Washington Folk Festival

Went to the Washington Folk Festival, with Gary and Sheryl. Despite being a rainy day, there were still a good number of people venturing out to this event. First up for us was The Chromatics, who sang a mixture of original songs, with a heavy science bias, and covers. The whole set was terrific, but most impressive was their acapellla rendition of the Beach Boy’s “Good Vibrations”. It really had to be heard to be believed.

We chatted to them briefly, and I picked up their latest album.

Hot dogs for lunch, followed by a number of other superb acts.

Nick Annis and Elizabeth Crisfield played guitar and fiddle, respectively. Great music, and some good humour – Nick in particular had a quick wit, and they were very entertaining.

Lea. Lea Morris played/sang a mixture of jazz and folk, with a strong gospel influence. Beautiful songs, and a lovely lady.

There was an appreciation of the life and songs of Jonathan Eberhart (1943-2003), science journalist, singer/songwriter, and co-founder for the Washington Folk Festival. This was not as sombre as it may sound, as the folk on stage had many amusing tales of Jonathan, and played some fine songs – notable amongst them, for filkers, “Lament for a Red Planet” and “Solar Privateer”.

The Homespun Ceilidh Band, or as they were billing themselves that night, The Homespun Cicada Band.

A great “Celtic big dance band”, with fiddles, cittern, bazouki, 12-string guitar, hammered dulcimer, percussion and various other instruments appearing here and there. As well as playing bodhran, Jennifer also gets up and does Irish dancing on the front of the stage (and up the aisle). Watching Gary and Sheryl’s friend, Glenn, do rock-star stage moves with the dulcimer player, while keeping his 12-string rhythms going was a delight.

Gary, Sheryl and I then went off for a quick Chinese meal, before coming back for some of the songwriter evening sessions. In particular, we were looking to see Joe Giacoio, another friend of theirs, who has a wonderfully aggressive playing style, best described as “juggling the guitar”.

A note for future UK filk con committees: see if you can book this guy!

We said hello to Joe at the end of the session, then made our way back to Rockville.

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