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Philadelphia Folk Festival Sunday Straightforward Folk ends with a New Orleans Romp
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 08/20/12 6:19 am | updated: 08/20/12 1:08 pm
Sunday on the Old Pool Farm continued with business as usual in the tiny temporary town. Volunteers in the meal tent were serving food to the constant stream of other volunteers with smiles and dancing. Showcases and workshops were happening on the side stages throughout the early afternoon. Kids were enjoying the performers in Dulcimer Grove. The skies may have been overcast but that didn't affect anyone's mood.

Today's lineup on the Main Stage as a whole was decidedly lower key than yesterday's but each act was phenomenal. Starting off the day was the Great Groove Band. This band is comprised of children of festival goers who signed up to perform and have been practicing all weekend as part of this special workshop. They were terrific, playing a variety of songs from Irish Jigs to Childrens' Songs, even writing their own. Tracy Grammer took the stage next and entertained the crowd with her songs and stories. A highlight was “The Mountain,” a song written by Grammer and her late partner Dave Carter. She explained Joan Baez decided to play it specifically for the Dali Lama during a visit of his to San Francisco. The Red Clay Ramblers brought us to the North Carolina mountains with their combo of strings and played an excellent set, expecting nothing less from a group who have been together for 40 years.

The next two acts to take the stage required very little in terms of stage setup, just a microphone and a guitar, but that was more than enough to deliver stellar performances. City and Colour is the solo recording/performing alias of Canadian-born Dallas Green. Yes, he is indeed named after our former World Series winning manager; his father won the bet. One look at his arms and neck covered in tattoos, Green does not seem like he belongs at a folk festival. That would be because he's also the guitarist and vocalist for Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. City and Colour is his other musical outlet, and here at the Folk Fest we were even treated to a stripped down version of those tracks. “Fragile Bird” was very poignant in this arrangement, especially hearing the story behind it and how his wife sometimes suffers from night terrors.

Next to take to the microphones were the Secret Sisters, Laura and Lydia Rogers. They played off each other back and forth, each alternately taking the lead, harmony, or even passing the guitar. They played an upbeat set of terrific covers spanning the ages and their own originals. Two of their highlights were “Tennessee Me” and Patti Page's “You Belong to Me.” Getting to the end of the afternoon there was one more chance to showcase some high energy folk on the Main Stage. That task was given to The Hillbenders. This young, up and coming bluegrass quintet had what it takes. Fast picking and good licks, they made sure the crowd was moving.

The final act of the night is what everyone has been talking about this weekend. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue performed at last year's fest and anyone who saw them last year couldn't wait. The New Orleans jazz/funk/r&b groove that exploded from the stage immediately got the full crowd going. “Shorty” aka Troy Andrews was on full display as the charismatic band leader. He showcased his range of talent moving from trombone and trumpet to smooth vocals. Playing material from 2010's Grammy Nominated Backatown and 2011's For True, Andrews and the band were all smiles on stage playing in front of the equally appreciative crowd. In a rare Folk Fest moment they came out for an encore performance. I don't think anyone was about to stop them, even Gene Shay let them slide.

After 4 days of music, crafts, camping, good food, old and new friends, the 51st Philadelphia Folk Fest has come to a close. The fences and chairs starting coming down right after the show and the volunteers still have a lot of work to do to make the folk town disappear, but starting sometime next July it'll all begin again.

Trombone Shorty playing the Main Stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival

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(5) responses


 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 08/20 6:20 am
The Hillbenders play the Main Stage on Sunday at the Philadelphia Folk Fest


 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 08/20 6:21 am
Secret Sisters perform on the Main Stage on Sunday afternoon at the Philadelphia Folk Festival


 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 08/20 6:22 am
City and Colour (Dallas Green) plays the Main Stage on Sunday Afternoon at the Philadelphia Folk Festival


 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 08/20 6:25 am
Red Clay Ramblers perform on the Main Stage on Sunday afternoon at the Philadelphia Folk Fest


 by: iradiotom - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 08/20 1:08 pm
The Secret Sisters harmonize on the Martin Main Stage Sunday at the 2012 Philadelphia Folk Festival.


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