”
“I couldn’t be more grateful to the town of Charleston for all of the support,” Tyler says, “especially 105.5 The Bridge and the venues such as the Music Farm, The Charleston Pour House & The Windjammer.”
I will be relocating to Nashville this August but will always call Charleston my home.”
The Shaky Boots Festival is one of the biggest events to happen in north Georgia..ever. Take it from a girl who spent her teenage years in Kennesaw – nothing ever happens there. It was a huge deal when President George W. Bush came to my alma mater, Harrison High School, back in 2003 right before we went to war with Iraq. The very first Shaky Boots festival is even bigger than that. No offense to W, we do love him, but we’re pretty damn excited for the amount of star power descending on Cobb County.
The Shaky Boots Festival will go down on May 16-17 (Saturday & Sunday) at Kennesaw State University’s Sports & Entertainment Park. Tickets are on sale now with general admission 2-day advanced passes at $169 and VIP passes for $499. VIP includes viewing areas to all stages, complimentary beer and water, lunch and dinner appetizers, cash bars for liquor, and private restrooms. Single day tickets will be available soon, but we suggest y’all take advantage of the discounted advanced pricing while it’s still available! Good news for parents – kids age 8 and younger are free (only two kids per each adult).
The 2015 Shaky Boots lineup includes:
The Band Perry
Old Crow Medicine Show
Eli Young Band
The Devil Makes Three
The Cadillac Three
The Whiskey Gentry
Drake White and the Big Fire
Jim White vs. The Packway Handle Band
Who are y’all looking forward to seeing the most at the very first Shaky Boots Festival?