The beginning of day two of a three day festival is a sweet spot of sorts: Day one was fun, building expectations for day two and exhaustion won’t set in until late in the day. It’s an optimistic moment. My day two started with moderating a panel on Re-claiming Spaces. I’m really appreciative of its inclusion and Chyna allowing me to lead it. We had a fun conversation with about fifteen-to-twenty people which, it seemed to me, was a good crowd for the topic at a music festival.
From there I went to the other end of the festival site for Green River Ordinance on the main stage and they gave a good performance. By this time I was running into lots of friends and making a lot of new ones. I appreciate the people who introduced themselves as readers of this blog and enjoyed meeting you. Repeat your name loudly and often and it might stick. I’m bad that way, plus, there’s a lot of you.
I met people from a number of different cities – it seems Nashville was quite well represented – I guess they don’t have such great music in that little town. My favorite conversation with an out-of-town person came the first night. She said she came from Sweden with a group of friends last year and, when she learned they would be unable to return, she made the trip by herself this year. She said she feels very comfortable here, so it was an easy decision.
My second favorite encounter was seeing my friend Nina and learning that she’d gotten married that morning and was spending her first newly-married evening with her husband at Rhythm n Blooms. Beats any reception I’ve ever encountered.
I left the main stage and walked back to Jackson Terminal (of course) for Crane Wives. They were also very good and a perfect example of the fine music available all over the festival. Afterwards I walked the length of the festival, once more, to hear Lone Bellow and was blown away for the first time that day.
Urban Woman also fell in love with them and they were our second purchase from the artists we heard at Rhythm n Blooms (the first was The Banditos), and we purchased both their debut self-titled album from 2013 and their 2015 release, “Then Came the Morning.” If soulful harmonies riding a layer of folk sensibilities with a capacity to rock is appealing to you, you might give them a listen. “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold” was a big hit at the show and I was impressed generally with how many audience members sang along with that and other songs.
A word on photography: The venues were generally great for photographs, though I still struggle to make decent photographs at Pilot Light. The main stage was great to shoot at night – the lights and back-drop were spectacular, but the day shots presented problems with parts of the stage in different light. With Lone Bellow Kanene was in full, direct sunlight while the others were in shadow. Tough shooting. I had a blast shooting with friends. Larry Crowell said we looked like roaches scrambling about at the foot of the stage, but it’s a great group of roaches and I really appreciate their friendship.
It just got better, for my taste with two great back-to-back shows when the Mavericks took the stage. Great musiciansip, showmanship and excellent songs just can’t be underestimated. The Mavericks have the whole package. Raul Malo has one of the best voices in any kind of music and the Tex-Mex (even though he is Cuban-American) music veering often toward a fun old-school country music sound made for a great party. This must have been the most fun show of the festival. Jerry Dale McFadden – in his purple plaid suit – kept the crowd entertained with his own brand of fun.
Mutemath followed on the big stage and I won’t say I didn’t like them, but they left me a bit cold – and it was cold outside, so they needed to be compelling to keep me outside. People with better musical tastes and far more knowledge tell me I should like them, but I just didn’t feel it. I left to see great music, Knoxville style in Guy Marshall at Barley’s where a packed house had a blast. I really didn’t miss the big stage.
After most of the Guy Marshall set, I slipped down to Pilot Light to hear Koa. Pilot Light was as packed as Barley’s and I have to say every smaller act I saw during the weekend had a great crowd and that was good to see. Again, like Mutemath, Koa just didn’t grab me as much as I thought they might. It was probably just my head. Maybe it was the two great shows I’d heard earlier and still had ringing in my ears as a reference.
After taking a break at Old City Wine Bar, I drug myself (now officially tired) to Jackson Terminal to end the night with the Midnight Merry-Go-Round that ran until 2:00 AM. About half the songs were David Bowie songs as a tip of the hat to the man who died earlier this year. I should mention that I also heard a couple of Merle Haggard songs along the way, which was nice.
Members of King Super and the Excellents formed the base for the evolving band. Briston Maroney, lately of Subtle Clutch performed an original song and an excellent version of Bowie’s, “Fame.” Guy Marshall and Hudson K did sets and the “house band” joined Hudson K for a Bowie Blowout to end the night and send us all home, a tired, sodden, somewhat drunken group stumbling into the night. Another great day of Rhythm n Blooms.