April 20, 2011 08:54

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WHO TO SEE AT SHAKORI HILLS THIS WEEKEND

Pre-camping festival checklist: Hose down tent and hang to dry, refill butane in camp stove, steep fruit in mason jar likker, pack extra Halloween costume. Yep, that oughta do it. The drills are over, and this weekend marks the beginning of live fire as the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival kicks off this Thursday afternoon. As always Thursday is a little top-heavy, with granola rappers Arrested Development headlining. The group’s newest album Strong is okay, but it’s worth checking them out if only to hear “Mr. Wendal,” the most underrated track of the conscious hip-hop boom of the ’90s. Also on Thursday is Vince Herman’s jam-folk outfit Great American Taxi, who will also perform at the Blind Tiger the following night. The first full day begins on Friday with an early set by Native American flautist Danuwa Adondvo, but make time in the mid afternoon for Langhorne Slim’s kids set. He just might slow it down a bit for the wee ones. The choices get way tougher Friday afternoon when the logjam of junk-folk ensemble Midtown Dickens coincides with Ithaca, NY dub band Thousands of One and locals John Howie, Jr. & the Sweethearts. Slim picks it back up that night, but has a tough overlap with Garafuni women’s vocal group Umalali and dynamite Celtic fiddle group Scythian. Afterwards on the main stage, if there’s a can’t-miss all weekend, it is reggae iconoclast Taj Weekes,whose 2008 album Deidem is one of the most overlooked roots recordings in recent memory.

On Saturday, no one will get mad at you for going to see Jason Ringenberg of Jason & the Scorchers do the Farmer Jason thing for the kids. Afterwards, Woody’s granddaughter Sarah Lee Guthrie and her set with Johnny Irion qualifies as a must-see. The first taste of the Travelin’ McCourys comes right after, and Del’s boys will hook up with the Lee Boys for one-part revival and one-part hoedown that night. Of course, the Donna-centricity began early Thursday night, and carried over Friday with keyboardist David McCracken & Friends and ends Sunday afternoon with Donna the Buffalo & Friends, but their headline set happens right after the Lee Boys, and it’s always a doozy. For those overdosed on the Buffalo, there’s a pair of really interesting ethnic acts playing late. The 13-piece Latin band Orquesta GarDel plays opposite of Ithaca-based rock band Ayurveda, featuring two Nepali guitarists who play with heavy homeland influence. There will be an Easter Egg hunt on Sunday, but don’t expect a to find John Paul Jones in one like last year. It’s more or less a clean-up day, with lots of repeat acts just in case you missed them earlier. It’s a good chance to see Sarah Lee Guthrie, the Lee Boys, Lizzy Ross Band or Diali Cissohko, or stick around to see Tift Merritt lead up to Donna’s closing set. Single day and weekend tickets are available, and pricing can be found at shakorihills.org.

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