Artist Spotlight: The Hip Abduction (FloydFest Edition)

The Hip Abduction music is filled with uplifting melodies that bring a tropical flair to its blend of reggae, rock, and roots music that incorporates steady electronic afro beats. Songs like “Come Alive,” “Live It Right,” and “Holiday” carry the mind to island time and send a surge of good vibrations through the body and into the feet. Its musical prozac, minus all the nasty side affects.

Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass: Your FloydFest Sunday Saviors

A week after coming off the high of playing a sold-out show at the iconic Red Rocks where they had top billing, the boys of Greensky Bluegrass made their way through the Blue Ridge Mountains and landed on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage for the fifth and final day of FloydFest.

“You getting tired yet? Well, we’re your Sunday saviors!” Greensky’s Paul Hoffman proclaimed from the stage. The Sunday crowd responded with cheers as the band launched into, “I’d Probably Kill You.”

While it’s typical for a portion of the crowd to thin a bit come Sunday, festival organizers are always wise about saving a few gems to reward those who delay the eventual return to reality to stick around for a final day of festival fun. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Ray LaMontagne, and Alison Krauss & Union Station have been those bands in recent years. This year, it was Greensky Bluegrass, followed by Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers.

Forlorn Strangers

Q&A with FloydFest Band Forlorn Strangers

Have you ever had the urge to throw everything you own into storage and take to the open road? That’s exactly what the Forlorn Strangers decided to do in early 2015. Since then, this quintet from Nashville, which includes two sisters, has carved a niche for themselves as an up and coming American roots rock band with distinctive guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, and percussion skills. This past week, they played two sets at FloydFest as part of the On The Rise series. This week they are releasing their debut self-titled, full-length album.

Nakko

FloydFest: Beyond the Headliners Part II

The time is near to leave behind the daily grind and head to the hills to soak up the magic, music, and mountains of FloydFest ’16. Before you do, we’re back with Part II of FloydFest: Beyond the Headliners. Part I featured the indie folk sounds of Colorado group Elephant Revival, the ever so funky Con Brio, and the sweet bluesy rock of The Honey Island Swamp Band. Since FloydFest is bringing 100 different artists over nine stages in five days, we wanted to take another look at a few of the festival’s “must-sees.”
Nakho and Medicine for the People
Sitting extremely close to the headliners, this quintet out of Portland, Oregon, is led by singer/songwriter Nahko Bear, who uses his powerful voice and lyrics as a catalyst for positive change. The music itself is a mix of upbeat tempos and layered sounds as the band combines funky hip hop and indie folk rock with a dash of tribal soul.

Elephant Revival

FloydFest: Beyond the Headliners

We are less than one week away from FloydFest ’16 Dreamweavin’, where more than 100 artists will perform on the festival’s nine stages over five days. That’s a whole lot of music to cover. Headliners Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Bruce Hornsby, Leftover Salmon, and even more recent wildfire Nathaniel Rateliff, are on most festival-goers radar. So, we wanted to go beyond the headliners and take a look at a few other “must sees” at FloydFest this year.

Elephant Revival
Considering this band recently sold out its first headlining show at Red Rocks Amphitheater, there’s a good chance many of you already know a little something about this folksy quintet out of Nederland, Colorado. For those of you who don’t, now is a good time to pay attention.

Gary Jackson, Lord of the Veil, Part I

There was the time that comedian Rodney Dangerfield walked out of the green room buck naked, threw his arm around Gary Jackson and took a stroll down the hallway at Washington, D.C.’s Constitution Hall.

“He wasn’t buck naked,” Jackson corrected. “He had his shoes and socks on.”

A minor detail perhaps to those who encountered the pair on the stroll that day many years ago before the first of two shows in one day.

While it wasn’t the most pivotal moment in Jackson’s career, it certainly numbers among the most memorable. That’s saying a lot, considering that Jackson has been a promoter, sound man, and general maestro of music shows and other entertainment for nearly a half century now.

Brittany Sparks

Artist Spotlight: Brittany Sparks

“I joined chorus in junior high school and would get goose bumps every time we would sing together in harmony. That’s when I decided that I wanted to be that vocalist. The one who gives you goose bumps.”

“I was 15 the first time I ever sang on stage with a live band and my knees were knocking. It was at Roanoke’s Festival in the Park and the crowd response was overwhelming. It was so emotional that I cried afterwards. I felt like I had found my home.”

“In 2011, my mom passed away unexpectedly. I still miss her every day. She could belt the blues like no other. During my shows she would yell song requests at the top of her lungs and have ‘conversations’ with the sound crew about ‘turning the damned guitar down so she could hear her baby girl.’ She always encouraged me to pursue my passion and supported every one of my musical endeavors. I’m fairly confident that if I stopped singing, she would haunt my ass until I started again.”

Red Clay River

Red Clay River: Rising Again

“Born in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with one foot in heaven and one in hell.” Self-described genre-bending band Red Clay River has a history as weathered and soulful as the Southern Gothic blues songs they create and perform. The tale of Red Clay River is one of heartbreak, hard work and redemption. From the challenge of creating music with band members located all over the state, to being robbed of all of their instruments and equipment while on tour, to making a risky comeback after a 6-year hiatus—Red Clay River has never shied away from a challenge.

The individuals that make up this outfit are as passionate and hard-hitting about what they do as the guttural wails that rise up and out of their lead singer and guitarist, Dan Bivins. With a recent and well-received return to the scene, there are many questions about where the band is headed next and what we can expect from them. Before we dip our feet in, perhaps we should explore how, where and when this River started flowing.

Kris Hodges FloydFest

Kris Hodges: Leader of the FloydFest Tribe

“Every FloydFest has been different in its own elation and pain. I think the greatest art comes from that. Erika and I started FloydFest for the pure love of presenting the highest quality art and music experience possible. Something authentic. Something that wasn’t contrived or regurgitated. I believe strongly in the social power of art and music. I had the vision for FloydFest before we even put it on. I knew that anything was possible and that Floyd was the perfect canvas to paint on. And there were a lot of trials and tribulations and a lot of struggle but I never had a doubt in my mind that FloydFest would not make it. I never did. Like with any art, you’re going to create it no matter what. Whether the money is there is irrelevant. The pure drive to create art is motivation. So we started to create art. In a big way.”

Milepost #170.5 just past the Rocky Knob visitor’s center along the Blue Ridge Parkway is an idyllic piece of countryside. For most of the year, the majority of traffic along the parkway is comprised of cyclists, hikers and those out for a slow-paced afternoon drive. A quick park of the car at the visitor’s center and moments later you can find yourself in solitude, meandering along a path with stunning mountain vistas; one where you’re likely to run into more cows than people.