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Posts Tagged ‘bluegrass’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

As the baby boomers grow older, it’s amazing to me how many of those that are performers are still touring the country. It may be true what they say — 50 is the new 30. But some of these old-time rock and rollers in particular have really managed to maintain good spirits in their careers, bodies, and minds. Maybe it’s all the medicinal herb, but damn, Willie Nelson sure knows how to keep things kicking.

Having recently turned seventy-seven years old, the folk singer is on a roll and doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. On April 20, his latest album, called Country Music, was released for purchase in the United States. The collection of fifteen songs includes new original songs as well as well-loved traditional folk/bluegrass music. But this is not enough for our dear Willie.

On top of his new album, he is about to embark on a six month tour all over the globe. It will kick off in New York on May 6 and finish up in Wisconsin on October 12. Some of the most intriguing tour stops include Germany, Austria, Netherlands, UK, Switzerland, and Belgium. I suppose you have to squeeze in the international concerts somewhere! For a complete listing of the 75 concerts Willie’s got in store, visit his tour dates page.

As for a Farm Aid concert, there is little information known about the event for 2010. Willie Nelson has been an advocate for Farm Aid since he, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young organized its first concert back in 1985. The organization promotes family farming, healthy foods, and keeping the spirit of the American farm alive.

For more information on Willie Nelson, please view his website.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove 

Last Saturday night, I strolled on down to the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg to see one of my favorite bluegrass jam bands play. Railroad Earth, of Stillwater, New Jersey, has been playing and perfecting their sound for years around the area, as well as across the country.
 

All the boys of Railroad Earth minus Mike Carbone. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The band opened with a stellar, upbeat “Drag Him Down” but then backed off the high uppity bass and focused on some slower songs, particularly “For Love.” I can appreciate the vibe they were trying to set, but it kind of ruined the mood a little. People were psyched up to see the show. RRE started with an upbeat song, then played slow songs for almost the entire rest of set one. It was definitely a tease.However, at the end of set one, the band went into a bumpin’ version of “Head” which always gets a crowd going. As Todd Schaeffers vocals screeched out, the audience sang back to him and threw up their hands each time he repeated the call. Thank the bluegrass gods for making them play this song. I think it was the highlight of the concert.

 

 After intermission, they came back with more chill vibes. Not to say I was disappointed by this, but I was just ready to dance, that’s all. It’s kind of hard to dance to music without a strong, up beat. Here’s the complete set list:
 
 Set 1: Drag Him Down>For Love>Seven Story Mountain>Old Man and the Land>The Hunting Song>Shockenawe Mountain Breakdown>Head
 
Set 2: Where Songs Begin>Walk Beside Me>Luxury Liner>Jerusalem Ridge>RV>Warhead Boogie>New Jam (SHJ)>Moonshiner
 
Encore: Genesis>Bringin’ My Baby Back Home
 
The lights were awesome — Every time I go to the Sherman Theater, their light shows get more and more advanced. Different hues of reds, blues, and yellows washed over the audience as they bopped up and down to the music. At times, the lights seemed to take on a mind of their own, zipping back and forth from the stage to the audience.
 
The only other thing I will have to mention is something I usually have no complaints about at the Sherman: the sound. While most of the instruments sounded in tune and jacked up to the right volume, I felt that the bass was way too overblown. Walking up to the side of the stage, the speakers literally produced wind everytime the bass was plucked. The result was a muddled effect, of which I was unhappy with.
 
This was the second show in a row that Railroad Earth played at the Sherman Theater. They usually play two nights every year around Thanksgiving. Not that I didn’t like the show, but I think next time they should focus on their boppin’ bluegrass beats a little more. I will leave you with some good clips I got:
 
 
 
And if you’re feeling frisky, you can read about the time I interviewed Railroad Earth’s lead singer Todd Schaeffer. Click here.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

As promised, today I will be giving you a review of the Bethel Woods Harvest Festival and Mountain Jam. Now, if only it had been nicer weather! The entire day, it misted rain, which made things a little harder to navigate, but still great. Luckily, everything was under tents.

Well let me start by saying that Bethel Woods is such a beautiful place to go. Even if you’re not going to the Woodstock museum, you can walk the site of the original Woodstock. It’s expansive and you’ll be hiking around the hills of Yasgur’s farm for hours. By the way, the museum costs $13! (But worth every penny, I’m sure.)

It must have taken quite some time to graffiti this Bug! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

It must have taken quite some time to graffiti this Bug! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The Harvest Festival was very much like a large farmer’s and artisan market. There were displays of handcrafted quilts made by local seamstresses, an auction for some pretty neatly painted tables, and many interesting things to look at. My favorite was a painted VW Bug sitting in the middle of the field.

The tables of farmers was far more than I expected. Here’s a brief list of what was being sold that day: lettuce, cheeses, wine, peppers, apples, pumpkin, apple cider, soups, breads, squash, gourds, candies, sauces, and flowers. There were even some cool looking sugar cookies in the shapes of peace signs. How appropriate.

The farmer’s market portion of the Harvest Festival actually happens every Sunday. Here is a complete list of vendors.

Not only did the Festival have good food. It also had activities, too. There was a fun little corn maze to get lost in, which I definitely had to do. The corn was so tall I felt like I was in the jungle. There were also musician workshops and mini jam sessions for those interested.

Pumpkins, gourds, and veggies, oh my! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Pumpkins, gourds, and veggies, oh my! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The shuttle bus ran from the Harvest Festival area up to the museum. The ride along the way was great! Our groovy bus driver pointed out famous Woodstock spots, like the skinny dipping pond and the area where the original stage once was.

Thank goodness for those tents — the bluegrass bands that played needed the cover to perform. They managed to grab the attention of many festival-goers, and some even sat out in the rain to watch them play. Unfortunately, the audience seating was not under a tent, so some people were deterred from the music.

To wrap this up, I highly recommed checkout out the Farmer’s Market next Sunday. You’ll be so glad you did because of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables you’ll come home with. Also, do the museum, too. Any Woodstock fan would be highly stoked, maaaan.

 

 

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Be sure to check out the free festival this weekend. Photo from bethelwoodscenter.org.

Be sure to check out the free festival this weekend. Photo from bethelwoodscenter.org.

Even though it’s still summer, it certainly feels more like fall. Many autumn changes have begun to take place everywhere. The leaves are beginning to change colors, farm stands now have pumpkins, gourds, and apples for sale, and you can even see your breath on cold nights.

I’d say it’s a good time for a nice Harvest Festival.

This upcoming weekend, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will be having their Harvest Fest on Sunday from 11 to 4 pm. (To reiterate on previous blog posts, Bethel Woods is the original site of Woodstock 1969.) The venue will be calling their celebration the Mountain Music Festival, as they will be hosting various bluegrass and old time American music performers throughout the day.

The musicians providing free music are: Jesse Kitzmiller, Anne Loeb and Mike Baglione, Two Steps Back, North Country, and D.R.E.A.M Tank Tub Band.

This is actually the 11th annual Harvest Festival for the town, and it also includes a farmers market (which happens to be open every Sunday). Besides that, there are arts and crafts, pony rides, scarecrows, corn mazes and various workshops.

This FREE festival certainly is offering a lot. It would be silly not to go! I’ll follow this up with a review when I get back this weekend. 🙂

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