Last Year’s Festival was a rousing success!!!

15 04 2008

The Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival, June 20 and 21, is headlined by two very accomplished musicians. Midwesterner Ralston Bowles has a smart catchy style with roots in both folk music and Rock and Roll that puts him somewhere between Lyle Lovett and Bob Dylan. Ralston has opened for T-Bone Burnett and performed with a long list of musical luminaries including Shawn Colvin, Hothouse Flowers, Chuck Brodsky and Peter Mulvey. Ralston just released his new CD ‘Rally at the Texas Hotel’ (2008) on Judy Collin’s ‘Wildflower’ label. Ralston brings with him Drew Howard, aka Captain Midnight, a master on the steel guitar. Joe Craven is a San Francisco musician, actor, storyteller, educator, visual artist, former museum curator, motivational speaker, and festival emcee. He plays the fiddle, the mandolin, the mug, the martini shaker … even a bedpan and a credit card. His stage set may look like your neighbor’s yard sale, but make no mistake, Joe is an extremely accomplished musician who played for almost 17 years with the David Grisman Quintet. Joe is going to help emcee this year’s festival, so you know that there’s going to be a lot of fun mixed in with all the great music.

The headliners will be joined by Roots/Americana artist Marion Walsh, coming to the festival from Vancouver BC. Marion made a name for herself by playing the clubs, coffeehouses and on radio shows of Boston and in Portland Oregon. ‘Marion sings with so much conviction she should be convicted for affecting the hearts of all whom listen to this new music’ (Roots Music Review). Seattle singer songwriter Wes Weddell spent 63 days In 2001 traveling the state of Washington, picking up stories about the people he met and turning those stories into song. The project ultimately fueled several CDs, featuring everything from playful tunes and ballads to rockabilly romps, one of which won Wes the 2006 Tumbleweed Music Festival songwriting contest.

Many of this year’s festival artists are Alaskans. Anchorage singer/songwriter Tom Begich returns to the festival with his insightful storytelling with blues rhythms and an easy picking style. Talkeetna’s Esther Golton is a singer/songwriter with a mountain dulcimer and a flute. It sounds traditional enough, but not when you perch the dulcimer on a home-made stand, coax out jazzy chord progressions, cross genres from gentle folk to pop to blues and jazz, and add insightful, often humorous lyrics. Returning to the festival is Anchorage pianist and jazzman extraordinaire Dan McElrath and his band, Shawn Zuke and renowned bassist Milo Matthews, plus many other musicians from around the state, including our own Seldovia talent.

Friday and Saturday performances begin at 6:30pm. The headliners and many of the other artists will host Saturday afternoon workshops, a great way for everyone to participate in the festival and to learn some new skills. There will be workshops just for children too. Festival events are held at Susan B. English School in Seldovia, where tickets will be available at the door. Prices for adults are $25 per performance and $10 for all workshops, or buy one ticket for the whole festival (performances plus workshops) for $39. Prices for children (K-12) are $10 per performance plus $5 for a workshop pass, or $20 for the whole festival. Check the festival webpage for all the details.