River Roots: Day One

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Obviously whoever’s in control of the weather really loves good music (and, I think, also beer).  The first night of River Roots was a gorgeous one.  We saw one very small cloud go by in an otherwise blue sky, and really I think it was just passing by to hear the music.

There were three acts last night…Carolyn Martin, Searson and The Band of Heathens.  One of the things that occurred to me as I was watching my stepdaughter do a little heroine worship of the three sisters in Searson was that there are always lots of women at River Roots festival.  And not just women singing.  There are women playing all manner of instruments, women dancing, bands like Uncle Earl and Searson that are pretty much all women.  Maybe that’s intentional on the part of the folks who are doing the choosing.  Maybe there are more women in this particular genre of music, whatever genre you want to call it.  Regardless, I like it.  It’s nice to see women up on stage tearing it up.

Last night it was Colleen Searson tearing it up on the fiddle.  I’ll go ahead and confess that I always fall a little in love with fiddle players.  Colleen Searson was amazing, and she’s been playing the instrument since the age of 9, so that makes sense.  Celtic fiddling is fast, fast, and then a little faster.  What I learned from watching Searson about my own fiddle playing is that I really should move my hips more, which is a lesson I’m happy to learn.  I have to say, The Band of Heathens were at a distinct disadvantage having to end a night that started with Carolyn Martin and went on to the rocking Celtic music of Searson.  Also, they were boys.

The other highlight of the night for me was being offered moonshine in the women’s restroom.  I won’t reveal whether I accepted their offer or not, but I really can’t think of anything more appropriate than moonshine at a folk festival.  And it’s representative of the kind of festival River Roots is.  Folks are just happy to be there, moonshine or not.  It’s very much a festival that brings out all my favorite people in the community, but even the people you don’t know are friendly.  I suppose it’s entirely possible to find yourself sitting in a camp chair on the grass, watching a barge go down the river and listening to some amazing music and not be in a good mood.  I guess that could happen.  But you can always come down for Day Two and put it to the test.

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