Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Young singers plant their American roots at Old Settlers'

Austin-area blogger Beth Swindle will be on the scene at Old Settlers' Music Festival this weekend. Here's here take on two of the lesser known local entries that will be appearing.

Prepping to attend the Old Settlers' Music Festival next weekend, I asked myself, just what is American Roots Music? Am I just going to hear a host of geezers remind me of when they carried their fiddles up hill both ways?

[Photo: Kat Edmonson at last year's OSMF.]

But strolling through the assortment of styles represented on the stage schedules helped me know it's our past, our present; it's the future of music for every taste. The mind-boggling variety available just south of Austin, Texas, April 19-22, can be exemplified by the diversity of two area bands I've heard at Central Austin clubs this week – both appearing at the festival and both with young lead singers putting down roots of their own in the Texas music scene.

A defining time in American pop was the age of Sinatra. Slim Richey and Kat's Meow revive those days Thursday evening, with the help of breathy beauty Kat Edmonson. Though only in her early 20s, Kat earned the ultimate respect as an American Idol contestant, and her clear, airy rendition of "Fever" could be the standard.

Saturday the Settlers' remind us of our Old Time Bluegrass heritage with another young band: the trio Love Gone Cold. Hearing Beth Chrisman at Freddie's Place in Austin reminded me of Loretta Lynn recordings I heard on the scratchy Victrola at my granny's house in the sticks of Louisiana: thin, distant, but certainly danceable. It's all in the affect – the western suits and vintage microphone together with close harmonies, fiddle, and mandolin pickin' lend to the authenticity that this young group walked out of the mountains to play just for you to-nite only. So don't miss em!

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