Review: Moab Folk Festival | Buzz Blog
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Review: Moab Folk Festival


Any festival could turn out pretty decently when back-dropped by red rocked cliffs and doused in sunshine, yet the Moab Folk Festival continues to carve out its little niche in the folk world. ---Saturday's shows satiated my need for all things troubadour, and, in Twitter-like fashion, here's how it went down:

1:42 pm - Arrived just in time for Elephant Revival—it's good to see this quintet again but a bummer to have missed their percussion workshop.

Writer's note: read City Weekly's interview with Dango Rose here.

1:47 pm - I haven't seen a show at a ball field since, I think, before I left Tennessee, which was Charlie Daniels after he went hardcore Christian. It's an intimate setting with lots of sunshine, but somehow I expected more hippies and beer.

1:52 pm - I've been waiting for ER to blow up. They're a goldmine of talent, led by a washboard playing beauty named Bonnie Payne. How can they not be destined for greatness?

2:05 pm - I've never understood the whole notion of a tenor sax accompanying a string band, especially slow and Kenny G-like. If it's going to happen, then bring on the baritone to fill in the lows. Regardless, Bill Kirchen [I think] did a nice job sitting in.

2:28 pm - They've come a long way since I saw them at Woody's a couple years ago down here, when they were, as bassist Dango Rose said, "just trying to make it to Moab anyway we could.".

2:47 pm - "Over the River" a soulful almost spiritual number followed by, I think, a song sung in some Native American language. Ok, I guess I get the whole transcendental folk thing.

3:11 pm - Hippie sighting, still no beer unfortunately.

3:22 pm - Anger, Law, and Gilchrest just got on and they are masters of their craft. I'm standing stage left and a woman asks me to sit down because I'm blocking the view. How about you stand up and dance ... that's to everyone.%uFFFD

3:35 pm - Singer-songwriter Gigi Love confirmed my suspicion that people would be dancing, anywhere else. Probably has to do with the "no beer" policy.

3:52 pm - Gilchrest has a voice like a choir of angels.

4:29 pm - "Norwegian Wood." Folk or not?

4:34 pm - Before encoring, Anger said this is the best outdoor gig he's ever played then gave a PSA that the time was changing tonight. That's definitely folk.

5:22 pm - In between the next gig at the high school, we decided to hike the Negro Bill trail down the Colorado River a bit. Surrounded by soaring red and black cliffs and, low and behold, ran into a couple of the concert-goers from earlier ... Only at a festival in Moab.

7:05 pm - Slamming a beer in the car before the concert; it feels like I'm in high school again. Oh, I'm at the high school. Where's the weed?

7:22 pm - There's so much less running around than other festivals. I love that. It's all centrally located, which, as said, leaves more time for playing.

7:28 pm - Caroline Herring is describing very plainly how the whole "Yo mama" game goes down with the youth. And, turns out it's part of her next song, but in a very informed, meaningful way. I love balladeers.

7:58 pm - Finish a beer in the parking lot? I think I will.

8:18 pm - Peter Mulvey is blowing everyone else away that's played so far. He's just loud and has such a stage presence. I think this is going to be one of the best show's I've seen in a long time.

8:25 pm - He has no commercial agenda ... he sold all of his CD's so he says he's just going to play the songs he wants.

8:29 pm - Great bantering and storytelling. I love that about folk musicians—adding context and depth to a song before they play it, and he strikes a balance because you can't give it all away, you have to let people create meaning for themselves too.

8:42 pm: He played Orpheus in Anais Mitchel's folk opera and%uFFFDplayed a gig with Boston's LPs covering Tom Waits in the same weekend. Two days of Waits, a day as Orpheus then more Waits. Now, he says we get to hear what that was like in eight minutes.

8:47 pm - Wait's "Jockey Full of Bourbon": Wow, just wow.

9:01 pm - He's encoring and it's not enough.

9:22 pm - Hot damn, look at those hot pink pants Patty Larkin has on. They fit perfectly with her wild Irish red hair.

Writer's note: read City Weekly's interview with her here.

9:35 pm - This woman is the real deal. Jazz-influenced guitar in odd keys, playing fast as hell.

9:48 pm - I'm fading fast. Too much sun, playing, meat and beer. This is almost embarrassing. And, these auditorium seats are too comfortable. I need a shot of espresso or some gin. What's up with the teal roof panels?

9:56 pm - Bringing Peter Mulvey helped bring me out of comatose. These two play like they're good buddies, which I think they are.

10:05 pm - Two encores. Impressive.

10:35 pm - Sorry late night jam session at Eddie McStiff's. I need sleep for climbing tomorrow. It's been a mellow, sunny day of fine music. This festival is definitely on a Moab must-do for another year down the line. I really don't think the locals would ever let this festival go.