Festival - Railbird 2024 6

The Biggest Takeaways from Railbird Festival 2024 Day 2

June 4, 2024 3:19 pm GMT

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Well that was some weekend huh?

Despite the pouring rain leaving everyone in attendance at the Red Mile racetrack a little damp on Day Two, nothing could break the spirit when you've got such an enriching and immersive line-up at Railbird Festival.

The Kentucky event, time and again, not only pulls in some of the biggest acts in country, folk and Americana, but does so with eclectic curation and an eye for what's truly good. That's cemented on Day 2 of the wet and windy festival, with punters treated to an immersive and joyous experience.

Whether it was The Red Clay Strays pulling one of the biggest crowds at The Burl Stage, Allison Russell uniting us all in aid of change or Chris Stapleton being the country music icon we all know and love, Railbird Day Two was one for the books.

With their boots deep in the wet mud, the Holler team have gathered their biggest takeaways and best moments from the second day.

<p>Festival - Railbird 2024 5 - Red Clay Strays</p>

The Red Clay Strays Have the Star Power To Cement Themselves

Some may say it's a difficult game having one of the biggest songs of the year.

While 'Wondering Why's unwavering viral popularity and success has led to The Red Clay Strays packing out festival tents far and wide (as displayed here at Railbird), the question must be asked whether their performances and catalogue hold up to the high bar their smash hit song has set.

The answer, almost unquestionably, is a resounding yes. The Red Clay Strays are a modern day rock n roll band for the compassionate and resolute - a frank and unwavering group who bleed their emotions and exorcise their demons through the most primal of genres.

"Y'all make us feel like rockstars up here," Brandon Coleman admits, "this is probably the biggest crowd we've ever played to". Their set is heavily reverbed yet soulful, Coleman's voice across a yearning song like new single 'Wanna Be Loved', the denseness of their sound really adding to the weight of their lyricism.

"A lot of people have been calling us country. I don't think we are, we're a rock n roll band", Brandon shares with the crowd. It's hard to argue with them, but with all the truth and emotional complexities that are wrung from their performance, it's hard not to call them so.

Best Song: 'Stone's Throw'

- Ross Jones

<p>Festival - Railbird 2024 7 - Allison Russell</p>

Allison Russell Is A Creative Driving Force for Change

Allison Russell has always had a way with a word and a song, expressing herself as frankly and passionately as possible while thriving in the experimentation and liberation of her creative endeavours.

Her set at Railbird Festival was a real psychedelic and immersive affair - all swirling keys and effervescent electric guitar. Russell layered it further with ethereal clarinet while singing half in French, half in English, embracing the world within her music.

Her songs live, while undeniably focused in their narrative, felt universal in this setting, a caring welcome to those in need of hearing. "We have to bring as many people in as we can", Russell suggests as she tells the story of how Brandi Carlile gave her an opportunity, reminding us how important it is to work together in making this a better place.

"I know people from the Bluegrass state can sing," Russell beams excitedly, receiving another enthusiastic bellow from the crowd. The call and response of 'Demons' proved she was right, the crowd chanting the words back with jubilation and exorcising power.

During her set at Railbird Festival, Russell's words feel all the more determined, offering a powerful, thought-provoking cause for celebration that there's someone out there who's intent in bringing us all together.

Best Song: 'Springtime'

- RJ

<p>Festival - Railbird 2024 2 - Lord Huron</p>

Lord Huron Serve Up Atmospheric Reminder of Their Staying Power

Given Lord Huron's penchant for lush, ambient textures and ethereal, layered vocals, it's fascinating seeing how these headphone-tailored sonics translate into a live show.

During the much-loved band's Railbird set, they reminded attendees why they've remained at the forefront of the folk and alternative space for over a decade.

Opening with an eccentric skit pivoting around a payphone, with bassist Miguel Briseño taking it off the hook as the trill reverberated hauntingly across the Red Mile, Lord Huron's charismatic frontman, Ben Schneider, proceeded to sing into the receiver as a clever means of producing the band's signature atmospheric sound.

From their sinuous adventurer's theme-song, ‘Ends of the Earth’, to their now-iconic anthem ‘The Night We Met’, Lord Huron cushioned each track with their electrifying, dramatic instrumentals coupled with Schneider's otherworldly vocals and stage presence, creating a cosy, warm feeling that rippled throughout the audience.

Best Song: ‘Ends of the Earth’

- Maxim Mower

<p>Festival - Railbird 2024 4</p>

Kip More Channels Springsteen for Raucous Early Afternoon Set

When the blockbuster 2024 Railbird Festival line-up was unveiled, Kip Moore was one of the most fascinating additions to the folk-leaning and alt-country-inspired roster. With More hailing more from the rockier edges of mainstream country, his set felt like a tester ahead of a potential future slot higher up the bill.

He undoubtedly delivered. Performing in the early afternoon slot is an unenviable position to be in, but Kip drew a large crowd that was raring to go as he stormed into the Lexington sun.

The Limestone Stage could barely contain his energy, with Moore bringing a Springsteen-esque demeanour as he leant onto the speakers and rattled through his arsenal of hits.

‘Beer Money’ was a highlight, with the crowd roaring the infectious chorus back at Moore, while his philosophical yet angsty ‘The Bull‘ sent a jolt of energy surging through the crowd.

Best Song: ‘Beer Money’

- MM

<p>Festival - Railbird 2024 8 - Chris Stapleton</p>

Chris Stapleton is The Best of Us (Like We Didn't Already Know)

Chris Stapleton is The Best of Us (Like We Didn't Already Know)

There's something unforgettable about seeing Chris Stapleton in his home state of Kentucky. Much like Tyler Childers the year before at the Lexington festival, Stapleton came home for a jubilant headline set that summed up everything we love about the modern country music icon.

Taking to the stage as he does with his trusty band - including wife Morgane on vocals and tambourine - Stapleton whipped through a hits-heavy set that channelled each flavour of genre he's become known for.

Whether it was the ripping honky tonk section that included fiery versions of 'Worry B Gone' and 'Hard livin' or the sensual and amorous performance of recent single 'I Think I'm In Love With You', the set was considered and seamless, Stapleton casually reloading guitars like pistols for each new song.

When Chris and Morgane sing together, you can't help but fall for the couple on stage in front of you. It's a natural embodiment of true love that makes the set all the more joyous. Stapleton sings to his wife every night like it's the last time, and live it makes the songs all the more special.

Best Song: 'I Think I'm In Love With You'

- RJ

For more on Railbird Festival 2024, see below:

Photography courtesy of Railbird Festival

Written by Ross Jones
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Railbird Festival 2024

Photography by Ismael Quintanilla III Courtesy of Railbird Festival

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