Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hillside Review II

See Preview, Part I.

Yeah, I know I am three weeks late with this. Leave me alone, I've been busy.

Saturday, July 26, 7pm-11pm

For my first evening at the Hillside Festival, I caught the second half of Jason Collett's show on the main stage. Collett is yet another former member of Broken Social Scene who has released a solo album, though his music tends to be more Americana than alternative rock. His set was decent and gave off a Matthew Ryan meets Wilco vibe.

The Sadies, my favorite Canadian band, took the main stage at sunset. Brothers Dallas and Travis Good were decked out in their best weed-leaf embroidered suits, and together with upright bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belitsky, blew through 17 songs in 45 minutes. And, per usual, they brought their mom and dad on stage to sing a few songs. Mom Margaret Good, sporting a cute Sadies T-shirt, sang lead to "Eastern Winds," and joined her husband Bruce Good (on autoharp) to sing backup on "Higher Power" and "Stay a Little Longer." Both parents proudly watched as their boys played each other's guitars during "Tiger Tiger."

After that incredible set I really needed a beer, so I wandered over to the Lake Stage and unfortunately only caught the last song by Joseph Arthur, who looked like he really needed a shower.

Justin Rutledge followed on the Lake Stage and blew me away with a killer mellow country set. Check out these lyrics:

God damn my liver when its thirsty
God damn my wallet when its dry
Too sober to sleep
I'm too drunk to cry

If that doesn't make you blubber into your beer, I don't know what will. Rutledge was superbly supported by guitarist David Baxter (who produced Rutledge's 2006 release Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park) and an excellent musician on pedal steel who's name I missed. Rutledge closed out his excellent set by leaving the stage and walking to the middle of the seating area, gathering the crowd around him, and leading the group in a sing-along of a new adorable song called "Jellybean."

Finally, I wrapped up the evening by attending a bluegrass workshop called "Pork on a Bun" which featured The Good Brothers, who I had previously seen on the main stage earlier in the day, and The Foggy Hogtown Boys, a bluegrass quintet from Toronto. While The Good Brothers are the godfathers of Canadian bluegrass, the Foggy Hogtown Boys are defining the next generation of original bluegrass music. More on them later. By mid-set I had hit the wall and had to go home and crash.

Jason Collett's music is available on Arts & Crafts, eMusic, and iTunes. Music by The Sadies can be found everywhere, but check Maple Music, eMusic, and iTunes for downloads. Purchase Justin Rutledge's music on Six Shooter Records or on iTunes. The Foggy Hogtown Boy's latest can be purchased from Deep Down Productions. CBC Radio 2 is slowly but surely posting sets from Hillside for on-demand listening. Check out The Good Brothers main stage show here.

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