Main Stage Live
In 1988, the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival took place for the first time. Back then it was a tiny affair and only a few people outside of New England took notice. This has changed considerably over the last eleven years. as it has indeed turned into a rather huge event. Nowadays over forty acts play on four stages at Falcon Ridge Rather surprisingly, considering today's size, it seems to have been able to keep the magic of a its earlier days. The bulk of the tracks on this collection were recorded in 1996 and 1997, but there's also a song from the 1999 festival.
It's the variety of music that makes this collection such a pleasure to listen to. There's St.Stephens Day Parade March by Wild Asparagus, a lovely Irish tune with a special flavor thanks to the upright bass. Dar Williams plays my favorite song of hers, the introspective If I Wrote You. The Latin American music, which to me often sounds a bit static and stale is taken to new heights by Viva Quetzal with their soft romping Montilla. Moxy Früvous prove once more that they are the true heirs of bands like The Holy Modal Rounders, taking their funny and anarchistic ideas into the nineties, shaking the dust off first. The Nields play their cool new wave inspired idea of folk music, which certainly comes across best live. Vance Gilbert and Greg Brown both show what they are famous for: their onstage bantering. Though, they do not forget that there is also some music to be played, which they then deliver in most excellent way, with their very own versions of acoustic blues influenced folk music. Patty Larkin's studio efforts were always too overproduced for my taste, so it was a more than nice surprise to find out how terrific her music can be when stripped down a little, thus making her Open Arms (Don't Explain) my favorite here. But I also could have pointed out the tracks by The Kennedys, Peter Mulvey or Richard Shindell, as they show their best here too. In other words, there's hardly a weak track here, but then that is precisely what you may expect from a reputed festival like Falcon Ridge. Still, it's good to know that they do deserve that reputation. Without a doubt there must be something special about Falcon Ridge, since only seldom does an event come along with so many good humored people on its stage. Fortunately, the good mood doesn't lose its impact when transformed to the CD. Maybe Richie Haven's statement that Falcon Ridge is ''the real Woodstock'' is not that far from the truth.
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Edited by Paula Gregorowicz