As we prepare for this weekend's Freshgrass 2018 (checking the weather report every hour, repeatedly listening to the festival's Spotify playlist...), we thought we'd share what we're most looking forward to this weekend. Of course, these could be dropped instantly for another set or by getting lost in the galleries of MASS MoCA, but as of right now, these are our top 5...
Rhiannon Giddens, Saturday, 5:00 pm, Courtyard D
My first trip to Freshgrass included seeing the Carolina Chocolate Drops in 2014. I've been obsessed with them since then, which has included following each member's solo careers. I still haven't seen Rhiannon Giddens solo live, but that will change on Saturday. Her solo work has been a bit more mainstream than Carolina Chocolate Drops and I'm very curious to see how that plays out live. Seeing how Carolina Chocolate Drops stole the entire festival in 2014, this could be the must see of 2018.
Flogging Molly, Saturday, 9:00 pm, Joe's Field
I'm truly curious how Celtic punks Flogging Molly will fit into Freshgrass. The festival is fairly traditional folk/bluegrass, and Flogging Molly was touring with Dropkick Murphys three months ago. Sure, Flogging Molly has more traditional roots than their tourmates, but still... I'm curious to see if they have a more toned down performance like Gogol Bordello did at Newport Folk or if this will be a full on Flogging Molly show. Not to mention that I'm sure they'll have a fanbase that is just there to see them, and I'm curious how those fans will feel about the rest of Freshgrass, like the bluegrass tribute to the Grateful Dead right before Flogging Molly. Saturday night will be interesting...
Twisted Pine, Sunday, 11:45 am, Courtyard D
We adore Twisted Pine's new covers EP, Dreams. Bluegrass covers of popular rock songs most often are a bit too cutesy, but Twisted Pine completely nail these seven songs with their jazzy take on traditional bluegrass. I know, I know... their originals are also wonderful and they're an accomplished band, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't most thrilled about the possibility of seeing them perform their Blondie and Cranberries covers.
Leyla McCalla, Sunday, 2:30 pm, Hunter Center
An outdoor music festival isn't typically the place you go to excited to see a movie, especially on a fall day that looks to be as spectacular as Sunday looks. But when they have Leyla McCalla commissioning a new score to a silent film, you head indoors to check it out. I've loved the Freshscores concept since I first heard about it, and checking out Leyla McCalla's (who I first discovered at Freshgrass 2014) performance is set to be a highlight of my weekend.
I'm With Her, Sunday, 4:30 pm, Joe's Field
The term supergroup gets thrown around quite a bit. (We're guilty of using it too much ourselves.) But when a band forms featuring Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan the term doesn't even come close to how amazing this trio is. Booking any of these artists would be a huge score for any festival, but booking all three to perform together is immense. Seriously, if you haven't checked out their release from earlier this year, See You Around, you need to drop everything and listen to it now. If you already have, we'll see you Sunday afternoon at 4:30!
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