Beer and bluegrass. Betcha never thought of that combination before.
At a festival that took “parking lot picking” to its logical conclusion (i.e., it was held in a parking lot next to the Clarendon Courthouse Metro Station), Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen rode to the rescue when the organizers of the Clarendon Arts & Crafts Beer Festival’s Acoustic Music tent were struggling with a bad sound system and horrible logistics (the sets were almost an hour late in starting). When the Dirty Kitchen band finally began their set in the tent’s lengthening shadows, we were only ten minutes away from the festival’s posted closing hour.
Somehow, with six Virginia Craft Brewers and about a dozen local food trucks to choose from, it didn’t seem to matter!
The artist who was really shortchanged in the logistical and sound mess was Christie Lenee.
This finger-style guitar tapper was new to me, but she has obviously been making waves in the acoustic music world for a while. Her inventive sound reminded me of Michael Hedges, but she clearly has taken a range of influences and made them her own.
She began with the beautiful Breath of Spring from a new all-instrumental CD entitled Chasing Infinity. Four tunes later, she had to call it a night to make way for the headliners. It was much too short, but enough to whet the appetite for more.
Take the time to listen to her studio version of Breath of Spring:
After Lenee’s too-brief set, mandolinist Solivan and his band – fresh from winning the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Instrumental Band of the Year award – tore into those bluegrass standards The Letter and Ain’t No Sunshine. Banjoist Mike Mumford’s Line Drive gave him room to stretch out, and the entire band showed their considerable chops on a tune I requested of Frank before the show – Tony Rice’s Is That So. Chris Luquette on guitar led the way, followed by Solivan on fiddle, Mumford on banjo, and Danny Booth on bass. Dirty Kitchen didn’t hit too many songs from the new album Cold Spell, but they did showcase She Said She Will. The band played their full hour set and may have kept going, except that the cops were shutting us down.
At the end of the evening, it was a satisfying festival and a very satisfying show by FS&DK. We’ll go out with the video of She Said She Will (and don’t try and say that three times fast, as WAMU’s Katy Daley finds out at the front of the clip).
More to come…
Image: Frank Solivan at Red Wing Roots Festival in 2015 by DJB