If you can’t tell the lineup without a scorecard, it’s probably good that I begin with this photo.
I always find it very helpful that the folks who run the Good Beer Festival put this board up, although I think I would prefer it arranged by day, with Main Stage as the left column and Bar Stage to the right. But it turned out there was a snafu regardless.
I’m not sure what happened with Lauren Ventura, but she ended up being placed between two acts on the Main Stage. So the first to play was actually Captain Blue’s Grass Band.
Captain Blue (aka C.J. Cutsail) is the host of the radio show “Local Produce.” But along with his co-host Josh Rose, they comprise 2/3 of this band that veers along the lines between bluegrass and acoustic rock. They reminded me of another group which didn’t make to our festivals this time around, Chester River Runoff.
Because Ventura was bumped over to the Main Stage, it meant Chad Abernathy opened the Bar Stage.
I didn’t catch too much of his show – the Bar Stage was on the other side from our location – but it seemed to be mostly originals performed acoustically. He had female accompaniment on some songs as well.
Meanwhile, Lauren Ventura got her show in. She’s a singer/songwriter from Nashville who seemed to embrace the conditions.
But since Abernathy and Ventura were playing at the same time on opposite ends of the park, neither had the benefit of full attention. Since she only had one instrument, though, Lauren could easily clear the way for Eastern Electric. That even became easier when it was just one performer.
I’m not sure just what happened with Eastern Electric, but this is what became of them.
That was a little disappointing, since I enjoyed their predecessor band (The Electric Co.) and thought I’d hear some familiar tunes.
I wasn’t disappointed with The Hot Meals, though. To me, their music sounds sort of like an old favorite from my FNV days, The Permilla Project. (The two bands have one common player, drummer Sean Miller.) Maybe one can call it “smooth rock” because there seems to be a little jazz element there.
But the final band of the day took the cake. This photo was from the sound check, when I said, “damn, who are these guys?” That was also before the rain began.
Well, they are called Bush Hawg, and they are an up-and-coming band in what I suppose is considered the “modern country” genre.
Now the song that attracted my attention in the sound check isn’t one I found on their website, so I may be wrong on the title – but the chorus line is “God save our country.” But they also played their single, “Crushin'” which is more of a ballad but has charted in the top 30 on the “Music Row Country Breakout Chart”, so it was sort of a shame so few were left after a soggy day in Maryland.
And it’s not like they didn’t know how to rock – not with a medley which took pieces from Guns N’ Roses, Queen, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, plus the full tracks of “Seven Nation Army” and the old Cars tune “Just What I Needed.” They also have a remake of “Fortunate Son” on their EP which they played.
So Saturday evening ended with their hard country. On Sunday, we had a cloudy and breezy day to greet music lovers. But all the bands played as scheduled, beginning with the one-man band, Kevin Poole.
It was a little guitar, a little singing, a little percussion, a little harmonica, and a little marketing.
Over on the Main Stage, Sunday began with power pop from Rew Smith.
It turned out that they were the most enjoyable act of the day for me; just simple, straight-ahead rock and roll.
The second of three acoustical acts over on the Bar Stage, Mike Weyrauch held court.
Now I’ve heard him on “Local Produce” and on his CD playing originals, but the couple songs he played while I was over there were covers. Hopefully he introduced that side of the GBF to his own stuff.
Some original instrumentation was the key to Children of a Vivid Eden, back on the Main Stage.
The same held true across the way as John Emil wrapped up over at the Bar Stage with some acoustic slide guitar.
Well, that and the percussion box he could tap his foot on.
Pressing Strings wrapped things up for a rapidly dwindling crowd. It seemed like people left early on Sunday. In all honesty, I think the Main Stage lineup would have worked better in reverse, with Pressing Strings being the opener and Rew Smith wrapping up. It’s nice to have an active band to finish, as Bush Hawg did the evening before.
One thing I like about the GBF is their willingness to go outside the area for different acts – for example, Lauren Ventura and Bush Hawg are Nashville-based and Emil hails from Florida but has mainly toured in Virginia and North Carolina this year (with a 16-stop European tour thrown in.) To me, it provides more of an attraction.
So now that I have this edition of WLR in the books, I’m working on the next while at the Autumn Wine Festival. Since there are only seven bands and one stage at the AWF, the next installment will be shorter than this was.