Monday, August 20, 2007

Philly Folk Fest, Part 2

At the Philly Folk Fest, the stage lights were lit on Thursday night, when Wilmington's own Angel Band with David Bromberg presented a two hour show at the Camp Stage.
Nancy Josephson, who is married to Bromberg, has assembled the most compelling version of the vocal trio yet with Jen Schonwald and Kathleen Weber joining last year. All three are capable of taking a turn as lead, especially Josephson, who is singing with power and presence I hadn't seen before. Folk fans may have heard their previous versions of the old song "Angel of the Morning," but this time out they burned the song to the ground and left its embers smoldering in my chest.
I've long been a fan of Jonathon Edwards.
His high clear voice has taken on added warmth over the years without losing its clarity, and his harmonica playing is a sharp as ever.
Doc Watson's singing and playing is as straightforward and familiar as the footpath to your
neighbor's house, and as warm as the kitchen fire that awaits you when you get there.
Jess Klein is a singer and player of considerable power, who conveys the range of human emotions with her shifting dynamics and expressive voice.
She firmly embedded her enigmatic song "Soda Water" in the center of my brain on Friday night. It doesn't seem to be leaving anytime soon.
Son Volt lead singer Jay Farrar's voice sounds as comfortable and lived in as the band's plaid shirts.The band stretched out on a couple of songs with jams in which their instruments exuded a warm, tube amp contentment.
Bettye LaVette rocked the crowd with a smoking version of Lucinda Williams' "Joy." LaVette evidently found her joy, with enough left over for everyone on hand.
And at the end of each evening, the parasols illuminated the way from the main stage to the campsite, where thousands picked up their instruments and lifted their voices in song.

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