Sounds Local: Music you'll hear on the Green River Festival's Main Stage.
GREENFIELD, MA (July 21, 2013) Listening to the Main Stage at the Green River Festival. Photo by Beth Reynolds
To help you get ready for the Green River Festival, which will take place the weekend of July 12-13 on the grounds of Greenfield Community College, here is a look at some of the recent releases by musicians who will be performing on the Green River Stage, the festival’s main stage. All these CDs were released within the last year.
You can listen to most of these releases on streaming stations like Spotify, or visit the festival’s website, www.greenriverfestival.com, and check out it Green River radio station.
Trombone Shorty “Say That to Say This” ( Verve)
Artists from New Orleans are strongly represented at this year’s festival and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is one of the city’s biggest stars. In addition to playing trombone and singing, Shorty plays trumpet, organ, piano, drums and synths. His band, Orleans Avenue, is a tight outfit, as well. Shorty’s music is New Orleans funk with traces of jazz, rock, hip-hop and soul, but while this disc does a good job of capturing his range, it doesn’t capture the energy of his live shows and the power of the horns gets buried in the production. Still songs like the funky “Fire And Brimstone,” make this worth a listen.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue perform on Saturday at 8:50 p.m.
Dave & Phil Alvin “Common Ground: Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy” (YepRoc)
Phil and Dave Alvin are best known as the founders of the Blasters, a pioneering roots rock band that was highly influential. But when Dave left the band in the mid ’80s, it led to a rift between the pair that kept them from working together for 30 years. When Phil nearly died last year, it became clear that it was time to bury the hatchet. With this album,the reunited brothers decided to pay tribute to one of their early musical heroes, bluesman Big Bill Broonzy. The brothers are in great form with spot-on singing and playing and an obvious love of this material. Dave’s guitar work on the smoldering “Truckin Little Woman” makes this track a standout.
Dave and Phil Alvin, backed by Dave’s longtime touring band, The Guilty Men, will perform on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Lucius “Wildewoman” (Mom & Pop Music)
Lucius is a five-piece band fronted by Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. The two women sport matching hair styles and dress alike on stage and while that might come off as gimmicky, as soon as they join their voices together you know that Lucius is the real deal. Their voices soar so beautifully on a tune like “ How Loud Your Heart Gets,” that you think that you are listening to one singer not two.
On songs like “Turn It Around,” the band generates a strong ’60s girl-group vibe, but that’s not to say this is a retro group. In addition to its great harmonies, infectious hooks and driving percussion make Lucius a band you won’t want to miss.
Lucius will perform on Saturday at 7:25 p.m.
Trampled by Turtles “Wild Animals” ( Banjodad Records )
Trampled by Turtles made its mark on the concert circuit performing a fast, almost frantic style of bluegrass. While its shows are rather rowdy affairs, this new release, the band’s seventh, finds it focussing a bit more on the songwriting and musical interplay. Songs like “Western World” feature the speeding picking and four-part harmonies the band is known for. But, songs like the melodic title track indicate that this group from Minnesota is determined to keep moving its sound forward.
Trampled by Turtles will perform on Sunday at 4:50 p.m.
Hurray for the Riff Raff “Small Town Heroes” (ATO Records)
Hurray for the Riff Raff is led by Alynda Lee Segarra, who, after drifting around the country, found her musical home in New Orleans. This sparsely produced collection of songs is steeped in old American music and there are even times, such as in “Good Times Blues (An Outlaw’s Lament),” when Segarra brings to mind Gillian Welch. Listen to a song like the haunting “The Body Electric” — in which Segarra turns the murder ballad on its side and, in the process, makes a strong statement about violence against women — and you will understand why Hurray for the Riff Raff has generated so much attention with this album.
Hurray for the Riff Raff perform on Sunday at 3:45 p.m.
Heather Maloney and Darlingside “Woodstock” (Signature Sounds)
These two local talents — singer-songwriter Heather Maloney and string rock band Darlingside — spent some time touring together, during which they recorded a video of their performance of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock.” The video was so well received that they decided to record an EP together. In addition to the title track, the disc includes two songs penned by Maloney and two by Darlingside. The harmonies of the four members of Darlingside beautifully complements Maloney soulful, supple voice. This is evident on their version of “Woodstock” but also on Maloney’s concert staple, “Short Cuts,” which also benefits from the addition of Darlingside’s strings.
Overall, a winning combination; it would be nice to hear them do a longer project in the future.
Heather Maloney and Darlingside perform on Sunday at 1 p.m. Darlingside will also perform at the Poet’s Seat Stage on Sunday at 5:10 p.m.
Poor Old Shine “Poor Old Shine” (Signature Sounds)
Poor Old Shine’s appearance at this year’s Green River Festival will also mark the official unveiling of its new name, Parsonsfield. The band decided to stop being Poor Old Shine for fear that some associated the name with an old derogatory term (e.g. old shoeshine boy.) But the name is the only change. The band will continue to play upbeat roots music, similar to the kind that was made popular by bands like Old Crow Medicine Show. The 10 tracks on this debut are full of mandolin, banjo, guitar and upright bass, but the band occasionally adds other instruments, including the saw. The band is at its best on foot-stomping tunes like “Punching The Air,” in which the members join their voices together in an almost shouting style of singing. This group can also pull off quieter tunes as evident by “Ghost Next Door.”
Parsonsfield (Poor Old Shine) will perform on Saturday at 1:50 p.m. and at the Poet’s Seat Stage at 7:15 p.m.
Tickets for the Green River Festival are $75 for a weekend pass, $49.99 for Saturday, $34.99 for Sunday. Children 10 and under are free.
Tickets can be purchased at twww.greenriverfestival.com, at the Signature Sounds office, 32 Masonic St. in Northampton (use the back door, weekdays between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), or Elmer’s Store, 396 Main St. in Ashfield. To purchase by phone, call 877-987-6487.
Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org