Top tips to get you in the Maverick Festival spirit at Easton Farm Park this weekend
- Credit: Archant
If Maverick Festival-goers have one complaint, it’s there’s too much great stuff going on. It’s a nice problem to have, says festival founder Paul Spencer, and means you’re sure to find something you like, be it American roots music or bluegrass to something rockier. He shares some suggestions of who to see with entertainment writer Wayne Savage
Jimmie Rodgers With a Twist
I asked artists if they had a Jimmie Rodgers song in their repertoire and virtually everyone straight off the bat had a song they wanted to do. The idea caught fire very quickly. So on the Friday night at the Peacock stage, in association with the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian Mississippi, we’re having Britt Gulley who plays guitar, very much in the Rodgers style, do a couple of authentic songs. He will compere and Robyn Hitchcock, Sam Outlaw, Jon Langford and others who are already performing have signed up. We’ll be presenting a Jimmie Rodgers programme with a bit of a twist, his songs interpreted by all these different people. I’m really excited about that, that’ll be quite the place to be on Friday night.
Sweet Home Alabama
Alabama is represented again. Debbie Bond is this blues soulstress who has a new album out which is getting great reviews. We have the five stages; our outdoor Sweet Home Alabama stage, sponsored by our friends at the Alabama tourist department. We have the barn stage, which for some people is the heart of the festival, which runs day and night; the Peacock stage, our smaller barn; the Moonshine stage and the Moonshine Bar where we have small and intimate stage performances.
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He’s this old school acoustic guitar player. He has an illustrious pedigree and influenced everybody from Keith Richards to Eric Clapton. His early influences as a young player were in American Delta blues, country blues. This year we are up to 41 acts. it might be a couple more last year but that’s not to say I won’t add anybody.
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He’s a guy we’re really excited about. He did the Andrew Marr show recently and a handful of headline shows in and around London all of which were sold out. There’s terrific buzz about him. He’s young and actually quite traditional. From LA rather than the south or midwest he’s quite edgy. He’s really reinterpreting a lot of the old George Jones, Waylon Jennings, traditional country. He’s really cool, I saw him in London and he was fantastic. A real highlight.
He’s a well-known fixture on the British rock scene, having been around 30-40 years playing with The Soft Boys and having made a bunch of solo albums. He’s now moved to Nashville, very much soaking up the whole Americana scene. He came to Maverick last year as somebody’s plus one. He wasn’t on the bill but was so taken with the event he asked if he could play a couple of songs. We squeezed him into the bill for 20 minutes and he’s asked if he could come back this year, bring musicians and do a proper set.
We’re excited to have him because he’s not what you’d expect as an Americana artist, he’s more an eclectic folk rocky figurehead on the British music scene.
Learn Something New
The Alabama Blues Project are back with their harmonica workshop, which is very popular. People can buy a harmonica for a fiver or something, pretty much learn a few tricks and come away having learned something. That makes it ideal. Dan Walsh is doing his banjo workshop. He’s one of the finest, if not the finest, claw hammer banjo player in the country. That’s really more of a masterclass. We also have these guys who make their own instruments. I don’t know frankly how you’d describe them but they’re kind of old fashioned stringed instruments, perhaps made in the style before (mass) manufacturing. They’ll be demonstrating how those are played. There’s plenty of variety.
Another really great find which I think really turns this whole idea of roots music as being country based all about. He was the founder of a band called The Mekons, a seminal british punk band. He moved to America, started The Waco brothers who were an early pioneering old country band and has been really involved in that Americana scene. Before Maverick even began he was working in what Americans call Old Country before it became Americana. He’s also an artist. We’re tying in an art exhibition of his work which, conveniently, features a lot of country music icons like Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash. He’s going to be performing from his wide catalogue, who knows what he’ll play but it’s bound to be interesting. Definitely a highlight musically and on many levels.
The Roamin’ Jasmine
A nice little band I met in New Orleans. They’re a bunch of young guys... A little bit of New Orleans jazz influence with trumpets and clarinets and that more foot stomping New Orleans jazzy feel. They’ve honed their own style busking on the streets on the streets of New Orleans.
Luke Winslow King
He did a gig for me when I was putting on pop up shows every now and again. We did a show at the Pump House a few years ago and he now lives in New Orleans. He came last time as a duo or trio, but he’s bringing a full band to play at Maverick Friday and Saturday. He’s a fabulous guitar player but real handsome, like a young Frank Sinatra; very charismatic and charming with a really cool voice, kind of retro. Very lively and, again for anybody who knows anything about New Orleans music, you can feel that influence permeates his sound. We’ve had artists from New Orleans before but we haven’t for me captured the real musical spirit of the city in a way that I think we’ll do this year.
We’re doing a little mini-tribute to Canada because Canada Day is July 1 and that happens to be Maverick Friday this year. So opening the Peacock stage will be a trio of artists who are Canadians – the terrific Christina Martin, John Wort Hannam and Ryan Cook.
Christina played at our press launch and she’s a little more on the slightly poppier end of things. John’s more on the folkier end and then Ryan’s right in the middle.
Maverick Festival runs July 1-3 at Easton Farm Park, Woodbridge Visit www.maverickfestival.co.uk for the full line-up.