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By Crista Munro
Special to The PREVIEW
The 12th annual Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass festival is just a couple of months away and we are currently recruiting some 300 volunteers to help out before, during and after the event.
In exchange for working two 4-hour shifts, you’ll get a three-day festival admission.
This year’s event takes place June 9-11 with another incredible lineup: The O’Connor Band (featuring Mark O’Connor), Loudon Wainwright III, Ten Strings and A Goat Skin, The Lil’ Smokies, Molly Tuttle, The Dustbowl Revival, Western Centuries, Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers, The Last Revel, Luke Bulla Trio, The Barefoot Movement, The Stash! Band, Moors and McCumber, and The Heartstring Hunters.
From now until the festival, we’ll be highlighting the various festival bands weekly in The PREVIEW. This week, our two featured bands are The Barefoot Movement and The Heartstring Hunters.
The Barefoot Movement
Heralded by CMT Edge as “one of the most promising bands on the bluegrass scene,” the music of the Nashville-based group The Barefoot Movement is as down to earth as their intention for members of their audience: sit back, relax, take your shoes off and stay awhile.
All the worries and frustrations of the world melt away as this charming acoustic band takes listeners back to a simpler place and time. From emotional ballads to rip-roaring barn-burners, the Barefoot Movement offers a collection of music with something for everyone.
With two full-length albums, an EP of traditional music, several cross-country tours and appearances at some of the top bluegrass festivals in the United States already under their belt, the possibilities for this act are endless. The group has enjoyed almost non-stop touring, including a trip to Burkina Faso, Africa, where they were guests of the American Embassy, and in September of 2014 they received a Momentum Award, naming them “Band of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).
The “Movement” can be traced back to the teen years of singer-songwriter and fiddler Noah Wall, of Oxford, N.C.
Just as she had begun penning her first compositions, she met mandolinist Tommy Norris their senior year of high school. Convinced of their musical chemistry and driven by mutual ambition, they continued to build the band from the ground up throughout their college careers.
While Tommy studied classical music and recording engineering at Western Carolina University, Noah chose East Tennessee State, particularly for their Bluegrass, Old-time and Country Music Program. Here she began to shape her musical identity, under the tutelage of ETSU’s renown staff, and found an instrumental home in old-time fiddling.
With the addition of versatile guitarist and singer Alex Conerly, of Hattiesburg, Miss., in 2013, and, most recently, Katie Blomarz, of Frankfort, Ill., on the upright bass, the lineup was complete with all the elements that make up the Barefoot sound: lush harmonies, thoughtful instrumentation, and memorable melodies.
It has now been seven years since The Barefoot Movement took off their shoes and took to the stage. Hard work and talent have taken them from east coast to west, from north to south, and even across the Atlantic Ocean. They have appeared in Country Weekly Magazine, RollingStone.com, CMT Edge, Music City Roots and Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour. Their original music was featured on the Outdoor Channel’s program “Huntin’ the World: Southern Style” and their music video for their popular song “Second Time Around” has been seen nationally on the Zuus Country Network. They have been selected as showcase artists at both the IBMA and the Americana Festival conferences and were first runners up at the 2013 Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s New Band Competition.
The Barefoot Movement will play the main stage on June 11 at 12:15 p.m.
The Heartstring Hunters
The Heartstring Hunters are an indie-folk band based in Boulder. Rich harmonies, youthful optimism and stories from the road characterize a sound that invites you into a musical conversation between friends, an adventure that dances between the space of the open road and a midnight sky.
A genuine collaboration between singer-songwriter Carolyn Nicely, producer/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Hunter, bassist Alessandro Ceserani, drummer Alex Heaton and vocalist Rachael Sheaffer, the Heartstring Hunters are currently touring throughout Colorado, sharing stages with artists such as Karla Bonoff, The Leftover Cuties and SHEL, though you’re just as likely to find them spontaneously entertaining crowds at farmer’s markets and street fairs all over the state.
All East Coasters originally, it was the power of connection and a love for music that led them from the forests of Vermont, the rivers of Virginia and the beaches of Florida all the way to the Colorado Rockies.
The Heartstring Hunters released their debut EP this winter and, while many listeners lovingly match Nicely’s lead vocals to the tones of Joni Mitchell, their new music also incorporates other times and influences such as Feist, Lavender Diamond and Matt Corby. They’ll be hitting the road to tour heavily in support of this new release, along with their camper and two beloved canine companions, Tyrone and Dixie. Keep your eyes and ears open for this bloomin’ force of young folk.
The Heartstring Hunters will kick off the festivities on June 9 with a 4:30 p.m. main stage performance.
Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass is supported in part with funding from Colorado Creative Industries.
Tickets and additional information, including a volunteer application, are available at www.folkwest.com or by calling (877) 472-4672.