Saturday, May 20, 2006

Strawberry lineup trends

I've heard it said that two of anything is a coincidence and three makes it a trend, but in the limited scope of a festival lineup I figure it takes only two to form a trend. With that in mind, here are some of the trends for next weekend's Strawberry Music Festival.

The Two Pattys: For several years, I've had a habit of confusing the two Pattys, both talented, red-headed female singer-songwriters. This Strawberry, both will be on stage--Patty Larkin leading the intriguing La Guitara project, playing Friday evening, Patty Griffin closing out the festival on Sunday night.

Headline rockers: Strawberry's bookers generally want a few big-name rock acts on the bill to close out the night shows, but they strive to find performers with good roots pedigree. This Spring's Los Lobos and John Hiatt & The North Mississippi Allstars exactly fill the bill. NIcely done.

Jam Bands: Strawberry continues its recent pattern of including jam bands in the lineup, possibly in an effort to build a base among younger festival-goers. After all, even though the festival never has trouble selling out, the day will come when older attendees start dropping off. Jammers for this festival include Assembly of Dust, Toubab Krewe, and Brother.

Best of Western swing: For Western swing fans, any festival with Asleep At the Wheel or The Austin Lounge Lizards would be a success, albiet with differing styles. To have both veteran Austin bands in one lineup is a double delight.

Young buegrass: Thankfully, there seems to be a steady supply of talented young bluegrassers ready to break in. The candidates for this festival are Bearfoot Bluegrass and Homespun Rowdy.

Old-time religion: On a related noted, everything old-timey is new again. At least it seems that way, with bands like Adrienne Young & Little Sadie, The Stairwell Sisters and Martha Scanlan harkening back to string-band traditions.

Bring in the funk, bring in the blues: Laura Love and Ruthie Foster make a nice pairing for folk-oriented African-American styles.

New Orleans rising: Nine months after Katrina's devastation, Strawberry provides a good-sized helping of New Orleans music with the subdudes and Terrance Simien.

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