Acts Salute Jennings At Red River Fest

The Red River Tribute, set for Sept. 19-20 at Saengerhalle in New Braunfels, Texas, will feature like-minded musicians honoring legendary outlaw Waylon Jennings as best they know how: by playing music

The Red River Tribute, set for Sept. 19-20 at Saengerhalle in New Braunfels, Texas, will feature like-minded musicians honoring legendary outlaw Waylon Jennings as best they know how: by playing music their way. And, unlike two recently released multi-artist albums paying homage to the late Jennings, the Red River players skew more toward acts of a rebellious bent that best make their statement from the stage.

"At first we wanted to do a studio record, but most all of the bands we had in mind work 200-plus dates a year, so it would be nearly impossible to get all of them in the studio," says Cody Canada, frontman for Cross Canadian Ragweed. Canada's wife/manager, Shannon, is spearheading the Red River Tribute.

All profits from tickets ($45 for one day, $80 for both days), food and beverages, merchandise and CD sales will benefit diabetes research. Jennings died Feb. 13, 2002, of complications from diabetes.

Most of the acts on that bill, except for country hitmaker Lee Ann Womack, inhabit that murky country/rock no man's land where Jennings staked his claim. Among those booked for the occasion are Cross Canadian Ragweed, Billy Joe Shaver, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Cooder Graw, Travis Linville, Ray Wylie Hubbard, the Mike McClure Band, 1,100 Springs, Stoney LaRue, Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen and Mickey and the Motor Cars.

"Just about every person we called jumped right on it," Canada says. He adds that the tribute was put together with the full blessing of Jennings' widow, Jessi Colter, and son Shooter Jennings. Both of them will also perform.

For Shaver, playing the tribute is a chance to tip his hat to an artist who had a huge impact on his own career. "I heard about a few other tribute shows, but I didn't get invited to 'em," he says. "If Waylon hadn't stuck his neck out and recorded my songs, I probably wouldn't even be on the map."

Putting the event together has involved "lots of paperwork and dealing with lots of record labels, getting permission," Shannon Canada admits. "XM Radio wants to broadcast it, so that's a whole 'nother set of paperwork. But I imagine most artists will sign off on it."

Shannon says most acts will play 45-minute sets, including their own material plus a Jennings song, while Colter and Shooter Jennings will perform a set of the elder Jennings' material. Doors open both days at 9 a.m. Music will run from 11 a.m. until midnight on Sept. 19. On Sept. 20, the bands play from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m.