Bluegrass is the fountain of youth. Dance & be involved with it & you will not age at normal human rates. Keeps you young with a constant spring in your step. Sweetwater is a celebration of roots music in its most wondrous forms. This brings out our natural desire to play.
The Absynth Quintet, who had multitudes of music lovers buzzing on their music & vibe all weekend, opened up the festivities delivering string prancing epiphanies for those fortunate to be there. I can imagine frolicking in sun piercing redwood groves high on their muse & energy. To the uninitiated, please live them a listen.
Railroad Earth defies description musically as they boldly reach into realms of genres unafraid. RRE’s diverse sound definitely is flavored by bluegrass. They play everything.
Their 1st set was a potently soaring ripper erupting with the likes of “Happy Song”, “The Forecast”, “Where songs begin”, “The Jupiter & the 119”, “Long Walk Home” & more closing with a torrential freakstorm “Mighty River” with a smoking intro.
For setbreak, a staffer took the stage to explain that the band was out back enjoying the wonders of nature (ad lib) & that law enforcement didn’t like that. He said he didn’t know if the band would return to the stage. Shortly thereafter, the boys jumped up there & of course, it was just an April fools day prank. Good one, guys!
The wildly hallucinatory 2nd set blew wide open with astral “The Green Roofs of EireAnn” segueing into the flippant freakout “Smilin‘ like a Buddha”. To explain further, the latter is a true fan fave known for being long & exploratory prompting chortles of joyous sighs & inspiring dance moves that would make most people dizzy.
Other magnificence followed with “Rueben’s Train”, “Shockenawe Mountain Breakdown”, “Spring-heeled Jack”, “Cold Water”, “Cuckoo Medley”, “7 Story Mountain” & the essential “Peace on Earth”. The racy encore featured the sweetness of “Lovin‘ You” & a decidedly cerebral cosmic workout of the Doors‘ “Roadhouse Blues”. Tremendous.
When the smoke cleared, this lively night came off as marvelous & fun. I was now a bigger fan than ever before. A deservedly high compliment. I also had more friends. This is Sweetwater Shakedown in all it’s passionate glory. Amazement.