Monday, August 08, 2005

Somethings old, new, bizarre and true

I always forget just how much folk fest takes out of me. Four days of revelry, propping yourself up on the hill, running tarp early in the morning, blazing trails from here to there. It was a fantastic time as always but I'm exhausted!

The rain on Saturday would have been disappointing if Mavis Staples wasn't so legendary. The deep soul mama baritone and her bass-slappin' band made for gospel good times before the deluge. The Core stuck it out in style before fleeing sensibly into that good night.

As it turned out it was just enough rain to freshen up the park for the penultimate day. Most of Sunday was totally rockin' and that's what I was in a mood for. Old Reliable were more relaxed than the day before for their 11 AM sesh and the Weakerthans were just plain cool. Gospel Hour is always a must and Ruthie Foster let the spirit sing, along with the introverted Amos Lee, and those dudes from Tennessee were pretty sweet with the barbershop quartet bluegrass sound. Big new discovery for me was Alexi Murdoch. Sadly I only caught two songs but they were enough to have me hooked, it was so head-bobbingly catchy and uplifting, probably the best 15 minutes of music I've experienced at folk fest in a long time.

Then we entered Bizarro land courtesy of Ryan Adams. The review of his show in the Sun gives you an idea of what went on. The reviewers gave him way too much credit, I was really disappointed, not just by his drug-addled comments which were amusing in that watching a train wreck way, but his playing which was just sloppy. Sometimes it was like Hendrix meets the folk fest but other times you could tell that he was just messing. Too bad because he's written some great songs but he was way too wasted to play them for anyone. The festival goers know good music and would be a forgiving lot in terms of understanding over the top behavior from a real artist but they weren't impressed.

Thankfully Allison Krauss and company was there to save the day. Now this is one funny gal. They played a massive set and it was a real treat for all assembled.

I am so thankful that there is a large and appreciative audience for great music in Edmonton. I love the culture we have. I look forward to the next 50 folk fests in my life.


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