The heart of the matter: 2010 Calgary Folk Festival
Although much of the early buzz seems to be about the Avett Brothers and indie-leaning acts such as Stars and St. Vincent, make no mistake about it, the heart of the 2010 Calgary Folk Festival is Saturday’s holy trifecta of Ian Tyson, Tom Russell and Corb Lund. With all three scheduled for the same day the chances of collaboration are very good, indeed, be it Ian and Corb on “The Rodeo’s Over” or Ian and Tom on “Navajo Rug” or “Gallo del Cielo”. Who knows, maybe the folk gods will somehow bless us with all three on stage together at the same time.
Save for a hastily-organized Jr. Gone Wild reunion or an entirely-out-of-place performance of Chixdiggit’s “Sikome Beach”, you’d be hard-pressed to program a more flattering encapsulation of the regional music scene in one day. Okay, so maybe Tom doesn’t have the papers to prove it (as could soon be mandatory in his native Arizona), but he served more than enough time in East Hastings’ “neon world of knives and guns” to at least attain honourary Western Canadian status. Hell, the guy even wrote a song about Winnipeg that epitomized the city’s wintery bleakness several years before the Weakerthans turned doing so into an art form (How’s the weather in Winnipeg? / When the ice melts on the first of May on those desolate streets / One old Sikh in a powder blue cab).
This is not to downplay my anticipation for many of this year’s other acts, of course; I’m particularly looking forward to the Neil Young-ish stylings of the Sudbury-by-way-of-Vancouver alt-country collective Ox (even more so if lead singer Mark Browning shamelessly breaks out his vintage Calgary Flames road jersey).
It all comes back to Saturday’s triumvirate, however. Cowboy music. Not the Nashville North stage at the Calgary Stampede so much as the sagging wire fences and windswept gravel parking lots of Victoria Park the morning after the rodeo’s over and the folks have gone home. Stu Hart sorting through gate receipts in the back of the Corral, circa 1979. Last call at the Cecil Hotel. Saturday night.