Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Day # 2

Read about our second day at Hardly Strictly Blues festival 2013


First up, i have to say that we may have found just about the best coffee on the trip which has now extended for almost a month.


Stanza Coffee 1673 Haight St.

One thing led to another.


We certainly weren’t going to walk it today so Richard and I strolled a few blocks to Fulton St and caught the number 5 bus to just near a side entrance to the Rooster Stage.

I was keen to watch Tim O’Brien particularly after seeing him interviewed at Americanafest a little while ago.  He was on the Banjo Stage but I couldn’t get close enough to give him justice so I doubled back and decided to get a good and hopefully shady spot in advance of Dave Alvin with Greg Leisz at the Star Stage.

Mission accomplished with a cement seat for a friend for the thirty-minute wait.


Some of the crowd at the Star Stage – note man in tree

I’m pretty familiar with Alvin’s post-Blasters material.  I have seen him only once live – at the Rock ‘n’ Bowl in New Orleans with The Guilty Women.  I recall there were microphone problems that seemed to distract him a little but a good night nonetheless – seeing Cindy Cashdollar on pedal steel was a bonus.

Speaking on pedal players, Greg Leisz is on the bill with Alvin and he is one of the very best.  He has played with Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams, Eric Clapton and Wilco, to name a few.  He is also an accomplished producer and long-time collaborator with Alvin.  Originally announced as part of Buddy Miller’s super house band at this year’s Americana Awards, however for some reason he wasn’t in attendance.

In the festival program, Dave Alvin is quoted “There are two kinds of folk music – quiet folk music and loud folk music. I play both”. He is a Grammy Award winning singer songwriter and his Every Night About This Time was the first CD I bought.

My vantage spot were perfect, standing right behind a large, slightly elevated concrete drain cover – an uninterruptible view. The acoustics were nice as well.

Alvin’s voice, acoustic guitar and the slide of Leisz were a perfect complement, together with  Christy McWilson on support vocals.  She has a strong voice, a little reminiscent of June Carter.


Dave Alvin with McWilson and Leisz


Alvin and Leisz

I then made my way to the Banjo Stage where there was a Hardly Strictly Tribute to the Masters, followed by the Jerry Douglas Band.  But again there was little or no shade, so my weary legs took me to the Rooster Stage where Loudon Wainwright III was doing his drug, youth and rebellious schtick – not really my thing.


Loudon Wainwright III

It was at this point that I started to focus on being in good shape for Chuck Prophet tonight, an early gig, on stage at 7.30 pm.  I was tossing up whether to see part of the Jerry Douglas or Patty Griffin set (both on at the same time) and then rush back to the apartment and try and find dinner before Chuck comes on.

Ultimately, I decided on beating a strategic withdrawal and head back early.  In the words of one Mr Rogers – you have to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.

I managed to catch the bus and get off at about the correct stop before trundling up the 8 or blocks to home base.


Late evening view from our front porch

The Make-Out Room was our destination for the chuck Prophet gig. A cab ride was necessary on this occasion. The cabbie put us on to a restaurant around the corner – Foreign Cinema which proved to be an excellent choice.

Ten minutes before the gig was due to start, we arrived to get a great spot on the side. Bazz and I had a quick chat with the great Chuck Prophet himself.

What a great performance we saw that night. Chuck was in brilliant form – his band the Mission Express was on fire. After some pretty mellow music over the past two days, it was thrilling to get some high-octane rock show and even more so for me from an artist that I have followed for many years but never had the opportunity to see live. A privilege to be there. Another customer there told me he had seen Prophet about twenty times and this was the pinnacle performance. Peter Case was a special guest.

A contender for gig of the year.


Read about our second day at Hardly Strictly Blues festival 2013

Read about our second day at Hardly Strictly Blues festival 2013

Read about our second day at Hardly Strictly Blues festival 2013



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Author: Rob Dickens

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