Lonesome Onry and Mean

Lonesome Onry and Mean: Previewing Saturday's Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival

Lonesome Onry and Mean has to hand it to those people in Conroe: they know how to book a cool festival lineup. In fact, the list of performers for the Go Texan! Wine & Food stage at Saturday's Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival is downright scary from the standpoint of cutting-edge, less-than-highly-visible quality Americana acts.

Longtime LOM left-side-of-Nashville fave Phil Lee fires up at 2:45 p.m. Recently signed to Steady Boy Records, this wildman maverick - who counts Neil Young as one of his fans -has just returned from another European tour, which is happening more and more for him lately. Lee's latest album So Long, It's Been Good To Know You has been getting lots of spins on both sides of the Atlantic.

Dustin Welch's release Whisky Priest is almost certainly going to make LOM's 2009 best-of list. Not only is Welch a highly literate songwriter, he plays banjo like Jimi Hendrix. Welch will be playing from 4-5:30 p.m.

Following Welch is the Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year, Gurf Morlix. Morlix's Last Exit To Happyland is another release that will likely be in LOM's year-end best-ofs.

At 7:45 p.m., it's Jubal Lee Young. Young's recently released album Last Free Place In America is very cool disc that cuts through several distinct slices of Americana, and a couple of tracks that just flat rock the house.

At 9 p.m., it's LOM's hero (and Jubal's dad), Steve Young, the man who wrote the Eagles' monster hit "Seven Bridges Road" as well as Waylon Jenning's flagship "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean." Young hasn't been in these parts in a few years, and its good to see the festival's bookers reaching out to an act of Young's history, integrity and world class pickin'.

The closing act is another of those "only in Conroe" one-off combinations: stellar Nashville songwriter Mark Germino backed by Texas faves the Gougers. Germino, who has had songs cut by Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris, always plants a few pleasing surprises in his sets. Germino will play from 10:30 p.m.-12 a.m.

Tickets are only $10, which LOM is going to go out on a limb and declare one of the top entertainment bargains on Planet Earth.

The festival covers a six-block area of downtown Conroe and features five stages. Click here for the full schedule of all stages.

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William Michael Smith