WinterWonderGrass CO 2017
Festival Experience Archive
for The Lot Scene by Parker
Elephant Revival - Railroad Earth - The Infamous Stringdusters
If Saturday had been about snow and cold and wind, then Sunday Funday proved itself more about sun and warm and shine. Ah, Colorado…where, if you don’t trust the weather, then don’t come to WinterWonderGrass unprepared. People were resplendent in their funwear, ready for a Sunday full of amazing music, just like the two days previous. I love my people, it must be said. Our community is so strong and so passionate and so compassionate…I’ve really come to rely upon the foundation of this core grass fan base over the years. And why shouldn’t I? After incredible experiences such as WWG amongst so many other amazing festivals throughout the year, it has become apparent just how special this whole situation really is. And I am most certainly grateful for it. You bet your boots. Speaking of boots, let’s get back to those snow boots in Steamboat for a little Elephant Revival time! They opened things up with Daniel Rodriguez on the lead vocals for “Home in Your Heart” with light and lovely backing vocals from Bonnie Paine. A wonderful way to start things off, especially with the polished banjo stylings of Charlie Rose there to augment the floating and delighting vocal melody. Dango Rose’s baller bass playing, as always, providing the backbone of each piece, this one being no exception, was laying down a textural foundation upon which the entire rest of the ensemble was building. “Light as a feather and you’re homeward bound…” There is no doubting the beauty of Elephant Revival’s poetry through song. You’d be hard pressed to find a fan that didn’t agree — they write some seriously moving pieces, it’s true. The vocal ensemble of Daniel, Bonnie, Charlie, and Darren Garvey back on his drums was gorgeous in the frigid air…yet another strong hallmark of this band’s appeal and abilities. The song ended to uproarious applause and cheers to which Bonnie replied into the mic, “We love you guys.” This only elicited at loud, raucous, and awesome “We love you more!” from the crowd. You cannot create moments like that, you just have to be there in them. And what a moment we were all sharing! Daniel led things off for the next piece on guitar, joined quickly by Bonnie on washboard and the remainder of the band moving quickly into their signature sound. How great a sound it is, too, my friends. So unique. “Remembering a Beginning” is a Bonnie lead on vocals and is a journey through music and mystery. Bridget Law’s solo on fiddle a few minutes into things was haunting and a perfect counterpoint to Bonnie’s mesmerizing vocals. Suffice it to say, this band is a well-balanced, finely tuned magical musical machine. They way they all play so well together is really a treat to behold. And we cannot forget Charlie’s monster of a banjo breakdown, can we? No, we really cannot. So far this show was delivering on so many lovely levels. But, then again, that is what we all have come to rightly expect from a band that makes such lovely music. Third up out of the gate for us was a lively fiddle tune from the amazing Bridget Law. Nothing like watching someone with chops such as hers evoke the most marvelous strains from her chosen instrument. It was more like seeing her dancing with the fiddle as the rest of the band played for their benefit. Some really fun stuff was coming from the Garvey at the rear of the stage percussion-wise to bolster the highly enjoyable dancing rhythms of the tune itself, Bonnie’s washboard zipping along to the beat in a bright and bold fashion. Shame I don’t know that name of this one…I’ll certainly be listening for it in the future. Man, what a set so far and we were just three songs in!! A little further along we were able to capture some video to give you a feel of the sights and sounds of WWG care of Elephant Revival. Please enjoy “Spinning”, my friends. I know I sure did!!
Kinda makes you want to go to Steamboat in 2018, huh? I know the feeling. Trust me. It gets in your blood…he said after having gone three times. Guess some things can’t be helped. Not that I’d want to. But, back to the music! Their penultimate song of the evening was “Drop”, with it’s percussion-heavy intro and intense lyrics. Dancing in and out of mellow, this is a masterful piece of music with some extremely gorgeous parts. One such part is Law’s expert fiddle work throughout, both in ensemble and solo. Bonnie’s oh-so unique and diaphanous voice, perfectly suited to the vocals of this one, rang out into the still of the air, coming to rest lightly and sweetly on our ears and hearts. And there was another incredible Charlie Rose solo on banjo. Wow. Just wow. After a supremely wonderful set, things heated up even further at the end as many, many friends joined ER on stage for a their final number. Members of Fruition, Gipsy Moon, and even festival organizer and visionary Scott Stoughton crowded around the various mics on stage to join Elephant for a big, bad WWG version of “Grace of a Woman”. Daniel Rodriguez led things off on vocals quickly supported by the many voices on stage in a big chorus of amazing harmony. The chorus was a brazen and ecstatic celebration of voices, countless united in cause, both on stage and off. What a party! This one was a seriously good time, there can be no doubts. I mean, how much fun were all the musicians having? Those smiles were as real as can be. Truth. Mimi Naja of Fruition unleashed a beast of a mando solo…so good! And then there’s Andy Goessling from Railroad Earth out of nowhere on sax just killing things. Amazing. And then, an a cappella ending? Really? So freakin’ good! What a fabulous show it had been. What a way to Sunday, no doubt! So many thanks to Elephant Revival for a simply delightful time at WWG CO 2017!! Let’s do it all over again next year!!
My apologies for not providing further reviews of Railroad Earth and The Infamous Stringdusters. Due to a personal emergency on Sunday of WinterWonderGrass, I was not able to cover these events. All’s well that ended well, so no worries, just that it interrupted my journalistic goals for the day. I have included some RRE images for you as well as a video of the final song of the fest that night at ISD’s late night show. Please enjoy, friends!! Again, my apologies!!