Inside Vancouver contributor Miranda Post has already done a bang-up job highlighting some local performers at this year’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival. A highlight of summer in Vancouver, the folk fest – at Jericho Beach Park – also brings in a stellar cadre of local and international acts. This year’s include a Dixie Chick, a troublemaking troubadour, a band whose latest album celebrates the poetry of William Butler Yeats and more. Here are some international acts worth checking out this weekend (July 19-21).
Natalie Maines – Touring in support of her first solo album, Mother, the Dixie Chicks’ outspoken frontwoman is sure to put on a fiery performance. The record is made up co-written songs as well as covers, so expect to hear Maines’ renditions of Tim Buckley’s “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” and Pink Floyd’s “Mother” – and, who knows, maybe even a Dixie Chicks tune.
Steve Earle & The Dukes – From rocker to folk-rocker, Steve Earle has always followed his own path. No one writes a socially and politically conscious song like Earle, and you’re sure to leave his show feeling inspired, maybe a little angry and ready to write your MP.
The Waterboys – Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, The Waterboys were a force to be reckoned with, releasing a string of classic albums (including This Is the Sea and Fishermans’ Blues). Bandleader Mike Scott has put together a new touring version of the group made up of American musician to perform old Waterboys material as well as songs from the group’s latest album, a collection of songs written around the words of poet W.B. Yeats.
Cold Specks – Al Spx, a Canadian now based in London, England, was a critical fave for her 2012 album I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, which landed on the shortlist of the Polaris Music Prize (the top music prize in Canada, chosen by music journalists, critics and even bloggers). Expect a relaxed but haunting performance of Cold Specks’ stately soul.
Kathleen Edwards – Toronto-based singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards is a favourite of music critics, and David Letterman. Her 2012 album Voyageur also made it to the shortlist for the Polaris Music Prize and she always puts on a sassy, rocking performance.
Hurray for the Riff Raff – A folk festival should be about discovering new talent and sounds as well as checking out long-time favourites. In the former category, Hurray for the Riff Raff looks like a real find. Hurray for the Riff Raff is actually Alynda lee Segarra, a 25-year-old Puerto Rican from the Bronx who left home at an early age to travel the country, along with her long time fiddling sidekick, Yosi Perlstein and a honky-tonk band called The Tumbleweeds. Segarra’s songwriting incorporates elements of pop, country, and yodeling.
Loudon Wainwright III – To call Loudon Wainwright III “Dylanesque” is to do him a disservice – he’s actually much, much funnier than Bob Dylan. Besides fathering talented offspring like Martha and Rufus Wainwright, Loudon has written scores of amazing and often hilarious tunes over his 40-plus career. His latest album is Older Than My Old Man Now, released last year.
For a complete schedule and ticket info, visit the Vancouver Folk Music Festival website.