Monday, July 31, 2006

The 2006 Redneck Roadtrip

MONDAY EVENING UPDATE: The pics are now uploaded!

The 2006 Redneck Roadtrip is in the books and the reviews are in.

This past weekend, myself, my good friend Dave, and his classmate Rajiv headed to beautiful Renfrew County to take in the Palmer Rapids Twin Music Festival, a poor man's version of the Havelock Country Jamboree. (Not that I've ever had the jam to actually go to Havelock.)

I have to admit that I did feel a little out of place for a few reasons. First, I have up smoking cigarettes years ago. Nor do I have any tattoos. My rental car was a Nissan Sentra rather than a Chevy Silverado. I have difficulty using outhouses, I don't have any immediate family members named Lorne or Elmer, and finally, I don't usually show affection for my friends by calling them "cocksucker". Nevertheless, we persevered through two thunderstorms, a dead car battery, no cellphone reception, and the demolition two cases of beer between the three of us within the first 24 hours. (Not bringing enough booze is one of the categories on the official Palmer Rapids Stupid Card, which a couple of fellers down the line from us were handing out if you were deemed "stupid". Other infractions include "drinking beer with butts in it", "shitting instead of farting", "passing joint the wrong way", and "coming alone/leaving alone", among others. Since we left our women at home and being the faithful and trustworthy husbands we are, we had the last one covered by default.)

Friday night saw us finding our bearings and getting acquainted with our neighbours and many of the attendees who were sporting cowboy hats purchased at GT Boutiques all across Eastern Ontario. (I know, because I have one.) We missed the set by headliner Beverly Mahood, but I did catch her cover of Kim Mitchell's "Patio Lanterns" when rambling around while waiting for Dave and Rajiv to arrive. I also took a gander by the vendors, who were selling T-shirts with sayings like "Work Harder - Millions On Welfare Depend on You" and "I See the Fuck-Up Fairy Has Visited Us Again". Alas, I was tapped, there wasn't a bank machine around for at least 20 miles, and they didn't take Visa.

On Saturday, much fun was had by all watching drunk college-age women lead the charge as the main road in front of the Madawaska River became a mud slide mid-Saturday afternoon. (Upon reflection, that was the same spot in the road I saw a beagle take a massive crap earlier in the day, and I don't recall the owner stoopin' to scoop any poop.)

This led into the evening's entertainment as provided by Diane Chase, whose hits "Takin' Back My Heart" and "In the Middle of Something" were augmented by covers of Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" and the Doobie Brothers' "Listen to the Music". Brad Johner followed up with an uneven set which included Great Big Sea-ish Maritime jams, Glenn Frey-esque ballads, and a couple of tunes which summed up the spirit of country music perfectly: "You Can't Break The Farmer's Back" and a song about winning the lottery with the chorus "Hard Work Never Hurt Nobody, But I'd Rather Be Lucky". Hear, hear. Also, playfully pleading with the fans to buy CDs so his kids could drink "real milk" rather than the powdered crap added some levity to the occasion as did the inbred ballad "I'm My Own Grandpa".

Finally, headliner Carolyn Dawn Johnson took the stage and belted out her hits like "Georgia", "Dress Rehearsal", "I Don't Want You to Go", "Just Another Girl" as well as some material from her latest CD. Anyone who regularly tunes into CMT will be familiar with CDJ as would people like Scott Lyons and myself who caught her opening for Keith Urban on his second-to-last cross-Canada tour. We capped off the night with T-bone steaks over the firepit and some Carling Light that we purchased off a fellow honky-tonker.

Sunday morning it was time to call it a trip and head back to civilization. I stopped in Quadeville for some French toast and sausage as served up by the lovely Betty (no doubt the only landed Chinese immigrant for miles around) and then it was on to Arnprior for lunch to sample Wes' Chips, which, as advertised, did not disappoint.

Stay tuned for pictures, courtesy of the Parking Lot.

Individual ratings:

Diane Chase: 8/10
Brad Johner: 6.75/10
Carolyn Dawn Johnson: 7.25/10

Overall rating: 7.5/10


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