At 51, the Philly Folk Fest may be older than some grandmothers, but don’t expect to hear your grandmothers’ folk music. Little Feat, Voices of the Wetlands , Trombone Shorty and many others had the crowd of 40,000 up and dancing, and I don’t mean clogging.
My personal favorites Little Feat did not disappoint. The Feat seemed to come play back stronger than they have in some time. With a new drummer (Gabe Ford) replacing the Feat’s late longtime drummer Richie Hayward, and Billy Payne writing new material for the first time in years, the band treated us to old favorites and selections from the new album Red Rooster.
Happily for us all, masters of close harmony Brother Sun played on multiple stages over the three days so even day-trippers got to hear them. A bit like Crosby, Stills & Nash in their prime, the energy and precision of these three guys never fails to amaze me. Great lyrics and a sound you won’t soon forget made me glad I could see them twice in two days.
Although compelling as a solo acoustic performer as well, Paul Thorn arrived with his full rockin’ band, which amassed quite a crowd of people walking by from their sites and deciding to stay. Thorn has a funny, down-home chatter he intersperses throughout his performance, and is one of the few rockers at whom no one ever shouts, “Shut up and play!”
There’s much more to come, but later. Stay tuned.
- Suzanne Cadgene