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BURLINGTON — Shaina Goodman doesn’t need to tell you she’s from Kentucky. Her unmistakable drawl is a giveaway.

Concert-goers will be able to hear that accent Saturday at 2:25 p.m. as Goodman’s band, the southern indie folk outfit The Savage Radley, kicks off day two of the sixth annual Tall Tales Music Festival in Downtown Burlington.

When The Savage Radley was booked to play the festival, Goodman, 29, was relieved to find out that Burlington only has 10,000 people, which is only about 7,500 people more than her hometown of Hickman, Kentucky.

“I come from a town of less than 3,000 people, so I should fit right in no matter how small it is. If you’ve got a stoplight then you’re doing better than we are,” she said.

Tall Tales spread through downtown Burlington

She isn’t joking. Hickman still doesn’t have a stoplight. Most of Goodman’s childhood memories come from the row crop farm that her father and brother still maintain back home, and also from singing in church pews three times a week.

“I did go to three concerts a week, you could say,” Goodman joked.

She doesn’t practice organized religion anymore, but Goodman still considers church and the rural southern landscape to be her biggest musical influences. The Savage Radley’s debut album is named after the invasive Chinese vines that cover hundreds of thousands of acres in the southeastern United States: “Kudzu.”

The music on the record is reminiscent of that landscape, with bass and vocals that roll and rumble like Appalachian foothills.

Drawing a parallel between being a farmer’s daughter and music is natural for the 29-year-old singer-songwriter: “While you’re aspiring to do something with your music, it may seem like you’re in a drought sometimes, but I was always taught that droughts are not the worst thing in the world to happen to a plant,” Goodman said. “It makes the taproot — which is what will sustain it later through hard winds and bad weather and things — it will make it go further into the ground. That’s what we have experienced at different times in our go with this, this big ol’ gamble.”

Most important meal of the day

Goodman doesn’t put too much thought into where she plays, even if it’s far from home.

“It’s just nice when people are there,” she admitted.

By traveling all over for concerts and festivals, the band — comprised of Goodman (guitar, lead vocals), Matthew Roan (lead guitar, backing vocals), Stephen Montgomery (drums) and Kate Haldrup (bass) — has been able to get a literal taste of all kinds of American cuisine. But one meal is more important than the rest, for The Savage Radley at least.

“We’re definitely diner connoisseurs,” Goodman said. “A lot of people skip breakfast, but that’s not the case with us … Matt eats all day. We got to keep him fed and happy. We have to keep Kate fed and happy, too. We can’t have hangry people on the road.”

The band is looking forward to trying out famed Frank’s Diner in Downtown Kenosha after a fan offered the suggestion on Facebook.

Rest of the fest

Besides music Friday night and all day Saturday, there are plenty of other activities going on at Tall Tales Music Festival, which takes place throughout the streets of historic Downtown Burlington.

There will be a “full block of kids’ activities,” according to festival organizer Patrick Sullivan, including tie-dying, bounce houses, a family music stage and outdoor pingpong.

There will also be outdoor bars, beer and wine tents, restaurants serving to people on the street, and several food trucks.

“It’s a spot where you can spend a whole day,” Sullivan said.

Other performers include Milwaukee’s Dead Horses; Erin Rae, who helped organized the lineup; and Lilly Hiatt, a singer-songwriter from Nashville who is also the daughter nine-time Grammy-nominee John Hiatt.

“While you’re aspiring to do something with your music, it may seem like you’re in a drought sometimes, but I was always taught that droughts are not the worst thing in the world to happen to a plant.” Shaina Goodman, The Savage Radley frontwoman

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Adam Rogan (SCHS '14, Drake U. '17) has been covering homelessness, arts & culture and just about everything else for the JT since March 2018. He enjoys mid-afternoon naps, loud music played quietly and social media followers @Could_Be_Rogan

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