Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shakori Hills Fall 2011 - The Undercard

With over 60 bands attending the four-day festival and acts ranging from Noot d'Noot to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones to Hammer No More the Fingers, Shakori Hills has more than enough variety to please every taste. We're going to be taking the next few days to introduce you to some of the acts we're most excited about. Today's list features some of the bands from the undercard that deserve your attention at the festival.

 Dirty Bourbon River Show
Friday, Cabaret Tent: 12:45am

Combining Americana, roots, jazz-tinged blues and gypsy style, Dirty Bourbon River Show continues the tradition of great New Orleans music (with a bit of  NOLA's flair for spectacle). Pegging themselves as "an interactive multi-genre variety hour-style band," listening to their recorded material does not do justice to the bombastic stage presence, energetic performance and all-around impressive musicianship the band has to offer. I managed to meet the members at a show they played with Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and I can say that they are also nice guys, as if you needed more of a reason to go see their show. This is one that I know for sure I will not, under any circumstances, be missing. DBRS is gearing up for an album release November 11th, 2011, and is touring strong to support it. After Shakori Hills, they are heading to Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia. You can listen to their first three albums, as well as a preview of their upcoming album The Old-Timey AfroPop Jibberish Junction, on their Bandcamp.

Emmitt-Nershi Band
Friday, Meadow Stage: 7:30pm

Doing preliminary Shakori Hills research, Emmitt-Nershi was one of the earliest bands to catch my attention and hook me with their no-frills approach to traditional bluegrass. From the onset, their album, New Country Blues, grabs you with blistering banjo and soaring, singing fiddle. Reminiscent of Ozark Mountain Daredevils, the super-duo of mandolinist Drew Emmitt (Leftover Salmon) and guitarist Bill Nershi (The String Cheese Incident), take their experience as members of stadium-filling jamtastic bands and apply it with great deftness to the down-home, folksy bluegrass that inspires them. Every bit as grand in scope, as rich in texture and with influences ranging as far and wide as their work with their respective bands, The Emmitt-Nershi Band is surely something you don't want to miss.

Noot d'Noot
Friday, Dance Tent: 10:00pm
Every band at Shakori is difficult to describe in a few sentences. There's some bands, like Noot d'Noot, that would take a book. The group, who claim to hail from "Jiggle City, Georgia" (a fancy name for Atlanta), rely on their ability to make droves of people move with their psychotic blend of psychedelia, R&B, and a heavy dash of funk. Spiralling horns and high-energy vocals make for a sound that is sure to get the Shakori crowd dancing, and Noot d'Noot will undoubtedly go down as a highlight of the weekend.


Thursday, Dance Tent: 7:30pm
Friday, Grove Stage: 9:00pm

Bearfoot is Alaska-bred, Nashville-honed, traditional bluegrass with contemporary intelligence that isn't reserved or unfulfilling, but tastefully bold and refreshingly honest. The band itself is five expertly talented musicians that, from singer Nora Jane Struthers (who has won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival's band competition with her band the Bootleggers (featuring Bearfoot's own PJ George), to guitar instructor Todd Grebe, sociology major and bluegrass minor Angela Oudean, and Jason Norris ("[plays mandolin in a way]
reminding me at times of Bill Monroe" - Bluegrass Works). With all of those individual accolades, it's easy to understand how these supreme talents coalesce into one impressive musical tour de force.

Eilen Jewell
 Thursday, Grove Stage: 10:00pm
Friday, Dance Tent: 8:00pm

Eilen Jewell is a Boise, Idaho-born singer-songwriter with an old-school, sultry voice that evokes sounds from the golden age of cabaret jazz. A fierce combination of rollicking country music, combined with her bluesy, cabaret tinged voice has found an audience all over the country and has gotten her opening spots for major artists like Loretta Lynn and Junior Brown. There are two opportunities to see Jewell at the fall Shakori event, and this is not one to be missed.


 Thursday, Meadow Stage: 5:00pm
Friday, Cabaret Tent: 7:30pm
Saturday, Dance Tent: 8:00pm
Sunday, Grove Stage: 2:00pm

Not only do we recommend you not miss them, with four performances on four different stages it's almost impossible to. Coming from upstate New York's rich musical and cultural heritage (of late, think The Felice Brothers), the quartet finds itself rooted in the deep Americana and varied cultural landscape that tends to define the areas of New York State not consumed by skyscrapers (actually, that's the overwhelming majority of the state, for real!). Okay, I will admit some bias, being that we share a hometown at the confluence of a couple of dirty rivers in the craggy landscapes surrounding Binghamton, NY. Biased or not, if you take a listen to the single from their upcoming album, you'll understand that Driftwood has the songwriting skill and the musical chops to find a place (if not places) on your Shakori schedule.

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