Highlights From Home Country Music & Art Festival (Part 3)

Home County Music and Art Festival

In this third and final installment of our features on the 46th annual Home County Music & Art Festival, we concentrate on some of the musical events taking place on various stages across Victoria Park.  Surviving a blisteringly hot Saturday, and then relaxing on a much more comfortable Sunday, we found some great entertainment courtesy of Zachary Lucky, The Small Glories, and a gospel themed workshop featuring The Pairs, Coco Love Alcorn and The Heartaches Stringband.

Zachary Lucky: North Stage, Saturday

Saskatchewan alt-country artist Zachary Lucky (now calling Orillia, ON home) was one of the very first artists that we featured back in the early days of GDW, yet it would be almost three years later before this opportunity to see him perform came our way.  After escaping from the heat and high-humidity for a while in the comfort of a local air-conditioned restaurant, we made our way back to Victoria Park on Saturday afternoon to catch some live music from Zachary.  Handling his own acoustic guitar duties, Zachary would be accompanied by Ivan Rosenberg on dobro, adding some extra old-country twang to the music and accentuating Lucky’s raspy vocals.  “Back in 2014, I was touring around in a 2005 … station wagon,” Zachary shared a tale prompted by the intense afternoon heat. “I’d built a bed in the back. I’d come out after gigs and pop the back of the trunk on the wagon, crawl right in there, reach up, close the door, and everybody would be there watching me, waiting for me to drive away.  But I’d fall asleep right there, like on the street in Bend, Oregon.”

Performing a handful of popular cuts from his 2016 “Everywhere a Man Can Be” album, he would also pause to discuss life as a family man and father.  “I never thought I’d be the type of person to be a father … but the truth is, it’s working out fine.  I’m finally becoming the old man that I knew I was inside,” he offered. “I always knew I was an old grumpy man inside. Now I actually get to be that old grumpy man.”  Eliciting laughter, he would crank up the humor.  “A few weeks ago, the neighbor across the street was shooting off fireworks right close to bedtime, at like, 8 O’clock,” he added.  “I ran out there in my bare feet and pajamas, and I went over to his backyard and said, ‘Man, my kids are sleeping,’ and just walked away with the biggest smile on my face, fulfilling my old man duties.  Really scared the heck out of that guy.”  Adding a pair of upcoming tracks from his next album, and a cover of a popular Townes Van Zandt number, Zachary and Ivan certainly helped everybody forget about the extreme heat and humidity for a while with their cool country music.

Set List:

  1. Everywhere A Man Can Be
  2. Standin’ In The Rain
  3. Rock ‘n’ Roll Dad
  4. Can’t Say Why
  5. Sometimes I Wonder How I Got This Far
  6. White Freightliner Blues (Townes Van Zandt cover)
  7. Revelation Blues
  8. Make It On Time

 

The Small Glories: Main Stage, Sunday

Another one of our faves here at GDW, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to get our fix of music from Cara Luft and JD Edwards this year, welcoming them to central PA in May, and now here at Home County.  With the formal release of their “Assiniboine and the Red” album just last month, The Small Glories were naturally eager to share many of the new tracks during their workshops and Main Stage performance.  We enjoyed hearing new cuts such as “Alberta” and “Secondhand” during their Saturday and Sunday workshops, and several other tracks that were included in their Main Stage set list.  To commence their Sunday night show, however, the duo surprised us by digging into their 2016 “Wondrous Traveler” album, sharing the always lively “Had I Paid.”

In dealing with the variances in heat and humidity over the weekend, Cara often needed a little extra time to tune her instrument correctly.  “We tune because we care, but I am playing the banjo, so we could be here for quite some time,” she joked.  “Why are there no banjos on Star Trek?” JD asked the crowd. “Because it’s the future, the future,” he responded, adding “There’s no banjos in the future,” in a defeated voice.  “What do you call a woman on the arm of a banjo player?” Cara countered. “A tattoo!” Cara definitely earned more laughs from her punchline.  “Sometimes when we go out on the road, we get to see some great places, like here, beautiful London, Ontario,” JD would later announce. “But all we’ve seen of London is this park. Is this the most beautiful part of London? I don’t know.” “Come to my home,” came a cry from the crowd.  “What, to your house after? You got any bourbon? Alright, we’re there,” JD retorted in the blink of an eye, earning laughs and applause.

JD was on fine form with his audience interaction all evening, and especially during a moment when encouraged by Cara to share their story about playing “Oh My Love” for the first time south of the border.  “We were down in the States. We got to share the stage with Bruce Cockburn,” he commenced.  “It was a big deal, and we got to hang out with Bruce backstage, and eat little chunks of cheese and crackers and grapes and stuff with him. And we got a fun selfie photo with him, and he’s like, ‘I have to put my sunglasses on first,’ he has a really low voice, you see.  And then he went on his tour bus and we didn’t see him for the rest of the night; and he didn’t even see us play, but that’s okay, I was still excited.”  JD would, of course, continue his tale with the always humorous tale of that evening in Utah and Cara’s interesting proposal from a fellow in the crowd.

Set List:

  1. Had I Paid
  2. Long Long Moon
  3. Alberta
  4. Oh My Love
  5. Pieces Of Me
  6. Secondhand
  7. The Witch of the Westmoreland (Stan Rogers cover)
  8. Time Wanders On
  9. Sing

 

Honorable Mention – The Gospel According to Home County

This Sunday collaboration on the South Stage brought Coco Love Alcorn (with bassist Connor Walsh) together with local acts The Pairs and The Heartaches Stringband, for an outstanding seventy five minutes of gospel music. And while each would perform three of their own selections, the incredible vibe and unity on stage meant that each participant could not resist the urge to add harmonies or instrumentation.  Coco’s performance of “The River,” with added harmonies from everybody, and unique mandolin solo, made this one of the most cherished moments from the entire weekend.

Credits: We naturally want to offer gratitude to artists who spent some time with us, whether it be a thumbs-up, a brief ‘hello’ in passing, or time spent chatting.  This list includes, but is not limited to:  Aaron Allen, Adam Plante, Amanda Lynn Stubley, Benj Rowlands, Bill Needham, Cara Luft, Colleen Murphy, Dave Gunning, Dean Drouillard, Deni Gauthier, JD Edwards, Josh Fewings, Lydia Persaud, Martin Horak, Paul Aitken, Shawna Caspi, Steve Clark, Steve Murphy, Zachary Lucky, and of course, London’s own ‘Dancin’ Cowboy’ himself, Bev Camp.

Martin Noakes

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.