Fayettevilleroots Festival Day # 3

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USA Music Tour 2015 Day 10

Fayetteville Arkansas

First up, a big thanks to Jim Jacob for his incredible photos of the festival and Fayetteville generally.  I could do a story on paint drying and he could make it look good.

A late start to the day was necessary.  Yesterday’s musical superlatives still ringing in my ears (can superlatives make a sound?) and it was a slow prep for the day.

A little past noon, we left the Lafayette St house and walked south down the hill.  As we came to Dickson St, we found a water slide that stretched 1,000 feet long, several blocks of the thoroughfare were closed off.  It looked like a lot of fun, slipping down the gentle slope, keeping cool.  It felt the hottest of our days here.

We continued around the slide (rather than swim across it) and continued up to Mountain St and the Public Library which was jumping.  There was a food truck outside, the interior full cafe was full, CD, DVD and T-shirt merchandise stands, books moving aplenty and a live music show featuring the duo Moors and McCumber.  We stayed for about four of the songs and the stories in between and enjoyed the set, before we needed to leave.

Moors and McCumber – photo by Jim Jacob

Back at the Town Centre, we prepared ourselves for day 3 of fayettevilleroots, including obtaining another set of seats together in the front row.

John Elliott was introduced.  He came on, piped music started, he left the stage and proceeded to high-five most of the small crowd which had assembled on time.  He said he just wanted to rev. up the crowd on this sleepy Sunday afternoon.  It was an impressive entrance.

His good sense of humour continued throughout.  A solo singer songwriter with a clear voice and insightful observations, he moved from guitar to piano effortlessly.  There was interesting chatting between songs as well.  When you see a performance of an artist you haven’t heard, or even heard of before, you start with a tabla rasa, a clean slate and can just, well, listen and absorb.  Looking a bit like Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, the set was enjoyable, plenty to take away from it.  Songs about Germans, flags, prejudice and kindness.  A version of the Don Henley song “The Heart Of The Matter” a potent closing song.

John Elliott working the crowd – photo by Jim Jacob

John Elliott

Dana Louise & The Glorious Birds provided another style contrast, a four piece singer/guitar, bass, drums and xylophone/banjo/’pukelele’ – according to the band).  Nice Sunday lounge music with style.  Information about tracks were scarce on the net, so I’m guessing the titles here of some good songs “Underwater”, the traditional, bluegrass-jamming “When You Gonna Make It Stop Raining”, the gentle ballad “Bring Home To Your Heart”, an upbeat “Timber” and the cleansing “Dust”.

Dana Louise – photo by Jim Jacob

Devon Sproule (pronunciation: rhymes with pool) is now based in Virginia after a few years domiciled in Austin TX.  With six albums under her belt, she played a few songs off the album Colors (2013) and numbers from her next record, which has a theme about leaving friends behind – again, it’s title guessing but here goes: “More Together” was a swirling pleasure, the personal “Hannah” (a mother’s perspective of a diminishing connection with her daughter) and the rousing and climactic “Nobody Tells Me A Thing”.  Sproule has a voice with impressive range and a cachet of songs passionate and unpredictable, avoiding clichés

Devon Sproule – photo by Jim Jacob

Devon Sproule – photo by Jim Jacob

Dinner Break, a very civilised feature of this festival

I’d never seen Jimmy LaFave before, but have heard two tracks, one was an absolute blinder, from his new album The Night Tribe.  There was a beautiful rendition of one of its new tracks, the original “The Beauty Of You”, a biting version of Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately” and “Just Like A.woman” (the latter having a five-minute, moving fade out), Woody Guthrie’s “Oklahoma Hills” song “Indian Nation” another beautiful original song “Only One Angel”.

Jimmy LaFave – photo by Jim Jacob

The Watkins Family revolves around a group of musicians that have quietly collaborated episodically over many years.  The acclaimed collective released its first album, self-titled, just this month.  The touring version of the Watkins Family Hour is much the same as  the studio group – siblings Sara and Sean Watkins along with Fiona Apple, Don Heffington and Sebastian Steinberg – tonight the difference was David Garza sitting in for Benmont Tench.  Special guests tonight were Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan.

The set was wonderful – the variety, the musical skills and enjoyment of the participants highly visible.  The set list included the lead song from the album, Lindsay Buckingham’s “Steal Your Heart Away”, a lively “Tombstone Blues” from Apple (to celebrate today’s 50th anniversary of the release of Highway 61 Revisited), a Boswell Singers’ cover, Jarosz performing Dylan’s “Ring Them Bells”, the Watkins doing Nickel Creek’s “21st of May”, a rousing “In The Pines”, O’Donovan’s own “Oh Mama” and Dolly Parton’s “Joelene”.  A bustling two-song encore and it was over.

Fiona Allpe and David Garza

Sara and Sean Watkins – photo by Jim Jacob

The Watkins Family Hour – photo by Jim Jacob

On the way out, we bumped into James Moors and Kort McCumber, who we had seen perform this morning.  I’ll be saying more about this Americana duo upon my return to Australia, so stay tuned.

Fayetteville has been an absolute delight and the festival was an unabridged joy from end to end.

To home, write and bed.

Tomorrow, Florida.


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Author: Rob Dickens

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  2. Fayettevilleroots Festival 2016 | Music Mainline - […] You can read my accounts of last year’s visit here – day one, two and three. […]

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