Heavy With Tradition, Old Settler’s Music Festival Springs Eternal: We talk to Sierra Hull and highlight favorites for next week’s camp – Music
Sierra Hull (Courtesy of Sierra Hull)
People use the word “tradition”.
This is understandable. In its broadest sense, tradition can simply mean a pattern of behavior. You’re going to have McDonald’s breakfast after you’ve been released from prison, every time – “It’s tradition.” You and your friend had your picture taken in front of the giant ACL Fest picture frame for three years in a row – “It’s tradition.” True traditions, however, involve understandings and customs passed down from generation to generation or recurring practices so established that they shape your identity.
I thought about how the Old Settler Music Festival is heavy with tradition.
The resident artist at next week’s gathering in Tilmon, Texas, 83-year-old singer and guitarist Del McCoury, has been into bluegrass since 1963, when he joined genre godfather Bill Monroe’s band – that’s the tradition. In addition to playing twice (Friday, 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, 8:20 p.m.), McCoury, whose sons, Ronnie and Rob, lead his band, will lead a workshop on practicing music as a family – that’s the tradition.
In the OSMF’s 25-year history (festival posters from the first decade are rare), McCoury has performed 10 times. Including the closing ceremonies next Sunday, Kevin Russell made a dozen Old Sett’s between Shinyribs and the Gourds. Peter Rowan enchanted at 15, it’s tradition. Volunteers with a quarter century of service, it’s tradition. Babies run around campsites whose parents were once kids doing the same – it’s tradition.
Even for the young settlers who choose the three stages, now staggered so there are no overlapping sets, many play music rooted in deep musical traditions, even as those traditions evolve stylistically – the evolution , of course, is what distinguishes tradition from “history”. .” For music fans carrying on traditions or starting new ones, here are some projected highlights for Old Settler’s 2022. – Kevin Curtin
Saturday 23, Bluebonnet Stage, 6:20 p.m.
Sierra Hull has driven hard through the bluegrass scene since making her Grand Ole Opry debut at age 10 and signing with Rounder Records at age 13. In many ways, however, the mandolinist’s fifth album, 2020 25 Trips, represented the cornerstone of this first part of his career. The album expands the songwriter’s sonic palette, but also takes stock of the rapid passage of time during his burgeoning trajectory that led to six International Bluegrass Music Awards and a Grammy nomination.
“It’s really funny how the themes for this record couldn’t have been written after [the pandemic], so it’s a whole new perspective to come out and do these songs live for people now,” she laughs from the back of a tour bus where she’s on the road with Béla Fleck. “My record was literally out two weeks ago before it all stopped. It was my first album in five years, and I had been working on it, and that was really where all my energy was directed towards coming out and supporting it.
“Just being home for once was really crazy, and I know it was a tough time for many, but I really enjoyed the experience,” she admits. “It kind of taught me the beauty of being able to be still for a minute, and the importance of that. I still want to have some of that in my life. It also lets me know that in the future, I can take time off and get away from all the travels, and there’s a lot of beauty in that, to be able to be home and reset and reschedule a bit I think that perspective is something that I’m really grateful to have.
Now finally able to shoot the album, the 30-year-old finds new energy in the songs, as well as her many recent collaborations. In addition to being part of Fleck’s My Bluegrass Heart Tour, she toured this year with funk bassist Cory Wong and explored new territory for herself as well.
“I want to keep doing more collaborations and finding ways to work with other people, I feel like I’m learning a lot from that,” she says. “For me, as an artist, it’s like an opportunity to exercise these different parts of my musical brain.
“I think we kind of live in a time where the genre feels a little less like a box that we have to be in,” she continues. “It’s exciting in a way because it means we have the opportunity to try different things and we don’t have to be tied down. It doesn’t mean we can’t still love and enjoy our roots and carry on. to build on it. I grew up a bluegrass girl and any time I can go back and dig that in a meaningful way, it feels like home. It’s such a big part of who I am and that I always will be. But I also like to dive into new territory too, and that’s what keeps me inspired and keeps things fresh and makes me want to keep doing it.”–Doug Freeman
Saturday 23, Bluebonnet Stage, 2:20 p.m.
Sunday 24, Campground Stage, 3:30 p.m. with Women of Western Swing
After heading to Nashville after long being a local staple, versatile Brennen Leigh found herself drawn to an early craze: Western swing. Its elegant note of love, Obsessed with the West, emerges May 6 under the ’40s-era tutelage of Texas songwriting icon Cindy Walker – who Leigh previously paid tribute to at an event with Austin’s self-explanatory supergroup Women of Western Swing. In addition to her own festival spot, the country talent joins WOWS for a special final day set. Hear the heartwarming tone and crisp stories of Leigh aligning herself with Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, heroes turned peers since moving to the capital at age 19, on latest single “In Texas With a Band.” “. She sings, “Austin is like Hollywood with a few more country songs. Where can you hear steel guitar played with accordion?” –Rachel Rascoe
Saturday 23, Main Stage, 5:20 p.m.
Just try to stay slouched in your camping chair while the Suffers are on stage. When Houston’s Gulf Coast soul septet lights up in freshly released single “Don’t Bother Me” – with its prominent Miami percussion; agile and jerky horns; and an empowering message – let’s get up and jump. The Infallible Artists are set to release LP #3,It starts with lovein June, and OSMF represents their first tour date on the cycle, so expect fresh legs, exuberance and exultant singing as they hit the chorus of their 2018 classic “Do what you want / Feel good, all night, alright alright.”– Kevin Curtin
Saturday 23, Main Stage, 3:20 p.m. with Flaco Jiménez
Saturday 23, Main Stage, 7:20 p.m. with Free Mexican Airforce by Peter Rowan
The Grammy-winning conjunto unit, led by uncle Max Baca (vocals, bajo sexto) and nephew Josh Baca (accordion), continues to prove they are among Central Texas’ most powerful collaborators in contributing their tight Tejano sound to several musical heroes on Saturday. They will lay the groundwork for master accordionist Flaco Jiménez’s merry hit parade, including “(Hey Baby) Que Paso” and “Streets of Bakersfield.” A few hours later, they will melt into the mystical essence of Buddhist bluegraser Peter Rowan.– Kevin Curtin
Galactic with Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph
Saturday 23, Bluebonnet Stage, 10:20 p.m.
The brightest asset of the jazzy, rhythm-oriented jammers Galactic – aside from Mensa-level drum maestro Stanton Moore – is a healthy rotation of guest vocalists. This time around, it’s Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, another NOLA artist who has drawn attention toamerican idol then went on to sing with Tank & the Bangas. She could steal the show.– Kevin Curtin