Americana Fest continued at Lincoln Center Out of Doors with a summer afternoon concert under the cover of trees at Hearst Plaza. Walking past the fountain were three sisters wearing their tutus and posing for photos.
First up was John Fullbright from Oklahoma. He’s a quiet man. Started on acoustic guitar and then was joined by players on upright bass and drums. Fullbright moved over to keyboards for some songs, which were more uptempo like “I’m Going Home.” His cover of Hoyt Axton’s “Jealous Man” was another highlight.
The second act was the reason for my being there – the Old 97’s — Rhett Miller (lead vocals, acoustic guitar) wearing his white pants, Murry Hammond (electric bass), Ken Bethea (lead guitar), and Philip Peeples (drums). They went right into “Jagged” and played their abbreviated set with little conversation. They just came off a two-night gig at Brooklyn Bowl and referenced the club in “Rollerskate Skinny.” Rhett’s voice was slightly the worse for wear but no where near as bad as I’ve heard in the past – he was really in very good voice for an afternoon concert. The band played fast and loud and I’m sure won over some of those in the audience who were unfamiliar with them.
Won’t Be Home No More
Longer Than You’ve Been Alive
W TX Teardrops
Big Brown Eyes
Four Leaf Clover
Let’s Get Drunk & Get It On
Give It Time
Headliners were The Devil Makes Three, who have been around for 12 years. Lead singer and guitarist Pete Bernhard asked those of us (including me) who have never heard of them where we’ve been. They do fit right in with the type of music I like and I liked them but didn’t love them. I am willing to give them another chance. The rest of the band is Cooper McBean on banjo and guitar and Lucia Turino on upright bass.
During setup I noticed their guitar tech/roadie and mentioned to rtb that I thought he was cute. Actually what I said was “I’d do him.” I was pleasantly surprised to see him come out and play violin for one song. He’s a musician too. Now I really wish I knew his name. A woman joined on violin for a song or two at the end.
When the announcer was directing us to Damrosch Park for the Rosanne Cash concert the crowd would not let up in demanding the band back up on stage. The announcer relented so they came up for a one-song encore.
While walking through the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts I looked at some of the photographs displayed of old southern black musicians. There was one photo of the Carolina Chocolate Drops with Marty Stuart. Stuart had invited them to the Grand Ole Opry making CCD the first black string band on Opry stage.
By Carene Lydia Lopez