We attended the kick-off of the Falcon Ridge Folk Fest preview tour this afternoon, featuring the three "audience favorites" from last year's Showcase. So you have a field of about 500 submittals, whittled down to 24 by a panel of judges, and from there, the 3 fan faves. In other words - a pretty awesome afternoon of music.
Quick thoughts on the music. First up was Ellis who got cuteness points from the get-go. She's been around a bit (5 or 6 disks worth) despite her apparent youthfulness. Loved her voice, guitar chops I could embrace, and a winning style with the crowd. Her songs (shortish set) ranged from relationships to world issues - and were accessible on a lot of levels. She's a bit sneaky, you find yourself liking her music more than you think. And if she were from the east or west coast she would be (deservedly) stuck up and full of herself, but being from Texas she is sweet, friendly, dare we say a little goofy in a good way. I'd go for a full set any day!
Pat Wictor with Cheryl Prashker was up next, and his music was really resonant - gentle, spirit filled, beautiful. He plays (mostly) and open tuned guitar on his lap with a slide - a highly talented right hand and a judicious but effective application of slide licks makes it seem like there is another guitarist in the wings. I mentioned to him at the break another folkie - Kate McDonnell - whose "backwards and upside down" style has me awestruck because it is so different and interesting (from a technical perspective). Pat was like that, musically - I would have been happy just watching and listening to him play guitar! His songs and voice were happily on a par and we were bopping along, and at times cuddling for the gentle love and beauty of them. He also has the most beautiful red hair on the planet. Just saying.
Finally, Red Molly, who will I am sure be all over the festival stages this year. Multi-talented, think a distaff version of "Oh Brother Where Art Thou", with some Dixie Chicks tossed in. Guitars, banjo, resonator slide, and bass intertwined with three ethereal voices mixed the old fashioned way into one pretty amazing microphone. Funny banter, solid connection to the crowd. The music will have me dancing on the festival hillside, no doubt. Love 'em!
We had a good time - sunny, perhaps a bit cooler than one would like, but food, music, people, venue - all good. Most amusingly, seeing fellow FRFFers in civilian clothes, vs. festival fashion (sandals, shorts, tee shirts, sundresses, dust, mud, sunscreen, cold shower and port-a-pottie limited, and overtired from trying to squeeze a bit too much peace, love, and music out of the weekend)
July 26-29th in Hillsdale NY - be there!