Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stagecoach 2012: Americana artists shine

Chris Isaak led his band through a wonderful hour-long set at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

Although I would encourage you to check out all my full-length posts (as well as those penned by Ben Wener and George A. Paul) on the Soundcheck blog, I wanted to provide a brief overview of all the acts I caught yesterday. I didn't get to review either singer-fiddler Sara Watkins, Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys or The Mavericks for The Register. But I did get to see them perform all (or part) of their respective sets on Saturday in Indio. It's impossible to catch all of the action on all three stages.

The winner for sure was the comeback concert from The Mavericks, the legendary band that kicked off their current North American tour at the festival. Raul Malo sounded terrific, his tenor soaring in that ethereal way it did when I first reviewed the band back in the 1990s. And the band was terrific (if bit mixed a bit loud through the P.A. system). "What a Crying Shame" (my favorite song from the band) was amazing to hear again, as was the Mavericks' progressive mix of traditional country music and rockabilly.

Earlier I enjoyed seeing the legendary Ralph Stanley, who is now in his mid eighties! He sounded great and everybody (thankfully) yelled out and cheered their appreciation for this bluegrass pioneer.

Saturday kicked off for me with the chance to see Carlsbad, California based fiddler-singer Sara Watkins warm up the crowd. I loved her new song (I think the title is "Lock and Key") off her forthcoming new album. She has a nice soprano voice and her touch on the fiddle was perfect.

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