Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival – The Farm (Manchester, TN)

Fly Golden Eagle at Bonnaroo 2014
Fly Golden Eagle at Bonnaroo 2014. Photo by Jeff Gentner

When the 13th installment of Bonnaroo wrapped up, any superstitions of an unlucky year were dispelled. Serious kudos to AC Entertainment and Superfly Presents for nurturing the close-knit community vibes upon which this festival was founded. Three emerging artists made big impressions, along with one of the past year’s breakout indie folk bands.

Knoxville blues-rockers the Black Cadillacs built a strong reputation for their live shows by relentlessly attacking the East Coast and Europe. The cowboy “whoa’s” and outlaw guitar riffs from their latest single, “Radio Silence,” left fans wondering which frontier the Black Cadillacs will conquer next.

Nashville’s Fly Golden Eagle melted minds with southern psych-rock. Lead vocalist Ben Trimble’s reedy tenor held the melody above garage guitars and kooky keys. Spin “Psyche’s Dagger” for a taste of their performance.

Tedeschi Trucks Band at Bonnaroo 2014. Photo by Jeff Gentner
Tedeschi Trucks Band at Bonnaroo 2014. Photo by Jeff Gentner

On a lighter note, Valerie June crochets an eclectic mix of folk, soul, gospel and blues. It’s not showoff-y in the least; her music rolled off the stage as organically as homegrown tomatoes. The Memphis-raised songwriter’s smooth, chirpy voice told old-time country stories like “Tennessee Time.”

Experimental folk outfit Phosphorescent finally found the right combination of weary heartbreak and bleary country shuffle with 2013’s Muchacho. Their live sound was just as glorious and regal as the critically acclaimed record. Matthew Houck’s voice cracked and sputtered beautifully as “Song for Zula” set with the sun.

– Wes Davenport

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