Live from Black Deer Festival: Songwriter Session – Jamie Wyatt, Melissa Carper, Brennan Leigh and Stephen Wilson Jr

June 16, 2023
The sun is smiling on this year’s Country and Americana festival Black Deer. If this hasn’t yet become a familiar annual event for you, just know that you’re missing out on a journey of classic authentic Americana, amazing food, and a festival that has something for every age.
As I wondered down the dusty path past people sitting under umbrellas at the Cafe Nero stage, children beginning their first tree climb at Young Folk, I could see Haley’s Bar in the distance next to Southern Fried Chicken and Dirty Burgers. Crowds were gathering inside the tent, and by the time the first guitar struck a chord, were spilling out onto the grass outside: Hayley’s Bar’s reputation preceding it.
Not yet relaxed, a heady anticipation thrilled through the onlookers as the songwriters joined the stage: Jamie Wyatt, Melissa Carper, Brennan Leigh and Stephen Wilson Jr.
‘Welcome y’all’, opened Stephen Wilson Jr in a southern drawl, introducing his peers from the South. With the smell of grass and cooking in the air, he set the scene for a set of storytelling, painting a picture of the hills that came with him in his song, ‘Billy’. The movement of the notes helped the audience to travel with him, taking those hills along for the ride.
Over the next forty five minutes the audience were asked to ‘suspend disbelief’ as each artist introduced themselves and the premise of their song, from a father who drove his first tractor when he was ten, to an ex girlfriend whose dream was to own her own goat farm. (Which she eventually did.) The music was a vessel for the narration of the lyrics, and cast long, relaxed shadows that transported us to cowboy country; a perfect start to the festival weekend.
Words by Becca Bates – Pics by David Court

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