I only caught part of Saturday afternoon, July 19 at South Country Fair, but caught most of the acts I wanted to.
I arrived just in time to catch the last song from Declan O’Donovan, one of several pianists performing for this year's fair. And while I missed Stephanie Nilles’ Friday night set, I got to hear a couple of her piano powered folk songs including one about shooting bankers and another dark murder ballad during an excellent workshop with Tin and the Toad on Saturday afternoon.
Several of the bands I really wanted to see were on the East Stage.
Blackberry Wood played a colourful, energetic set of jazz fuelled folk fun, which had much of the audience dancing in front of their stage to upbeat, toe tapping, originals about pirates and circus folk plus crowd favourites like their cover of Tom Waits’ “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” and their quirky cover of the Star Wars “Cantina Theme.”
Old time stringband the Whiskey Shiekhs provided another great show on the East stage. They were reminiscent of one of the best stringbands of all time the Mississippi Shieks. So there was plenty of fiddle, banjo, stand up bass, stellar vocal harmonies and a whole lot of sweaty energy on stage. One of the members even played the spoons on his thigh for extra percussion. Their multi-part vocal harmonies were absolutely impressive.
Back on the South Stage, Geoff Berner and Kris Demeanor were playing politically charged and often politically incorrect folk songs. Berner's Jewish protest songs “Daloy Polizei” was an instant highlight as he had most of the seated crowd shouting along with him “ f..k the police” while kids obliviously danced to the upbeat accordion.