Essential listening at this weekend's Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Essential listening at this weekend's Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival 

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones perform Sunday.

Photo courtesy of the band

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones perform Sunday.

Sharon Jones deserves what she has. Perhaps the most exciting performer on this bill—and with a rock-solid backing band, The Dap-Kings—Jones spent most of her adult life merely wishing she had a music career while she worked on New York's Rikers Island and as a guard in an armored car (holy shit) until her mid-40s, when her first Daptone Records release dropped. She's a tireless entertainer in the classic Motown vein.

Accordingly, many of the most exciting artists on this year's Shakori roster are women. Aimée Argote and Christy Smith, who perform as Des Ark and The Tender Fruit, respectively, compose beautifully damaged, razor-sharp post-folk. And the spacious, ambitious cello and banjo-driven jazz-folk of New Orleans' Leyla McCalla refers as much to old Harlem as the old bayou.

Shakori has a solid tradition of giving stage time to the stars of afro-pop. Organizer Jordan Puryear says the only time the festival's refusal to put boundaries between performers and fans was problematic was when Oliver Mtukudzi played in October 2007. "He's such a superstar in Zimbabwe, it's like if Elvis (played)," Puryear laughs. "And these Zimbabwean women, they were ready to rip some of his clothes off and take them with them."

This year, the fest is Sidi Toure's only North Carolina stop on his first U.S. tour. The Malian guitarist's Sahara blues technique is clean and precise. His 2011 album Sahel Folk came out on Thrill Jockey, typically known for indie -rock releases; it features impressive songwriting, with natural acoustic drones and rhythmic U-turns quick enough to give math-rockers pause.

In keeping with Shakori Hills' family focus, Sandbox brings its collection of new and re-imagined toddler jams. And 14-year-old blues guitarist Lakota John Locklear shreds on standards many times his age.

Raleigh's Peter Lamb & the Wolves play acoustic jazz harkening to that genre's pre-war pop era, with more focus on Fats Waller or Joe Turner than Coltrane or Gillespie. Not only does the band cover Tom Waits' "Temptation" without ruining the song (a common fault with Waits covers), but the rendition even adds to the dialogue by injecting a twisted neo-soul-in-a-speakeasy vibe.

Special mention goes to Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, even if this one's a bit of a "well, duh!" for Shakori's target audience. The members of this bluegrass-fusion jam band have all gone on to individual stardom, with excitable young bassists now prattling about Victor Wooten the way new guitarists do about Hendrix or Clapton. The rarely-touring ensemble covers a middle ground between Weather Report, Parliament/ Funkadelic and who knows what else. It ought to be a trip presented in the middle of a field of Chatham County red clay where more than a few toddlers roam.

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

I spotted Ivan at Pie Pushers before the Bon Iver show in Durham this past Monday night and wondered what …

by Shocka Kahn on With the Rosebuds, Ivan Howard Inspired a Generation of Triangle Musicians. So Where Did He Go? (Music Feature)

I was a sophomore in high school when I was introduced to John McLaughlin via the Birds Of Fire album …

by Anthony Richards on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

Most Recent Comments

I spotted Ivan at Pie Pushers before the Bon Iver show in Durham this past Monday night and wondered what …

by Shocka Kahn on With the Rosebuds, Ivan Howard Inspired a Generation of Triangle Musicians. So Where Did He Go? (Music Feature)

I was a sophomore in high school when I was introduced to John McLaughlin via the Birds Of Fire album …

by Anthony Richards on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

i was born in the 60s and i know him well,... i hope we keep him close in the memories …

by Cee Will on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

Allison, you, as so many other people these days, are just looking to make something political or worry about who …

by Dianna Hurt Wright on Is It a Good Idea to Call a Country and Southern-Rock Concert a Carolina Uprising? (Music Feature)

Your comment loses all bite when you use the term "snowflake" earnestly. Also, I thought Tony was barely audible in …

by terryboo on Tony Levin, Who Powered King Crimson’s Third Act With Low-End Prowess, Keeps Propelling the Prog-Rock Band Thirty Years Later (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation