West Virginia’s The Davisson Brothers have had a good — albeit busy — couple of years. Members of the Appalachia-flavored country band have been consummate road warriors, almost endlessly touring, sharing the stage with big name country acts and playing numerous music festivals.
“We’ve done the jam band festivals, the country festivals, every kind of festival you can imagine,” Band member Chris Davisson said.
This weekend, they will bring one home to West Virginia, as they are organizing and playing at the inaugural Wild and Wonderful Country Fest.
Friday evening kicks off the festival, which is being held at Mylan Park in Morgantown. The two-day event includes performances by country music icon Hank Williams Jr., country stars Old Dominion, plus Holly Williams, Scott McCreery, and Tucker Beathard.
Davisson said he and his brother, Donnie, have been talking about putting together some kind of festival for years.
“Earlier in our career, we worked a lot with the Del McCoury Band and got to watch the creation of DelFest,” Davisson said, referring to the Maryland-based festival. “We got to be part of that getting up off the ground.”
Throughout the band’s career, The Davisson Brothers Band has played a lot of festivals. They paid attention, took note of what they liked and tried to forget what they didn’t.
The guitarist said they had been approached a few times about starting up a festival, but nothing had panned out until this year.
“We just had to have the crew to pull it off,” he said.
Davisson said he and his brother always envisioned their festival as being more than music, akin to a celebration of Appalachian life and West Virginia.
“So, the hunting and fishing industry is going to be on site,” he said. “John Kruk is going to help host.”
Kruk, a Keyser native and major league baseball player, is a longtime friend of the brothers.
Davisson called on friends and acquaintances to come play their festival.
“A lot of the artists are people we’ve toured with, been in Nashville with or played with at festivals,” he said. “Some of them played our saloon in Morgantown.”
The brothers and NFL player Owen Schmitt opened “Schmitt’s Saloon and Davisson Brothers Band Music Hall” in 2013. The business closed its doors in 2015, but hosted a wide variety of acts, including Old Dominion.
“They played our saloon and sold 200-300 tickets and now they’re selling out arenas and have five number one hits.”
Davisson said they envisioned their festival as being a kind of homecoming for people, something that would draw former residents of the state back for the weekend but would also bring in country fans from beyond the borders to check out West Virginia.
He said the Davisson Brothers Band has been showing people where they’re from for ages.
“We’ll just show them pictures on our phone,” he said. “It’s beautiful here.”
Maybe by coming to the show, they’d see that for themselves, which Davisson thought was good for everybody.
As a start-up festival, Davisson seemed relaxed about his expectations for year one of the Wild and Wonderful Country Fest.
“We hope everybody has a great time and comes back next year,” he said. “We want to build this thing bigger and better every year. We already are talking about what we want to do next year.”