Friday, 31 May 2013

Preview: SummerTyne Americana Festival

It makes sense writing about a traditional bluegrass music festival with the genre Americana while actually being in, America. Folk, country, blues, traditional rhythm and blue and rock n roll are the prime genres expected at these Americana tagged festivals across Europe, none so prolific as the British summer festivals. SummerTyne takes place every July, mid-summer, and it's been this way since its inauguration year in 2006. Past performers include Seasick Steve, the late Solomon Burke in his final performing year and Lyle Lovett. The 2013 edition of SummerTyne Americana Festival will be the coming together of the previous six years for one behemoth line-up, that is hidden behind the artistic and cultural The Sage Gateshead in the North East of England.

Martha Wainwright headlines the three day festival with The Mavericks, Patty Griffin, Willy Mason, and Mud Morganfield filling up noticeable slots. There will be a performance from Sam Amidon, an artist we covered earlier in the month. His popular covers branch out from the singer-songwriter bracket with Appalachian folk and a mythical twist on some of country's biggest names. He will play on Saturday, an artist not to be missed. Amidon will be Wainwright's guest for the Saturday evening, which will be the most packed day of musical treats across all stages. Wainwright has been releasing critically acclaimed albums ever since her family name was recognised in the 60s for Loudon's hilarity assured folk records, many of which I own and still play. Martha has been the source of female artist inspiration over the last decade and her performances have proven why she's one of Canada's great singer-songwriter exports. 

Willy Mason has been touring across the United States and beyond for years. His lo-fi recordings such as "Oxygen" and his electronic influenced recordings on latter albums If the Ocean Gets Rough and Carry On have compared the Massachusetts man to Beck. I’m sure this comparison hasn’t come as a surprise nor problem to Mason whose folk/blues antics have gained acclaim from many sources. Mason will play on the third day, Sunday, which is headlined by Heritage Blues Orchestra. The blues band has already created a wave of excitement across the UK festival scene; they will also be playing at the Cambridge Folk Festival this year. Their refreshing sound takes the original Chicago blues and adds a little bit of modern elegance on the once groovy and dated genre.

Other performers include the fantastic psychedelic rock / pop musician Matthew E. White, who released a fabulous debut album last year titled Big Inner. There will be a special performance from Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, a Cajun band from Louisiana. Also sister act Larkin Poe will be playing this year’s festival.

SummerTyne Americana Festival will be air-conditioned, likely, and have stages inside the Sage and outside by the river. It will take place in mid to late July from Friday 19 to Sunday 21. You can buy tickets here with individual prices for some of the top performers, with the others (outdoors) being free events. Enjoy the summer while it lasts.

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