As the sun set on Friday, the first day of the Spring 2013 Albino Skunk Music Festival, our video and photo crew (See photos and videos below) had already shot a variety of talented artists, all of which were in the Bluegrass/Country area (The original music that the festival was built on). We had been brought in by Zig, the founder of the festival, to film some of each set, and to also cover the fun event for Carolina Mixer. So as the next band set up, I didn’t pay much attention to them. We took a break, headed backstage to grab a cold drink, and chat with our friends that we had made so far, planning to head back to our cameras after the band had a chance to warm up with a couple of songs.
That plan immediately was thrown away as soon as the band was introduced, and they hit the first guitar chord. What the heck? Caught completely off-guard, I immediately wished I had done a little research on this band before the weekend, and hurried back to the cameras to hit record. Who the heck is this band? The spot I was in at the Skunk Farm was "4G deficient", and so I was just as clueless as before.
Then suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks as I looked at the band’s name again, and the distant thing in my brain from earlier in the day when I saw the name “Scott Miller” and thought that it was strangely familiar slapped me again. Oh man! This is Mic Harrison from the V-Roys! And Scott Miller from the V-Roys is here too!
Bands like Tom Petty, The Bodeans, Jason and The Scorchers, and a few others that were similar were mainstays on all my mix tapes and cds in the 90's, so when I heard the V-Roys (They were called the Viceroys when I first heard them, but underwent a name change in one of those “I had it first” type name battles), I was immediately hooked. I saw them in a honky tonk/college bar in Knoxville in the 90’s, and they rocked the joint with solid rock tinged with country. Their music wasn’t quite what was playing on the radio at the time, falling into an area that wasn’t quite country, and wasn’t pop. So with critical acclaim, a fan following, and great live shows, they were a success, but they just didn’t make it in front of the masses enough to make that big jump. No fault of theirs - just the way that the music business rewards youth and beauty over talent most of the time. If you never saw them live, then I’ll just say that you really missed out.
But enough about the past – back to me with a big smile on my face as we filmed Mic Harrison & The High Score turning the crowd over in their lawn chairs with a blast of rock n roll. Or, as they have somewhat been categorized, “Americana”. I’m not sure that that is quite correct, as that genre has become somewhat crowded with artists who don’t quite fit into country or rock or pop. Heck, it even includes bands from England, so how defined are the "Americana Club" guidelines anyway? So I am going to call them “Country Boy Rock N Roll with a 70’s Twist”. Think Old 97’s meets Tom Petty meets The Rolling Stones when Keith Richards chooses the cover song, with a taste of George Jones thrown in to make your heart feel a twinge and reach for the whiskey bottle.
For the next hour, Mic’s vocals and guitar, Robbie Trosper’s and Chad Pelton’s guitars, with that “dirty” honky tonk grind that sounds so awesome on rock songs, Brad Henderson’s drums meshing with Vance Hillard’s bass lines kept the crowd rockin’. You can usually tell when a band is a good fit for each other by how much fun they have on the stage. These guys have fun. With playful banter and jokes between songs, the band put on a performance that allowed everyone to have a great time.
During their set, they hit both the the old and the new. Some of the songs off of their 2012 release "Still Wanna Fight”, including “Out of the Blue” and “Rock and Roll Clothes” mixed in with a cover of Tom Petty’s “Listen To Her Heart”, the V-Roy’s “Sooner or Later”, The Faults (Mic Harrison’s band after the V-Roys) “Poison Land”, and older High Score releases like “Wiser The Whiskey” and “Satan Lives In Arkansas”.
Later in the performance, former V-Roys bandmate Scott Miller, and fiddle player/singer Rayna Gellert joined the band for a few songs to round out the night.
All in all, it was a pleasant surprise at the end of the evening for this great band come on stage and close day 1 of the festival. I couldn’t wait to see what Zig had in store for us on Saturday.
Mic Harrison & The High Score are:
- Mic Harrison (guitar, vocals)
- Robbie Trosper (guitar, vocals)
- Brad Henderson (drums, vocals)
- Vance Hillard (bass, vocals)
- Chad Pelton (guitar, vocals)
Videos courtesy of Brian Kelly Multimedia.
"Out Of The Blue"
"Rock and Roll Clothes"
Photos courtesy of Mother Shutter Photography.