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  • Rich Kassirer

Concert Review: Come on home to Green River

Updated: Aug 7, 2018

Lucinda Williams at the Green River Festival.
Lucinda Williams at the Green River Festival.

A few of my favorite things from the Green River Music Festival last weekend in Greenfield, Mass.: shrimp gumbo; the very cool light-up dancing guys walking through the crowd during Lucinda Williams’ set; Crooked Still’s new lineup; and Eilen Jewell closing out the night in the Dance Tent.

For those who have never gone to Green River, it is a great little music festival. It has a great family atmosphere and the lineup is usually filled with a mix of bluegrass, alt-country and folk acts. This year, the Saturday mainstage lineup included folkie Caroline Herring, the Greencards, the awesome newgrass band Crooked Still, Los Straitjackets, Mavis Staples and Lucinda Williams. There was also a dance tent where lesser-known acts played (more on this later).

Crooked Still at Green River Festival

Highlights for me: Crooked Still, which has a new lineup that includes a gorgeous fiddle player and a new cellist, are amazing. If you have a chance to see them, do. Check out a clip from their set are HERE. I wish I got video of their slowed-down version of “Come on in My Kitchen” because it was a highlight. Mavis Staples is a soulful piece of singing history. She told stories of her days with Martin Luther King and sang with passion.

And Lucinda Williams, who I had never seen before, is a pro, no doubt. Her set featured some new rocking tunes, plus a few songs from each of her past albums. A clip of “Drunken Angel” is HERE. While I’m not a huge fan, I do love her “Essence” album, so it was nice to hear some of those tunes including “I Envy the Wind,” which she said she doesn’t play much but apparently there was a wedding held earlier in the day at the fest and that song was requested. Lucinda ended the night with a rousing version of “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll).” She also really dug these light-up walking puppets that were going though the crowd. At one point between songs, she just kept saying how cool they were. It was funny.

Finally, we ended our night in the Dance Tent with Eilen Jewell and her band performing. Clip HERE. (Sorry for unsteady footage, but the floor was plywood and the people dancing kept me bouncing.) If you’ve never seen her, you’ve got to check her out. Her swinging band is a blast, her songs sound like they come from another era.

See you all next year at Green River. To see the rest of my pics of the festival, click HERE.

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