Buddy's Good Time Bar Stage was located a little way away from the other stages via a circuitous woodland walk, it opened out to a covered stage, had there been any rain, and a selection of hay bales, chairs, barrels and plenty of space for a sizeable crowd to gather. Strangely for someone due to be on the Front Porch stage at 23:30 to close proceedings for one stage she was also given the job of opening things for the day at Buddy's. The joy of The Long Road Festival is that you are always destined to come across acts you have never seen before and in Lauren we certainly met someone that we'd like to see a lot more of.
Accompanied by her husband Jason, they had a batch of great songs, some crazy true stories and a great sense of humour that won over every member of the audience present. Lauren in a bright pink jumpsuit and curly blonde hair was a great hostess easily building a rapport with te crowd, while Jason dressed in blacjk with shades, contributed greatly to the success of the set with his superior guitar lines. The tone of the set was started form the very start with "Only Nice When I'm High", a tale of a pandemic looming, legal herb gathering ( at least in some states!) road trip home! It was a nice folky country sound that eased us into the days performance.
There was something of a classic country sound for "H-U-S-T-L-E" but it came with smart spot on modern lyrics which made for a nice counterbalance, even finding room to reference Jay Z!. Jason's guitar work was particularly helpful in creating that traditional country sound. If the opening songs showed a degree of humour in Lauren's writing then "Alabama" showed a completely different side, this was writing that painted evocative lyrical pictures in each and every line, it was personal memories delivered with real feeling,and saw Lauren hover over the final notes extracting every inch of pathos from those lyrics - marvellous stuff.!
Similar great wordplay came into play with "Viki Lynn" the life story of Lauren's "Bad Ass" Mum. which referenced various years and key events throughout her life including the birth of Lauren. Once again it was Jason's guitar work that so perfectly complimented the performance. Undoubtedly some of that bad ass attitude got passed down the family line as "I Don't Think About You At All", a slow ballad, came with some devastatingly cutting put down lines. This slow ballad really highlighted Lauren's vocal talents, it also saw Jason contribute a suitably slow guitar solo.
Things were to close in truly bizarre style with "Barbara Jean", a song that managed to be a murder ballad, at times laugh out loud funny while also managing to be loosely based on a true story. This was an excellent way to start the day, and a testament to how good it had been was exemplified by the instant queue of well wishers wanting to say just how great it had been.