Saturday, July 18, 2009

From the sublime to the sublime

Today was a day of discovery and validation. There are new and young musicians who are pushing the boundaries, and great veterans who are only getting better.

Jim Olsen has got to be complimented for his booking prowess. Naia Kete, who grew up in a family of French language reggae singers, the Black Rebels, tore the tent down with her amazing voice and beautiful songs. I couldn't get close enough to the stage to get a photo.

Also, in the small tent, the Sweetback Sisters from Brooklyn, who were the only band to play Friday and Saturday, won over many new fans with their version of bluegrass, old-time and old country, and an indication that their revival of Roger Miller's My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died, could be a hit again.

On Friday night, one had to ping-pong back and forth from the main stage, where singer-songwriters joined with a hot house band, to the dance tent where the rain meant a crowded, sweaty dance floor, to hear all the good music, and appreciate the high level of musicianship on the Signature Sounds label.

For my money, the main stage highlight was Dave Alvin and The Guilty Women. His wonderful band of veteran women musicians went from roots to rock. And Dave driving the band through two false finished with Abilene, where Cindy Cashdollar (pedal steel) sparred with Amy Farris (fiddle), to a draw, was out of this world.

The festival was a sell-out for the first time in it's 23 year history, and one begins to wonder if this two-day delight has outgrown its venue.

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