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broodings from the burrow

July 22, 2005

past falcon ridge finds
posted by soe 10:04 am

This will be our sixth or seventh Falcon Ridge Folk Festival; we can’t quite remember which.

But in honor of yet another fun weekend of camping at an angle, I thought I’d share my top ten Falcon Ridge performers (the ones I was introduced to at the festival, as opposed to previous favorites):

  • The Paperboys — A fun Canadian band that plays great Celtic music. I love the fiddler, Shannon Saunders.
  • Meg Hutchinson — An amazing young woman, I was lucky to stumble across her at a vendor booth performance. We saw her open for David Wilcox a year or so later. Last year she performed in the New Artist Showcase and was voted one of the best from the showcase, so she’ll be back this year as one of the Most Wanted. It’s nice to be ahead of the curve for once.
  • Janis Ian — Yes, yes. I know she had a career in the ’60s and ’70s with “Society’s Child” and “At Seventeen.” But I hadn’t heard anything of her more recent material. But she’s definitely worth a listen-to.
  • Cheryl Wheeler — Absolutely hysterical. In addition to doing the pointed song “If It Were up to Me,” she also has performed songs about outhouses. Oh, and some more serious and tuneful things, too.
  • The Kennedys — Initially, I wasn’t as much of a fan of this husband-and-wife duo as Rudi was, but they’ve grown on me, particularly their live materials. It’s evident that they adore performing and will do it whenever and wherever possible. The year they weren’t invited to perform, they came as vendors and played backup for a number of artists. Last year, they came up after the stages closed at night and performed at some campers’ song circle.
  • Moxy Früvous — A “temporarily” defunct Canadian band reminiscent of Bare Naked Ladies. A ton of fun, if only they would get back together.
  • Erin McKeown — The first time we saw Erin, she was standing on an instrument case and playing at a vendor’s booth. We were totally taken by this huge, 1940s voice coming out of this tiny woman. I’ve seen her a number of times since then and am impressed anew each time. Clearly others agree, because she’s currently touring with Ani.
  • Vance Gilbert — The biggest voice in the festival. Huge. He goes off-mic on one song and is still audible at the top of the hill. He demands sing-alongs. He torments his ASL interpreters and, occasionally, a fan or two. He has a ton of fun, and so does his audience.
  • Eddie from Ohio — EFO is now a local band for us, and I’m so glad. Julie Murphy Wells has a huge voice, and she puts it to use on Sunday morning during the Gospel Wake-Up hour, as well as during EFO’s normal stints.
  • Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer — Dave Carter died three years ago just before the start of Falcon Ridge. It was a blow to every one of us who had ever heard his music before — to have him cut down before he’d had a chance to become better known, to share his gift with more people. Joan Baez played “The Mountain” for the Dalai Lama, who is reported to have liked it quite a bit. That was just the sort of writer he was. Tracy Grammer, his partner in music and in life, remains focused on furthering Dave’s legacy. I have yet to hear her new album, but the EP she put out last summer was utterly and completely heartbreaking. I promise to come home with her new album.
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