Saturday, July 29, 2006

RockyGrass 2006 Saturday Part 1

So far we've avoided the predicted 100 degrees, thanks largely to some unforseen clouds that are keeping the heat down to merely sweltering instead of the blistering we'd expected. But festivarians are finding ways to stay ahead of the thermometer, like sailing the St. Vrain in an inner tube.

Tubing the St. Vrain River

Today's schedule started with a pair of fresh young bands that bode well for the future of acoustic string music. The Boston-based Crooked Still took the stage with an immediately-likeable approach to performance. "Bluegrass" cellist (and snappy dresser) Rushad Eggleston's crisply-bowed melody lines serve as a wonderful textural counterpoint to Dr. Greg Liszt's four-fingered banjo rolls (move over, Pete Wernick, there's a new Dr. Banjo in town). Aoife O'Donovan's floating vocals are reminiscent of Shawn Colvin or Margo Timmons. In fact, there's a definite Cowboy Junkies vibe in play here. Even their murder ballads are pretty. Interesting band - worth watching, I think.

Crooked Still

The impressive RockyGrass debut is definitely the Infamous Stringdusters. The biggest band to take the stage so far, this sextet features players with impeccable pedigrees and mentoring, such as guitarist Chris Eldridge, son of Seldom Scene banjoist Ben Eldridge, and bassist Travis Book, formerly of the Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band and Burl Galloway's Broke Mountain Trio. Five of the six contribute vocals to each performance. Fiddler Jeremy Garrett has a true bluegrass tenor while Dobro player Andy Hall adds Douglasian fills and rhythms.

Jeremy Garrett & Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters

Still on tap is Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, Blue Highway, the g'Earls of Uncle Earl, a recreation of the Tony Rice classic Manzanita record featuring Jerry Douglas, and a sure-to-be-profane-and-loving-it set from Steve Earle and the Bluegrass Dukes. More on all that in Part 2.

Vendor of the Day - Peak to Peak Batik

Eric Maiorana, the creative force behind Peak to Peak Batiks, is a familiar face at Colorado festivals. His blends of musical themes and the layered dyes used in the batik process produces some astonishing images in ready to go clothing.

T Shirt of the Day

"Of course we serve vegetarians. That's what cows are."

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