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John Randall performing with The Hooten Hallers

Katie Harff/Photographer

Roots N Blues keeps performers Kent Burnside and The Flood Brothers and The Hooten Hallers coming back

Kent Burnside and The Flood Brothers and The Hooten Hallers return to Roots N Blues on Saturday.

By Katie Harff | Oct. 3, 2017

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Kent Burnside and The Flood Brothers and The Hooten Hallers brought unique sounds to the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival on Saturday, but share a common trait: They each have performed at the festival before and keep coming back.

Kent Burnside and The Flood Brothers was the opening act for the day on the Missouri Lottery Stage, and the band didn’t hold back. They kicked off their set with an upbeat rhythm that stayed constant throughout.

Almost everyone in the crowd was moving to the beat, whether they were tapping a foot or letting the music take over their whole body.

Lead singer and guitarist Kent Burnside created his sound with inspiration from his grandfather, R.L. Burnside, and has been performing alongside The Flood Brothers for 10 years.

“I grew up listening to my grandfather,” Burnside said. “Without him, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Burnside performed at the first Roots N Blues in 2007 and continues to return for many reasons.

“The people are great and the atmosphere is great,” Burnside said. “I just love playing for the people and there really are a lot of great people here.”

The festival’s atmosphere, with its huge crowds and variety of food, is great in itself. However, Burnside recognizes that without the music, it would be nothing.

Burnside grew up in Mississippi and appreciates the sounds of the South that Roots N Blues brings.

“The music is great and the music is what brings the people together, and that’s what it’s all about,” Burnside said.

Festivalgoer Dylan Lorenz agrees with Burnside that Roots N Blues has something special to offer.

“It’s just a great event; it’s kind of hard to put into words,” Lorenz said. “There is something really magical about it, especially after a long work week. You get here and everything is really nice because there is good food and good music.”

The next performers to return to the Roots N Blues stage were The Hooten Hallers. The band consists of drummer Andy Rehm, guitarist and vocalist John Randall and saxophonist Kellie Everett.

Between a saxophone, loud wailing and a rock ‘n’ roll sound, The Hooten Hallers kept it interesting.

Randall said that the band’s sound has a lot of influences, which makes every song different from the last.

“We’re rock and roll but there’s a lot of blues influence,” Randall said. “[Everett’s saxophone] adds a swingy element sometimes. Some folks say it’s swampy. There is also soul thrown in time to time.”

Since the band has so many sounds mixed into one, each member has to do their part to create it.

Crowd member Susan O’Donnell had never seen The Hooten Hallers before and was amazed by their performance.

“The saxophone was phenomenal and his voice was phenomenal,” O’Donnell said. “I just loved it.”

Part of the reason O’Donnell appreciated the show so much was because she recognized that the band created a sound by combining many different types of music.

“Each musician was able to carry the song,” O’Donnell said. “There was no real star because they all played so well.”

Since The Hooten Hallers are from Columbia, Roots N Blues holds a special place in their hearts.

“I really like seeing and playing for friends we might not have seen for a while and it’s nice reconnecting with people after having been on the road,” Randall said.

The Hooten Hallers are looking forward to their next performance in their hometown at Rose Music Hall on New Year’s Eve.

Although Kent Burnside and The Flood Brothers and The Hooten Hallers brought different sounds to Roots N Blues, they pleased the crowds and enjoyed their time at the festival. Roots N Blues was an unforgettable experience for those both in the crowd and on stage.

Edited by Claire Colby | ccolby@themaneater.com

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