Steamtrain Maury would be proud.
The Village Idiot in Maumee will be the site of the first ever Steam Train Roots Music Festival on Saturday, a nod to Toledo's most famous hobo, Maurice Graham, who left home at middle age to travel the country by rails.
Organized by Larry Meyer, drummer for Old State Line and a local music promoter, manager and attorney, and Ben Langlois, bass player for Toledo bluegrass band the Blowing Grains, the show will feature four other bands with roots that dig deep into American music traditions of blues, country, rock, folk, and bluegrass.
"These are the musical styles that are the forerunners, the ancestors if you will, of today's modern styles," Meyer said. "If you talk about modern country, where did that come from? If you talk about modern blues, where did that come from?"
At the same time, the festival is a shout out to Graham, aka Steamtrain Maury, a cement mason who left his Toledo home at the age of 52 to ride the rails and work around the country for the next 12 years.
He became a regular at the National Hobo Convention every August in Britt, Iowa, and was elected five times as King of the Hoboes. While traveling, he visited veterans' hospitals and penitentiaries to cheer up patients and inmates. He died in 2006.
Meyer said that he and Langlois, who met Steamtrain Maury when he was a child, named the festival after the hobo because his adventures echoed the theme of the musical lineup.
"It's just a good fit and it seemed consistent to roots music and maybe reaching back to the Carter family and rural blues and just this idea of this guy hopping the rails and touring the country," he said.
Music begins at 4:30 with Old State Line, which plays acoustic American music and covers artists such as Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, and Townes Van Zandt. Dooley Wilson, an authentic slide guitar blues player, follows at 5:30. Next is Meaghan Roberts, who plays singer-songwriter material, at 6:30. Andrew Ellis and Lucky Lemont will play a mix of Delta Blues and southern rock at 7:30, with the Blowing Grains at 8:30. Kentucky Chrome closes the night with their energetic mix of rockabilly and country swing.
The Village Idiot is at 309 Conant St. in Maumee. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Contact Rod Lockwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6159.