Report From Nelsonville Music Festival, Day One
Southeast Ohio has always held a soft spot in my heart as my best friend from high school and best friend from college went to, respectively, college and grad school at Ohio University, and on visits I taught photography to area children using 99 cent cameras. And my god daughter lives here still.
While Athens itself has become somewhat more mainstream, the place to be has be become a small farm town 14 miles up the road, Nelsonville. Anchored by a 19th century all wooden performing arts venue, Stuarts Opera House, and a Final Friday community get together, seven years ago the Nelsonville Music Festival was born.
A nice mixture of old line country, alt country, progressive and some alternative music and the full gamut of regional performers, it has become a vibrant, if still a bit under the Fest radar, place to be in mid May.
Last night showcased a stomping string band quartet from Kansas, Sauna, good sounding local alt country band, Duke Junior & the Smokey Boots, the sounding better than ever with a seeming limitless future, Justin Townes Earle and one of the four or five most distinctive voices of the 20th century, George Jones. Even though that voice is as shot as all that whiskey he’s consumed over the years, he’s the walking embodiment of “real country music, not the faux stuff of today. As he roamed the stage, clearing the frog that seemed to be forever stuck, and running through the old and recent hits, he could have been thinking that if he’d known he was going to live this long he would have taken better care of himself.
As we get ready for today’s first performers, The Black Swans and, the one I want to see so bad, Baby Dee, the main staff is playing the recently re-discovered “In My Own Time” by Karen Dalton. I think she would like that.
Now if those predicted thunderstorms hold off.