Bluegrass for the Greenbelt w/ Crooked Still and the Tuttle Family 6/5/10
A perfect warm breezy day greeted attendees at the 5th annual Bluegrass for the Greenbelt benefit. Now held at the verdant Dunsmuir Hellman Estate in the hills behind Oakland CA, this daylong concert delighted a small but spirited crowd with a wide variety of string bands.
photo by Lance Walker
The two undisputed standouts were Crooked Still and the Tuttle Family with AJ Lee. These two young bands lit up the stage and got the biggest response of the day. Other sets by Nell Robinson, the Wronglers, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, and Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen were also well received.
Jack Tuttle is a Palo Alto music teacher at the legendary Gryphon Strings. His superbly talented kids, Molly age 17, Sullivan 14, and Michael 12 have been playing semi professionally for the past several years. They are joined by the young singing mandolin sensation Aissa (AJ) Lee for most of their performances. The group’s choice of material ranges from Townes Van Zant to Karen Dalton and they pull it all off with great licks and assured solos.
Several Youtube clips have made the Tuttles known around the globe. Most notable, from several year’s back is their break neck version of the Puerto Rican classic “El Cumbanchero“.
Crooked Still has been mentioned frequently in these past few weeks. The excitement around this band is really building with their just borne Some Strange Country recently reviewed and revered in these very pixels.
This day they delivered the goods. In top form after months of touring, this band shows no sign of easing up. New songs like “Half of What We Know” soared and swooped through the air with supreme confidence. Aoife’s voice is richly nuanced and her interpretations of old time and country blues take on new but grounded identities. Hearing incendiary live versions of “Sometimes in this Country” and especially “The Golden Vanity” gave this listener the feeling that this group could go all the way. Catch them on their perpetual tour which visits Alaska next week for the Summer Solstice. The adventuresome spirit of this five piece will surprise and delight you.
photo by Lance Walker