Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival Continued

Also appearing at the Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival were the Infamous Stringdusters, Cadillac Sky and The Duhks. The musical talent these three bands obtain could create enough energy to power Little Rock!

The Infamous Stringdusters blazed through their set with technical precision and blatant energy. Rooted in bluegrass, the Stringdusters take their songs to a new level. Rock rhythms and pure vocals create an appealing aura to a younger crowd. Naturally, the band is young as well. Covering modern artists such as John Mayer, the Infamous Stringdusters produce a modern sound unproduced by any bluegrass bands before them. Combining roots and modern music is not a new trick. This highly controversial occu
rrence has long been in the bluegrass tradition. The rock song "Fox On The Run" was brought to bluegrass audiences and performed by bands such as the Country Gentlemen and countless others.

Similarly, Cadillac Sky
produces a highly driven sound resembling that of a rock concert more than a bluegrass concert. However, these talented musicians are clearly versed in bluegrass. The guitar player would run out
into the crowd to take leads head banging back and forth and feet stomping as he produced fast paced, generic bluegrass licks over a rock rhythm. The crowd pleasing antics far from failed as shirtless men and bikini-clad women raved all around him. Mosh pit, meet bluegrass. Despite the crazyness emitted by the band, the musicianship was evident in the level of music being played. Rhythm changes and togetherness was priority for Cadillac Sky. The tightness with which they played resounded with the truth that practice still makes perfect. Perhaps, they're not completely crazy...

The Duhks roots stem from Irish, Canadian and Cajun music. Jazz and rock is also evident in their playing. Hailing from the French community in Winnipeg, many of their songs contain French lyrics. This was a delightful addition to the festival.

Technically sound, the Duhks prove they are highly capable musicians as well. Their 12 am set lasted until around 2:30 am Sunday morning. This didn't stop folks from coming out and enjoying some great fiddlin' and vocal partying! Well worth the trip despite my complete exhaustion before I had even arrived!

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Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival

4 days of musical bliss and Ozark trails is an accurate description of the annual Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival. Held in Ozark, AR, the festival brings hundreds of musicians to music lovers hailing from Fayetteville, AR to California.

Hosting bands rooted in bluegrass to swing to ska to indie, Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival has something for everyone. My personal tastes naturally led me to bands such as The Travelin' McCoury's
and Peter Rowan. When I first arrived at the festival, The Travelin' McCoury's were playing at the Harvest Stage. To my pleasant surprise, renowned flatpicker Cody Kilby was with them. That was just an addition to an already stellar lineup of bluegrass musicians. Ronnie McCoury's father Del is widely known for his importance to the bluegrass community and Ronnie is making his name the same way. With Cody Kilby on guitar, the band never had a dull moment. The amazement was evident on everyone's face each time Kilby was handed a lead. Those unfamiliar with today's bluegrass superstars watched in awe and stupor. The only thought etched across their minds and mouths was "Who is that guy!?"

Peter Rowan, a former Bluegrass Boy, gave the best performance I witnessed at the festival. The soundmen nearly botched the whole show after Peter's late arrival when they couldn't get the sound right. It's not exactly easy to get in tune and run a sound check when rock music is blaring out of the speakers. Turn it off! Nevertheless, Peter recovered and gave a very intimate concert to a highly respectful, sitting audience. Peter was properly rewarded with a standing ovation.

The music of these stalwarts is not to be overlooked!  Make sure you have these classics in your collection:

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