Sunday, September 1, 2013

Rhythm & Roots Festival - August 31, 2013

I decided to grab tix for this at the last minute and it turned out to be a pretty good decision on my part.  Rhythm & Roots is the sister festival of Grey Fox and I have been meaning to get here the past couple of years.  We have family about a half hour away so it is pretty convenient to get to and it's nice to have a place to stay so off we went to Rhode Island this weekend.

Rhythm and Roots is billed as a music and dance festival and it features a pretty interesting mix of artists.  On the day we went there was a little country, some blues, a bunch of Cajun, a little Tex-Mex.  Pretty much something for everybody.  The festival is held each year at Ninigret Park in Charlestown, RI and the large, flat site holds 5 stages and a ton of vendors.  Camping is also available but it appears that many in attendance come for the day.  There is plenty of free parking adjacent to the festival entrance.  Food and soft drinks can be brought in but no alcohol (which is for sale on the grounds).  You get your usual festival vendors and food choices with a couple of locals bringing a New England flavor to the event.

We arrived around noon and set up on the main field while Della Mae was playing.  My wife and I have seen them quite a bit over the past couple of years and they are indeed talented, although not my particular cup of tea.

Lindi Ortega was up next and I was looking forward to her set based on the couple of songs I had heard.  She has a pretty nice "traditional" country voice but did not really get the crowd going.  The sparse sound was a little too moody for that early in the day and she appeared to grow a bit annoyed as the set went on.

The Red Stick Ramblers are a string band that is a little Cajun, a little Bluegrass, and a whole lot of fun.  They were playing various stages all weekend and must have really kicked some ass in the dance tent at night.

One of the reasons I chose this festival was to see Holly Williams and she did not disappoint.  Playing with a base and additional guitar provided by her husband, she wound her way through most of the songs on her excellent LP The Highway, along with a cover or two.  Great Stuff.

The Texas Guitar Women and Marcia Ball brought the boogie in the next two sets.  Not my favorite style but entertaining none the less.

The other act I was looking forward to was Steve Earle who is touring in support of his album The Low Highway.  I've seen him quite a bit over the past 25 years, but it has been a while since I have been to a show with the Dukes (and Duchesses).  The set featured quite a lot from his newest along with some album cuts and a few "hits".  Very solid but it could have been a bit louder.  Not enough kick for me.

I think I may make this a regular stop on my summer festival circuit, but probably only of a day.  You really need to be a fan of the Cajun sounds to get the full experience and I am not the biggest fan...although I was definitely in the minority here.

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