by Julian Spivey
I had been wanting to check out the Arkansas Goat Festival in Perryville, Ark., held annually on the first Saturday of October, for some years now but my work schedule never seemed to align with it. This year I got lucky it fell on an off-Saturday and it was off to see some goats in lingerie (seriously, they have a goat lingerie show!).
I just so happened to see on the festival’s website that a band called Posey Hill, which I’d just recently become acquainted with thanks to its single “Keeping Tyler” popping up on my Spotify via the Saving Country Music Top 25 Current Playlist curated by that website’s maintainer Kyle Coroneos, would be headlining the concert stage at the event, so after seeing livestock parade around in frilly undergarments, my wife, Aprille, and I decided to stick around for some country music.
Posey Hill is a regional touring band from central Arkansas that kept it all in the family featuring sisters Kristian, Erin and Megan on vocals, while their dad Doug Burnett picks guitar and helps the harmony flow. They also had two fine instrumentalists with them on fiddle and banjo whose names I wish I had remembered to write down.
Posey Hill had a bit of a train theme going on early in its set, opening with a nice cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freight Liner Blues,” before transitioning into Alan Jackson’s “Freight Train” and then into the group’s first original song of the set, “First Train,” the opening track off the debut album No Clear Place to Fall.
Being a festival where there are a lot of comers and goers and the general population of the event might not know you from Adam it was easy to see why Posey Hill performed mostly covers on the sunny, finally feeling-like autumn Saturday afternoon, but when the originals are as good as the ones the group performed it’d be just fine by me if they’d toss a few more in the set.
The other two originals the group performed were “I’m Too Old for This,” and the aforementioned “Keeping Tyler,” a tale of a broken relationship in which the narrator only wants to keep her Tyler Childers records. If you’re a fan of Childers, I assure you that you need to check this song out. I guarantee you’ll love it, even if you might be like me and my wife and think Eric Church shouldn’t catch a stray.
Posey Hill showed it was capable of doing just about anything singer-songwriter-ish on Saturday afternoon going from bluegrass to country to folk to rock to even harmonizing pop on a stunning cover of the Bee Gee’s “To Love Somebody.”
The cover choices from the group were impeccable with some great ones I’d never been familiar with like Kasey Chambers’ “Last Hard Bible” to all-time favorites of mine in John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright.”
The girls even let pops shine for a bit when Doug took the vocals on a nice performance of Vince Gill’s “Liza Jane.”
One of the many highlights of the set was the finisher “Mule Skinner Blues,” which allowed the sisters to show off their vocals on the bluegrass staple revitalized by Dolly Parton in 1971.
As I mentioned, Posey Hill bills itself on its website as a “regional touring band,” but if they keep writing and recording songs like they have on their album and showcased on Saturday afternoon to a bunch of goats and their humans they might drop that “regional” part real soon.
Y’all be sure to see them locally while you can. They’ll be at the Arkadelphia Festival of the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 3:30 p.m.