Headlining the daylong music binge will be William Clark Green, a Texas-born singer and songwriter who is currently touring California with the Josh Abbott Band. Rolling Stone described Green’s music as “raspy beer-and-smoke vocals and a tough, Texas-country sound,” in much the same vein as two previous CRMF headliners: Robert Earl Keen and Pat Green.
To get a good pre-festival taste, listen to Green’s 2013 breakthrough album, Rose Queen, featuring two oft-in-rotation songs, “She Likes the Beatles” and “It’s About Time.” Or pick up Green’s latest and livest, Live at Gruene Hall, on which Green and his band mix “Southern rock, folk and traditional country into rowdy tales of heartbreak, humor, hard living and hangovers, perfectly suited to dancing and drinking the night away,” according to Rolling Stone.
Also earning top billing this year is the country band, BlackHawk, led by veterans Henry Paul and Dave Robbins, and backed by an all-star crew of country and southern rock musicians. BlackHawk’s 1993 self-titled Arista debut album launched with the smash single “Goodbye Says It All,” followed by a fistful of Top 5 hits like “Every Once in a While” and “I Sure Can Smell the Rain.” It soon certified double-platinum and earned BlackHawk an ACM nomination as Best New Vocal Group Of The Year.
“BlackHawk has a 20-year history of a certain kind of song craft as well as a quality of performance,” says Henry. “People have always come to our shows expecting a concert that is emotionally and musically engaging, and the band still sounds even better than the records, night after night, show after show. When we take the stage, we work as hard as we ever have. We owe it to the music, we owe it to ourselves…and we owe it to the fans.”
Filling out the all-day program will be the ever-popular, always-raucous Jason Boland & The Stragglers out of Stillwater, Oklahoma; a Lubbock-based, roots-country quintet by the name of Flatland Cavalry; Memphis-born (and we don’t mean Memphis, Texas) Rob Baird, who left Nashville in the dust, booked a one-way-ticket to Austin and crafted Wrong Side of The River, a 10-track gut punch of blues-drenched, storyteller-crisp autobiography derived from chasing miles of dreams; Texas singer-songwriter Red Shahan, whose new album Men & Coyotes, has been compared to a Chris Knight ride alongside bits of Stoney LaRue’s vocal timbre, with guitar tones that echo Doyle Bramhall; the Cody Sparks Band, a band whose music first took root in Perryton but which now opens for the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker, Cody Canada and Shane Smith & The Saints and is considered one of the hottest tickets in Austin; and finally, Hillbilly Stu, about whom we know absolutely nothing yet—except, well, he’s Hillbilly Stu!
To accommodate the expanded program, which has grown from seven featured bands to eight, the Music Festival gates will open a half-hour earlier at 11 am. All-day passes will be pre-sold for $30/person online, starting April 1, and will be sold for $40 at the gate (cash only).
In addition, 30 “primitive” campground spots are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To purchase The River Bed Primitive Campground Package online, go to 2017 Canadian River Music Festival and click on the link to “camping.” The $300 (plus fee) package includes a 30-by-40 spot, four general admission tickets and two River Bed parking passes (required for all vehicles in campground spots.