For fans (known affectionately as
Beardos), WBFF has grown well beyond its original local-showcase format
and become a regional/national talent draw. This year’s headliners
include former Drive-By Truckers guitarist Jason Isbell and Trampled by
Turtles side project Dead Man Winter, impressive names on any marquee.
When it comes to the struggles of the wandering
troubadour, Slaid Cleaves knows the perils of that life from top to
bottom. He's sung on the street for his supper in Ireland and Boston,
played in Punk and Roots Rock bands for little or no return and fixed his
own van on the road.
Whether he's banging away on an acoustic
or spinning sinewy sounds on guitar or keyboards with the assistance of a
nearby outlet and an appropriately volumed amp, Dan Tedesco writes and
plays with the heart-sleeved sensitivity of the best Folk troubadours.
Schmidt's poetic and melodic gifts have earned him glowing
comparisons to Dylan and Leonard Cohen, his keen sense of humor has
been measured against Prine and Steve Goodman and his haunting
songcraft, as well as his roots, have aligned him with Townes Van Zandt.
Billy Bragg has been proffering his brand of topical Folk
Rock for more than 30 years now.
Curiously, Bragg’s first album in five years, Tooth & Nail,
is a wistful, less politically inclined affair anchored by the tasteful
production work of Joe Henry.
Everything Akron/Family does is patently fascinating,
wildly evocative and compellingly mysterious. The Brooklyn, N.Y.,
collective assembled more than a decade ago and
quickly became a central element of the Williamsburg scene.
If there is a buzz on the concert circuit this spring,
part of it centers on the shows currently being performed by Richard
Thompson. The London, U.K.-born musician is a legend in many eyes, with Rolling Stone magazine listing Thompson as one of the “Top 20 Guitarists of All Time.”
Need some Christmas woe in your springtime? If so, catch up with Home,
the third (as far as we can tell) record by the Los Angeles-based
Jeremiah Sammartano and his Delta Blues/Folk/Alt-Country outfit The Red