November 18, 2014

#NERFA 2014 (2 of 5): Conference Showcase Artists

I made a point to go to all of the conference showcase performances. A VERY brief synopsis of my thoughts and impressions, tweets in italics, and a note if they were Falcon Ridge emerging artists (because that gives me a personal connection).

Friday Night

David Amram - very inspiring, he left us with the directive to "Be Creative" - definitely got things off on the right foot.

Bobtown - Big fan in general, kind of obsessed with their version of Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Reaper. Loved their set. 2013 Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist alum.

Claudia Schmidt - How have I missed her? Amazing voice, amazing talent and personality. Must dig a bit deeper into her music.

Cassie & Maggie MacDonald - First of many talents artists from Canada. Loved their energy, their talent, their music. And so nice to see some younger faces in the community. Hard not to love Cassie & Maggie MacDonald. Charming and talented. #NERFA

Guy Mendilow Ensemble - Reminds me a bit of Hugh Blumenfeld (story-teller, Israel connection) with a lot more world music diversity. Loved his set, loved his energy and creativity. 2008 Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist alum.

Harpeth Rising - Love women in harmony to start with, and their celtic slant on it was especially welcome. Harpeth Rising is hard to explain. In a very good way. #NERFA #quirky #delightful

Dave Gunning - More Canada. Totally engaging, great voice, songs, and presence. "It's just like the muppet show backstage" #davegunning #NERFA and "What shall I do with these hands of mine" #davegunning #nerfa #imabeliever

David Jacobs-Strain - I'm just gonna say that bluesy slide guitar hits me in the first chakra. #davidjacobs-strain #nerfa

Saturday Night

Shtreiml & Ismail Fencioglu - Interesting, world music-ish, not my cup of tea but enjoyable. Fun to watch Jodi the ASL intepreter kick back with foreign lyrics.

SONiA disappear fear - Never really picked up on disappear fear (despite many visits to Falcon Ridge), so SONiA kind of stood on her own for me. I liked, but not smitten, but I could see how she resonates with a certain audience.

Modern Man - Totally amusing, loved the musical inside jokes (like clipping a capo onto a harmonica to raise the key).

Burning Bridget Cleary - Big fans from Falcon Ridge (2012 Emerging Artists) and from a local CT Folk appearance, blogged here. Did a good job, and the ladies coming front of house (to dance) and then into the audience (at the finale) must have driven the sound and lighting crew nuts.

No Fuss & Feathers Road Show - Another FRFF crew (2006, 2011, and 2012 Emerging Artists along with many other visits), and also a CT Folk appearance, blogged here, and a house concert. Big fan musically and personally, they did well. A finale front of stage, no mics piece with just cajon accompaniment struck me thus: No Fuss and Feathers Road Show. Ballsy. It worked. #NERFA

Jory Nash - More Canada, more great. "Sings like Simon, looks like Garfunkel. Helluva laugh.

The Don Juans - Veteran singer-songwriters Don Henry and Jon Vezner (Falcon Ridge 2009) teamed up for this showcase slot. Got me crying with "Where've You Been" which Vezner penned for wife Kathy Mattea.

Tim Grimm Band - a family affair. With wife and sons in tow. Kind of disarming, physically (strap a guitar on Hank Hill). His song "King of the Folksingers" about his friend Ramblin' Jack Elliot seemed both Dylanesque and a less than gentle poke at the Jokerman

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