All posts tagged: Red Wing Roots Music Festival

Saturday Music: Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz is one-third of the trio I’m With Her, which I featured in last week’s edition of Saturday Music. In addition to their work with the band, each of these very talented young women has a robust solo career. Saturday Music will focus on their music as individuals over the next three weeks, beginning with the gifted singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz. I began hearing Jarosz at venues such as the Red Wing Roots Music Festival when she was in her early twenties and already an established artist. The bio from her website captures Jarosz’s amazing rise from her teenage debut: “With her captivating voice and richly detailed songwriting, Sarah Jarosz has emerged as one of the most compelling musicians of her generation. A three-time Grammy Award-winner at the age of 28, the Texas native started singing as a young girl and became an accomplished multi-instrumentalist by her early teens. After releasing her full-length debut Song Up in Her Head at 18-years-old, she went on to deliver such critically lauded albums as Follow Me Down, Build Me …

Red Wing Roots Music Festival 2016 (Or “Thank God for Sierra Hull”)

Everybody experiences growing pains.  Even music festivals. 2016 was the fourth year for the Red Wings Roots Music Festival held in the beautiful Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, Virginia.  Hosted by the Steel Wheels, this regional Americana and roots music gathering in the Shenandoah Valley has been eclectic from the beginning, and not all the musical acts have been of the same quality.  But the festival had maintained a nice balance between audiences that were there to party and have a good time and for those who came to listen to some of the country’s best acoustic musicians. (Chris Thile, Sam Bush, I’m With Her, Tim O’Brien, Jon Jorgenson, Claire Lynch, Sarah Jarosz, Del McCoury, and Darrell Scott all showed up over the first three years.) But with the ominous warning on the front page of this year’s festival guide that there would be more “plugged in and turned up” bands, a shift was clearly underway.  Friday’s lineup confirmed that approach…and the balance between the different audience shifted.  Not for the better. I can …

Red Wing III: A Quick Look Back

After 12 hours of music on Saturday at a sold-out Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Natural Chimneys Park, I’m going to let the photos speak for Day Two of the festival, with only a few quick observations thrown in along the way. Scott Miller is a terrific songwriter and a good performer with a great sense of humor.  Is There Room on the Cross for Me? was only one of a number of smartly written songs in his set.  Fiddler Rayna Gellert was also a find.  Check them out. I liked Missy Raines and the New Hip better when they were all acoustic.  The electric guitarist was good, but her music lost some of its subtlety and just became more noise.  That said, she’s still a terrific bass player out flexing her chops and trying new things…and that’s all good. I’m not sure who booked Nikki Lane for a prime 6 p.m. slot on the main stage, but to my ear a little of her honky tonking trash from Nashville went a long way.  …

Red Wing III: This is Becoming a Habit

The inaugural Red Wing Roots Music Festival in beautiful Natural Chimneys Park held out a great deal of promise as The Steel Wheels pulled together friends and musical heroes for a wonderful three days of music in 2013.  So I returned last year for Red Wing II, and found that the festival had grown and built on that promise. Naturally, Candice and I returned this weekend for the third annual Red Wing festival with our friends Margaret and Oakley Pearson from Staunton.  This is becoming a habit. The signs of the festival’s growth and increasing popularity are everywhere, beginning with the size of the crowd. Then the line-up gets stronger, as bands and musicians learn about this wonderful, small (compared to Merlefest and Telluride), and welcoming festival with knowledgeable fans.  (Folks in the Shenandoah Valley know their music.) Candice and I were late arriving (don’t ask…part of it had to do with sitting still on I-66 for 20+ minutes), so we missed the first band I was hoping to hear – Mandolin Orange.  I enjoyed …

Pokey the Preservationist

Last Friday I was sitting outside on a beautiful summer day at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival, listening to Pokey LaFarge. Yesterday evening, I was skimming some YouTube videos to learn more about Pokey’s music when I came across a TedX talk entitled Pokey LaFarge:  Evolving Through Preservation. Whoa!  Could it be that Pokey is not only a great musician with a hot band, but also a preservationist? Well yes, that’s exactly what he is. Take a listen to this TedX talk from St. Louis – and after the music history lesson you’ll hear Pokey’s thoughts on how young people are taking old buildings and using them for new uses – just as they are doing with music and fashion. They are claiming these places and making them relevant today.  Just as we’ve been preaching in my day job at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. And as Pokey reminds us…he’s only 30 years old! Who knew that the next generation preservationist could come in the form of a hip traditionalist musician who happens …

An Amazing Day of Music at Red Wing

Saturday at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival was one of those days when the music starts off great and then – when you think it can’t possibly be sustained – it keeps getting better.  (The last day that rivaled this one at a festival was day two of Merlefest 25.  It is interesting to note that the Steel Wheels were involved with both!) Duets were the order of the day in the early afternoon at Red Wing II, beginning with Bernice and Bryan Hembree playing as Smokey & The Mirror.  He writes great songs (St. Alban’s Day, Will and Woody) while she has a powerful and beautiful voice (showcased on a cover of Dylan’s Buckets of Rain).  They were the first out of the chute today, and the Hembrees set a high bar. Mandolin Orange – an acoustic duo featuring Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz – were up next and played a beautiful set that we caught while eating lunch (and Kline’s ice cream!).  With just a guitar, mandolin, and fiddle, they crafted songs …

Pokey Laps the Field at Day One of Red Wing

The second annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival in spectacular Natural Chimneys Park began on Friday afternoon under a beautiful summer sky.  The promise of the inaugural festival – hosted by the Steel Wheels – brought out an even larger crowd this year.  And for the most part the music didn’t disappoint. My friend Oakley Pearson and I arrived in time to catch the full set of Furnace Mountain, a band from the Berryville, Virginia, area.  Comprised of Aimee Curl on bass and vocals, Danny Knicely on mandolin and fiddle, Dave Van Deventer on fiddle, and Morgan Morrison on bouzouki, guitar and vocals, Furnace Mountain is a first-rate roots music band.  Knicely is an especially inventive mandolin player, and he displayed some great chops and songwriting skills in today’s set. Caravan of Thieves was a band I wasn’t familiar with, but they grew on me very quickly.  Their web site has a catchy – yet pretty accurate – description of this group:: Driving gypsy jazz rhythms, acoustic guitars, upright bass and violin lay the foundation for …