Thursday night mainstage: Breabach (missed start), Kathleen Edwards, Steve Earle, Boz Skaggs (missed end) and some ‘tweeners.
Kathleen Edwards is one of those Ontario singers who has played the Grad Club and played with other artists I like, but I’d never seen her before.
Steve Earle is an older famous American guy. “Copperhead Road” is his song. Also, as an actor, he played Walon on The Wire, and in real life he’s been in jail.
David Francey and Dave Swarbrick, Alex Cuba, Chloe Albert, Joel Plaskett and his father Bill, a bunch of backing musicians. Alex Cuba is an impressive Cuban-style musician who now lives in BC. Chloe Albert is local and young. I already knew and loved David Francey and Joel Plaskett. David Francey was the host of the session. It was called Influences, and one amusing bit was a sort of mashup of Robbie Burns and Bob Marley.
Kathleen Edwards, Neko Case, Chuck Brodsky. All good, no memorable moments.
Friday mainstage: The Wailers (reggae), Neko Case, then I left. Neko Case is called alt-country, but also sings with New Pornographers. I don’t know why I didn’t buy anything of hers; I liked her.
Saturday sessions and small stage concerts:
Niamh Parsons, Old Man Luedecke, Ashley MacIsaac. Ashley MacIsaac didn’t appear to be as big a jerk as his reputation suggests. Niamh Parsons seems like a person I’d like to have a cup of tea or a beer with, but she didn’t sing all that much (I heard her later as a ‘tweener too). She was the session host. Old Man Luedecke was … well, he’d played the Grad Club and other Kingston folk/alt venues but I’d never seen him. See, I had him confused with Gentleman Jim who opened for Stars, whom I didn’t like at all. He’s a banjo-playing storytelling songwriter from Nova Scotia who actually reminded me a little bit of Stan Rogers. And in a later session he sang about him and his wife being infertile. (I am not entirely sure but it seemed like the song had a happy ending. It made me cry though.) Ashley MacIsaac had a very young guitarist with him, a boy who seemed impressive in jumping into other people’s songs and sounding good.
The Northern Cree Singers. I loved these guys. They are local, and since they’ve been on the road for a while they had no CDs left. They mostly “contemporized” their songs to be in English. I want to see them again.
Cara Dillon, John Mann, Eivor. I didn’t like John Mann. He had a good voice and I like his kind of music, but his lyrics and patter sounded annoying and sexist and kind of trite. Cara Dillon is young and from Northern Ireland, mostly singing in English, typical Celtic-ballad singing but not sean-nos. Eivor (must edit to put slash through o) is from the Faeroe Islands and looks like a … some kind of magical creature, with long straggly white hair. She has a high strong voice (much richer than Robyn) and sings in Faroese and English and plays guitar and a drum. I liked her but didn’t manage to see her again or buy anything of hers (must consult about which recordings).
Lynn Miles, Old Man Luedecke, Great Lake Swimmers. This was another good session. I had never heard of Lynn Miles but I loved her and the things she sang about. GLS, another Ontario indie band I hadn’t managed to see before but knew I would like, and I was right.
Chumbawumba Acoustic. These people were great too. Rob recommended them as being anarchist. They are from the UK, political and clever, with some timely songs and some old old English class/labour movement songs. I loved “Add Me” about creepy people wanting to be your friend on social networking sites. Unfortunately, no CDs available. Must find.
Saturday mainstage: Here is where we had the really great tarp placement.
Oysterband did the afternoon mainstage show. I don’t know how I’d missed knowing this band — they have been around a long time and I loved their show. They are from the UK, and they sing some political stuff and other melodic rock stuff. They are handsome charismatic middle-aged guys dressed in black — and two of them jumped in the audience and were singing one tarp away from us.
Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit