Dale Watson and Hot Club of Cowtown

were tremendous in the Palomino stage and the Mustang stage, respectively but had the misfortune of competing against Kid Rock and Kenny Chesney.

Alt-country artist Dale Watson was taking requests to a near empty Palomino stage but like a true veteran he took it all in stride and performed with all his energy. I heard him perform “Whisky or God,” “California Wines,” “Let This Trucker Go” and “Texas Boogie” while the appreciative audience danced and clapped along.

Hot Club of Cowtown did not take requests but their skill and precision was the same as Watson’s with their bluegrass material of “Chinatown, My Chinatown” and what I believe was “Catch Me Down the Line.”

I felt bad for these groups as their material deserved more listeners but Stagecoach is a great resume builder.

Kid Rock on the Mane stage earlier

pretty much hit a home run here at Stagecoach with his material. When he finished, people in the crowd were leaving to go home (and this is BEFORE Kenny Chesney).

Rock performed a diverse set of songs which included “Picture” with Miranda Lambert (who performed earlier on the Mane stage), “American Bad Ass,” “Only God Knows Why” and “All Summer Long” which got a huge response from where I stood near the stage.

I watched his performance at WrestleMania 25 and while I liked that one, at Stagecoach he interacted with the crowd more. He was able to perform a longer set where he showed off his knowledge of different musical styles (one set he took portions of hip-hop songs like Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” and mixed it with southern rock and even punk) to loud applause.

He also made it a point to show off that he actually sang/rapped live by loudly tapping the microphone during his performance, which the audience loudly cheered.  


Kenny Chesney is performing on the Mane stage

and the crowd has been keeping up with his entire set by singing every song.

From his latest single “Out Last Night” to “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” to “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” to “Keg In My Closet” he’s been coming out swinging but he pretty much had to since he followed Kid Rock.

Since Chesney has 11 gold or higher albums (they announced this before his performance and it’s on Wikipedia if you’re interested) with 16 No. 1 singles it makes sense he would have the crowd behind him.

Oddly, he picked AC/DC’s “Runaway Train” as his opener to warm up the crowd. I think it’s strange because the song is harder than most (I think all) of his material.

But he did follow Kid Rock, and the audience woke up to the song so it worked. As did Chesney’s dazzling array of lights, large screens and running all over the stage. .


Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band gave a strong peformance

to a less than half filled Mustang stage.

That’s a shame because the group performed strong version’s of Rowan’s “Land of the Navajo” and “Waiting For Elijah” but people Sunday seemed to be at Randy Houser’s set on the Mane Stage.

Speaking of the Mane stage, as I’m typing this Miranda Lambert is playing a great cover version of “I Love Rock and Roll” on the Mane stage. 

Ricky Scaggs Sunday

packed the inside of the Mustang stage and he did not disappoint.

From the moment he simply said “Ya’ll ready for some bluegrass?” to a throng of cheers, Scaggs’ set caused a lot of nodding heads and dancing toward the edges of the stage/tent.

Scaggs performed “Lonesome Night,” “Pig in a Pen” and selections from his latest Grammy award winning album “Honoring The Fathers Of Bluegrass 1946 & 47” which included “Toy Heart” and “Mother’s Only Sleeping.”

If you get the chance to see Scaggs, who likes to provide background on his music in between performances, don’t miss out.

Scaggs basically said on Sunday he recorded his Grammy award winning album for the iPod generation who might otherwise not know the history of bluegrass, which includes the legend Earl Scruggs who performed Saturday.  

Poco gave a great show Sunday but

I was surprised how the Palomino stage/tent was not that full roughly eight minutes before their 5 p.m. start time.

I was easily able to head to the front of the stage and find a great seat but I had to leave bluegrass legend Ricky Scaggs’ amazing set to do it (which is probably why Poco’s tent was not full).

Country-rock group Poco now is Rusty Young, Paul Cotton, Jack Sundrud and George Lawrence but former members Jim Messina, Timothy B. Schmit and Richie Furay (and even George Grantham) joined the group Sunday.

Poco performed with different members for different songs. Some of the material they performed included “Honky Tonk Downstairs,” “Keep on Tryin,'” “You Better Think Twice” and even the Furay written Buffalo Springfield song “Kind Woman.”

The group brought out Lynn Anderson, who performed on Sunday, to sing “Listen to a Country Song” which Messina co-wrote.

Poco’s set featured a lot of singing along from the audience (which had grown by the time I had to leave toward the end).



Brad Paisley at Stagecoach festival Saturday night

Brad Paisley, despite the Indio wind and cold, kept the audience Saturday night entertained with a mixture of ballads and singalong hits. This guy is a megastar in the country world as both guys and girls loved his show.

Many of Paisley’s songs I actually heard on the K-FROG 105.1 country music station in Colton and the Big 106.1 Coachella Valley radio station on the drive over to Indio from Ontario.

Pick a song and the crowd here knew them all. From “Letter to Me” to “I’m Still a Guy,” “Watin’ on a Woman,” “The World” etc. 

What was interesting to me is how Paisley goes out of his way to talk about how much better life gets from high school and how much of a nerd he was. You could probably figure that out from his lyrics but I respect his honesty.

I actually left close to two hours into his “Paisley Party” to try and beat traffic but even if you’re not a fan of his music he gives a great show with a lot of video and elaborate stage lighting.  


Reba on the Mane stage

Reba McEntire sounded as strong as her albums when she started off under red spotlights with “We’re So Good Together” and continued with her somewhat windy set (she made jokes of how the wind was basically destroying her hairstyle)..

Reba next performed “Why Not Tonight” (it’s the song with “this song was used on the movie, ‘Tremors’ well pardon me you have my attention” lyric) and “Fear of Being Alone (with the chorus that goes “So don’t say that word/Not the one we both heard too much/You may think you do but you don’t/It’s just the fear of being alone).”

The Oklahoma singer really connects to her audience as many people I saw were either dancing or mouthing the words to her songs.



Charlie Daniels Band was packed inside Palomino

Charlie Daniels was a definite rockstar at the Stagecoach festival Saturday.

Daniels kept the crowd waiting for approximately 10 to 15 minutes while his soundman kept checking what seemed to be every instrument under the sun. The crazy thing is the bass player’s sound wasn’t very good and almost overpowered the set.

Nonetheless Daniels came out in a white hat (with a white beard), yellow shirt and blue jeans to a thunderous applause. He loves to shake his fiddle when he performs and carries himself like a star. Naturally, the Palomino tent was sweltering from the bodies packed inside. 

Daniels performed  “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” The Legend of Wooley Swamp” and other songs and despite his bass player, his voice (and the rest of the band) sounds tremendous.

Reverend Horton Heat at Stagecoach was hot

Lame headline, sorry.

But if you get the chance to catch Dallas Texas’ Reverend Horton Heat, like Earl Scruggs, go.

Unlike Scruggs’ bluegrass, Heat– real name Jim Heath who plays in a three-piece band — plays rockabilly and punkabilly but the result is the same (at least for me). You won’t be disappointed with his talented musicianship and catchy songs. 

On Saturday, inside the Palomino tent, Heat performed “Galaxy 500” to an appreciative crowd who danced and sang along. He had the same result for “It’s Martini Time,” which had most of the front row audience holding up their beers and singing along.

He even played a couple of newer songs he said he would put on his next album which appeared to win over the audience really easily.

Granted, these people are drinking but the music didn’t sound too bad to me.