Saturday, Yonder Mountain String Band returned to the Georgia Theatre, accompanied by the Larry Keel Experience. “It’s good to be back in Athens, Greece!” bassist Ben Kaufmann joked as his bandmates readied themselves to play.
Every time I see a bluegrass band perform live, I am amazed by the skill needed to make such complicated and lightning-fast music. Yonder is a cut above the rest, playing something in between jam and bluegrass. The band makes jamming look effortless; guitar, mandolin, banjo and bass are combined to create an intricate tapestry of sound. All four members have an active vocal role in the music, each bringing a different voice and tone to the table.
On Saturday, Sandy Creek Park hosted the 30th annual North Georgia Folk Festival, which was headlined by folk legend Norman Blake. Known for his long, fruitful career and his influence on the revitalization of bluegrass in the ‘70s, the grandfatherly Blake's music is astounding and steeped with expertise.
Photo Credit: Randy Schafer
The mixture of Shins lead singer James Mercer and really any other artist is bound to create something worth listening to, but the team-up of Mercer and producer/songwriter Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, makes for something extra special.
The duo's performance Wednesday night at the Georgia Theatre dripped with talent. Mercer and Burton were front and center, the former crooning into the mic like a younger, saner Thom Yorke and the latter casually swaying and strumming a bass with all the nonchalance of a seasoned performer.
Photo Credit: David Schick
Music Midtown has again come and gone, and while sitting in the grass enjoying the breeze, watching roadies ready the stage for Fitz and The Tantrums’ set, I reflected that late September in Atlanta is the perfect place and season for a music festival. Over the course of the weekend, close to 100,000 people flocked to the heart of the city to see a wide variety of acts in beautiful Piedmont Park. It was the fourth installment of Music Midtown since its return, after the festival took a hiatus from 2005–2010.
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