Each year, the massive behemoth of festival anarchy that is the Northwest Folklife Festival releases a compilation album of live recordings drawn from their huge pool of festival performances. I used to work on these when I was at Folklife, so I know how hard it is to search through the many recordings. In fact, you can listen to a lot of these recordings yourself, if you're interested. Folklife maintains a page on their website of recorded performances from the last festival. There's a ton of listening there! Check it out:
Listen to past Folklife recordings
The best things about the annual Northwest Folklife Festival are the crazy juxtapositions of music genres. No other festival can give you reggae, taiko drumming, old-time stringbands, indie rock, Zimbabwean marimba, and underground hip-hop on the same stage on the same day, one after the other. And that's the best thing about Folklife's new compilation album, Roots & Branches Vol. 3 - Live from the 2011 Festival. As in the making of any good mixtape, the tracks meld together despite the wildly disparate genres. You wouldn't think that the barn-burning bluegrass of Nell Robinson with John Reischman & The Jaybirds could segue into the bagpipe/fiddle music of renowned Celtic band Molly's Revenge, or that the drunken-master surf guitars of The Corespondents could switch over to the Latin-funk of Picoso. Balkan accordion from Mary Sherhart & Michael Lawson finds an unlikely friend in the old-time picking and clogging of Squirrel Butter, and old-school funk masters Wheedle's Groove segue perfectly into the sleepy electric blues of The Jelly Rollers. It's a wild ride, and like the festival itself, you never know where this album is going to take you next.
The Corespondents: Massive Choosits
The Jelly Rollers: Reno Factory
NW Friends: TONIGHT (Friday, Oct 21), Northwest Folklife is hosting a CD Release Party at Columbia City Theater! Spoonshine, Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, The Corespondents, Mary Sherhart, and Chris Cunningham of Ravenna Woods, will be performing. It will be great fun!