Sunday, August 9, 2009

Folk Fest - Day 3

First off, my apologies for the lack of photo illumination of the performers I am seeing..I forgot a necessary component to attach myself to a power source and don't want to run the battery down trying to load photos...I am using my friend Richard's computer! I promise actual pictures later... I didn't realize I was a Rodney Crowell fan until last night - I really enjoyed his set on the Main Stage. Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit - Johnny is a multi-instrumentalist and only 25 - his CDs were all sold out in the records tent. That apparently is something artists don't realize - how very well their recordings sell! Folk, like jazz of course is difficult to find in your average record store. Jill Barber sat in front of me - resplendent in a sleeveless polka dot dress, matching earrings and cute heels. Loudon Wainwright was a few chairs away in my row in the backstage area. Patty Griffin (who was after Johnny on the bill) watched Iron and Wine (actually just James Beam) from the side of the stage. She was luminous and I was ecstatic to hear "To the Top of the World" - her song, recorded by the Dixie Chicks on "Home". Methinks Mr. Beam is very popular with the younger set, particularly female - that sensitive guy, literate guy thing.... I also chatted with Alan Finkel from the Winnipeg Folk Festival - one of the sister festivals and an institution in its' own right. He was having a good time - says the two festivals are different, like comparing apples and oranges - for one the fact that Edmonton's happens in the city and Winnipeg's outside - where there is camping (more a throwback to 60's era folkfests) and there is a large contingent of American patrons, and some different programming. Really we are all just one big family...and every festival is unique and special. The hill was rocking for the last act of the evening - the energetic Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - I'm sure she gets this all the time - but the woman is a dynamo, she puts, as they say in sports, 110 percent or likely 150 percent into her show. She even called some audience members up to help her out including one young man who really got into things... For me the workshop stages though are the heart and soul of the festival - a chance to get more up close and personal. I took in "MegaTunes" with Danny Michel, Jill Barber, Fred Eaglesmith and Loudon Wainwright III (I nearly collided with Danny in the kitchen area at lunch) - I always love to hear Danny - he is superb if you get the chance. Next, a bit of Pine Leaf Boys and Breabach and some shade...then onto Ben Sures who had a quartet - he said he is used to performing solo but the addition of bass, mandolin and voice was fun. My favourite tune of his was "I Used to have a Ray Gun"....also lovely" Man on the Verge of Tears". We shall call him the "pocket Leonard Cohen"....except far less morose but funny and self deprecating - he introduced his tune " "Till I Learned to Cook for You" as his love of cooking causing his previous girlfriends to gain weight and their method of weight loss he thinks was leaving him... Biggest and most delightful performance for me of the day? Eivor - a Faroese songstress I was expecting to be more acoustic - but she was actually very Kate Bush-like - techno, ethereal. She s described in the program as being like "if a mermaid sang". Gorgeous voice - soaring and crystalline - of course I bought the CD!
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