Tag: 7 Walkers

PREVIEW: Yonder Mountain String Bands Harvest Festival – Oct 13-16

Yonder Mountain String Band Get By With A Little Help From Their Friends at the Harvest Music Festival
Words and pictures by Bradley Darby

Jeff Austin - Yonder Mountain String Band

In a world flooded by music festivals priding themselves on having a diverse lineup that will attract fans of all genres, Yonder Mountain String Bands Harvest Music Festival stands apart. Entering its second year with the Yonder Mountain taking over the main billing, the Harvest Festival features some of the best bluegrass and folk acts out there today as well as one of the premiere festival sites in the country, Mulberry Mountain.

 

Taking place October 13-16 in Ozark, Arkansas (about an hour from Fayetteville) this year the incredible lineup is led by Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Railroad Earth, 7 Walkers feat. Papa Mali and Bill Kreutzmann, Emmitt-Nershi Band, Trampled by Turtles, Todd Snider as well as Harvest regulars Cornmeal, Mountain Sprout, and Split Lip Rayfield. In addition to their friends, your festival hosts the Yonder Mountain String Band will play 3 sets, and if the 2010 fest is any indication you will find them popping up all over guesting with other bands throughout the weekend. Music is scheduled to go until 3A.M. most nights with late night sets featuring Speakeasy, Split Lip Rayfield, and and of course Dirtfoot, who played a set that lasted until 5 A.M. last year and are scheduled for two more late night sets this year.

Dirtfoot - 2010 Harvest Festival

 

The Harvest Festival is a family friendly event as well, with The Roost area offering a Kidz Kamp, Hooping Lessons, Tye Dye lessons, and glass blowing classes as well as Yoga sessions each morning. This year will also mark the First Annual Fiddlin’ and Pickin’ Contest, where contestants will compete in four competitions – Mandolin, Banjo, Flat Picking, and Fiddle – with winners of each receiving cash prizes. On Friday make sure to stop by the Chompdown, a free communal breakfast put on by festi-folks for festi-folks taking place in the RV Reserved campground at 9A.M. featuring a morning set by Dirtfoot…. the Chompdown is always one of the highlights of the weekend. Bring some bacon and eggs, or just bring yourself and meet some new friends while filling your belly. Check out the video below for a better idea of what the Chompdown really is.

Mountain Sprout - 2010 Harvest Festival Chompdown

 

But Mulberry Mountain offers so much more than just great music and people….. you can arrange a float trip on the gorgeous Mulberry River, or take one of the many trail heads off of Highway 23 for a scenic hike in the beautiful rolling hills of Northwestern Arkansas. Don’t forget about the waterfall located near the festival grounds, a popular site for many patrons.

 

Though the event is capped at only 7500 people, making it one of the more intimate festivals out there, tickets can still be purchased online or possibly at a local retailer near you to save some fees. Check www.yonderharvestfestival.com for ticketing info and last minute changes. Don’t forget to check back here at the end of October for a full recap and photo gallery!

 

 

7 Walkers Friday, Sept. 2, 2011 at the City Winery in NYC

The eponymous 7 Walkers album has been in constant rotation in my car stereo this summer (my iPod recently took a suicide dive at the gym, unfortunately for me… and my iPod).  The album has the perfect summertime down-South kind of feel.  Not only does it make me feel like I could be driving down to the bayou in Louisiana instead of the beach in New England, but I find every song to be endlessly interesting.  There’s always something more subtle to notice about a track, or a new lyric that speaks to me. Each song is distinctive enough to appreciate but each contains the same Southern sparkle.

Even in grey downtown NYC last Friday, the 7 Walkers were able to channel that Summertime sunshine.

The cool thing about the City Winery is that it’s a restaurant and bar, too.  I arrived an hour before the show and dined on crispy chicken and grilled cactus (!).

When the band came out, they began with a warmup jam, creating space and mood for their music to flow.  After a few minutes, they sidled into the classic Grateful Dead tune He’s Gone.  Papa Mali and Matt Hubbard, the keyboard/harmonica/trombone/organist, shared some sweet vocal harmonies during the choruses.

Sue from Bogalusa revved up the slower mood by injecting a youthful energy to the show.  It’s a song about lighthearted puppy love that has a distinct Southern twist.  The driving music is a blend of old time rock’n’roll (think: the Twist) and blues.  Rockin’ guitar and harmonica solos totally brought it home.

The next two songs were covers – the bass player, George Porter Jr., belted the Meters’ I Just Kissed My Baby while Papa Mali artfully copied the funkadelic guitar licks.  Despite sitting on tall, uncomfortable bar stools, we all managed to groove pretty hard to that one.  Bob Dylan’s song Positively 4th Street was especially appropriate when performed so close by to the real thing!  This cover was modeled more after Jerry Garcia’s version than the original.

For those of us who were still in our seats, an energetic I Know You Rider did the trick.  The bluesy Southern twist was played up with a slide guitar and thumping piano accompaniment.

The psychadelic rocker Let the Good Times Roll was led by George Porter Jr. again, while he belted out the soulful verses in true Hendrix style.  The song was expanded with a rhythmically complex drum solo from Billy Kreutzmann.

After we got some good old fashioned covers out of the way, the band returned to some of its own material, including King Cotton Blues.  The music ambled through the winery with its own time and its own agenda – delicate jazzy organ licks layered over Papa Mali’s seasoned voice and the bass strove on to drive the piece.  There are some songs that are way better in concert than on the album, and this is one of them.  Everything seems so much more alive.  (How ironic, then, that the song is about execution?) Matt Hubbard left the organ and pulled out a trombone, which he promptly used to blast the circusy outro, which gives a totally different type of sound from the album’s version of the song.  A treat!

During New Orleans Crawl, a soprano sax player joined the band and gave a solo, which was artfully turned into a duo with Matt Hubbard on the trombone.  It was beginning to look like a regular N’Orleans brass band!  After a few verses that showcased some nice vocal harmony, the guitar, bass, keys, and soprano sax traded solos again.  I like the taste of New Orleans jazz world that the 7 Walkers bring to their shows, especially with this song.  It’s on my bucket list to visit the Southern city one day for its jazz (and food – let’s be honest).

The Grateful Dead tune Love Light ended the set on a high, energetic note.  Bluesy harmonica solos interspersed with verses gave it the 7 Walkers touch.

A long, slow-moving and slightly-jazzy organ solo lead into the encore, 7 Walkers.  Papa Mali sang the tune with some true soul – with a little help from Robert Hunter, the lyricist.  Even after all these years, these lyrics prove that he can still spin magic.

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