Mavis Staples at Roots and Blues

Posted: September 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
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It was a great festival, Roots and Blues was. The relocation to Stephens Park was brilliant. Once they get enough food, porta potties and shuttles it will be even better. And invite the Rootsy and Bluesy groups that give it its flavor rather than who happens to be popular (Black Crows? Really?).

Mavis Staples Live

Mavis Staples Live

Broadway was proud to be the sponsor the Gospel Brunch, the new Sunday afternoon addition to the festival. Headliner Mavis Staples, up in years and tottering after a knee surgery, drew in the crowd like bees to honey.

I’ve overdosed on the sounds of Blues Traveler, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, BB King and Gospel. At least enough to hold me until next year.

Rabbit trail: On Saturday I left the festival and traveled to our Jazz service in Rocheport. Afterwards as I drove back to the festival I tuned in Garrison Keillor. His special guest was the mandolin playing freak of nature, Chris Thile. I first encountered him through Nickle Creek. But he outgrew that format in time and formed the Punch Brothers and then collaborated with all manner of eclectic combinations of styles, instruments and musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma.

On Keillor’s show he played an incredible J.S. Bach piece originally scored for solo violin. It was astounding and is joined but equally stunning settings on his new recording of Bach on mandolin. But the real stunner? As good as everything I had just heard at the Roots and Blues Festival – everything – and our very fine Jazz service that boasts some of the very finest young up-and-coming jazzers around – Chris Thile playing on a radio show I accidentally tuned in between what I thought were the real musical events took the golden ring. Handily. Without a whiff of competition. Just like that.

And isn’t that how it is? Somewhere between our planned schedule, those things which represent the matters at hand, we discover something truly revelatory, beautiful and astounding on the way. Like grass growing out of the cracks in the sidewalk we find the remarkable. Tune in to this remarkable feature on Thile to see what I mean: Chris Thile and Bach

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