We’re now over two weeks removed from Fall For Greenville and I’m just getting around to write about it. This festival has meant a lot to me over the last couple of years, because it ties in what I do here at SceneSC with my family in the upstate. It’s a pretty cool thing to watch Chatham County Line with your 18 month old nephew.
This year we bounced around between locals and national acts, with a pretty laid back schedule. Sometimes it’s better to enjoy it than run around from stage to stage catching half sets.
Our Friday night started off with Ponderosa, who I haven’t seen since their sound changed a good bit. It’s almost like the Georgia southern rockers took a left turn into chillwave after their last Columbia show. They still have that rural swagger, plaid and ripped jeans, but their live show now vibes harder where in the past it was cigarettes and shots of whiskey.
Saturday’s highlight was Apache Relay. After playing about ever major festival in the US over the past year, and weeks before they open for Mumford and Sons at Hollywood Bowl, they graced us with their presence on the small, but prime Beer Garden stage. Can I get an “Ale yeah?” The entire day people had enjoyed the nice weather and craft brews by sitting at the many tables in front of the stage. When Apache hit the stage the crowd packed in to the front. At one point before the show I thought I spotted Dawes drummer Griffin Goldsmith. It’s pretty easy to spot him with that mop, but what are the odds that it was actually him and not his bizarro? We then put together the pieces and realized that Dawes was in Asheville recording their new album and he had come down to see his buds. He must have enjoyed the festival when Dawes headlined last year. It wasn’t long before girls were taking pictures with him. Apache Relay put on a great show. They’ve obviously learned a thing or two about entertaining a festival crowd over the last two years.
Sunday was highlighted by Jill Andrews and Justin Townes Earle. With Andrews hour-long set she played some deep cuts from The Everybodyfields day, along with new songs. She had some fervent fans in the crowd calling out songs. Songs that hadn’t been rehearsed with the band. She played along though and acted like she might play them acoustic beside the van after the show. Pretty awesome right?
JTE followed Andrews, and was the finale of the festival. After playing the night before in Columbia at the Jam Room Music Festival, Earle was upbeat and happy to be in Greenville. He started off his set with a couple of songs solo. For a road tested musician, that’s played many a large stage, JTE keeps it relaxed. After messing up early into one of his opening songs he laughed it off and started over. He’s earned the right to do that, where many others that try to pull it off haven’t. As usual the highlight of his sets are the patter between songs. The stories behind his folk and soul tunes. He schooled everyone on why he ditched being labeled country music and where it all went wrong. In my opinion blame Glen Campbell, but you can blame any damn early pop country pioneer you want. Blame all the ones that ditched the twelve bar blues that Hank Sr. introduced.
The two biggest complaints I heard were related to the lack of diversity in the music, Americana ruled this year, and that the beer selection was a bit lackluster. I was fine with the beer. I wasn’t going to stray too far from the Dogfish Head.
Photos by Berkley Aiken