Digging in

Get ready for the Rhythm & Roots Festival!
By BOB GULLA  |  August 27, 2014

Southern Hospitality. [Photo by Mark Goodman]

What do you get if you take the Brooklyn hip factor out of the Newport Folk Festival and replace it with some global dance grooves? You get Rhythm & Roots, a gathering of kindred souls that has truly hit its stride. It has become an extraordinary celebration of traditional music (often with a modern twist) and is the premiere place to discover music, get enlightened (and dazzled at intimate workshops — and dance, dance, and dance some more.

Here are a handful of the acts we’re looking forward to checking out at the 17th annual event this weekend.

A.J. Ghent

Ghent’s lap steel is slung around his neck and looks remarkably like a guitar, but that’s the end of his convention. With licks like Albert King and Ben Harper and vocals from the funky school of James Brown, Ghent’s southern soul is worth a close listen. (Sunday 3:45 pm)

Charles Bradley & the Extraordinaires

Speaking of JB, Bradley had a job impersonating him at NYC clubs before breaking out on his own. By now his rags-to-relative riches story is familiar, but no less riveting, and it comes to life when he sings as if his next meal depends on it. (Sunday 6 pm workshop + 7:45 pm performance)


OK, so stop me if you’ve heard this one before: North Carolina guitar player goes to NYC, gets a Fulbright scholarship to study local music in northeast Brazil; comes back and mashes it all up together. Matuto features seven talented musicians from here and there, and produces something that is at the very least spicy as hell, and quite possibly astounding. (Saturday 3 pm + Sunday noon)

Leftover Salmon with Bill Payne

They’re calling it “polyethnic Cajun slamgrass,” but with this kind of talent, plus the boogie fever generated by Little Feat’s Payne, they can call it whatever they want. It has the distinct possibility of bringing Saturday night’s festivities to a good, old-fashioned, jammin’, creole crescendo. (9:30 pm)

Southern Hospitality

Now that we’re on the subject of Little Feat, you can hear some flecks of the Feat in this band, a roots-blues all-star combo featuring super-acclaimed blues guitarists Damon Fowler and JP Soars, plus Memphis pianist and Pinetop Perkins adulator Victor Wainwright. (Saturday 6:30 pm + Sunday 9:30 pm)

Matt Andersen

The burly but gentle dude from New Brunswick is red-frickin’ hot. He has a jillion plays on YouTube and his bags are packed for upwards of 250 dates for what is surely a banner year. He’s likable, sincere, gifted, and a songwriter on the rise. (Friday 8:45 pm + Saturday 2:30 pm)

Triple Plays

1  |  2  |   next >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   DIGGING IN  |  August 27, 2014
    Savor old favorites and make new discoveries.
  •   STILL MOVING FORWARD  |  March 12, 2014
    In many ways, Mark Mulcahy comes off as a throwback, a musician whose time has come and, for all intents and purposes, gone. But no one told him.
  •   THREE-DAY PARTY  |  August 28, 2013
    This year, the Rhythm and Roots Festival turns Sweet 16, which is pretty gratifying for the adventurous souls that recall its early years.
  •   BACK TO THE FUTURE  |  October 22, 2008
    Since leaving Roomful of Blues, the vintage guitar hero Duke Robillard has moved forward by reaching back into the annals of American blues, swing, jazz, and R&B and by doing so, he’s told a pretty incredible story.
  •   GOT LIVE IF YOU WANT IT  |  September 10, 2008
    Now that the idea that summer has come to a close has set in, it’s time to start thinking about what there is to look forward to this fall.

 See all articles by: BOB GULLA