“If music be the food of love, play on,” Wm. Shakespeare, “Twelfth Night.”
It’s a phrase that is perfectly applicable to the 2017 Wildwood BBQ Bash, especially with a concert lineup that pulls bands from across the region and those that have received critical and worldwide acclaim right into the backyard of West County residents.
From soulful country to grungy rock and everything in between, seven artists are scheduled to take the stage and entertain audiences day and night.
For those wanting to dance away the weekend’s calories, here are a few artists not to miss.
Drake White and The Big Fire
Drake White is an American country singer from Alabama who, since 2011, has quickly climbed the ranks as a prolific artist and opener for bands like “Little Big Town” and “Zac Brown Band.”
White started writing song lyrics at age 14 and later was asked to sing for his youth choir at First Baptist Church of Hokes Bluff, and he hasn’t stopped making music since.
Today, with The Big Fire, White’s gospel-inspired vocals thrill audiences across the country. His music carries a message for his listeners to embrace harmony amid the demands of modern life by valuing genuine relationships with friends and family over the sole presence of technology.
White’s debut album, titled “Spark,” is a callback to late nights outdoors with friends around a campfire in Alabama. In August 2016, it charted at No. 4 on the Top Country Albums chart.
While soulful tracks “I Need Real” and the Southern-inspired rock anthem “Back to Free” speak to finding balance in life, White’s otherworldly vocal range in the honky-tonk flavored “Story” provides the perfect opportunity for dancing.
Drake White and The Big Fire take the Main Stage at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22.
The Bottle Rockets
Currently based in St. Louis, the Bottle Rockets were formed in 1992 and quickly were labeled as pioneers of the ‘90s alt-country/roots rock revival, a title often shared with other Middle America bands like Uncle Tupelo, Old 97’s and Whiskeytown.
Often labeled as commentary storytellers and compared to artists like Woodie Guthrie and Neil Young, the Bottle Rockets got their start in Festus, Missouri, and soon were lighting up clubs with their “punk-rock pedigrees and tougher-than-Springsteen storytelling.”
Four members, including founding members Brian Henneman on guitar/vocals and Mark Ortmann on drums, continue to deliver the band’s punk-rock and country blended aesthetics, catering to a variety of genres including alternative country, roots rock, outlaw country and more.
The band’s album “Zoysia,” named for the hardy grass that’s plentiful in Festus and St. Louis, received worldwide acclaim and spotlights themes like maturity, neighborliness, insightful self-reflection and individualism. Songs like “Middle Man” proclaim that middle America is more than landscapes while songs like “I Quit” give off more retro, soulful vibes.
The Bottle Rockets will start their show at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23.