Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fourth Lockn’ Festival as Hot as the Weather

Fourth Lockn’ Festival as Hot as the Weather
Oak Ridge Farm, Arrington, VA
August 25-28, 2016
Photographer/Writer: Mark Robbins

The 4th installment of the Lockn’ Festival at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA proved to be a sizzling hot weekend. Not only was the music a blistering blur from well known to not so well known bands but the temperature held in the high 90s all 4 days (actually 1 night and 3 days) with the only relief given by the mist machines placed throughout the festival grounds. The festival, started by Peter Shapiro and Dave Frey, not only offers the best jam bands, as well as other genres, but also the best in local farm to table eats and craft beers and wine. New this year was a raised main stage which had a rotating center so when one band was finished with a set the center would rotate with the next band already in place.

keller10

THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Thursday night’s lineup kicked off with Vulfpeck, a funk band who had a great time on stage with Jack Stratton constantly running back and forth between turns on the keyboard. Antwaun Stanley, billed as a”special guest” has a powerful voice that filled the festival grounds and would be at home singing R&B, funk or gospel.

vulf7

Umphrey’s McGee’s music was only surpassed by it’s outstanding light show. This band was the VIP for the weekend playing non-stop glory. It’s genre hopping, time and key changes may be off-putting to some but Umphrey’s McGee was non stop glory.

umphreys5

Finishing the night was Ween. Known for their unusually goofy lyrics, distortion and abrasiveness they more than lived up to their reputation. This is not a jam band and they don’t try to be.

ween1

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Friday was the first full day of music with Phish, Ween, Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band, Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires, White Denim, Vulfpeck, Turkuaz and Moogatu.

keller8_edited-1

Phish played two 2 hour sets Friday and Sunday nights. It’s hard to believe this band has been killing it for some 33 years now. With a set list that included “555”, “Ghost”, “Punch You in the Eye”, “Wing Suit” and much much more from the Phish song book the highlight was an a cappella cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. Those who paid for super VIP tickets were treated to a private show by Anders Osborne between Phish sets.

phish4

Charles Bradley survived a difficult childhood and early adulthood to finally getting the praise he deserves. Strongly influenced by James Brown, Bradley is a true showman and has the soul and R&B chops to go with it. Whatever emotion he is feeling, joyfulness or sadness, the audience feels it as deeply. Bradley is one of those performers who has to be seen live to really appreciate how great he is. Turkuaz is big band funk. This nine piece band would have raised the roof if there was a roof to be raised. White Denim has been around since 2008. From their opening song, “Real Deal Momma” the band kept a soulful vibe going throughout their entire set.

bradley5

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS

My Morning Jacket, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Hard Working Americans, Galactic with Lee Oskar, Twiddle, Moon Taxi, DJ Williams Project, Phil Lesh and Friends.

My Morning Jacket is not only a great indie band but Saturday night they put on an outstanding Rock and Roll Show. Front man Jim James is an unstoppable force backed by an equally dynamite band. Originals mixed in with covers, a particularly moving “What the World Need Now” (Burt Bacharach and Hal David), made their set one of the more memorable of the weekend.

crowd4

Tedeschi Trucks Band is all that needs to be said. From the rapid fire guitar of Derek Trucks to the sublime voice of Susan Tedeschi as well as a great band, this is as good as it gets. Their cover of “Bitches Brew” was so smokin’ that Miles Davis even smiled.

susan3

Hard Working Americans is a Neo Southern super rock band. “Mission Accomplished” should have been their closer instead of opener because when their set was over, judging from the crowds reaction, it was mission accomplished. With Todd Snider in front with vocals, dancing, and mugging for the crowd, the rest of Hard Working Americans cook with such intensity flames should be covering the stage. This band’s pedigree is second to none with Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi), and Duane Trucks (King Lincoln).

hwa11

Galactic is the quintessential New Orleans funk band. With Stanton Moore on drums this band can do no wrong. Together for 20 years,Stanton Moore Ben Ellman, Robert Mercurio, Jeff Raines and Rich Vogel have visited every genre of music and conquered them all. For their Lockin’ set special guest harp player Lee Oskar, founder of War, joined them for “Slipping Into Darkness”, “Like a Rolling Stone” and a few others. Add vocalist Erica Falls to the mix and an extended set (Brandi Carlile could not appear due to illness) and there were a lot of happy campers.
Phil Lesh has a lot of good friends. With members of the Dead, Phish (John Fishman, Page McConnell, Anders Osborne, Joe Russo) and The Infamous Stringdusters, this group could have had their own festival. Getting a late start, travel problems for Lesh then a blown amp, the fans patiently waited as the new rotating stage turned to the opening strains of “Scarlet Begonias”. Through a set of Dead covers and an extended jam, Phil Lesh and Friends were welcomed back anytime.

stanton3

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Phish, Gary Clark, Jr., Phil Lesh and Friends, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, The Wailers, Twiddle, Doobie Decible System, The Dharma Initiative, Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel

Keller Williams has a good time and so does everyone else who is there to hear him. Dressed in a dark suit, white shirt, white tie, and no shoes, Williams comes to preach. “Palm Sunday”, “Who Was John”, “St Stephen”, “Sampson and Delilah” and more made this set a must hear for the weekend. Performed on the much smaller Blue Ridge Bowl Stage and earlier than the normal starting time (10 AM) it was still wall to wall people (if there were walls) who knew this was not a set to miss. Williams was backed by his three piece band and 4 singers who preached to the heavens.

keller5

Phil Lesh’s friends today were Chris Robinson Brotherhood (who had their own set) and Gary Clark, Jr.. Sunday’s show went off without a hitch with more Dead covers and Gary Clark, Jr. showing his blues licks on “Good Morning, School Girl” and “Wang Dang Doodle”. Lesh and friends, no matter who they are, can do no wrong.

lesh3

Gary Clark, Jr. is not as famous as he should be. His style encompass fuzz rock, blues, r&b, hip-hop, soul and even a little jazz. His crackling “Bright Lights” set the tone for the rest of his rock blues appearance.

Flood City Music Festival

Flood City Music Fest 2016
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Aug 4 – Aug 7, 2016
Photographer/Writer: Bob Adamek

The 8th installment of Johnstown PA’s, Flood City Music Fest, managed by Lucky Dog Productions was a solid success. Placed amongst the mountains of western Pennsylvania, Flood City Music fest has been growing steadily every year, producing a lineup for this year’s event that wowed festival goers. The fest made a move to open on Thursday night, and put up Grace Potter to headline the main stage.

web 111 Grace Potter-7347

Grace Potter showed her considerable range from slow and thoughtful acoustic ballads to raging rock and roll, leaning more heavily on the latter. The packed crowd was left buzzing from the set in which Potter mixed her powerful voice with a well-honed front woman’s craft, energetically running around the stage while playing guitar and keyboards.

Friday of the festival had many treats in store including main stage headliners, The Revivalists. As the Revivalists have been doing in towns on their first visit all over the country for the last several years, they asked for a show of hands of those who have never seen them before. This was most of the crowd. Then the band did what they do best, made fans. By the end of the set the crowd was passionately hooked, screaming for an encore.

web 102 Revivalists-8158

Another festival highlight took place earlier on the pavilion stage when Samantha Fish sat in with Tab Benoit for two songs. Fish had crushed her set beforehand, opening many eyes and Tab was doing the same, but when the two blues guitarists played together, the energy was incredible.

web 145 Samantha Fish-6366

The breakout band The Record Company also played a good set, as did the New York artists London Souls. The Pittsburg punk-meets-Irish band, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, capped the night in the Oil House. Their high energy set was perfect for the late night crowd, showing you should never miss a band that has three guys wearing kilts.

web 104 The Record Company-7871

Saturday saw even more top shelf acts, headlined by the potent New Orleans musician, Anders Osborne. Osborne has played in Johnstown many times and has garnered a huge following there. He mixed songs from his newest release Flower Box, like “Different Drum,” “Fool’s Gold” and the title track, to go with well-worn staples like “Road to Charlie Parker” and “Sarah Anne.”

web 135 Anders Osborne-9311

Preceding Osborne was fellow Louisiana musician, the blue-eyed soul singer, Marc Broussard. It was another set that turned heads as Broussard wove through his catalog of funk and soul originals, such as “Home” and “Come Around” as well as covers like Al Green’s “Love and Happiness.”

web 136 Marc Broussard-8797

Earlier in the day Love Canon played their unique take on 80’s pop hits in the style of bluegrass, creating plenty of laughs and loud sing-a-longs. Local favorites Derek Woodz Band, Jimmy Adler Band and the R&B powerhouse Commonheart also raged on the festival grounds. The night was finished off by the amazing light show and music of TAUK.

web 152 Tauk-9354

Flood City Music Fest is growing quickly. It is well run and is in a beautiful location, well worth the effort to get there. The lineups have gotten stronger every year with “A” list headliners and a solid and worthy undercard. Put this one on your radar for the first weekend in August next year!

Wheels of Soul Tour – Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Lawn at White River

Wheels of Soul Tour
Tedeschi Trucks Band with special guests Los Lobos, North Mississippi Allstars
Wednesday, July 27th 2016
The Lawn at White River, Indianapolis, Indiana
Photographer: Tyler Muir
Writer: Amber Jennings

White River State Park, located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, offers one of the state’s best amphitheaters, The Lawn at White River. The venue sits on the east bank of the river and offers concert goers sensational picturesque views when the sun slips behind the amphitheater and paints the sky with stunning sunset colors. The acoustics of the venue are a match of the view – amazing.

TOM_1579

Grammy Award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band, along with special guests Los Lobos and North Mississippi Allstars, played the venue on July 27, 2016 as part of their Wheels of Soul Tour. This year TTB released their new album, Let Me Get By and have been celebrating the success of the album. Recorded independently in their own studio, Swamp Raga, the album recognizes the self-reliance, connection and sense of family that has grown since the inception of the band in 2010.

TOM_1821

North Mississippi Allstars kicked the evening off as fans settled into their seats. The founding brothers Luther Dickenson (guitar, lowebow and vocals) and Cody Dickenson (drums, keyboards, electric washboard) with Chris Chew (electric bass guitar) are known for their American southern rock/blues bringing the dirty south full throttle to the Midwest before Los Lobos took the stage.

TOM_1268

The east Los Angeles, California band, Los Lobos, snagged the stage and initiated a set of rock and roll, Tex-Mex and zydeco with “Whiskey Trail.” Luther Dickinson would take the stage with the band for a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “300 Pounds of Joy” and “Gates of Gold.” Later in the set, Susan Tedeschi appeared for a Marvin Gaye cover, “What’s Going On.” The closing number of the set, “Más y más,” included Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, and the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s horn section.

TOM_1545

As the sun slipped behind the stage and lit up the sky in wondrous colors, the Tedeschi Trucks Band appeared on stage. They opened their set with “Laugh About It,” a tune from the new album. Derek Trucks’s guitar intro set the song with a light and airy feel, while Susan Tedeschi’s vocals added a dimension to the evening, the breadth and depth of her voice matching the sinking sun. The band seemed to relax into a groovy strut for another new song, “Don’t Know What It Means.” The funky, slink groove showcased Tedeshi’s power on guitar with heavy brass accompaniment. They rolled into a cover from the Box Tops, “The Letter,” and dipped into the new album’s title track, “Let Me Get By,” a southern rock jam featuring heavy keys and vocals.

TOM_1840

The set continued with a boozy strut, “Right On Time,” featuring Mike Mattison on vocals. Tedeschi sang the song in a lower pitch than usual, making a fitting harmony with Mattison. Mattison continued on vocals for a ZZ Top cover, “Goin’ Down to Mexico.” Trucks’s heavy guitar intro drove the 12-piece ensemble, while mixing lead guitar with Tedeschi.

TOM_1636

As twilight settled, TTB slowed the evening down with a dreamy Derek Trucks Band cover, “Swamp Raga,” that segued into “Midnight in Harlem” from TTB’s 2011 Grammy award-winning album, Revelator. Gentle slide guitar and cascading drums gave way to Tedeschi’s vocals that blanketed the audience with a soft, dreamy feel. They continued with another Revelator track, “Bound for Glory,” a George Jones cover, “Color of the Blues’ and another cover, Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “I Pity the Fool.” They wrapped up the set with “The Storm,” a perfect set closer. Trucks’s intro was a taste of the solo he would rip into midway through the song, solidifying the title.

TOM_1600

The band encored with a Sly and the Family Stone cover, “Are You Ready” and a James Taylor cover, “Fire and Rain;” the latter featured Mark Rivers on vocals with Mike Mattison and Tedeschi.

TOM_1689

The show concluded about 15 minutes early but did not let the attendees down. It was a great Wednesday evening show on the Lawn.

Greensky Bluegrass Halloween Bash

Greensky Bluegrass Halloween Bash
October 31, 2015
Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
Photography: Susan J. Weiand

 

gsbg1238

 

gsbg0703

 

gsbg0704

 

gsbg0723

 

gsbg0781

 

gsbg0786

 

gsbg0814

 

 

The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest

Magnolia Fest 2015
The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest
Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL

Writer: Niklaus Earl
Photographer: Amber Jennings/Crowe Light Photography

Here’s what you missed: the fall season kick off at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak Florida on October 15th – 18th that celebrated the 19th Annual Magnolia Fest.

IMG_2729

To elaborate, the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is a 500+ acre, premier campground and music park located on the banks of the Suwannee river with accommodations for any type of camper, ranging from primitive sites for those who like to truly rough it, to rental cabins for those who like to camp with all of the modern creature comforts at hand. A campground of this nature provides a venue for even those who shiver in dread at the word ‘camping’ to enjoy a music festival. The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park does it’s level best to provide everything that a guest could need while camping, so that the guest can get on with the business of relaxing and enjoying the many musical offerings to be found on their four stages over the course of four days.

IMG_2755

At around four in the afternoon on Thursday, the Florida-grown Lee Boys took the stage at the Amphitheater and kicked things off under a clear, blue Florida sky. Their unique, ‘sacred steel’ music is a form of Gospel music with deep roots in blues, but which also embraces and beautifully blends soul, funk, rock, jazz, country, and hip-hop. Their style of music was the perfect way to begin the festival as it faultlessly embraced the core message of Magnolia Fest; All Are Welcome. After the warm festy welcome by the Lee Boys eight more bands would keep the music flowing between the Amphitheater stage and the Porch stage; the Ivey West Band, Band of Heathens, Parker Urban Band, The Congress, The Corbitt Brothers, The Motet, Nikki Talley and Lake Street Dive until 1:30 in the morning.

IMG_2069

By ten in the evening the temperatures had dropped thirty degrees from the daytime highs in the mid 80’s to the low to mid 50’s but did little diminish the enthusiasm of festival-goers as The Motet, a disco-funk revival band out of Colorado, laid down a sound that blew away any thoughts of being chilly and installed a single, musical imperative in their place: You Must Boogie! Children new to this sound danced alongside folks in their sixties and seventies who were remembering younger days in the Age of Funk and Disco as decades-old muscle-memory awakened within them and drove them to shake their aged-yet-still-funky booties. Joy suffused the faces of fans as The Motet put every effort into shaking the leaves from the trees of the outdoor theater with their mighty sound. Bass, two-piece brass, drums, keyboards, percussion, guitar, and vocals all came together flawlessly to create a modern tapestry of those musical elements that made the Disco-Funk era great, while leaving behind those elements that made it cringe-worthy.

IMG_1892

Following The Motet, western North Carolinian Nikki Talley kept things rolling from eleven to midnight on the Porch Stage, offering a more intimate country duet set with herself and husband Jason Sharp playing and harmonizing sweetly, allowing guests to cool off without going cold.

IMG_1921

At midnight, the final set of the night was performed by Lake Street Dive back at the Amphitheater Stage. The three-piece, four member band makes up for any possible lack of sound they might have compared to larger bands by adding their voices to the mix in precise harmonies that work to supplement and support the drums, double-bass, and guitar and/or trumpet, all of which work together to provide a framework for the strong lead vocals. Taken as a whole, the artists provide a cohesive sound where every part exists in a musical symbiosis and no element offers discord by trying to outshine its fellows. All fancy talk aside, Lake Street Dive laid down a sound big enough to keep festival-goers dancing until 1:30 in the morning.

IMG_1990

By noon on Friday, the temperatures were back up in the 80’s where they would stay for the rest of the day, with the light clouds and mild breezes typical of a Florida fall day. The first full day of the festival was in swing as all of the park’s four stages came to life. Merchants and food vendors were fully operational and ready to greet ever increasing numbers of attendees who arrived throughout the day that hurriedly set up camp and then made their way to the main festival area. Here the festival-goers wandered back and forth between the three outdoor stages and the refreshingly dark and air-conditioned Music Hall, catching the bands that they had come to see as well as becoming fans of bands that had been, until now, unknown to them. With twenty-one bands playing on four stages in a thirteen-and-a-half hour time frame, it would be just as impossible to not find a band that tickled your fancy as it would be to see every single performance, though there were those who certainly made a valiant effort at doing the latter. Artists performing bluegrass, country, blues, rock and roll, Cajun, funk, and endless variations of all of the above could be found all day and night throughout the park.

IMG_2572

Of the many great artists to be seen performing on Friday, one absolute, not-to-be-missed set was that of The Del McCoury Band. At 76 years of age, Del is the epitome of the classic, classy bluegrass performer. He and his band, including sons Ronnie and Rob, took the Meadow Stage at six in the evening. Dressed in suits and ties in spite of the 84 degree heat they played in the finest bluegrass tradition with the sun kissing their faces as it sank below the cypress.

IMG_2146

More often than not, in spite of having the expanse of the massive Meadow Stage on which to perform, the band clustered closely together in a tight knot, singing into a single mic in much the same way as Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys did seventy years prior. To see Del perform is to see a man who appears to be the happiest man in music. In spite of the heat and the sun shining in his eyes and the gnats in his face – several of which he claims to have swallowed while singing, “…they went down pretty easy, though…” he complained not at all, but rather grinned his infectious grin and laughed like the possessor of the world’s funniest joke. Singing songs about being sad and blue while seemingly tickled pink at life, Del McCoury looks to be the living example of the person that we all wish that we could be: the person who has found the thing they love to do the most in the world, and then got paid to do it.

IMG_2178

The sun set as the Del McCoury Band played the last songs of their set. The heat fell away while fans smiled and tapped their feet to the music or danced in happy abandon. The dust kicked up by feet mingled with the smoke of campfires while the evening mist of the cooling humid Florida air worked to soften the view of the meadow. Happy festy folk danced and smiled as dragon flies flew overhead while Del continued his set. Children and families played without care or concern, content to exist in the moment as night fell and Del and his band bowed and left the stage. There were moments throughout the weekend that perfectly crystallized the nature and intent of what Magnolia Fest was meant to be, and this was certainly one of them.

IMG_2694

Though the Del McCoury Band set might seem like the perfect ending to a great day, there were still six and a half hours of shows left to be enjoyed, starting with The London Souls on the Porch Stage. The New York City based power-duo turned the page as day became night and their music filled the vending area with a massive sound that was surprising in its strength for having been made by only two men. Doyle Bramhall II took to the Meadow Stage and The Congress filled the Music Hall with their sound, each band doing their part to remind attendees that, though the sun was down, the day was far from over. Then the Amphitheater Stage was mounted by The Travelin’ McCourys with guest musicians, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel) and Earl Walker (drums) of The Lee Boys as well as Ronnie McCoury’s eldest son, Evan, on guitar. As an additional special guest, Del McCoury took the stage in order to lend his talents to the performance of ‘My Love Will Not Change’.

IMG_2375

After the Travelin’ McCoury’s, the Tedeschi Trucks Band took over the Meadow Stage for a two hour set. The twelve member band filled the night with their southern-style rock and Gospel sound. The superb skills of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks were generously supported by a fat brass section, a trio of backup singers, keyboards, bass, and, not one, but two drum kits, all orchestrated in such a way that never was the sound cacophonous or overwhelming, but always a perfect mix of the right sound in the right place.

IMG_2503

By 11:30, many festival-goers thought themselves spent for the night and ready to return to their camps until The Motet began their second set of the weekend. People who thought themselves depleted of energy found themselves recharged and ready to shake to the funk for the next two hours. Finally, at 1:30 in the morning, the music on the main stages came to an end. As attendees made their way back to their campsites the gentle picking of Slopry Land would divert their attention and call to them to enjoy the late night festivals throughout the campground.

IMG_2569

Saturday was another beautiful fall Florida day with highs in the low 80’s. Attendees marveled at how early noon comes when you stay up until the wee hours of the morning the night previous, but put on their happy faces and were present in respectable numbers when the first of twenty-two bands to play that day took their places on the stages. It would be another thirteen-and-a-half hour marathon with some bands like Berry Oakley’s Skylab, Col. Bruce Hampton, Steep Canyon Rangers and more giving repeat performances, much to the relief of many fans who had been forced to choose between seeing these bands and others who were only playing on Friday.

IMG_2762

Fans that missed the performance of Steep Canyon Rangers on Friday were able to catch them on the Meadow Stage Saturday afternoon. The sextet thoroughly entertained the crowd with a modern bluegrass sound which is still firmly rooted in its ancestral soil. To the joy of many present, they invited Jeff Austin and two of his band members to join them on stage to play, demonstrating one of the key elements of bluegrass; a love of playing and picking with friends.

IMG_2683

One of the most notable moments of the Steep Canyon Rangers’ set was when fiddle player, Nicky Sanders, left the stage to come down to play along the rail where he was given a bear-hug by an enthusiastic fan. Upon extracting himself, Sanders backed up and tripped over the stairs leading back up to the stage. Though stumbling, Sanders managed to keep his feet without doing himself an injury or dropping a single note in his furious fiddle playing.

IMG_2708

Adding another musical element to the festival, the Rebirth Brass Band took the Meadow Stage and filled the evening air with a prime example of New Orleans jazz brass. Fans in the know danced energetically while waving hankies, scarves, bandanas, or just index and middle fingers held together in the air to signal their approval of the sounds this band of thirty-two years was laying down.

IMG_2740

Jeff Austin Band returned to the stage with his band for his scheduled set at 7:30 pm, giving fans another example of solid, jam-grass. The thing that distinguishes Jeff Austin from so many other excellent bluegrass musicians is the obvious punk-rock soul that seems to seethe just beneath the surface and which influences both the lyrics and the beat of many of his songs. The overall feel of much of his music speaks of a vision of the world that is greyer and less ‘bright and shiny’ than traditional bluegrass and watching him perform is like watching a bluegrass version of Angus Young as he shreds on his mandolin. As always, it is an exhilarating performance.

IMG_2893

The headliners of the night were The Avett Brothers with a much expanded lineup, taking the stage at 9:30 pm to the joy of their adoring fans. A crowd of smiling, upturned faces reflected stage light back at the band as music spilled across the meadow and drew the greatest number of fans for any performance of the weekend. In spite of chilly temperatures in the upper 50’s, fans in shorts and t-shirts would sooner have sawn off a limb than leave for warmer clothes and risk missing a single minute of the two hour set. Their love of the band would be enough to keep them warm.

IMG_3017

Finally, rounding off the evening back at the Amphitheater Stage, Donna the Buffalo, a core band of Magnolia Fest, played their first set of the weekend. They lead festival-goers out of the last hours of Saturday and into the first hours of Sunday with their distinctive sound that had fans, as always, dancing almost nonstop.

IMG_3237

Scattering outward into the darkness after the last notes of Donna The Buffalo had faded away, many a camper drifted back to their respective campsites to wind down before turning in, but no small number of people made their ways through the darkness to seek out the many islands of sound that drew them in back into Slopery Land like moths to an audible flame. Here, musical guests and festival attendees alike played long into the small hours of the morning, keeping the music going on a lower key, though with no less earnestness than any of the performances which had come before.

IMG_2730

Sunday dawned cool and breezy and had a distinct, ‘the party is winding down’ feeling to it. It was the kind of morning that encouraged one to enjoy breakfast slowly and to linger over hot, fragrant coffee while mulling over the events of the preceding days and nights. Only a single stage, the Amphitheater Stage, would be in use by five bands for a piddling eight-and-a-half hour day of music. O, what luxurious and relaxing bliss does a lazy Sunday bring!

IMG_3277

Looking out over the meadow where the now-silent Meadow Stage stood, one was given sight of yet another of those moments that perfectly crystallized the core notion that Magnolia Fest was founded on. Children laughed, played and giggled with the pure abandon that is the sole province of the innocence of youth, while adults looked on and smiled to see such beauty in the world. Here was a moment in time where the grinding concerns of life could be set aside momentarily and one could embrace the joy to be found in a world of music and the camaraderie one finds in the company of others in whose souls also dwells an appreciation for beauty in all its varied forms.

IMG_3266

At noon the music started off with Big Cosmo, followed by Grandpa’s Cough Medicine and Jim Lauderdale, all of whom drew solid attendance and put out enough energy to keep exhausted festival-goers, if not dancing outright, smiling and tapping their feet at the very least. Unsurprisingly, the majority of those folks dancing on Sunday were aged roughly 12 and below, as they seem tapped into an energy source to which the rest of us have long since lost access.

IMG_3428

By 4:00 in the late afternoon when Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel took the stage, the batteries of most of the adults had recharged enough that they were able to dance along with the tireless children. The previously clear air of the day is now dissected by shafts of sunlight because of the amount of dust kicked into the air by happy feet. Bubbles float lazily overhead, hula-hoops are enthusiastically, if not always professionally, spun, little children are bounced on the shoulders of parents, hammocks rock, and fans sing along as Keller plays.

IMG_3338

Last, but not least by any stretch, Donna The Buffalo takes the stage once again for the final set of the day, giving fans two more hours of music with which to enfold their spirits before taking their leave of the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and picking back up their burdens of daily life. Though the music of Magnolia Fest has come to an end for another year, the memory of the music and the joyful festival-goers and the perfect weather will linger on in our minds and, in times of need, hopefully be a balm to our souls when we are sometimes battered by the casual indifference of daily life. It is in the memory of joy and beauty that we find the strength to straighten our backs and smile when we might otherwise bow our heads and let the innumerable little burdens of life break us down. It is for those memories that Magnolia Fest exists, and we hope next year to see you there, so that next time, You, dear reader, are the one who can begin the story with, ‘Here’s what you missed…’

IMG_3471

The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest on October 15-18, 2015

Magnolia Fest 2015

Features Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Avett Brothers, The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams Grateful Gospel, Lake Street Dive, Jeff Austin Band & more

The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest on October 15-18, 2015

at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL

 

In just one week Magnolia Fest will celebrate it’s 19th year at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. The festival kicks off on October 15th and will run through Sunday, October 18th.

IMG_7972

The line up for this year includes Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Avett Brothers, The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams Grateful Gospel, Lake Street Dive, Jeff Austin Band, Roosevelt Collier & The Travelin McCourys, Doyle Bramhall II, Steep Canyon Rangers, Rebirth Brass Band, Donna the Buffalo, Jim Lauderdale, The Motet, New Orleans Suspects, Col Bruce Hampton, Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons, Lost Bayou Ramblers, CeDell Davis, The Lee Boys, The Congress, Band of Heathens, The London Souls, Nikki Talley and more.

 

The 500+ plus acre campground of Spirit of the Suwannee provides one of the most unique festival experiences a festivarian can have. The beautiful wooded floodplain surrounded by upland pine woods and maturing hardwood forests draped in thick lush Spanish moss bestows one of the finest backdrops imaginable. The mystic of the antebellum era can be felt as one hikes through the 12 miles of trails.

 

Magnolia Fest will kick off on Thursday, October 15th with the American sacred steel ensemble, Lee Boys. The Florida based band’s unique sound has attracted musical such as Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes, Los Lobos, Michelle Shocked, Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks Band w/ Susan Tedeschi, The North Mississippi Allstars, Hill Country Revue, Umphrey’s McGee, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Toubab Krewe, Victor Wooten, The Del McCoury Band and The Travelin’ McCourys- all of whom have played with the Lee Boys and/or invited them to tour with them. The Amphitheater and Porch stage will host acts throughout the day from Ivey West Band, Band of Heathens, Parker Urban Band, The Congress, The Corbitt Brothers, The Motet (who will also close out the evening on Friday), Appalachian singer song writer Nikki Talley. The evening is set to close with Massachusetts based band, Lake Street Drive known for their split difference between Motown soul, sixties pop zip and British invasion swagger.

 

IMG_6514

The lineup for Friday continues the introduction of some world’s finest performers in Americana, Roots Rock, Acoustic Blues, Singer/Songwriter, Bluegrass & Newgrass, Cajun/Zydeco with opening acts Grits and Soul and Bonnie Blue. Friday also sees the addition of two stages, an expansive Meadow Stage and the Music Hall. Performances will include Mojo Gurus, Applebutter Express, Berry Oakley’s Skylab. The Lee Boys, The Corbitt Brothers, Nikki Talley and The Congress will take to the stages once again for those who missed out on the Thursday sets. The lineup continues with Cedell Davis, Habanero Honeys, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Col. Bruce Hampton, Grammy award winning bluegrass favorites the Del MCoury Band, Quartermoon, The London Souls and Doyle Bramhall II whose been on tour with Tedeschi Trucks Band.  The Travelin’ McCourys with the front man for the Lee Boys Roosevelt Collier will play a set before the headline for the evening Tedeschi Trucks Band. The Colorado impro funk band The Motet will wrap up the performances on the stages. Late night campfire pickin’ will continue into the wee hours of the morning by attendees and performers alike.

 

IMG_8267

Saturday’s lineup packed to the gills with goodness will include Steve Pruett’s Back from the Brink, Bryce Alastair Band, This Frontier Needs Heroes, Quartermoon, Berry Oakley’s Skylab, The Corbitt Brothers, Flagship Romance, Whetherman, JacksonVegas, Col. Bruce Hampton, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sloppy Joe, Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons, Quebe Sisters, Rebirth Brass Band, Grits and Soul, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Jeff Austin Band, Jim Lauderdale, New Orleans Suspects. The multi Grammy award winning Americana folk rock band, The Avett Brothers, will headline the Meadow Stage Saturday evening. Donna the Buffalo the amazing zydeco, folk rock band will close out the evening.

 

316208_174249049324577_715340727_n

donna buffalo

 

The low key Sunday schedule gives attendees the opportunity to explore the wonderful Spirit of the Suwanee Park. The shady banks of the historic Suwannee River provide an excellent picturesque paddling experience with canoe rentals or wandering the trails by bike or foot. The lineup for Sunday starts at noon on the Amphitheater stage with Big Cosmo, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Jim Lauderdale, Keller William’s Grateful Gospel and will close with a set from Donna the Buffalo.

532707_318227298260084_1120387788_n

Tickets are on sale in advance and at the gate. Tickets are $200 until October 14th; and $210 at gate. All weekend tickets are inclusive of all taxes and fees, and include 4 days of primitive camping and music. Kids under 12 are invited to join for free. Fans can also upgrade their experience with VIP tickets for $400 which includes dinner, discounts, VIP Lounge, festival poster, & other perks. Single day tickets are available. Student and Military tickets are $180 and $210 at the gate. The Live Oak Music And Arts Foundation (LOMAF) will have a booth with raffles to raise money for the local music and art programs in the area.

SOSMP is located between Jacksonville, Florida & Tallahassee, Florida about 30 minutes south of the Georgia State line, about 45 minutes north of Gainesville. For RV hook ups, cabin rentals and golf cart rentals, please visit the park’s web site at www.musicliveshere.com call SOSMP at (386)-364-1683. For further information and tickets, please visit →www.magnoliafest.com/tickets.

2015 DelFest Preview

Delfest 2012 Honest Tune-3-2Entering its eighth year, DelFest has firmly established itself as one of the premiere bluegrass Festivals in the Country. Returning to the Allegheny Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD, with a line-up this year topped by Old Crow Medicine Show, Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Jason Isbell, and Greensky Bluegrass, it is again one of the best festival schedules around.  Throw in namesake Del McCoury’s five sets over the weekend (which inlcudes a set with David  Grisman and a Family Jam on Sunday) and you would be hard pressed to find a better four days of music over Memorial Day Weekend this year.

Delfest 14 2As usual DelFest features three stages and will host late-night shows every night.  The three stages are in close proximity and allow easy travel back and forth allowing for maximum music viewing over the weekend.  The four late nights this year will feature Railroad Earth and Larry Keel Thursday, Greensky Bluegrass and Steep Canyon Rangers on Friday, Leftover Salmon and Dead Winter Carpenters on Saturday, and a Sunday night blow-out with The Travelin’ McCourys and Jeff Austin.

 

With a line-up that covers all ends of the bluegrass spectrum – from classic bands like the Seldom Scene, Hot Rize and Del McCoury, to established jam-grass stars Leftover Salmon, Railroad Earth, and Greensky Bluegrass, to bands slightly outside the bluegrass world Trampled by Turtles, Jason Isbell, Otiel Burbridghe & Roosevelt Coolier – DelFest has something for everyone and something new for everyone to discover.  It is a can’t miss event on your festival calendar.  tickets are still available now at: DelFest.com


 

Check out past coverage of DelFest from Honest Tune:

DelFest 2014

DelFest 2013

DelFest 2012

DelFest 2011

 

Delfest Delfest 14 delfest-2012-honest-tune-7 Andy Hall at Delfest 2012 Delfest 2012 Honest Tune-4-2

 

Catskill Chill Line Up Announcement

Catskill Chill Music Festival has announced the line-up for “A Farewell to Minglewood” which will take place September 18-20, 2015, in Hancock, New York. The Chillfam will come together for one last celebration at the much-loved Camp Minglewood before the event moves to a new home in 2016.

At the top of this year’s artist line-up is Lotus, Zappa Plays Zappa, Lettuce, Electron, The Motet, Dopapod, Kung Fu, Twiddle, Break Science, Turkuaz, The Werks, Particle & Fam, and George Porter Jr. & The Runnin’ Pardners. The festival’s headliner will be announced on Monday, June 8.

As is tradition, the Chill will feature a number of tribute sets, which are always fan favorites during the weekend. Dopapod and Turkuaz will team up for Dopakuaz plays Studio 54, Twiddle offers up their electric take on Grateful Dead tunes, and the Chillfam All-Stars will perform a Herbie Hancock Tribute, while Shwizz and FiKus join forces for ShwiKus plays the ‘80s.

Particle, the only band that has performed at every Chill since its inception, will have the honor of closing out the weekend at Camp Minglewood, bringing an all-star cast of Chillfam guest performers on stage with them for the celebration.

While the performance schedule alone is reason enough to attend this annual event, it is the intimacy and unique grounds that make Catskill Chill one of the most highly anticipated festivals of the season and this year is expected to sell out. With a limited capacity, no campsite is more than a few minutes walk to the stages and anyone can make their way up to the front for their favorite sets. Hosted at a secluded performing arts summer camp where childhood dreams merge with the music festival culture, the “Chillfam” as Chill’s loving community have coined themselves, bunk-up in 16-32 person sleep away camp-style cabins, creating decorated theme camps intermingled amongst the campers. The festival also features free parking, free camping, daily yoga, live art, a farmer’s market, craft and food vendors, a communal bonfire nightly and an open mic.

Blind Faith tickets are sold out but Early Bird tickets are currently available. Details on VIP Packages, which will be purchased separately from weekend passes, will be announced in the coming weeks.  Tickects are available for purchase HERE

unnamed

Twiddle & Kung Fu – Pittsburgh, PA

Twidde and Kung Fu “Dirty Dozen Tour”
Rex Theater
Pittsburgh, PA
April 10, 2015

 

Setlist: 

Superjam* > Subconscious Prelude^, Brick Of Barley^ >Beehop^ > Son’s Gonna Rise^ > Beehop^ > The Joker^ > Beehop^,  Brown Chicken^, Brown Cow^, Ghostbusters*, Gung Ho**, Tsar Bomba**, Standing On the Verge of Getting It On**, Chin Music**, Steppin’ It In**, You Haven’t Done Nothin’**, Hollywood Kisses*, Helter Skelter*, Scarlet Begonias*

*Twiddle & Kung Fu

^ Twiddle

**Kung Fu

DSC09988 DSC09947 DSC09927 DSC09900 DSC09878 DSC09824 DSC09758 DSC09714 DSC09595 DSC09579 DSC09569 DSC09539 DSC09387 DSC09328 DSC09278 DSC09126-2 DSC09126 DSC09089 DSC08987 DSC08951 DSC08845 DSC08783 DSC08772 DSC08758 DSC08694 DSC08689 DSC08650 DSC08587 DSC08563 DSC08545 DSC08501 DSC08475-Edit DSC08431 DSC08354 DSC08350 DSC08346 DSC00286 DSC00178 DSC00161 DSC00083 DSC00040

Wakarusa 2015 Preview

Phil-Clarkin-STS9-MainPhil-Clarkin-CrowdNight

Summer is coming, and soon it’ll be time to take the music out of the clubs and under the wide open skies of Mulberry Mountain, Arkansas for June’s annual Wakarusa Music Festival.  They’ve pulled out all the stops for this years 12th installment, with Ben Harper & The Innocent CriminalsThe Roots, The Thievery Corporation and STS9 topping a massive line up that features something for every fans of all tastes.  With six stages, over 150 acts and four days to experience it all Wakarusa is an all out assault on your senses, designed to give attendees everything they ever wanted in a festival.

 

Phil-Clarkin-Sunset-Mainstage

There are Jamtronica heroes like Lotus, Big Gigantic and EOTO, reggae tinged acts Matisyahu, Rebelution and Slightly Stoopid, Jam band heroes Umphreys McGee and rising stars Dopapod, Twiddle and Trigger Hippy, funk all stars Galactic, who will will a set of their own and one with diva Macy Gray , blues and Americana bands like Split Lip Rayfield, The Ben Miller Band, Fruition and unclassifiably awesome acts like Quixotic, Marchfourth and even rap legend Chali 2Na.  We can’t even list all the acts we are excited to see at this years Wakarusa, but the full line up, in all it’s glory, can be found HERE.

 

The festival isn’t just music, however.  There’s a diverse assortment of vendors who will be selling savory food, arts and crafts and apparel that you’ve never seen but won’t be able to live without, a kids area, a general store and much much more.  The venue is uniquely suited for handicapped accessibility, with level grounds and hard packed paths.  The surrounding Ozark Mountains provide a scenic backdrop for the festival, as well as numerous hiking paths and sight seeing opportunities.  If you need to take a break from the real world,  the Wakarusa Music Festival is your one stop destination for fun in the sun and under the stars and as much music as your ears can hears!  We here at Honest Tune can’t wait to get back to Mulberry Mountain, and we hope to see you all there!

For tickets to the Wakarusa Music Festival, click HERE

Phil-Clarkin-Sign-PaintersPhotos provided by Phil Clarkin

We