Over the course of the last few years, the Sunday before Labor Day has seen some really good times take place on the dusty plot of land next to Billy Bob's in Ft. Worth's Stockyards district. Day-long festivals headlined by acts such as Cross Canadian Ragweed, the Black Crowes and the Randy Rogers Band have filled that spot with ample amounts of drunken revelry.
This year, the folks at Billy Bob's are hosting the Stockyards Music Festival, an impressive mix of veteran acts and bands still on the rise. Proven headliners such as Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard and Pat Green top the bill, and notable locals such as The Bird Dogs and Jonathan Tyler will be present and accounted for, but as is the case with many festivals, the real prize can be found earlier in the day. We've picked five acts that aren't headline grabbers, but are certainly not to be missed.
The Turnpike Troubadours (12:45 p.m.) Since the release of their stellar Goodbye Normal Street, there isn't a better band touring our region. It truly isn't a reach to think after another couple of years, this Evan Felker-led group will be headlining this type of big-time bill.
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Adam Hood (5 p.m.) This native Alabaman has become an honorary Texan, thanks to his soulful delivery and knack for writing songs as catchy as they come. He's not a newcomer by any stretch, so there's plenty of audio gold to dig up.
Deadman (2:30 p.m.) Many of us in the metroplex are familiar with this Austin group, but similar to the aforementioned Hood and fellow Austinites Band of Heathens, Deadman knows how to simply and soulfully throw down.
Whiskey Myers (4:15 p.m.) There's a strong current of young acts that have not only dominated the regional college-town circuit, but are beginning to dominate the state's largest clubs and theaters. The Josh Abbott Band and Casey Donahue Band have become commercial giants, and represent a new generation of Texas/Red Dirt super-stardom. The Tyler-based Whiskey Myers will soon be on that list, if they aren't already.
Uncle Lucius (1:30 p.m.) The bands on this list excel at employing soul and country sounds, and Austin's Uncle Lucius has just released another great album, And You Are Me. Their live show has been honed not only on every stage Austin has to offer, but all over the country while on the road with the likes of Shooter Jennings (who plays at 6:15 p.m.) and The Departed.