Unike other years at Falcon Ridge where the rain came in quick torrents of fury, yedterday brought a slow constant rain for nearlly four hours of the Emerging Artists Showcase.
Before the afternoon was half over, my program was too soggy to write on and my fingers were prunes, so I,m writing this without any usable notes. Fortunately, I had listened to and read about the performers ahead of time, so I had sone clear expectations.
Pretty much, everyone lived up to expectations, with a few sounding much better live then they did online. ellen cherry stood out it this respect. Many of the artists embraced the Falcon Ridge experience thanking the audience for hanging in through the rain, joking about sunblock and staying hydrated, or the need for a giant slippy slide made out of tarps in front of the Main Stage.
They pitched their CDs, websites and mailing lists.. They told their fan which late night song swap on the hill they would be attending. One musician thar I really liked was Bobbie Lancaster, but she was heading straight back to Indiana. Spuyten Duyvil,which I also really liked is sticking around and performing all over the hill.
There were quite a few good acts and it hard to limit my choice to three. So, along with those zia,ve already mentioned, I want to give a shout out to Vanessa Torres, whom I really liked.
With that, let me list me current picks for next years most wanted. Barnaby Bright was one of my early picks. They have a great song about a father dying of AIDS which they didn,t play. I liked this other pieces as well and they're still on my top three list.
John Wort Hannam is a school teacher turned musician. He has a great song about his father;s reaction to the decision to leave teaching. His father was a carpenter and made an obtuse comment about going against the grain.
At the top of the list is Chis O'brien. He did really well Thursday night at Tribe Hill and equally as well on the main stage. He has a powerful song about dealing with his father's alcoholism. He wonders what it means for him to have blood like his father's flowing through his veins.
An old friend of mine has a genetic degenerative disease. He watched it take his father and now it is taking him. To the best of my knowledge, I do not carry alcoholism or degenerative diseases, but I wonder what of my father do I carry, and what of me do my children carry. I hope some of it is alove of folk dancing and sitting in the rain on a hill for hours listening to great stories put to music.
This year, the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival doesn't officially start until noon on Friday. However we could still arrive on Wednesday to set up camp. This has changed the whole tenor, tone and pace of Thursday.
We started the day just hanging out and chatting with friends as new friends continued to arrive. The weather was beautiful and in the afternoon I took Fiona and a friend to Taconic State Park to swim in the old quarry. The water was much warmer than expected.
We ran into several people from Falcon Ridge including a woman 2ith a one year old. Last year at Falcon Ridge, her very large belly was being decorated with henna and Fiona joined in and got henna designs on her arms. The baby came out two days after Falcon Ridge.
Back at the campsite, we ate some local fruit and berries and then Kim arrived with our seecond wave and some good stuffed bread and pies.
In the evening, the teenagers headed off with their guitars for an improptu jam session at the dance tent. I headed to the lounge where a couple hundred people gathered for an unofficial concert.
The music was quite good, but without a notepad, I'm relying on memory as to who the performers were. Leading the session was a guy with a name something like
Ethan James BryantEthan Scott Baird (of Pesky J Nixon, see the note below. When I get a chance I will check online to try and figure out and link to the real name.
Also performing was Brittany Ann. This is her first year at Falcon Ridge and she was really good. David Glayser joined in with some really good music as well.
When that set ended, I headed down to Tribe Hill, where I listened to Abi Tappia, Chris O'brien, Karen Oliver, Brad Yoder and Jason Ramalach. Abi was an emerging performer a fe years ago and came back the following year as one of the most wanted. Chris O'brien is one of the emerging performers this year. If he performs as well as he did last night, as well as on some of his songsonline, he is likely to come back tnext year as one of the most wanted.
After that set, Tribe Hill shifted into an open song swap, but I knew Fiona would be waking up early so I headed off to bed.
The tenor, tone and pace of Falon Ridge on Thursday was quite pleasent. The informal gatherings of musicians was very enjoyable and fits very nicely with a broader understanding of how things emerge.
So, I am rushing out the door, but before I head out, I’m saving a draft of part two of my review of the emerging artists. This will probably end up simply as is, or with minor editing. With that, I don’t have a lot of notes on many of the musicians other than links and a few random thoughts.
One Woman’s Meat: If E.B. White were a twenty something singer songwriter from Maine in the beginning of the twenty-first century, I suspect he would have turned out a bit like Marie Moreshead (@mariemoreshead, EPK).
John Wort Hannam
John Wort Hannam (EPK), has a long list of festival appearances and awards and is frequently compared favorably to Gordon Lightfoot. I like Gordon Lightfoot a lot and it isn’t a surprise that I really like John Wort Hannam’s music as well.
Mia Adams & The Scenic Roots
This duo is my favorite of the ones I’ve listened to ahead of time. The song Gravity is especially touching. Nathan dedicated it to his father who passed away from AIDS and seeks to honor the struggle of everyone struggling with this tragic disease.
Karyn Oliver (@KarynOliver.) She is not one of the official emerging artists. However, according to this message), she will be playing in the Lounge Tent Thursday at 5:45 with Chris O'Brien and Vanessa Torres.
That’s it for now.
Friday afternoon, 26 emerging performers are scheduled to take the stage at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. The performers can be found on the website, as well as on Sonicbids. The list on SonicBids includes links to the performers Electronic Press Kits, or EPKs. In these press kits, you read about the performers and listen to their music. Some of the music is only streamed. Other music is available for download. I’ve downloaded what I can so I can listen to it from my cellphone, especially since my network connection has been flakey and not cooperative to streaming recently. I believe I’ve fixed this, but I haven’t ended up listening as closely to the various performers as I would like. That said, let me start provide initial reactions to the performers that will be appearing on the mainstage on Friday.
I should also note that my comments about the following musicians are based more on what appeals to me and who I am than any rigorous critique of the performers musical ability.
The first performer scheduled to perform is Shannon West (@shannonwurst, EPK) from Arkansas. She was a finalist in the 2009 Kerrville New Folk Songwriting competition and a semi-finalist for the Prairie Home Companion's Talented Twenties Contest.
Second up is the Wiggins Sisters (@wigginssisters, EPK). “Their second CD ‘Minnesota’ was produced by Lloyd Maines (of Dixie Chicks fame) in Austin, TX with some of the finest musicians that town has to offer.”
After the Wiggins Sisters, Chris Velan (@chrisvelan, EPK) is scheduled to perform. Chris’ background is particularly interesting. He was trained as a classical guitarist, became involved in a documentary about war-torn Sierra Leone, headed off to school to become a human rights lawyer and ended up back and being a musician.
The next performer is scheduled to be Nicole Reynolds (EPK). She was born into a family of Pittsburgh steelworkers and it comes through in the social consciousness in her music. It also comes through in the links on her website with information on mountain top removal, food not bombs, and progressive news sources.
So, of the first group of performers, Rachel Sage, Bobbie Lancaster and Shannon Wurst are probably my favorites. I'll see how I do with the second group later on.
Each month, provides an opportunity to reflect on the past month as well as hope and plan for the next. June has been a long hard month. Various conferences and family circumstances have taken a lot of time and energy, unfortunately, the billable hours have been lacking. This coming month brings us Social Web Week Connecticut 2010. This will be a weeklong collection of events in New Haven, July 10-16. The goal of Social Web Week is “to bring people together in CT to explore how best to use the social web to improve our quality of life.”
Later in July will be the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. This is a festival that I’ve been going to since the early nineties. We camp out at a farm, and spend days sitting in the sun, and occasional thunderstorm or worse, listening to music.
I am pretty excited about both events, and so I start off the month, like I try to start each month with the old childhood invocation of good luck, “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit”.