Blues Music

Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss, Jamie Lin Wilson Conquer Key West

Key Western Fest has just concluded in Key West, Florida, wrapping up a week of revitalizing the country music from the ’90s for today’s fans. Though there were many great performances—including from headliners Neal McCoy, The Oak Ridge Boys, Clint Black, and Clay Walker—one of the things you heard some people murmuring about during the week was how the women of the era have held up better over time and shined more than some of the men.

This most certainly included Suzy Bogguss, who put on a pretty incredible show Wednesday evening (2-1). If you want to see a master class in performance, how to center a song in music, how to exude grace and class at every turn, go see Suzy Bogguss in concert. She played with just a standup bass player and an acoustic/B-Bender guitar player, and that’s all she needed to hold the audience in rapt attention and get them singing along.

Pam Tillis was one of the highlights of the week as well. When she performed Thursday night (2-2), she said, “I’ve been around so long, I’ve done bell bottoms three times.” But good country music never goes out of style. Pam Tillis is the perfect example of that. She still has it like it’s 1991 and she just released “Maybe It Was Memphis.”

As George Jones once asked, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” Well down in Texas (and in Key West too), that answer is resoundingly Jamie Lin Wilson, who has been doing her part to keep the songs of women like Pam Tillis and Suzy Bogguss alive, along with adding her own new original songs to the country music canon.

Jamie Lin not only acted as an emcee for much of Key Western Fest, she performed with Suzy Bogguss at the 150-year-old San Carlos Theater in Key West as part of a more intimate showcase during the week. The two have been friends for some years, and had some great stories to tell. And when Wilson joined Bogguss and her band on the harmonica, it was heavenly.

Shortly thereafter their theater show, Suzy Bogguss and Jamie Lin Wilson jumped into a Jeep with Pam Tillis and went zooming around Key West, singing some of their favorite songs together as they breezed by landmarks like Ernest Hemingway’s house. If nothing else, you have to appreciate just how much the childhood dreams of Jamie Lin Wilson were realized in the moment.

A full recap of Key Western Fest is on the way, but the kismet the women of the festival forged over the week was worth worth highlighting unto itself.

For more highlights from Key Western Fest, follow Saving Country Music on Instagram.

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