Honeysuckle Roads finally made it to the Nashville Boogie!  The epic rockabilly festival is something I’ve wanted to attend for the past few years.  It was a blast seeing so many bands including some I knew from Atlanta.  I was not able to see my D.C. friends the Rock-A-Sonics perform on Friday as I landed on Saturday but I did meet up with them the next day.  My first day of the trip brought back memories of my restless days in Georgia, going to shows to take videos for the blog, trying to keep a small freelance writing/blogging business going, and aspiring to be the rockabilly chick version of Alan Lomax (if Lomax wore pencil skirts and flowers in his hair).  Those were special times for me, and seeing familiar faces from the scene brought those exciting feelings back.  I also enjoyed seeing bands whose music I had not heard before as well as some pretty big names that made for very a memorable concert experience that I cannot wait to reveal to you…

First stop: the car show and Hot Rod Walt and the Psycho DeVilles!

We arrived just in time for the Hot Rod Boogie car show and Hot Rod Walt and the Psycho DeVilles at Scoreboard Grille.  Hot Rod Walt is renowned for his pinstriping of vintage cars (and guitars) as well as his musicianship so it was no surprise that this part of the Boogie coincided with his show.  The car show was a great opportunity for colorful photo ops, and I met a few new retro-loving friends there!

New friends, a new parasol, and the obligatory car pose!

No act personifies my experience with the Atlanta rockabilly/psychobilly scene quite like Hot Rod Walt and the Psycho DeVilles.  With “Hot Rod” Walt Richards at the helm as lead singer and guitarist, drummer Steve “Burnout” Burnett, and bass player Buford T. Ogletree, be prepared for a no-holds-barred rockabilly/psychobilly/punk rock show that always draws a crowd.  You never know what Walt might say or do.   He could be gentlemanly one minute and raunchy the next (his stage persona)!  He and his band are known to add literal fire to their shows as well–particularly in the lighting of Buford T. Ogletree’s bass!  His outrageous character does not deter women in the audience from dancing on the stage when Walt summons–and yes I took part as well!  How couldn’t I??

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Walt and the Ladies


You never know what Hot Rod Walt will do next…like play on top of the bar…and in the crowd!


A classic tune from Hot Rod Walt and the guys: he plays everything from Elvis to classic country to punk!

It was great to see Walt and his band again and he recognized me when I took off my sunglasses at the end of the show and gave me a hug.  That’s what you get with Hot Rod Walt and the guys; fans are like family.   Overall it was a very fun part of the Boogie.


    Next stop: the vintage vendors and the fashion show!

There were so many unique and beautiful things!  Check out the sheer pink peignoir and the black Western shirt with white embroidery from H Bar C (swoon).

There was also a Western fashion show featuring the work of various designers, including that of Cathy Hahn, responsible for the Nudie Suit stylings of Post Malone and Lil Nas of “Old Town Road” renown:



Gaylord Opryland Presidential Ballroom: Billy Harlan, The Stompin’ Riff Raffs, and The Surfrajettes

 After a break and dinner, it was on to more music! I was able to catch up with Bill Harlan of Billy Harlan and the Rockin’ Billies!  We struck a dancing pose for the photo. I met Bill at the Rockabilly Reckoning outside Atlanta two years ago.  He is one of the original rockabilly pioneers of the 1950s and has great stories of growing up in that uniquely musical area of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.  See my post on him and Hot Rod Walt for further reference.

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Striking a Dancing Pose with Bill Harlan

The night’s next musical acts included the Stompin’ Riff Raffs who came all the way from Japan and included theremin in their repertoire to give an otherworldly sound to their fast-paced early rock-and-roll sound.  Their band members consist of frontman Nao, Saori on drums, Miku on keyboard and theremin, and Rie on bass.  All of the Riff Raffs wore carnival masks, with Saori, Miku, and Rie all dressed in golden flapper-style dresses.  Their act was very far from traditional rockabilly but certainly creative!

Afterward we saw The Surfrajettes, an all-female surf rock band from Canada featuring Shermy Freeman and Nicole Danoff on guitar, Sarah Butler on bass, and Anna Liebel on drums.  Named in honor of the turn-of-the-century women’s suffrage activists and the legendary surf sound, The Surfrajettes are known for their creative mixes of popular songs rendered in the early 1960s surf style.  They are renowned in the worlds of both surf rock and rockabilly and have made appearances at many rockabilly/roots festivals.

One of The Surfrajettes’ inspired medleys, mixing Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” with “Ghost Riders in the Sky”

A sunny, surf-y take on an early Beatles classic:


Saturday at the Boogie was a blast!  Stay tuned to find out what Sunday had in store!

-Emily Morris