Television and films get sequels and prequels and music festivals evolve and have offshoots too, which is the case for BeachLife Ranch, the first-ever country/Americana/folk-rock-leaning music event from BeachLife Festival. Some will be coming for the boots and cowboy hat looks, others will venture by the ocean for headliners like Daryl Hall & John Oates, Brandi Carlile, Dierks Bentley and The Lumineers, but don’t sleep on the other acts bubbling up like the finest hot sauce. In addition to Ashley McBryde, Old Crow Medicine Show, Wilco, Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real and Songs of Waylon Jennings (with many special guests), we have compiled a list of rising stars and can’t miss talents who are sure to break out faster than a game of horseshoes or the time it takes to devour a BBQ slider.
(Friday, 9/16, 12:10 – 1:10 PM)
20-year-old Michigan Americana singer Myron Elkins plays with his band The Dying Breed, singing songs about life, sharing stories of youth, love, family and even addiction, with a clever knack for songwriting. His voice is seasoned like a performer who has been at it for a couple decades. Elkins grew up on a number of his grandfather’s favorites, like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Merle Haggard and his sound varies from blues and soul to rock and country western along with some bluegrass. But Elkins also has a respect for the soul singers of the past, everyone from Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Etta James, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker and Bob Seger. We’ve said it before, between the vocals and the guitar skills, Elkins is headed for a career trajectory among the best in the biz and his sound may remind listeners of Chris Stapleton and James Bay, in various moments. Listen up for songs from 2020 debut EP Just Another Asshole With A Guitar featuring the timeless, feel-good tune “Greater Good”, the bluesy “P.T.S.D”, guitar-led western “Leave My Gravy Alone” and the twangy, heart-warming “This Home of Mine”. Elkins is on the rise in a big way, having already opened earlier this year on tour for blues-rock band KALEO, alt-rockers Lucero, with dates on bills with Rival Sons, Paolo Nutini, Delta Spirit and Matt Maeson.
(Friday, 9/16, 5:15 – 6:15 PM)
Folk-rock act Waxahatchee is Alabama musician and singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield’s project. Crutchfield played in bands since she was 15 with her twin sister Allison, including pop punk act P.S. Eliot and prior to that, The Ackleys. Waxahatchee is five albums deep in solo records, with tours and live dates with HAIM, Courtney Barnett, Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Kurt Vile and the Violators as well as Sleater Kinney, Tegan and Sara andJawbreaker. Waxahatchee’s most recent release Saint Cloud in 2020 includes the harmonious “Lilacs”, folk-pop tune “Oxbow”, the stunning “Fire” and the organic “Can’t Do Much”. Other standout tracks include the rockin’ “No Curse” and the delicate guitar strums of “Bathtub”. Expect intricate storytelling, a variety of lovely vocal tones and some excellent musicians. Waxahatchee’s music certainly has country and folk elements and her duet “Other Side” with the late Wynonna Judd would certainly make for a rather poignant moment since the country icon passed just days after the song’s release. Crutchfield recently announced a new duo called Plains with musician Jess Williamson, so it’s entirely possible the BeachLife Ranch crowd may be one of the first audiences to be treated by music from this new group. Fresh track “Abilene” was just released by Plains coming on their collaborative album I Walked With You A Ways in October.
(Saturday, 9/17, 2:10 – 3:10 PM)
Nashville-based Canadian singer and two-time ACM winner Tenille Townes is on a hot streak, winning Entertainer of the Year and a total of five awards at the Canadian Country Music Awards on Sunday. Townes also took the reins as co-host of the CCMAs alongside Blanco Brown and Townes and made the debut TV performance of the timeless ballad “The Last Time” about embracing all of the moments, big or small. It’s also a big week because Townes was recognized as a nominee for the CMA International Artist Achievement Award, making an impact with her music outside of the United States. Townes has scored a pair of huge hits including “Somebody’s Daughter” and “Jersey on the Wall (I’m Just Asking)”, veering from cliché commercial country music about beer, dogs, trucks and breakups, lending her inviting and soulful voice to tunes about honoring women and celebrating the life of a lost classmate, respectively. Other songs to look out for are the upbeat “Come as You Are”, ballad “The Most Beautiful Things” and some new tunes from 2022 album Masquerades such as “Same Road Home”, “When You Need It” (featuring Wrabel) and “Shared Walls” (featuring BRELAND). Having toured with Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town and written and performed songs since her teens, Tenille Townes is for sure one to watch.
The War and Treaty
(Sunday, 9/18, 1:05 – 2:00 PM)
Nashville-based husband-and-wife duo The War and Treaty only debuted their major label lead single “That’s How Love Is Made” a couple weeks back, and it’s produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile) and co-written with Dave Barnes (Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett). If this song is a sign of what’s to come, it’s a glorious blend of soul and classic R&B with elements of roots and gospel. Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter are sure to shake up the world of duos and music overall, as their music crosses over so many genres and touches so many hearts. Expectations are high as this fearless duo won Artist of the Year at the International Folk Music Awards in 2021, they have played the UK’s Glastonbury, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, several dates at the Grand Ole Opry, performed a tribute to Ray Charles at the Country Music Hall of Fame and they have opened for an array of massive talents including Al Green, Willie Nelson, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, John Legend and Lauren Daigle. Pay attention to their effortless gospel on “Set My Soul On Fire”, the horn-happy “Five More Minutes”, powerful spiritual “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow” and the romantic soul tune “Are You Ready to Love Me?” Expect big voices and major moments to be wowed by.
(Sunday, 9/18, 4:00 – 5:00 PM)
For the bluegrass lovers, Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Greensky Bluegrass is an Americana act, sounding kind of like if Barenaked Ladies or Counting Crows were masterful in the bluegrass genre on guitar, banjo and mandolin. Their harmonies are effortless and the band is comprised of Anders Beck on dobro, Michael Arlen Bont on banjo, Dave Bruzza on guitar, Mike Devol on upright bass and Paul Hoffman on mandolin. Earlier this year, the band released their eighth album Stress Dreams and they will play BeachLife Ranch coming off two consecutive nights at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. With sets at Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Austin City Limits and many more, Greensky Bluegrass are becoming a staple in the scene. Fans can expect these talented musicians to jam out and add some of their favorites to the mix, including the plucky “Past My Prime”, folk-rock tune “Windshield” and the instrumental-heavy “Living Over”.
BeachLife Ranch runs Friday, September 16 through Sunday, September 18 in Redondo Beach (137 North Harbor Drive) with doors open each day at 11:30 AM, children under 10 are free and a variety of experiences are offered with ticket packages available, from Single Day GA at $159.00 to 3-Day GA at $299.00 and VIP ranging from $339.00 – $2,999.00.
Words by Michael Menachem
Photo of Tenille Townes by Ben Dartnell