Emmylou Harris (photo: Ria Burman)
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2019 kicked off with the Dry Branch Fire Squad opening the banjo stage, while Chastity Brown exploded rock and roll splendor upon the Rooster stage. Black Joe Lewis kept the rock and grooves flowing back at the banjo stage, while Bill Frisell entertained with merry musicians upon the Rooster stage. Simultaneously, Chuck Prophet rocked the f out of the Swan stage, majestically. the Waterboys followed with high energy, feel good vibes.
Will Kimbrough played the Bandwagon stage as Live From Here opened the Towers of Gold, hosted by the mighty Chris Thile and joined by J.S Ondara (playing a sold-out show at the Independent on Oct 17) and Grace Potter.
Tanya Tucker entertained the Banjo with jaw dropping charisma and kick-ass energy. While Tanya Tucker brought the country, Bettye Lavette brought the smooth soul grooves to the Rooster stage, getting down in the afternoon heat. Bedouine closed out the Bandwagon stage before St Paul and the Broken Bones brought flamboyance to the musical scene, closing the Banjo stage.
Saturday brought local band, Whiskerman opening the Porch stage, while Jon Langford brought choir to Towers of Gold. Adia Victoria followed on the Porch before Tank and The Bangas brought the beat on the Towers of Gold stage.
Buddy Miller’s Cavalcade of Stars entertained the Rooster stage throughout the day, bringing the awesome Yola and a surprise special guest, Robert Plant to join. Margo Price warmed up the Banjo stage for Steve Earle to close it, while the New Pornographers closed the Swan and Robert Plant finished the day at Towers of Gold.
Sunday sprang to a sweaty start with Nikki Lane fresh from a Lake Tahoe casino gig opening Towers. The excellent Moonalice brought the good and thoughtful to the Swan stage, while Mapache opened the Bandwagon stage.
the Infamous Stringdusters bluegrassed the Rooster before Liz Cooper & The Stampede knelt to the powers of the guitar shred-melt and distortion, while the drummer made a beat journey across the stage. Combined, they displayed the best of garage rock and roll. Their album Live in Chicago is sooooo gooood and well worthy of a whirl. Simultaneously, Pimps of Joytime entertained Towers.
Fantastic Negrito rocked, rolled, and reveled on the Swan stage while Dakhabrakha brought all things musically astounding to the porch stage. Judy Collins brought the country vocals and guitar to the Banjo before Y La Bamba brought the beats to the porch stage.
Joan Osborne in the high heat of the day, brought top-notch vocals to the Rooster stage, while Meat puppets entertained the Swan stage. Flor De Toloache brought high-energy feels to the Bandwagon before Mdou Moctar entertained the porch stage.
Lebo and Friends played Towers before Michael Nesmith brought the country rock to the Rooster, with a member from one of his first music videos front-row crowd committed.
Jackie Greene brought all the goodness to the Swan before Wood & Fire closed the bandwagon stage. Emmylou Harris, in keeping with tradition, closed the Banjo with her signature sweet sounds, while Kurt Vile closed Towers and the Wild Reeds entertained and closed the Porch.