On Saturday (September 24) and Sunday (September 25), the Pilgrimage Music and Culture Festival returned to Franklin, Tennessee, at the 200-acre Harlinsdale Farm Park for an eighth year, welcoming arena stalwart Chris Stapleton country, and Americana stalwart Brandi Carlile. to liven up two days of performances ranging from rock, country, soul, Americana, tex-mex and more.
Here are some of the best performances we saw during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival:
Brandi Carlil: Just weeks after turning in stunning performances at the American Honors & Awards, Carlile put on a triumphant headlining performance Saturday night at Pilgrimage. Donning a sleek yellow suit, she kicked off her set with a fierce rendition of “Broken Horses,” before telling the crowd, “What a vibe this day has been.” She later added, “It’s a festival headliner. It’s what you dream about all summer long. It makes us feel cool.
Carlile was both a hard rocker, a searing ballad and a vulnerable storyteller. Backed by a band that included longtime collaborators and bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth, Carlile led the crowd through songs such as “You and Me on the Rock,” and shared the stories of some of her struggles early on as she and his wife Catherine were new parents. Before performing an encouraging version of “Evangeline,” Carlile recalled a heartbreaking moment when her eldest daughter, Evangeline, suffered a minor injury just as Carlile was scheduled to perform.
“My wife took over and everything was fine,” Carlile assured the crowd, but she also recalled standing backstage next to John Prine, preparing to take the stage, his heart and mind still centered on his daughter and filled with guilt. about the incident. “He said, ‘It won’t be the last time. “” She also hosted guitarist Celisse for a streamlined guitar showcase.
Lake Street Diving: On Saturday night, the five-piece band offered their signature blend of adult contemporary pop, with elements of soul and country. Led by lead vocalist Rachael Price’s soothing vocals, the group came up with their own songs “Seventeen” and “Good Kisser.” Demographically, Pilgrimage’s audience is slightly older than some other festivals. So when the band mixed in with a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s wisdom-soaked hit “Nick of Time” and Shania Twain’s 1998 country-pop hit “You’re Still the One” – both songs from the ‘Lake Street Dive’ Recently Released Covers EP Fun Machine: the sequel – the participants happily sang.
Marty Stuart: Temperatures hit the 80s on Sunday, but Country Music Hall of Famer Stuart and his fabulous superlatives took to the Midnight Sun stage anyway, dressed in the band’s stunning and shiny costumes, tearing up their set with a sense of casual showmanship and an ace. picking. They offered a medley of songs from the band’s decades of playing, including “Tear the Woodpile Down”, and Stuart’s 1991 hit “Tempted”, “You’re a Friend of Mine”, and a more recent song, “Sitting Alone,” a track that seemed to perfectly sum up the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rosie Flores: Sunday afternoon at the Americana Triangle tent, attendees took advantage of the shade of the tent and sat on benches to soak up the blues and rockabilly sounds of San Antonio native and guitarist-songwriter Flores , who had been nominated for Best New Female Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 1986. Wearing a red and black dress that accentuated her pale blue guitar, Flores had energy and charisma as she was performing on the pilgrimage stage, working on a range of songs such as “Who’s Looking for Me” and “Mercy Fell Like Rain”, from his 2019 album Simple case of the blues. She dedicated “Mercy” to one of the songwriters, Paul Cowie.
Jon Batist: Batiste won five Grammys earlier this year, including the coveted Album of the Year, for his project We are – and although his songs are grounded in jazz, he fused that with soul, R&B, etc. During his staged pilgrimage to the Gold Record Road stage on Saturday night, Batiste offered an extended version of “I Need You,” bolstered by supple piano and scat vocals, telling the crowd, “I believe in this, I believe in music.” and asking the crowd that gathered on the balmy Saturday night to wave the ASL sign for love. From there, he immersed himself in the fast-paced vocals of “WHATCHUTALKINBOUT,” followed by “Tell The Truth,” which he says was inspired by the words his father said to him as he continued his journey. dreams of New Orleans in New York. His teammate Susan Carol offered moving vocal acrobatics on “Cry” as Batiste implored the audience to recognize the struggle of immigrants and those who have been unjustly imprisoned. This show also included lighter moments, such as a Curtis Mayfield cover and The Impressions’ “It’s All Right”.
The Avett Brothers: A few classic country covers popped up throughout the festival performances. On the Golden Record Road stage on Sunday, the Avett Brothers took fans through “The Race is On,” or as they called it, “a George Jones song we learned from the Grateful Dead.” The majority of the set centered around uplifting and socially conscious material, such as “Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise”. The line “Your life doesn’t change with the man who gets elected…decide what to do and go for it” elicited a particularly strong response, as did “Ain’t No Man”, which already earned a nomination for Grammy Awards for Best American Roots. performance. The crowd packed into the sprawling park grounds at Harlinsdale Farm and remained strong for the majority of their set, although many left early to catch Sunday night’s nearest Stapleton.
santiago Jimenez Junior: Jiménez Jr.’s musical lineage is steeped in the history of conjunto music, and he was honored with a National Medal of Arts in 2016 after winning a National Heritage Fellowship in 2000 for his success in tex- mex and folk. In the Americana Music Triangle Experience tent at the Pilgrimage Festival, Jiménez Jr. waved his accordion and sang, accompanied only by acoustic guitar, as he delivered a performance that showcased his intense voice, long accordion solos and his decades of music. His last album, More kicks!offers a traditional Tex-Mex conjunto.
Black Opry Review: The Black Opry was launched as an online space celebrating the music of Black country and Americana artists, and has grown to include the Black Opry Revue concert series which has made its way across the country. Saturday at the Pilgrimage Festival, the lineup included Lori Rayne, Ruby Amanfu, LAYNA, Nicky Diamonds, and more. Highlights included bluesy guitar work by Yasmin Williams and 80s and 90s country-influenced songs by Mississippi native Aaron Vance such as “Cabin Fever”.
She King: The blues rocker King easily commanded the Midnight Sun stage at Pilgrimage on Sunday afternoon, decked out in green sunglasses and a mic stand that spelled ‘Elle’. Screams to drink and have a good time peppered the conversation between songs, as she navigated through songs such as “You’re the Reason I Drink”, “Chain Smokin”, “Hard Drinkin’ Woman” and her Grammy-nominated “Ex and Oh.” Before tearing up a smokier version of “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” (without her duet partner Miranda Lambert, who was in Las Vegas to kick off her Velvet Rodeo residency), King performed “Good to Be a Man”. At the end of the final chorus, she added, “Or, whoever you choose to be. Whoever you identify yourself with, I am with you. Be the best you can be and fuck everyone. Keeping the same defiant mode, she also offered a rendition of Charlie Daniels’ 1975 classic, “Long-Haired Country Boy.”
Chris Stapleton: Closing out this year’s Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival was a two-hour set by eight-time Grammy winner Stapleton, who said relatively little throughout his set, leaving his guitar ace instead. , his poetic songs and his unmistakable raspy voice lead the evening. He roared through songs like “Nobody to Blame” and “Parachute” dropping in a more low-key rendition, alongside his wife and bandmate Morgane, of “Starting Over.”
A round lantern, spotlights and overhead curtains enveloped the massive stage in an intimate atmosphere, even as the crowd stretched to the ends of the massive field. While “momentarily firing the band — don’t worry, we’ll be hiring them back in a few minutes,” Stapleton offered a brief acoustic set that included his 2013 single “What Are You Listening To.” Stapleton recalled that the song was not a hit and dropped off the radio charts around the same time his father died. He took a drive with his wife to cope with the pain, and that cross-country trip culminated in “Traveller,” the title track from his now RIAA 4x Platinum-certified album. He also delivered “You Should Probably Leave,” a searing vocal rendition of “Cold,” and then closed the festival with his signature version of “Tennessee Whiskey,” a fitting approximation given the festival’s location on the music scene. volunteers.