The Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival Announces 2017 Lineup

Foghorn Stringband
Image Courtesy of Foghorn Stringband

Every year the Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival manages to deliver one of the most exciting lineups of the year, featuring the best in bluegrass, old time and folk artists from around the country and around the world.

Held in the small northern NSW town of Dorrigo, the Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival is an intimate, community run event with a really nice vibe and so much great music. Their lineup this year includes so many amazing artists including Foghorn Stringband (above), Genni Kane, Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Luke Plumb and Peter Daffy, Mac Traynham and Shay Garriock, Mile Twelve, The Freewheeler, The New Macedon Rangers, Andy Gordon with John Kane, Angus Gill, Cat and Clint, Chloë & Jason Roweth, Chris Matthews, Corn Silk, Fat Cousin Skinny, Fireside Celts & Friends, Flora Knight & Sean Donald, Freya Josephine Hollick, Golden Whistler, High and Lonesome, John Bennett with David Hyams, Kaurna Cronin, Kazoobafak Jug Band, Loren Kate, Mandy Connell, Michael Waugh, Misty Mountain Players, Monique Clare, Montgomery Church, Pete Denahy, Pitts Family, Sohum Women’s Choir, The 3 Jimmies, The Daughters of the Rum Rebellion, The Mae Trio, The Martins, The Northern Folk, The Pipi Pickers, The Sinners, The Tawny Owl Stringband, The Tin Can String Band, Thor and Jasmine Phillips, Tommy Chandler and the Continental Drift, Twin Peaks, Two If By Sea, Watling & Bates, Whoa Mule and Yhan Leal.

The Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival takes place in Dorrigo from the 27th to the 29th October – check out the official site for more details.

This year they’re also holding the inaugural Old-Time Music School in the lead up to the festival, from the 25th to the 27th October. The Old-Time Music School will give players to learn alongside some of the best musicians in the business – this year will feature the likes of Ashlee Watkins (The New Macedon Rangers), Shay Garriock, Andrew Small (The New Macedon Rangers), Mac Traynham, Jeremy Marcotte and Foghorn Stringband. Workshops at the school will include traditional fiddle and banjo music, instrument workshops, old time ensemble workshops, folk singing, concerts, jamming and a festival performance opportunity – for more information check out the official site here.

Review: Nick Drake Tribute, The Red Rattler, Sydney

Nick Drake

Nick Drake Tribute
Elana Stone, Brian Campeau, Leroy Lee, Katie Wighton, Brendan Maclean, Jack Carty, Dave Calandra, Matt Tonks, Andy Golledge, James Edgar Francis, Andy Gordon, Ben Daley, James Daley
28th June 2012, Red Rattler

It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how big an impact Nick Drake has had on modern folk music. During the height of his career in the late 60s/early 70s through to his death in 1974 Drake was a relative unknown and his three albums, Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter and Pink Moon, failed to sell on initial release despite his obvious talent as a songwriter and the profile of the musicians and producers he worked with. It wasn’t until the early 80s when Island Records reissued the three albums in a boxset that audiences started waking up to the music Drake had made. Now it’s impossible to listen to modern folk music without hearing the hallmarks of Nick Drake’s sound – the inspired fingerpicking, his unique way of crafting a melody, those amazing lyrics.

When Leroy Lee first floated the idea of a Nick Drake concert in Sydney I must admit I was both skeptical and excited. Excited because I’m a massive fan of Nick Drake’s music and I know Leroy Lee and his mates would do the man justice. Skeptical because I wasn’t sure just how much recognition of Nick Drake’s music there was outside of the musical community and surely those who are fans had already been sated by last November’s Way to Blue concerts.

I needn’t have worried. By the time I turned up at the Red Rattler the place was absolutely packed with one of the most attentive audiences I have ever seen.

While Way to Blue was probably a more polished tribute to Nick Drake (and let’s face it – being at the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Recital Centre it probably had to be), the concert at the Red Rattler last week had a really homly, community feel. Here were a group of musicians who are genuine friends who were having a ball jamming together and celebrating this wonderful music.

Nick Drake’s three albums were amply represented throughout the night with most of the players staying true to his orignal compositions and arrangements. Highlights for me included Leroy Lee’s cover of “Cello Song” complete with hummed cello part (although for some reason I kept hearing Al Pacino’s voice in my head during the song), the sets from both Jack Carty and Dave Calandra who sang as if the songs had been written for them and Elana Stone, Brian Campeau and Katie Wighton reinterpretation of Nick Drake through the Casio keyboard’s drum tracks.

Which I guess was my one main gripe fo the night. There were a lot of solo guitarist/singers and, while this may have been exactly what Nick Drake was, I felt like there wasn’t enough reinterpretation. I would have loved to have seen a more diverse range of instrumentation on stage and some different takes on Nick Drake songs. Even Leroy Lee, who I know best as a fine banjo player, pretty much stuck to the guitar for most of the night.

But this gripe is a minor and the night in general was a roaring success. Getting the entire cast on stage for “River Man” at the end of the night was a stroke of genius and the perfect way to wrap up a wonderful concert. I hope there was more than a few people in the audience that had never heard Nick Drake’s music before and are now new fans.

All we have to do now is ask – what’s next Leroy Lee?

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