Wednesday, September 12, 2012

EOTR 2012 - Thoughts on new music...

One thing that really appeals to me about End of The Road Festival is the chances it offers to see new music. I mean that - new - in a variety of senses; some of it simply entirely new to me, some new to me live and some about which I am aware (or was aware of) but have subsequently forgotten to follow up.
I really haven't any preconceptions about how this post will unfold, hence this preamble!  I'm not even sure how or where to start. Indeed I have only written this in order to commit myself to actually writing it...
I'm going to have my dinner first and then, somehow or other, get going on this. One thing that is quite certain is that it simply won't work in any festival time-line way.
This is what I decided to start with and for a rather strange reason - listening to a 2010 UK modern-folk album 'One Light Is Gone' by Josienne Clarke.  The reason being that when I heard Hurray For The Riff Raff (live, it so happened) for the first time it had the same impact that hearing the aforementioned album did: that is the admonition-to-self  - "WTF?  Why didn't I already know about this?"

Hurray For The Riff Raff, Woods Stage, EOTR 2012 at 12:00, Sunday.
Suffice to say it was 'one of those moments' and that this is another band that I saw twice at EOTR 2012. I promptly purchased the 2012 album 'Look Out Mama', to which I am listening while writing. On reflection there are not many times that I have consciously found myself trying to work out lyrics to songs that I'm listening to live and hearing for the first time. When it happens three times, pertaining to totally different acts in the space of three days, it is becoming something of an addiction! It is likely to define the rest of this post.
It became no secret that Alynda Lee Segarra and her band much prefer playing small venues in the early hours but the pictures above were both taken on the outdoor main stage just after mid-day...
OK folks. Fourteen hours later, on the Tipi Stage, 2am Monday!
If you think the story of the evolution of Hurray For The Riff Raff is convoluted than it is easily exceeded by that of the next...
Kai Welch and Abigail Washburn opening The Garden Stage on Saturday.
Bluegrass tunes, but sometimes ones with Mandarin Chinese lyrics.
This one was a case in point.
Whilst she explained the bones of how this apparently odd but actually extremely likeable combination, at least to my ears, came about there is a fuller history to be found here.

The article finishes like this...

" [She played] a recently written murder ballad, her delicate frame dwarfed by the surreal dimensions of the cello banjo.
"It's a cut that didn't make the album [City of Refuge] because the producer thought it was too morbid," she explains. "But all the old-time tunes have a female victim. I thought 'How about writing a song which gives the girl a gun for a change?' "
She did not have the 'cello banjo at EOTR but she played the song nevertheless, with Kai Welch on acoustic guitar and backing vocals, and the whole set was a highlight of the weekend - if only one amongst many. That only goes to show just how strong and yet diverse End Of The Road Festival actually is.

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