As soon as I saw the lineup, It struck me that some interesting headline choices had been made for the 2010 Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.
The act that closed out this evening - and this year's festival - Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles - is largely unknown by most of the people I spoke with at the event. And while the unfamiliar is often given a fighting chance at this festival, putting entirely unfamiliar music center stage on the last night... well, it seemed a little optimistic.
Gord and his alternate touring/studio act, which includes The Skydiggers' Josh Finlayson, Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie, Julie Doiron, Dale Morningstar, and Dave Clark of The Rheostatics, may comprise a stellar Canadian musical pedigree, but still; isn't a little familiarity expected with your keynote act?
Despite the band's playful banter, cross-talk, and overall high quirk-quotient, the fair ground did start to empty out earlier than usual. Mr. Downie himself confessed that throughout the summer, whatever festival they played, it just didn't seem a good fit. To which Ms. Doiron responded that the best fit for the band was "everywhere and nowhere."
Odd maybe, but this was still the band with which I really connected. It was so curious to see how the band carried on talking with, over, and around Downie throughout the evening, and even during the course of some songs. It was this perfectly loose dynamic, this professional but almost jocular familiarity that ultimately helped me chuckle and grin as I sampled songs - Like The East Wind - which might not have garnered a second thought otherwise. The delivery gave me an opportunity to warm up to the music. Not at all like a Hip concert, right? :P
I would be remiss to mention one other act which you really should sample. Nomfusi and the Lucky Charms, was the penultimate act on the mainstage. The South African vocalist is an absolute riot to watch and hear; her diminutive frame makes you wonder where she could possibly hide all that vocal torque. She has been touring Canada for the last month; between her excellent English and the way she is being packaged, I anticipate we will hear more of the little dynamo in the future
So that's it, that's the last of this summer's Roots & Blues. Although I saw some familiar Kamloops faces, the number of people I recognized seems down somewhat, maybe an indication of the overall attendance?
If you haven't attended, it's something you really must try. It's an inexpensive way to expose your own (and maybe your children's) palates to entertaining ear candy that no summer should expire without.
Were you there? What was your favourite moment of the weekend? Just click on "Comments" (below)