Riverfest 2014 preview 

CeeLo, fireworks, dogs doing interesting things highlight this year's Riverfest.

Page 5 of 6

SUNDAY 5/25

JAMEY JOHNSON
7:45 p.m., Bud Light Stage
(Clinton Presidential Center)

Jamey Johnson could easily be confused with one of the "Duck Dynasty" brothers with long gray-tinged beard, flowing hair and his outdoorsy appearance. He's a sometimes-storyteller on the stage with music likened to that of Trace Adkins, John Michael Montgomery, Arkansan Joe Nichols and other country standouts who've played Riverfest in recent years. His second album (and first with Mercury Nashville) was the well-received, gold-certified "That Lonesome Song" in 2008. Included on the record was the Top 10 hit "In Color" and another single, "High Cost of Living." The southeast Alabama native and former Marine has since released two more albums, the critically acclaimed "The Guitar Song" in 2010, then 2012's "Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran," which was nominated for a Grammy award. He also penned "I Got My Game On," which served as Trace Adkins' return to the top of the country charts in 2007 after a 10-year absence. Johnson has toured with Adkins, as well as Kid Rock; he'll handle opening for Hank Jr. JH

HANK WILLIAMS JR.
9:45 p.m., Bud Light Stage
(Clinton Presidential Center)

What do you do when you're a legend's son? If you're Hank Williams Jr., you create a caricature of yourself so vividly compelling that you become a legend in your own right: a whiskey-drinking, gun-toting cartoon in a cowboy hat, hamming his way through what turned out, almost in spite of himself, to be some of the best country songs of the last 40 years. Bocephus brought a kind of punk-rock teenage fury to country music (his various takes on the "Country Boy Can Survive" theme actually remind me of Tupac's anger and anthemic pride on a slightly different outlaw identity theme). Is that carrying on the "family tradition"? Yes indeed: By going rogue, Hank Jr. turned out to be every bit the American original that his father was. Sometimes, yes, a dude that committed to the joys of being a redneck will lead to some uncomfortably retrograde territory. But Bocephus at his best is rollicking fun and a sly songwriter: honky-tonk good times, hangover despair and salt-of-the-earth spirit. If you can't drunkenly sing along to "All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)," I can't help you. DR

THE WALLFLOWERS
7:45 p.m., Coors Light / Arkansas Federal Credit Union Stage
(First Security Amphitheater)

If as teenager in the late '90s, in the days just before the Internet started working well, your only source of escape was your car, and you listened to the radio in that car (this being the pre-Internet-working-well era, when music was expensive and difficult to steal), and you fooled around with your girl/boyfriend in the backseat of that car, The Wallflower's "One Headlight" was a part of your soundtrack. It was played more often and for a longer time than any pop song in modern history, according to my memory. It was about cars, which made it a good song for driving around. Or rather it was about a dead girl who left the singer heartbroken and reckless, which made it a good song for making out in the back seat. Considering all these factors, plus the fact that schools in parts of Arkansas at the time (and probably still to this day) taught abstinence rather than sex ed, if you were a teenager fooling around in a back seat and your abstinence learning didn't stick and you ended up with a love child, he/she was probably conceived while "One Headlight" played from the car stereo. Hopefully things have worked out for you and your backseat lover and the son/daughter that resulted from Jakob Dylan's jangly angst. Regardless, congratulations, your son/daughter is nearly grown up! Maybe even a new high school graduate! You should celebrate by taking him/her to Riverfest to celebrate, where for old times' sake The Wallflowers will surely play "One Headlight." LM

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