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. It's starting today with bands from the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle and North Carolina as a whole.
Big Fat Gap
Mike Quinn and Holy Ghost Tent RevivalI know what you're thinking: "I love Holy Ghost Tent Revival, but who's Mike Quinn?" And if you're wondering - no, he's not a local. But Holy Ghost Tent Revival certainly are and if they've given their stamp of approval to an artist, there's no doubt you should listen. I have a leg up in the "listening-to-Mike-Quinn" department. After seeing him at the spring iteration of the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, I was made a Mike Quinn believer. In fact, I listened to his song "Yonda" over at his bandcamp so many times, I'm pretty sure I was singing it in my sleep. In fact, I challenge you to listen to the song "Magico" and not be compelled to move to the music. So, when you combine the stellar musicianship of Holy Ghost Tent Revival with Mike Quinn's penchant for raucous roots rook, it's an explosion of energy, camaraderie and an unmissable display of talent.
The Old Ceremony
Hammer No More the Fingers
Hailing from Chapel Hill (and, by extension the rich Chapel Hill musical tradition), The Old Ceremony plays jazz-influenced, perpetually danceable, at times raucous pop-rock. I know that description contradicts itself on enough levels to make it almost nonsensical, but if you listen to The Old Ceremony, you'd know that it's really the best you can do. From lilting, jazzy organs on tracks like "Ruined My Plans" to dour, folky balladeering that gives way to dancing, stomping indie-rock on "I Don't Believe It," the band seems to do its best to confound easy description. They mix and swap and trade bits and pieces from the entirety of America's musical history to craft elegant and intelligent music. If that sounds like something you'd rather miss, then I don't know why you're going to a music festival.
Hammer No More the Fingers
Since the release of their self-titled debut EP in 2007, Hammer No More the Fingers has been a staple of the Triangle's music scene. While rooted firmly in indie-rock, the band manages to place their own, slightly atypical spin on it. Driving rhythms, unusual chord progressions and their interminable deftness for writing catchy and purpose driven hooks and choruses make this band a truly unique addition to both the local music scene and Shakori Hills. This will be my first time seeing them live and I am excited beyond belief to catch one of my favorite (and actually my introduction to) North Carolina bands.
Big Fat Gap
Taking their name from the last stands of old growth virgin forest in North Carolina, the Big Fat Gap in Graham County on the Tennessee border, it seems only reasonable that these friends and backporch bluegrass aficionados would craft some of the most genuine bluegrass at Shakori Hills. Between Chris Roszell shredding a banjo apart like he's getting paid per note, Bobby Britt and John Garris and their soaring fiddles, and the sweet harmonies, this is the authentic bluegrass that North Carolina is famous for, and to miss that would defeat the purpose of attending a bluegrass festival in North Carolina.
Mipso TrioThe Mipso Trio "bring soul to folk, rock and roll to bluegrass, and something funky to Americana." Assembling at UNC Chapel Hill (what other UNC is there?) in 2010, the three members, Wood Robinson, Jacob Sharp and Joseph Terrell manage to meld this variety of influences into a stripped-down acoustic powerhouse of alt-bluegrass. The trio brings the contemporary to the traditional and makes something wholly their own.
Peter Lamb & The Wolves
Thursday, Grove Stage: 12:00am
While I may have described a few bands as "jazzy" or "jazz-influenced," there is no band at Shakori this time around that brings as much jazz to the table as Peter Lamb & The Wolves. They were actually voted the Triangle's best jazz group of 2011 by the Independent Weekly (they were a sponsor of a little music festival, Hopscotch). The raw musical talent and impeccable training make saxophone, trumpet, piano and bass roar to life with a definitive swing.