The second night of the musical extravaganza included the much-anticipated Pete Seeger. Much more to come on that note...heh, heh.
The early-goings brought 2 groups the author
was unaware of and that is one of the reasons I attend these festivals... to hear new music (or at least music I had not heard before.
And so it was with, "Misty Lyn and the Big Beautiful". This was a fine group and Misty Lyn Bergeron sang and played her stuff...beautifully. See this review of their debut: "For The Dead".
Next up was a nifty guitarist, Luke Doucet and the White Falcon from Canada and they played an inspired 4 tracks that showed energy and originality. Boy can this guy play! He uses a that hollow-body Gretsch quitar which gives the sound
of Dave Edmunds, Brian Setzer, that type. As a guitar fan, I really enjoyed him. I'm thinking (and this is often the case of certain groups) that this is best enjoyed live.
To my surprise, the 3rd most-anticipated performers (behind Pete Seeger and Kris Kristofferson), Girlyman, came out next. What can I say? Much too little of them at this venue. Have you heard them? We have been big fans since first seeing them supporting, The Indigo Girls at the Wharton Center on Michigan State University's campus several years ago (Fall of 2004). They have precise, beautiful harmony. They play their own instruments very well, with interesting layers of sound. They have a fun stage banter showing kind souls, with funny stories (often stemming from tuning onstage...little ditties which entered their most recent
release,"somewhere different now (live)"). They sang 4 quick songs...way too short, but then, that's what happens at the Festival,
it is only intended to be a taste...you come back when they come back (which, unfortunately for me won't work since I will be on stage at the Great Hall of the Wharton Center on April 25 when Girlyman returns to the Ark.
So, thinking Girlyman would close the first set of the night proved incorrect. What joined the stage next was a musical family, headlined by the infamous, Pete Seeger. His grandson- Tao Rodriguez-Seeger was the leader of this group, making sure things moved along. Pete Seeger is 89 years old. Wow. He sang a couple verses by himself (and led us all in an achingly-slow version of, "Amazing Grace") but stayed with the group for their entire set. The crowd was very much into whatever he said, did, asked, sang. He was the hero of the evening...much love poured toward the stage, for sure. The group also included Pete Seeger's friend's granddaughter, Sara Lee Guthrie (yes, Arlo Guthrie's daughter....Woody Guthrie's granddaughter) and her very talented husband, Johnny Irion (I was very fortunate to hear these 2 at the Ten Pound Fiddle Coffeehouse in East Lansing several years ago...great stuff).
It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Nicky and me to see this "father of American folk music"
So the first set ended here and when we returned, so did Joe Pug. He rendered another Dylan-like performance and admittedly the song did not do much for me...but the Friday night song did. He's going to be around on the folk scene.
Claire Lynch came out and did a short set of country music. She had a crack band supporting her pleasant demeanor and we enjoyed her singing.
The Carolina Chocolate Drops entered the stage for a similar performance to Friday night with just as much fandom created. They are a talented, funny, fun, group who had the whole audience on its feet. Go see them live.
The headliner for the second night of the Ann Arbor Folk Festival was Kris Kristofferson. He came out with a guitar and a harmonica...and that's all. That's all he needed. Nicky is a BIG fan of this guy (and I honestly did not know just HOW BIG until that night). Kristofferson has penned some of the best-known (and loved) tunes, from, "Me And Bobby McGee" to "Help Me Make It Through The Night" to "For The Good Times". He did them all in a stripped-down, solo version which ached and hurt and helped and sounded wonderful.
Once again the Ann Arbor Folk Festival provided a litany of interesting performers...some you knew and some you didn't. It was an entirely pleasant weekend (and it doesn't hurt to get away with your best friend every now and then, does it?).