July 31, 2008

Camera ready

A quick post before I head off to work. I recently purchased a new camera, an 8 megapixel Canon with a 10x zoom and 1600 ISO and am hoping it puts an end to my irritatingly blurry concert photos. Too many nights after spending too much time snapping pictures, especially in dark clubs, only to find the results miserable. First show up is the Swell Season in Northampton on Aug. 10. This one's an outdoors show at night so it will be a good test. I'll follow that up two nights later seeing the funky Thao With the Get Down Stay Down at T.T.'s in Cambridge. We'll pretty much know what we got after that. Anyway, a couple of the good shots I got at Green River a couple of weeks ago. Above, Greg Liszt of Crooked Still; and below, Lucinda Williams. Enjoy. More later.

July 22, 2008

Come on home to Green River

A few of my favorite things from the Green River Music Festival last weekend in Greenfield, Mass.: shrimp gumbo; the very cool light-up dancing guys walking through the crowd during Lucinda Williams' set; Crooked Still's new lineup; and Eilen Jewell closing out the night in the Dance Tent.
For those who have never gone to Green River, it is a great little music festival. It has a great family atmosphere and the lineup is usually filled with a mix of bluegrass, alt-country and folk acts. This year, the Saturday mainstage lineup included folkie Caroline Herring, the Greencards, the awesome newgrass band Crooked Still, Los Straitjackets, Mavis Staples and Lucinda Williams. There was also a dance tent where lesser-known acts played (more on this later).
Highlights for me: Crooked Still, which has a new lineup that includes a gorgeous fiddle player and a new cellist, are amazing. If you have a chance to see them, do. A couple of clips of their set are HERE and HERE. I wish I got video of their slowed-down version of "Come on in My Kitchen" because it was a highlight. Mavis Staples is a soulful piece of singing history. She told stories of her days with Martin Luther King and sang with passion
And Lucinda Williams, who I had never seen before, is a pro, no doubt. Her set featured some new rocking tunes, plus a few songs from each of her past albums. A clip of "Drunken Angel" is HERE. While I'm not a huge fan, I do love her "Essence" album, so it was nice to hear some of those tunes including "I Envy the Wind," which she said she doesn't play much but apparently there was a wedding held earlier in the day at the fest and that song was requested. Lucinda ended the night with a rousing version of "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)." She also really dug these light-up walking puppets (click HERE to see bad clip I took) that were going though the crowd. At one point between songs, she just kept saying how cool they were. It was funny.
Finally, we ended our night in the Dance Tent with Eilen Jewell and her band performing. Clip HERE. (Sorry for unsteady footage, but the floor was plywood and the people dancing kept me bouncing.) If you've never seen her, you've got to check her out. Her swinging band is a blast, her songs sound like they come from another era.
See you all next year at Green River.
To see the rest of my pics of the festival, click HERE.