concerts: julien baker w/ gracie and rachel @ cat’s cradle

julien baker @ cat's cradle

Julien Baker was stellar at the Cradle last week; photos are up on Speakers.

gracie & rachel @ cat's cradle

gracie & rachel @ cat's cradle

Openers Gracie & Rachel were a little Tori Amos, a little Vienna Teng, a lot themselves, and a whole lot of spectacular harmonies. The keyboard / violin combo is fantastic, the music is reserved without being shy or retiring, and their voices together just stunned me. More photos of the duo are on Flickr.

the last bison @ motorco music hall

the last bison @ motorco music hall

the last bison @ motorco music hall

the last bison @ motorco music hall

The Last Bison are about to blow up; mark it down. Their sophomore LP, Inheritance, is out Tuesday, and it’s going to be a doozy. They absolutely filled the space at Motorco last night in a gorgeous way. An excellent show, and glad I got to see and shoot them before they’re too important for me.

Full set is here.

southern folklife collection fiddle symposium concert

southern folklife collection fiddle symposium: byron berline

One of the best things about living in a college town — one of the best things that I don’t take nearly enough advantage of, to the point where I put it on my life list — is all the cool free and cheap events that Carolina sponsors, throws, has, etc. Last night was the second of three symposiums on traditional southern instruments that the Southern Folklife Collection of UNC Libraries is putting on this year. (In the fall, there was one on the banjo that I missed; the third and final will be on the steel guitar, in March.) Four performers, all in fairly different styles, played short sets, and talked a little about their histories with the fiddle and with playing traditional music.

The Nashville Bluegrass Band, who headlined, play trad bluegrass; Matt Glaser, who teaches at Berklee College of Music, does a lot of interesting fusion between early jazz standards and trad fiddle; Emily Schaad is a classically trained violinist who’s studied trad music with most of the fiddle greats. The highlight for me, though, the downright twenty minutes I could have listened to this forever, was Byron Berline, who’s played with everyone who’s anyone, including Bill Monroe and the Dillards, and whose music you probably know: Berline is the fiddler on the Band’s ‘Acadian Driftwood’. So that was pretty magic for me, and he was amazing.

The symposium continues today at Wilson Library with talks and panels from 10am-2pm. Full set from last night is here. I can’t wait for the steel guitar concert!

tift merritt @ carrboro town commons

tift merritt @ carrboro town commons

No way to make my heart swell with love for where I live than a free show outside on a perfect fall evening, featuring three of North Carolina’s most beloved. Tift Merritt made me cry (for some reason, “Mix Tape” just destroys me) and made me laugh, Megafaun blew the crowd away by swinging between gospel and Americana and space funk (Jordan explained space funk to me), and Mandolin Orange just get better and better, especially when they have Josh Oliver backing them up. A wonderful evening surrounded by friends, and thanks to Frank and the Cradle for making it happen.

Full set here.

tift merritt @ carrboro town commons

megafaun @ carrboro town commons

mandolin orange @ carrboro town commons

shakori hills grassroots festival spring 2012

shakori hills spring 2012: holy ghost tent revival

Muchas gracias to Grant and the Bottom String (although to be fair, Grant pretty much is the Bottom String) for once again allowing me to scoot into the hippie zydeco-jam-band-roots-rock paradise that is Shakori Hills without paying for my ticket; I was out Thursday and Saturday (Sunday’s monsoon precluded my desire to stand in a field, knee deep in mud, and see Lydia Loveless, alas) and the full set is here.

Live music on beautiful spring nights is pure joy.

shakori hills spring 2012: donna the buffalo

shakori hills spring 2012: deep chatham

shakori hills spring 2012: elephant revival

shakori hills spring 2012: red clay ramblers

shakori hills spring 2012: curtis eller