Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Acoustic @ Truck 2011

Truck is certainly not a folk festival, indeed it doesn't pretend to try to be one, but given the contents of this post you could be forgiven for wondering. This is not a complete list by any means, rather just some of the acoustic artists that I saw.  It did however give rise to much discussion about the minefield that is musical sub-genre when discussing such things - be they new folk, Anglicana, or some other name you choose.  Whatever else they share (or don't) one common thread in such songs and many traditional ones is a sense of place and belonging be that from the perspective of being there or, for whatever reason, of not being (able to be) there.  Is is nicely summed up in a line from a song performed by this first artist. I think that it also sums up the spirit of a good festival too.

"With your sense of dislocation you make the perfect travelling companion."
Roddy Woomble - Main Stage - Saturday afternoon.

Most of the set naturally comprised his recent solo material but the above lyric is from the Idlewild song 'Take Me Back To The Islands'.  He and his family now live on Mull.
Other inveterate wanderers featured in the line up. Duo Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou are as likely to be found touring by canal boat or camper van than the more modern means of so-called luxury transport.
The Clash Stage was curated by label Heavenly Records on the Saturday (of which phenomenon more later) and they were appearing on that bill.
On Sunday the same stage was host to a selection of artists chosen by Bella Union Records, a label that I have mentioned many times in posts before, and this is one recent addition to their family of artists.
Alessi's Ark - Clash Stage - Sunday afternoon.
Please don't just take my word for it:
"(She) played with a delicacy — and a casualness — that would simply be impossible anywhere else here (at SXSW)."  
New York Times
This fall she is returning to the US as main support artist for Laura Marling's headline tour.  
All in all four stages were involved in this and here is an artist that has been on my want-to-see list for some time. On Saturday the Last FM Stage was dedicated to acts that, in one way or another, are part of Oxford's Blessing Force Collective.
 Rhosyn - Last FM Stage - Saturday afternoon.
While this next picture is far from the best the same can hardly be said of the assembled line up!
Wood Stage - Saturday evening.

Kris Drever and Heidi Talbot both performed sets that evening in this smallest of venues. This was taken during the latter but, as the assembled cast was much the same, you will have to take my word for that. I'd call this a super-group: L - R: Roddy Woomble (backing vocal), John McCusker (fiddle and, on one song, whistle), Heidi Talbot (vocals) and Kris Drever (guitar and backing vocal).
The tendency of folk musicians to combine in new permutations is legendary, and you could start a multi-dimensional tree starting with these alone, but Truck had some collaborative surprises beyond that to come later.

Lastly, and back to the Main Stage where this post started, this set did spawn some of the aforementioned sub-genre discussions and for very good reasons too.
Michele Stodart - Main Stage - Sunday lunchtime.
Eclectic and astonishing are two adjectives that I might apply to all of this and yet it was just one facet of what I saw last weekend.
Festivals are, to an extent, what you choose to make of them. I'm fairly convinced that many present paid their ticket price and spent almost the entire time drinking and chatting in the camp site.  Far be it for me to criticize, and not least because it made the stages less crowded, but it is not the route that I choose to travel.

No comments: