It is early in the week. What are you doing this weekend? Oh c’mon, you know you think about it as you slave away your Monday on the grind. The weekend is a sacred time and this weekend is High Water Festival in North Charleston, SC. The tickets sold out in an amazing fashion, but there are a few here, there, and somewhere.
The coast of South Carolina is the most hospitable travel spot in the world, with bluebird skies, warm gentle breezes, and southern hospitality. Now, add to all of that…incredible music, curated food, and thirst quenching libations, what could be better? This is my heaven on earth. I hope you’ll hang out with me. This blog post is for those that have the coveted tickets and need a quick overview, those that wish they could be there, and yep those that just want to experience something a little different and learn about great music.
The crazy spring time storms blew through the south this past weekend and brought with them whispers of winter. I have been obsessed with the future weather patterns hoping that April 22-23 (High Water Festival) will prove to be the beautiful weekend we all experienced last year. So far, so good.
Saturday looks sunny and delightful and Sunday may be a bit cloudy….but I don’t see wild storms or frigid temps! This is very good news according to AccuWeather. Let’s hope it sticks!
So let’s jump into the music we will enjoy in that wonderful weather….The lineup is full of treasured voices and bands while lightly peppered with new and need to explore sounds.
Here is a quick overview of the bands playing on Saturday. I am also adding a playlist for you at the end. Check it out!
Weaves is a talented band with the stage presence to crank up the crowd and begin the festival with power and panache. This will be my (ah-hem) 3rd time to see them play, and every time they blow me away. Each musician has a wowing ability to play flawlessly with sparkle and serious standout skills, and leading the music are the memorable vocals of Jasmyn Burke. The Toronto band possesses a rare ability to entertain with talent, wittiness, and spirit. Don’t snooze and lose on Saturday. Get there early to set up and experience the joyous power of Weaves.
Singer songwriter Nicole Atkins has a golden voice and a gift for song, but after sinking into depression and drinking way too much, she found herself a little numb and distant from it all. With her last album, “Goodnight Rhonda Lee” she discusses finding herself again through the internal struggle and capturing her difficult experience in song. Rhonda Lee is her alter ego (the heavy drinker) and with this album she says…goodbye. Her retro-soul-infused style found in her most recent music is the most heartfelt of any of her projects. Sometimes those giant mountains to climb can be purposeful and life changing. Listening, I am pretty sure Nicole Atkins has reached deep into her soul and found what she can share with her fans.You should be one. Her difficult journey is our lucky gain.
Nicole Atkins-Listen Up
“You gotta make mistakes to know, you gotta make mistakes to grow…”
Folk music with awareness and validity is what you will hear from this artist. Out of Catskills NY, Ian Felice is a singer/songwriter, poet, and artist, who possesses the power to fill your ears with satisfying lyrics meant for chewing and savouring. He modernizes Bob Dylan’s “these times they are a-changin” technique and achieves a similar worldly impact, It will be wonderous to see if he can step out of a quiet venue (where his words can be appreciated all the more) to a loud raucous outdoor arena. I am hoping his sound and unique style powerfully impacts the listeners to a thoughtful appreciative hush. I know I will be there, hanging on every lyric.
Ian Felice-In The Kingdom Of Dreams
Best served live and loud, this band has a nice history and reputation for alt-country-pop. The pedal steel in their song, “All Who Wander” from their album Graveyard Whistling emphasizes their deepening country roots. This talented foursome, hailing from Dallas, have been making music since …you guessed it, 1997 and they still keep it fresh and warmly soothing.
Old 97’s -All Who Wander
Shrimp Records Family Band
From the High Water website…
“Shrimp Records is a musical collective and sometimes record label celebrating some of Charleston’s most celebrated local talent. Their set will feature members of Shovels & Rope, Indianola, Punks & Snakes, Mechanical River, Bill Carson, and Slow Runner. The band’s live show will feature songs from all these projects and a number of musical surprises. Sets from the band don’t happen often, and locals show up en masse when they do, it’s not to be missed at High Water.”
I love surprises, don’t you?
St Paul and The Broken Bones
St Paul and the Broken Bones from Birmingham Alabama have perfected the exuberant combo of R&B, soul, and rock and roll. Each song commands a smoothness that is sway worthy and sing-a-long happy. This is the set to dance along with your sweetie and squeeze ’em with all your heart…especially after the big power dance twirl. You will be forever changed by the crazy vocal ability of the lead, Paul Janeway and the talent of the seven additional instrumentalists and background support. I also expect to learn a new dance move or two cause they will shimmy, shake, and slide while they play ….they are that good.
St. Paul & the Broken Bones – Flow with It (You Got Me Feeling Like)
The Wild Reeds
Sometimes a band can strike a chord that reverberates and seems to connect to hearts all around. The Los Angeles based band, The Wild Reeds, have the strength of achieving this with their song, “Everything Looks Better In Hindsight”. But, it doesn’t stop there. Each song they write has a poignant story which is strikingly and almost hauntingly familiar to your own narrative. With beautiful harmonies and heartfelt solos, they will be something to behold. Can’t wait!
The Wild Reeds-Everything Looks Better In Hindsight
Brandi Carlile grew up outside of Seattle Washington in a sleepy little area where her creative mind and her own voice led her on a path to where she resides now. She is a much beloved Americana/folk/country songstress with strong lyrical content. Her latest album, By The Way, I Forgive You has been doused with accolades beyond the usual album review and I am expecting it to be one of the top albums of the year. If that isn’t enough to make you hang out to hear her sing, then it should be her amazing vocal tone and her ability to sing a song and casually weave it into an orchestral arrangement. There is power behind that and worthy of your ears.
Brandi Carlile-The Joke
Jeff Tweedy is a singer/songwriter, musician, and record producer best known as the singer and guitarist of the band Wilco. His solo album, Together At Last was released last year. With 30 years of rock and roll experience, it seems fitting that Tweedy would now venture out on his own. After seeing him perform at Pickathon in Oregon before his new album was announced, I remember marveling at his stage presence while he sang beautifully intimate songs. Yes he chatted in between each song, overjoyed he had a late night crowd, but I knew, in that moment he was destined to have a successful solo career.
Jeff Tweedy-I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Jason Isbell? He is a prolific songwriter, amazing guitarist, and winner of multiple grammy awards. I saw him many years ago when he first left the Drive-By Truckers and went out on his own. On a couple of occasions, I witnessed him chug a quart of Jack Daniels during his one hour set. Despite the obvious vice, he still brought the house down and pleased the crowd immensely, me included! I recognized he had demons to slay. Were those demons the root of his creativity? Naw, he proved to clean up his act and shortly afterward released a succession of incredible hits. This complicated artist has worked his way into my heart, and I am thrilled to see him perform once again. I think it might be my fourth or fifth time! Isbell has so much to share and he always lays it on the line.
Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit-Hope The High Road
Here is your High Water Playlist, a 35 minute easy listen to give you a quick Saturday overview and get you pumped for the weekend! ( I will add Sunday’s tunes after my Sunday music overview post)