Locomotive Ghost at Calgary Folk Fest

No, we didn't play this year. 

We did, however, volunteer, listen, and receive inspiration. 

I served on the Stage 5 crew again this year and met a bunch of awesome artists.  When planning before a festival it's fairly straightforward to get an impression of what an individual act's concert might be like, but the workshops are a complete unknown.  Workshops and collaborative performances are so strongly affected by the musical director's perceptions, preferences, and crazy dreams.  Sometimes they're amazing and fresh, and sometimes they're just a "round robin" of uninspired single-song performances.  We were fortunate to have quite a few of the former on Stage 5, the best of which were "Mazel Tov" - a collection of energetic, Jewish-origin acts including Geoff Berner, SoCalled, and Yemen Blues - and "Darn Tootin" - a horn-themed workshop which included Blind Pilot, Jason Wilson, Minotaurs and Dark, Dark, Dark.  "Mazel Tov" was an excellent example of a wokshop where, if you hadn't read the program, you'd think you were just watching a really big party band.  "Darn Tootin" also had very smooth chemistry and highlighted the power of a tight horn section - even the frontmen commented that they were a little overwhelmed to have those kinds of musical fireworks going on behind them. 

My favourite individual acts that I saw at the festival included Joel Plaskett, Blind Pilot, Imaginary Cities, C.R. Avery, Chic Gamine, Balkan Beatbox, Yemen Blues, Matt Anderson, and The Punch Brothers.  The artists that impressed me most were Chich Gamine (gorgeous vocal blend and harmonic motion), C.R. Avery (inspired Rock and Roll partying despite playing six sets over the course of the festival), and The Punch Brothers (musical virtuosity beyond anything I have ever seen).

Mike and I tried to film some clips of great bands, and I'll be posting links to them (or other people's videos of them) for your enjoyment for the next several days.

Here's the first one.

Chic Gamine - "I Don't Lie"

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