The rain has subsided, but the sky looks ominuts. You heard me, not ominous, ominuts. Not sure how it’s going to all shake out today, but Christopher David and his gathered friends collectively known as Something Sacred did their part to bless the area with the honesty that only their particular flavor of heartfelt music can deliver. Thank you Christopher and companions. It was the only way the day could have started and made any sense.
I’ve noticed a change in my approach to writing this since I arrived, Thursday morning. Originally, I was going to be the consummate journalist and interview every band, bust out my voice recorder, ask some tough questions, and make this as boring and clinical as possible.
What I’d gradually been doing, upon self-reflection while eating a cookie, was a lot less of the formal and a lot more of the personal. I was very much into my surroundings, the music, and the people who were all there for a personal as well as a collective experience. I was glad I’d made this subtle shift in how I was writing this, because it was now becoming the personal piece it always should have been about my experiences at the Revival rather than just blow-by-blow coverage.
It was quickly pointed out to Spencer Kellogg The Bad Weathers should change their name to The Good Weathers. In turn, I went to bat for them and said they should use the word “bad” the same way the kids use it, therefore they’re already The Good Weathers. Yeah, they’re bad, just like the kids say. Loved every minute of their set, which was my first time seeing them perform.
Loved the political song, “Krazy”, that guitarist and vocalist Golden Hatch wrote when he was just 16. The message still resonates today and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Zen and Rex met Sunflower and her young daughter Aurora Dandelion. They totally embodied the spirit and nature of the Revival. They shared some babysitting and some food and discovered quickly they were kindred sisters. Zen is typically a bit reserved and I’m glad whenever she finds anyone with whom she can connect.
It’s funny when you run into people who know people you know, but who aren’t otherwise connected with anything going on here. Our new friend Tony Holiday (Tony Holiday Band, billed as Tony Holiday and the Velvetones at the Revival) knows some old friends of ours whom we love dearly, and learning that stood to make our worlds just a little smaller. We prefer very few degrees of separation.
Thank you, Tony and Camille, for hanging out with us in the green room and sharing in my and my family’s experiences atop the mountain. Rex has his own harmonica, and every time you pulled one out or played it just a little, he thought that was awesome. He really loves that instrument and the sounds it can produce.
I have been waiting all weekend to find out if Lunar Eclits (Jenna Talbott and Emily Ahrendt) are going to perform or not, and as of this writing (2pm) it’s still up in the air. They were due to delight us on Day 2 at the Globe Theater, but the weather makers had other plans.
Update: A couple of hours later, Lunar Eclits got to perform. Yay! Each of their voices is truly special, but together they seem to create an impossible number of notes. It was wonderful just closing my eyes and listening. Their music penetrates and makes itself at home, and I was very glad they finally got some stage time.
Dustpan Magic sounding great, but contending with more rain and hail. Not the worst we’ve seen, but I feel for them. Losing half the PA in the middle of a set—middle of a song—is never great news when the music is this terrific. Ultimately, they were able to press on, and wrapped a lively set of groovy groove jams.
I had met front man Timmy Anderson for the first time just ahead of their set, and then caught up with him after to let him know how much I loved their music. Weather and equipment challenges aside, it is clear they are a tight, well-rehearsed band. Timmy halfway joked with me that singing on a Sunday afternoon isn’t a great choice after partying in the mountains for the four days leading up to his set. He promised to make a mental note for next Revival to either perform earlier or show up later! LOL!
Around 2:30 the sun poked out its head. Honestly, it was a nice even if it was only going to last a few minutes. I’m a sunshine kind of guy. Two hours later and the sun is still out. Got my fingers crossed!
Ashlee K and Gentri Watson entertained us all with their beautiful brand of singer-songwriter poetry. Unfortunately, I only got to hear most of it from my nearby campsite because I was busy with important family matters, like what’s for lunch, where’s that one bag, and Rex insisting there still wasn’t too much mud on his boots. He won.
I did manage to make my way to the front of the stage to catch her encore. It was a fun song about the lack of snowfall in Utah this past February and then, as luck always has it says Ashlee, a blizzard hit just four days later!
Rex didn’t seem quite as interested in dancing today as he did yesterday, but he said he was still having a great time. But I did catch him on the sly moving to the beat. It’s in his blood and I’m glad he feels like he can get into the music like that. He likes knowing daddy’s friends, so I’m always game to introduce him when I can. But to those of you who know Rex, and to the many of you have introduced yourself to him, I think that’s awesome. Thank you for taking an interest in me and my family.
Rex threw me for a loop a bit later. As we walked past the Sacred Heart, he said he wanted to make certain I had some good pictures of it. I did, but there was no reason to not take more. As I walked up the hill toward the Tee-Pee after getting my pictures, I turned and noticed Rex still standing down by the heart. I asked him what was up, and he said he just wanted to stand there and think for a while.
I’ll never ask him what that was about, and since he’s five he could have been doing nothing more than admiring all the shiny pennies placed around the beautiful artwork, but it also could have been a whole lot more. He’s an interesting boy with a big vocabulary and an interesting perspective on most things, including death (he told me not too long ago that when we run out of calendar days we go live in the ground).
Talia introduced me to Ashlee K and Gentri Watson. It’s sometimes easy for me to place some people on a pedestal and assume they’re unapproachable, aren’t interested in talking to me, or whatever. Human nature, right? Well, it’s at least mine. They were both so awesome and down to earth I think I was internally embarrassed for myself for letting my occasional shyness get the best of me, especially after they started looking for a place to pitch their tent.
Talia and I have known each other for perhaps a little more than a year, now. We became fast friends and have interacted quite a bit with each other over that short span of time. Even though we laugh and party and have a good time, she brings out the serious side in me. We’ve had many frank discussions about many different things. I have always appreciated her candor and the ownership she takes over her career and have said so to her on many occasions.
We had lots of little conversations here and there throughout the weekend, she introduced me to some of the musicians I didn’t know, and made certain to engage with Zen and Rex whenever she saw them. Thanks, T., for being my friend. Here’s hoping we can do some things together.
I heard some time later that Ashlee K and Gentri were going to play at the Globe Theater. I promptly made my way down there. Their first set on the main stage was awesome, but I’d only heard most of it from my tent except for the last two songs. I felt the whole time they played how I wish I could see them play in a much more intimate setting, like inside the green room, etc.
The stage at the Globe Theater was so the perfect setting. I stood off to the right of the stage and watched a thoroughly entertaining show. Individually their voices are remarkable. Together, however, they create a gentle harmony that brought chills down my spine more than once. Beautiful, truly.
They shared some personal stories that I’m sure you’d love to hear, but I’m of the mind they were meant just for us. Plus, it’s really none of your business what happened to Ashlee and Gentri up in Park City, back in the day. 😉
Ashlee is such a warm, genuine performer. She digs deep and has total control over an incredibly complex voice. I was touched, emotionally, during a song she sang alone and suddenly knew the answers to two questions I didn’t know I was asking. I shouldn’t let the moment get away from me and sell it short, so I’ll use the word epiphany.
The first, the title: One Degree of Separation. In that moment, at the Globe Theater, listening to Ashlee sing with a delicate touch in just the right places, I decided I want to personally know everyone, or at least everyone who comes to these festivals. I don’t ever want to say no when asked if I know someone. I want that for everyone. I want no more than one degree of separation between all of us. Imagine if that happened. We’d never again ask if someone knows someone else because we’d already know they do. It’s not so much to ask.
The second answer I received I’ll just have to reveal later, after I see how Zen and Rex feel about it.
Gigi asked me to introduce her and her band tonight and I panicked. I have a real fear of being a public voice like that. But worse, for me, is that I feel like I let her down, if only in a small way. I know that isn’t true, and she told me so, but sometimes I feel like that and that’s on me.
She wound up introducing herself and I felt even more like a goat. How can I call myself part of this family if I can’t take myself to a scary place and battle through it, right? Maybe next year I’ll say yes and then just grin and bear it.
Anyway, I was able to watch her entire set and it was great. Peter actually lost the bass stack and had to route through the main system (with no monitor), and still delivered on every note. Fans were able to catch a brand new acoustic solo by Gigi called “Angel Devil” and it was really great. I have always loved the singer-songwriter in Gigi and this song was the perfect addition (and I’d like to hear it a few dozen more times!)
Of significant note for me, however, was her song, “Lenore”. The song is about a good woman devoted to her rock and roll man, and who’s able to stay well out of the fray of the drama, politics, and gossip of the industry. It’s a good message for all of us and reminder it’s about the music. Very nicely done, Gigi, Peter, and Spencer. Your personal music and message resonates with me, and by the looks of the Revival, the crowd as well.
Nicki Bluhm has arrived and now I have questions! Will she interact with the other talent? Will she hang out after her gig and listen to the others? Will she perform in a family jam? I don’t know the answers to these questions…sigh. Guess I’ll find out before too long as Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers take the main stage shortly.
Sometimes a technical glitch can lead to great things. Midway through one of their original songs, the PA decided it’d had enough and suddenly it was an acoustic set. The consummate professional she is, Nicki quickly gathered the growing crowd close to the stage and the entire band performed the perfect song for the now-intimate locale: “Faith” by George Michael. The crowd loved it and sang along with virtually every word. It truly was a mesmerizing moment for the Revival.
After their show, I sat in the green room and kept to myself as Nicki mingled a bit. Of personal note was seeing bassist Steve Adams (Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers; ALO) eating a hot dog and some chips, and me telling myself how good that looked and how hungry I was, again. Anyone knows me knows I love a good hot dog or two with every meal.
Gigi introduced me to Morgan Snow (Triggers & Slips), who stood to shake my hand just ahead of their midnight set, and I felt terrible about it because he looked like he was really, really comfortable on that plush couch. Even mentioned it to him.
I was out in front of the stage when they shifted gears from a real barn-dance of a honky-tonk song to their slow, sexy hard rock ballad called “Aftermath” (off the self-titled Triggers & Slips EP), and suddenly I was in a very cool place. It was a great shift in pace for me because that’s the kind of song that makes me pay attention, particularly when it’s coming out of instruments that had most recently played a country theme.
The crowd was way into it, too, stepping down in pace to a sultry, body-swaying tempo. The red lights bathing the stage had me feeling like we were in a David Lynch film, and set the mood perfectly for the rest of their show.
“Aftermath” is powerful and persuasive, I’ve listened to it several times since leaving the Revival, and I’m thrilled to have something this cool to listen to. Very nicely done, guys.