Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Folks Fest wrapup

Here's the wrapup from Planet Bluegrass from its most recent event. I would have loved to have been there.

It's tough to leave the Folks Festival without a few new songs in your head and at least a few stories in your heart...

This year's Songwriter Showcase winner, Mitch Barrett, first learned that he had entered the contest when he received a congratulatory phone call from us a month ago. Unbeknownst to him, his wife had entered one of his songs in the contest last spring. After borrowing some camping gear from some festivarians after arriving in Lyons, the Kentucky-native's Friday morning performance earned him a spot on the 2007 Folks lineup.

We were all uniquely moved by the warmth, generosity, and hard-earned wisdom of Kris Kristofferson. When he sang of Truth and Freedom - with a capital T and F, respectively - he sang not of some abstract concept, but the grounded understanding of a lifetime of living and human artistry.

Canadian Kathleen Edwards asked to give the introduction to Blue Rodeo, the band that inspired her to take up music. Midway through their set, the band called her on stage to share lead vocals with her heroes. Likewise, fellow Australians The Waifs and the legendary songsmith Paul Kelly shared each other's stage for duets during their sets Saturday and Sunday.

The closing pair of Martin Sexton and Ani DiFranco complemented each other perfectly. As Martin had the Planet's earth shaking and sky singing, Ani turned in one of the weekend's most musical sets, tastefully joined by percussionist Mike Dillon and bassist Todd Sickafoose.

We each left with a favorite new performer: the impressive debuts from Amos Lee and Sonya Kitchell; the colorfully edgy fiddling looper Andrew Bird; the dynamic vocal energy of Moira Smiley and VOCO; Jeff Tweedy's appropriation of Woody Guthrie for the No Depression set; the sophisticated big band interplay of Assembly of Dust; the stirring opening pose of Issa's Saturday afternoon serenade.

No comments: