Something about moving through familiar spaces with the energy of brilliant voices who were halfway across the country or the world a few days ago … draws me back to FreshGrass every year.
Something about walking easily from the mill into the courtyard while the evenings are still warm. You feel the first note of fall, and the music pulses in the soles of your feet, and you feel confident enough to walk up to anyone …
I remember feeling that pull the last night Rhiannon Giddens sang, filling the vast old brick with the tempered strength of her voice, and she’s coming back — Grammy and Pulitzer prizewinner with a newly released her first album of entirely original songs.
That high amazes me like a reunion, to have a living force of music come close — to hear Aoife O’Donovan perform a festival commission, America, Come, on a protest march with suffragists — and then walk a few feet and dance to Bombino’s internationally awardwinning North African desert blues.
On Friday night as the festival opens, The Wildmans will play the kind of high ripping fiddle and liquid banjo that musicians have played by ear across the Northeast for four hundred years.
And afterward, after dark, we can all stand under the new moon to hear Allison Russell singing low, her voice over bowed strings like conjoined streams.
In the cradle of the circle
are the ones who came before you
their strength is yours now
you’re not alone …
‘Protect your heart and soul — Protect your mind today’
As blues and bluegrass vocalist Sunny War sings — and she will join a broad lineup this weekend of innovative musicians from around the world.
will performs a festival commission celebrating suffragists …
— musician, poet, singer, songwriter, and activist, and co-founder of Our Native Daughters and Birds of Chicago — will sing live on the opening night of FreshGrass 2023.
brings Grammy-nominated North African desert blues (or Tichumaren in Tamasheq, the Tuareg language) on Saturday.
Bruce Molsky, Tony Trischka and Michael Daves
And bluegrass icons will gather on Saturday afternoon …
Events coming up …
Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.