Kickin' It on the Creek Pre-Show

The Burl Presents

Kickin' It on the Creek Pre-Show

Fri ยท August 3, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm


This event is 21 and over






If you missed tickets to Kickin' it on the Creek this year- you can attend this event for a chance to win 2 tickets! 

Sponsored by Country Boy Brewing 

Friday, August 3rd 

Ona, West Virginia is a small sliver of unincorporated ridges, creeks, and floodplains. It sprawls across Route 60 on its southern border and stretches up like a thick thumb almost reaching the Ohio River. It's home to one stop light, an Exxon, and a consolidated high school. Driving out its roads, you snake through shadowy hollows past rural suburbia. People's homes are tucked here and there where the folds of the land permit. A community of private property. Mortgaged acres. You'll see some trailers. You'll see some estates. You'll see a dog with one eye. You'll see the Beulah Ann Baptist Church.

Ona makes songs that take place in these spaces. Bradley Jenkins and Zack Owens write about passions slamming into roadblocks. They write about longing, resentment, searching, and waiting. They are backed by a tight rock and roll band comprised of Zach Johnston, Max Nolte, and Brad Goodall. The five of them create music that pulses and buzzes and echoes and rolls. It feels like standing with sweat in your eyes in grass up to your knees. It feels like getting your tennis shoes wet walking along the banks of the river. It feels like catching a buzz off a bottle your buddy stole from his brother and skipping track practice. It feels like taking a long walk into the trees when you can still hear them arguing inside the house.

Nobody in Ona is a millionaire. Everybody in Ona has to work in the morning.
Wayne Graham
Laid Back Country Picker
William Matheny
There is talent you glancingly acknowledge and then there is talent you ignore at your own risk. Consider West Virginia's William Matheny amongst the latter.

The 11 songs featured on his pending debut, Strange Constellations, contain echoes of the hard won wit and wisdom of Loudon Wainwright, the guitar prowess of James Burton, and the tensile anger of a young Paul Westerberg. But crucially, Matheny's is a new voice, marinated in tradition, but utterly idiosyncratic and entirely his own. For those fortunate several who have seen Matheny perform his indelible tunes live, there is no further need of proof. For those not yet in the know, see him at your next opportunity, and prepare to be floored.

Neil Young once mused that rock and roll's first novel advancement was its co-option of country music's Saturday night revelry and simultaneous shirking of its Sunday morning reckoning. But Neil knew as well as anybody that one day the bill comes due. William Matheny knows this too, and his various forays into flesh-driven pleasures are always abetted by hard consequence. The snarling, neighborhood bully country soul of 'Out For Revenge' co-exists uneasily, but brilliantly alongside the panoramic, decades-spanning consideration 'My Grandfather Knew Stoney Cooper'. Matheny's writing tends towards the inescapably catchy and the unpleasantly honest. In keeping with the work of his stated role model Tom T. Hall, everything is in play here - sex, love, politics, alcohol, sex, alcohol and all of its attendant cousins. The comically terrifying 'Living Half to Death' apologizes for the fact he 'abused all my friendships / and drank all their beer'. The murderously infectious punk of '29 Candles' causes you to question whether he really feels that sorry at all.

Superficial considerations of Matheny's work threaten to ghettoize him as a 'roots' artist, or worse 'alt-country'. For forward thinking listeners, this is the height of inanity- the literate toughness and eye-rolling anger of his material owe far more to Warren Zevon than any of Americana's 90's darlings. Matheny is not a roots artist in the sense of regurgitating familiar musical tropes or donning a uniform. The roots here run far closer to the musically polygamous genius of Elvis Costello, the acid misanthropy of Graham Parker, the country punk of Dwight Yoakam, or the moonshine-addled historicity of the Drive-By Truckers. A crackerjack backing band featuring Adam L. Meisterhans, Bud Carroll, Ian Thornton and Rod Elkins ensures that matters stay on track even when Matheny might become derailed. Like Costello's Attractions or Parker's Rumour, these are seasoned pros equally at home with whatever whims - sublime, salacious, or savage - that their leader might be inclined to indulge on any given late night.

Great artists come along seldom, thank god. If they came along all the time, we'd all be fucked. William Matheny is on the rare few - a great artist who demands our attention and rewards it in perpituty. Let him keep living half to death until he can do no more.

-Elizabeth Nelson & Timothy Bracy, Durham, NC

April 29th, 2016