Wednesday, July 30, 2008

August 2008 Music Festivals

Here is our list of major music festivals for August 2008. Please check back often, since the list will be updated when new festivals are added to

Monday, July 28, 2008

FloydFest Overview

I arrived home from FloydFest safely last night and hope everyone else did as well. It was an awesome weekend - the music was outstanding and the festival well planned. Thanks Across-the-Way Productions. With four winery reviews and the festival overview to draft - as well as another weekend outing planned - the official FloydFest review, will not be posted until early next week. For now, a brief overview.

I was able to spend several hours throughout the weekend with Grafton, Ned, Jake, and Chris from Oneside - discussing and listening to music. I listened to their excellent debut CD, "First, to Last" over and over again on the drive down - it's a rocking CD. As evident from the large and enthusiastic crowds at each of their shows, others were enjoying their music as well. Not bad for an "Emerging Artist". For the first time I was able to watch perform one of my favorite groups, Crooked Still, as they played multiple sets - with even larger crowds singing and dancing along. This band had perhaps the best show of the festival Saturday at the Revival Tent - which I can only describe as a love affair between the band and audience. Their current CD, Still Crooked, made the ride home much pleasanter. But the most popular artist - by far - was The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - easily attestable by any of the hundreds who saw one of their four performances.Their next CD, The Whole Fam Damnily, should be released August 5th and from songs we heard over the weekend, this will be an instant classic. Thanks Jayme, Breezy, and Reverend Peyton for a revelating, rocking time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Floydfest Preview

This weekend we will be heading down The Crooked Road to southwestern Virginia for FloydFest. Hosted by the "funky" town of Floyd and Across-the-Way Productions, the festival brings together artists from several genres: bluegrass, blues, jam-band, funk, and Americana. One of the best features of FloydFest, besides the on site camping, is that many artists will play multiple times either during the same day or over the weekend. Thus, if a favorite band conflicts with another, there should be a second chance to catch the next performance. The festival starts Thursday night at 4:00 PM with Eymarel and includes shows by Chatham County Line, Donna the Buffalo,The Jordan Harman Band, Jenny Arnau, Eli Cook, and Laura Reed & Deep Pocket. Our coverage begins Friday night and will extend to The Avett Brothers finale. In between we will hopefully interview a few bands and see Blind Corn Liquor Pickers, Railroad Earth, New Monsoon, Oneside, Crooked Still, Tony Trischka, Rusted Root, Sons of Bill, The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Cadillac Sky, Tea Leaf Green, Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, and Dumpstaphunk - to name a few.

We will also visit a few of the local wineries and post that experience at Wine Compass. Since many attendees will be parking at the Chateau Morrisette parking lot; stop in to sample the wines. The proprietors to Blacksnake Meadery will be attending FloydFest so the meadery will be closed through the weekend, but there is also Villa Appalaccia Winery, AmRhein Wine Cellers, and Foggy Ridge Cider. We hope to see you there.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brogue Rogues @ Notaviva Vineyards

Hopefully regular readers have worried about our dereliction in posting articles this month. We apologize, for we spent the first week of July touring Sonoma and Napa wine country and the amount of time needed to post our trip on the Wine Compass Blog was slightly overwhelming. Since we were just starting to overcome our overindulgence in wine, on Saturday July 19th we finally ventured out to see live music. We have stressed numerous times that wineries are excellent sources for live music, in all states, and this weekend there was an abundant number of shows in Virginia and Maryland. Linganore Wine Cellars was hosting their annual Reggae Festival, Tarara Vineyard & Winery was hosting one of their summer series concerts, and Breaux Vineyards was hosting their 3rd Annual Key West Festival. Maybe next year. Instead we decided to attend a more low-key affair and visit Notaviva Vineyards to witness their musical\wine vision. We had visited the winery in June and learned about the proprietors musical background. They planned to host several local musical groups throughout the year and today's artist was the Blue Ridge Celtic band the Brogue Rogues.

We arrived for the last two songs of the opening set which allowed us to a chance to assess the environment. Bands are situated in the music loft, high above the tasting bar. Two rows of parallel tables are available on either side of the loft for those interested in sitting close to the music. We chose to sit at a table next to the tasting bar; from this vantage we could hear the music but also able to converse without shouting. In fact the acoustics were more than adequate to be able to hear the band - even when a bachelorette party ventured in. Even with the group being a little louder than the casual visitor - we never had a problem hearing the band. The first two songs we heard from Brogue Rogues were instrumentals which sounded like excellent background music as we scanned the wine list. We started with the excellent Viognier and sat down to hear the second act - which started with a bang - "What Do You Do with a Drunkin' Sailer?" For some reason this is a bedtime song in our household, so immediately our song jumped up started dancing and singing - with most of the audience joining in. They continued with a couple traditional Irish foot stomping songs that had everyone from the bachelorette party to couples stomping and singing along. They switched to a few instrumentals which displayed their musical talents on the mandolin, violin, and guitar and allow the audience to continue sipping wine. At this point we tried their newly bottle Cabernet Franc. The wine was a little young, particularly as we were used to the robust California versions, but it actually worked well on a hot day. They played several more songs - mostly instrumentals to a revolving stream of customers. The music was great and the environment was welcoming. If you wanted to get close to the band - there was ample room upstairs. If you wanted to listen as background music - sip downstairs; there was no pressure to focus 100% on the band. Instead we were able to talk, play, and listen without interfering in our neighbors ability to hear the music. The Brogue Rogues return to Notavina Vineyards August 23rd with several other acts scheduled through October. We plan to visit again for one of these shows.