Ohio River Valley Folk Festival
to headline fourth annual event
artisans, food vendors
are also part of festival
Folk Festival Music Lineup
6 p.m. Paul Burch and the WPA Ballclub
8 p.m. Richard Shindell
10 p.m. The Kennedys
2 p.m. Brigid Kaelin
4 p.m. Troubadours of Divine Bliss
6 p.m. Guy Davis
8 p.m. Tim OBrien
10 p.m. Sam Bush
Admission wristbands: $20. Pre-sale wristbands available through
May 4, includes $10 worth of food and drink coupons. Gate admission
is $10 on Friday and $15 on Saturday. Children under 12
are free when accompanied by an adult.
Information: (812) 265-2956 or visit: www.OhioRiverValleyFolkFestival.com.
(May 2009) Fans have often called Sam Bush
the Jimi Hendrix of the Mandolin. With his newgrass
style of upbeat, modernized bluegrass music, his energetic tunes usually
bring the crowds to their feet.
Bush will bring his rollicking, lively performance to Madisons
fourth annual Ohio River Valley Folk Festival, scheduled for May 15-16.
He will headline the event at 10 p.m. Saturday, May 16. The festival
celebrates the beauty of Americana, combining traditional folk music,
folk art and storytelling for fun and education. Food vendors, beer
and wine and special V.I.P. tents will be available during the festivities,
which will take place along the riverfront at Madison Bicentennial Park.
As usual, the music lineup features a varied group of musicians from
the national, regional and local levels. Each year, we try to
make offer a variety of musicians from the folk tradition, said
John Walburn, festival chairman. Theres a little of something
for everyone, from traditional folk music to country-influenced to contemporary
Bush is a diverse musician who enjoys playing anything from rock to
reggae to bluegrass. I was a kid in the 1960s when there were
a lot of variety shows on TV, he said during an April telephone
interview. I could listen to anything from the Beatles to the
Everly Brothers. I felt there were no musical boundaries.
A Bowling Green, Ky., native who currently resides in Nashville, Tenn.,
Bush got his first mandolin at age 11 and hasnt put it down since.
Today, he is known as one of the best pickers in the business. But mandolin
isnt the only instrument he plays; Bush is a several-time junior
national fiddle champion.
My parents called me a musical sponge, he laughed.
is best-known for
sounds, but he is
also a champion
I grew up on a cattle and tobacco farm in Kentucky.
Music was greatly encouraged by my family, he said. I was
fortunate enough to live in an area where we simply had to adjust the
antenna on the radio and we could pick up sounds from Nashville.
During the 1970s, Bush moved to Louisville, Ky., where he formed a group
called Newgrass Revival. The band helped develop a form
of progressive bluegrass music dubbed newgrass, which features
rock and roll grooves and extended virtuosic jams.
It was the first band to play extended jazz-like solos and improvisations
and often played rock and roll songs on traditional bluegrass instruments.
In order to be good at newgrass, you have to be a good student
of bluegrass, he said.
Bush is often given credit for being the originator of the new style
of bluegrass music and has been called The King of Newgrass.
We never went around saying we made this type of music up,
said Bush. It just became the generic term for the progressive
bluegrass music we played.
He is looking forward to coming to Madison, where he often stops to
visit friends who live in the area. Its always fun to do
different festivals with a variety of music, he said.
He is currently working on an album, which he hasnt yet named.
The new album will feature more traditional bluegrass music than he
has done in the past. We will be doing our progressive newgrass,
but with a bit more bluegrass to it.
Walburn said Bush is always a listener favorite because he plays anything
from Rock to traditional bluegrass. He can fire up any audience.
In addition to Bush, the music lineup features a variety of other folk
traditions as well. We are trying to educate people as to how
broad folk music can be. Many people have no clue the variations there
are to folk music, said Walburn.
At 6 p.m. on Friday evening, Paul Burch and the WPA Ballclub will take
Burch is someone whose parents instilled a lifetime love of music in
him, starting when he was a youth growing up in rural Virginia and Maryland.
Theyd take him with them, often into venues on the District of
Columbias club scene, where hed watch and listen as people
like John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt and Les
McCann would perform.
His stint as a disc jockey on a West Lafayette station exposed him to
numerous big name blues artists, and eventually he helped form the band
Atomic Clock. Nashville lured him in the early 1990s, and while there
he linked up with the WPA Ballclub. He was a music consultant for The
Appalachians on PBS and became known for what USA Today called his recreation
of the Depression eras folk ballad style.
He has a country flavor to his music that I think will attract
many of the festival goers, said Walburn.
Following Burch at 8 p.m. will be Richard Shindell. He emerged as an
up-and-coming talent when Joan Baez first used three of his songs on
her album, then asked him to tour with her in 1997-1998.
and wife duo The Kennedys
will bring a contemporary sound
and original music to the Ohio
River Valley Folk Festival, on
Madison, Ind.s riverfront.
Hes studied Zen Buddhism, played for coins in the
tunnel of the Paris Metro and even appeared with John Gorka as part
of the Razzy Dazzy Spasm band and Cry, Cry, Cry with Dar Williams and
Shindell lives in Buenos Aries now, writing what have been described
as veritable novellas framed in haunting acoustic melodies.
Husband and wife team the Kennedys round out Fridays lineup. They
take center stage at 10 p.m. Maura, who met Pete in Austin, Texas in
1992 when he was part of Nanci Griffiths band, has a diverse range
of vocals. Her voice can growl if it needs to, but generally it has
an underlying sweet lilt that cant be duplicated.
Pete plays the guitar, ukulele, mandolin and electric sitar among other
instruments. Together or solo theyve amassed an impressive book
of their own tunes, and theyve covered everyone from Bob Dylan
to Les Paul. One reviewer called them the Husker Du of new folk,
and Petes even performed George Gershwins classic Rhapsody
in Blue on the uke.
The Kennedys bring a big, contemporary sound and original
material to our festival, said Walburn. They will be a contrast
to some of the more traditional folk musicians.
Brigid Kaelin, who hails from Louisville, will get the crowds warmed
up at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Her voice has been described as biting, upbeat,
reflective and even mirthful. But just when her audience thinks they
have heard her whole range of music, she often surprises them with Blue
Dreidel No. 9which she yodels.
Her style can be unpredictable, which may be among the reasons shes
performed with the likes of Elvis Costello in venues such as A Prairie
Home Companion. WFPK-FM picked her as its 33rd greatest artist of all
time, a notch above a fellow named John Prine. Shes been called
the Bette Midler of alternative country, and her style has been described
as Carole King meets Lyle Lovett sung by Natalie Merchant and played
on accordion, or piano, or guitarall of which she also plays,
or even like its some great, big surprise for such a diverse
artista musical saw.
Following Kaelin at 4 p.m. will be Troubadours of Divine Bliss. Described
on their website as the wild soul of Janis Joplin in two truly
sweet women, they first met at a charismatic church their families
attended in Shelbyville, Ky. They started performing on the streets
of New Orleans, and today travel around four days every week from their
Louisville base to take their music to audiences around the world.
Guy Davis, who has performed in Madison during other festivals, will
take the stage at 6 p.m. Davis is a prolific writer, actor and all around
performer. Hes known for his work both on and off Broadway. Hes
appeared on Late Night with Conan OBrien and nationally syndicated
radio shows like A Prairie Home Companion. He was even an opening act
for Jethro Tull in the early 1990s.
But its his talent as a singer and songwriter thats brought
this self-taught guitarist and part-time didgeridoo player to this years
Ohio River Valley Folk Festival.
At 8 p.m. Grammy winner Tim OBrien will heat things up. OBrien,
from Wheeling, W.Va., was one of the original members of the renowned
group Hot Rize back in the late 1970s. He won the Grammy for best traditional
folk album with his Fiddlers Green release in 2006, and has gone from
being a self-taught guitarist to a highly-accomplished musician who
today counts the violin, mandolin, bouzouki and banjo among the instruments
Tim OBrien and Sam Bush are two of the best mandolin players
in the world, said Walburn. Although OBrien is more
traditional than Bush, I am excited about what is going to happen when
OBrien takes the stage.
There have been some changes in the way the storytelling will be presented
this year, said Walburn. There will be two storytellers, Sharon Kirk
Clifton as Jacks Mama and Tom Cunningham and his Fiddletales,
and people on the lawn will be able to hear them speak.
He also said Madison Bicentennial characters in period costumes will
be walking around the festival, and Historic Madison, Inc., has offered
free admission to the historic Sullivan House to festival goers with
The festival changed the way it does sponsorships, as well. Instead
of a title sponsor, this year, levels of sponsorships were offered.
At the top, or platinum level, is Cruisin Auto. The gold level
includes Gaylor, while the silver level includes Riverboat Inn, and
Historic Broadway Hotel and Tavern. Other sponsors include Hanover Colleges
River Institute, joeyGs, Madison Precision Products, Riverside
Chiropractic, WFPK 91.9 FM and WNKU 89.7 FM.
No one is going to be bored, said Walburn. I feel
this could be the breakout year for us despite the current weak economy.
Back to May 2009 Articles.