In Praise of Being Different

You gotta love someone who brings a Marshall stack to a folk festival. It shows confidence. It shows commitment. After all, the roadies wheel those amps up on stage and you have to *do* something with them.

I was at the Folks Festival in Lyons, CO, a couple of weeks ago, and Grace Potter, with her band the Nocturnals, did just that. (Check out a review of her latest disc here.) Earlier in the day I heard a couple of great sets from Mary Gauthier and Darrell Scott. They were the kind of thing I came to hear…a great singer-songwriter up on stage with their guitar. Then, wham, Grace and some power chords. It was awesome. And it got me to thinking.

I don’t know if the person doing the booking at Planet Bluegrass did this on purpose, but if so they deserve a round of applause. Although perhaps on a smaller scale, it was just as daring as putting Stevie Ray Vaughn on stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival or Porter Waggoner as the warm-up for the White Stripes. It costs enough money to go to a show these days that it’s rare you take the chance on seeing someone you’ve never heard of before. Putting someone with a lot of talent into a slot that no one expects does everyone a great favor. The audience gets to hear something new and the artist gets exposure to a new crowd.

But that’s just one man’s opinion.