“L.A. ACOUSTIC MUSIC FESTIVAL” special edition #1
The “L.A. ACOUSTIC MUSIC FESTIVAL,” where the entire lineup is HEADLINERS, is just a few days away!
We’ve been writing and talking about it for weeks, and we thought you’d enjoy some specifics about some of the artists performing there. ALL are celebrated headliners at many, many other festivals. NO OTHER festival brings so many of them together for the same audience. Here’s the lineup:
THE KINGSTON TRIO,
NANCI GRIFFITH & THE BLUE MOON ORCHESTRA,
THE WOODY GUTHRIE TRIBUTE – RIBBON OF HIGHWAY / ENDLESS SKYWAY,
SARAH LEE GUTHRIE & JOHNNY IRION,
DAVID BROMBERG & THE ANGEL BAND,
It runs Noon to 10 pm Saturday AND Sunday, June 6 & 7.
Tickets & info, including PARKING info, at
Now, here’s info some of the ARTISTS (compiled by Larry Wines)
THE KINGSTON TRIO
They’ve been around since 1957, and like the Beatles, they created a national audience for their songs and influences that changed music. Their song, “Tom Dooley,” is often cited as the recording that gave birth to the Folk Revival when it went gold in 1958. Deeply rooted in American popular culture, their songs are finally recognized as timeless, and not simply as statements of a time gone by. Want proof?
Over 300 of the songs for which they are known are now available as cell phone ring tones. These include “500 Miles,” “M.T.A.,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” and “Wimoweh,” and historical songs they perform, like “Old Joe Clark” and “Ramblin’ Boy.”
Despite the death last year of founding member Nick Reynolds, and the loss in May of one of the group’s original inspirations, Travis Edmonson, they carry on with tuneful, thoughtful, and feel-good music. Their performance isn’t just entertainment, it’s cultural Americana and it’s music that just happens to be living history.
She amazes audiences with her lightening fast step dancing, which she does simultaneously with her stellar fiddle-playing. She’s one of Canada’s most beloved and accomplished artists, master of the Cape Breton style, with Grammy nominations, numerous Juno Awards (Canada’s Grammy) and Canada’s East Coast Music Awards (the best roots music honors in the world).
Many of her 10 albums have gone Gold (and the others may yet), and her collaborative partners include Yo Yo Ma, Alison Krauss, Carlos Santana, Bela Fleck, Mark O’Connor (artist in residence this summer at UCLA), and many others in music’s top tier. It’s not just her footwork and precise fiery fiddling of reels, jigs, airs, waltzes, strathspays, marches and traditional folk tunes. It’s the unique dimensions of her musicianship and showmanship.
When Natalie MacMaster performed the annual Fireworks Concert with the L.A. Phil in the Hollywood Bowl, the entire symphony sprang to their feet to give her a standing ovation.
NANCI GRIFFITH & THE BLUE MOON ORCHESTRA
Nanci Griffith is a Grammy winner who has released 18 albums, sold more than any female Texas singer-songwriter, and performed worldwide many times. Though she now lives in Nashville, her identity is the quintessential queen of Texas folk Americana. And she’s a favorite in Ireland, where concerts draw audiences as big as those for U-2.
Her Blue Moon Orchestra, since its inception, has contained some of the top folk session players and classical instrumentalists in the world, and is first-rate. Their latest CD, “The Loving Kind,” is due June 9 on Rounder Records. (Rumor is it’ll be available early at the festival.) It continues her genre-defying trademark of combining newsworthy issues and matters of the heart, always with great skill, accessible lyrics, and an ability to capture the essence of life at its most complex.
The new album’s title track chronicles the case of the Virginia couple who finally broke the barrier to mixed-race marriage, resonating with many in today’s fight for marriage equality. Of course, that’s not all: “Across America” engenders hope in a time of change, an anthem for this time of economic uncertainty and a popular new administration. Another of her new songs, “Still Life,” is an indictment of the legacy of the Bush years. She may be folksy and homegrown and homespun, with tales of front porch summers and women escaping bad lives in a Ford Econoline van, but Nanci Griffith, for years, performed wearing an LBJ button as a symbol of the Texas with which she identifies.
Her legion of worldwide fans sings along to her songs “Outbound Plane,” “Trouble in the Fields,” “Live at the Five and Dime,” “Listen to the Radio,” “It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go,” and to her signature covers of Kate Wolf’s “Great Divide” and Julie Gold’s “From a Distance,” the latter preferred by folkies to the later Bette Midler cover. Nanci Griffith has come a long way since that Kerrville Folk Festival campfire music circle where she played at age 14 and was “discovered” by Tom Russell.
She grew up in a musical family with a father renowned for his film scores. Now based in Austin, Texas, her Southern Cal concerts are homecoming events, and her live performance on radio’s “Tied to the Tracks” remains one of the most talked-about listener favorites. Her brother Tony Gilkyson is an in-demand favorite L.A. musician, but Eliza has played the world.
JOAN BAEZ chose two of Eliza’s songs for her own newest album, “Day After Tomorrow,” and they are now among the songs that Joan performs in her own concerts.
In 2008, Eliza Gilkyson was chosen to deliver the keynote address to the “International Folk Alliance Conference” and to perform on the “Cowboy Train” across Canada. Along with her concert tours, she plays benefits for women’s shelters and environmental causes. Her songs reflect a consciousness of our times and love and longing.
Eliza’s own eighth and newest CD “Beautiful World” (2008, on Red House Records) continues to receive global airplay. Her song catalogue is deep, so expect a wonderful festival set from her.
We’ll bring you more before the festival. And there are additional features on the festival’s performers in FolkWorks, available online at www.folkworks.org
It all happens on the Santa Monica Pier, W off Ocean Av (at Colorado), 2 blks S of Santa Monica Bl, Santa Monica; 818-621-8309; more, including the all-important full info on PARKING, is at www.laacousticmusicfestival.com
The festival is a benefit for the California Acoustic Music Project (CAMP), a nonprofit that returns music education to schools.
Entire contents copyright (c) © 2009, Larry Wines. All rights reserved.