June 30, 2010

Hot New Summer Music.

Thanks, Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Although it all takes place a few weeks before Independence Day, The Telluride Bluegrass Festival is all about freedom.

Freedom to gather, to sing, to embrace, to worship. Freedom to be who you are, wear what you want, and say what you feel.  Freedom to soak up the sun in one of the most beautiful places ever without a care in the world. Freedom to dance around like your feet are aflame.

Somehow, the music brings everyone together in a celebration of life, and therefore it’s only natural that you fall in love with the music…and take a little bit of it with you.

Of course there are always the good ole’ boys who bring the Bluegrass heat year after year (Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Del McCoury and more), but I am especially blown away by the bands I have never seen before.

Here are a few of my favorites from this year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival:

Imelda May- Hailing from Ireland, this sexy lady combines rockabilly, surf and swingin’ vocals, delivering a powerful (and booty-shaking) package. She is officially my new girl-crush, and her band is awesome too!

Punch Brothers- Vibrant and boisterous one moment, storytelling and sultry the next, this band (featuring Mandolin-playing heart-throb Chris Thile) create entertaining tunes that defy genre.  Their own songs are complex and catchy, but they really won me over with their sweet Radiohead cover. Yes!

The Carolina Chocolate Drops- Described by Rolling Stone Mag as “dirt-floor-dance electricity,” these three young black musicians weave together banjo and fiddle, accapella vocals, flat-footing and Southern blues anthems with a new urban twist and an energy all their own. Spectacular.

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros- At one point I swore I was watching a bizarre outdoor version of Jesus Christ Superstar, but halfway through the first song I was a firm believer. Impossible to describe, yet undeniably energetic and captivating.  Set highlight—Alex (the hunky lead singer) got the entire dancing crowd to sit down for their final song! Beautiful.

Drepung Monks- Mesmerizing chanting, spectacular multiphonic singing, and otherworldly Sacred Dance made this musical performance the perfect way to start the day. I brought my yoga mat and was able to enjoy an amazing practice while they took the stage, and afterward I was awestruck by the immaculate Mandala Sand Painting they had created over 3 days and were displaying in their tent at the festival. Such an honor to witness!

Corwin Bell: Get Some Bees in Your Backyard (for Humanity’s sake).
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