The links between stoner metal, desert rock and blues are well-known – but what is less talked about is the overlap between heavy music and old-time music. There’s a large collection of folk and countryside projects associated with doom and sludge bands, like Iskra’s traditional folk band Knacker’s Yard or Weedeater’s country/bluegrass spinoff BarStul. But nobody does this stuff better than outlaw country hero Hank Williams III (see also Superjoint Ritual), who drunkenly stumbles between bluegrass and metal with undeniable style.

The blues, bluegrass, country and metal also share a common penance to Black history and resilience. “All of this music has been in the Black community, in the Moor and Arab community, since the 11th Century,” says Henrique Prince of The Ebony Hillbillies. “This stuff goes back, back, back, back, back… beyond Appalachia.” Jim Bower from Eyehategod roots the entire NOLA sludge scene back to Black communities resisting slavery by jamming in Congo Square on Sundays… the only day this was permitted publicly. Anything anchored in Sabbath is also anchored in this history.

What is truly incredible about bluegrass is its unprecedented capacity to push you right out the other side of your hangover and back into the bottom of a bottle of whiskey before you even know what’s happening… and if that’s not metal, I don’t know what is.

“Desertscene started because of a passion for American music from the Palm Desert that spawned an underground scene. It was 100% about music – for the love of it without caring about ‘making it’. I believe that is the same ethos that Black Deer and its artists have…”

Reece Tee, Desertscene

The artists already announced for The Roadhouse at Black Deer 2021 reflect the festival’s ethos. Rock fans across the world were excited when we revealed the names of ASG, Black Rainbows, Prosperina, Gorilla, Black Orchids and Lead Desert Blues for next summer – and more exciting names will follow shortly. “It’s always such a great event,” says Reece. “The location and crowd make it very special and give the festival its authentic feel.”

Listen to the Black Deer The Roadhouse 2021 Official Playlist(so far!)

With special thanks to Olivia Cayce of Little Criminals.