The big-tent view of organizers John Colvert and Noel Coakley is reflected in the diversity of acts playing the festival this year. Here are a few examples.
THE WHISKEY BOYS are a pair of onetime Berklee boys who play fiddle and guitar and describe what they do as “groovy modern bluegrass music, reharmonized with jazz, rock, and wit.” There’s plenty of folk and Celtic elements adding to the harmony, too.
JD AND THE NEWTON GANG With a name like that, the natural conclusion might be that these boys (and girl) play outlaw music. And that’s not entirely inaccurate. But the Newton Gang owes a wider debt to the sounds and sentiments of other forms of classic country as well.
THE RATIONALES This five-piece injects as much muscular power pop as rootsy alt-country into their music, making for a sound that’s loud, taut, and electric.
COYOTE KOLB The shorthand for this band may be “dirty blues,” but it’s a blues that sees your wailing harp and stinging slide guitar and raises you some backwoods banjo, moaning pedal steel, Southern stomp and swagger, and haunted, wide-eyed vocals.
AUDREY RYAN A perfect example of the festival’s boundary-pushing, Audrey Ryan not only offers a singer-songwriter/indie rock hybrid, but performs it as a one-woman band on, among other things, guitar, accordion, ukulele, banjo, drums, vibraphone, and loop station.
THE DENNIS BRENNAN BAND If you’re looking for one act that encompasses the reaches of American music, both in his original songs and an amazing array of covers that he reworks to something distinctively his own, you could hardly do better than Boston icon Dennis Brennan (below) and his band.