Wakarusa/Mountain Jam Previews

By: Dennis Cook, JamBase Associate Editor

JamBase continues its look ahead to festival life this summer with some helpful links and hearty suggestions for Wakarusa and Mountain Jam this coming weekend.


Wakarusa takes place June 3-6 at Mulberry Mountain in Ozarks, Arkansas. Full Event Passes (4-Day) have sold out, but limited quantities of Saturday and Weekender tickets are still available online. We don't need to tell y'all the merits of checking out headliners like Widespread Panic, The Disco Biscuits, STS9 or The Black Keys, so we'll offer a few suggestions for some lesser known but totally deserving artists on the bill.

1. Todd Snider :: Thursday :: 6:30-7:30 pm :: Revival Tent
It's fitting that they've put Todd in a Revival Tent because there's a touch of lighthearted non-denominational holy roller to this American singer-songwriter treasure. And not in some bent knee, churchy way, but a true "all are welcome" hippie energy that's positively infectious (on several levels). Like the best humorists – Bill Hicks springs immediately to mind – Snider disarms us with a laugh and then goes straight for the heart. This performance will find Snider backed up by his pals in Great American Taxi, a combo that should knock folks out sideways.

2. The Bridge:: Friday :: 12:30-1:30 pm :: Main Stage
Specializing in a "what the hell was 'dat?" mix of styles – bluegrass mingling with beatboxing and jazzy sax, funk finding rocky ground and jammy freedom – The Bridge follow their own muse. All the hard work of a recent weekly residency in San Fran and other road testing has thickened and defined their sound in a big way. They're ready to wake up a main stage, as they'll undoubtedly demonstrate this Friday.

3. Truth & Salvage Co. :: Saturday :: 12:15-1:15 pm :: Main Stage
There's something so offhandedly winning about Truth & Salvage Co. All the months they spent opening for The Black Crowes last year has given their music a lovely patina, a glow in line with The Band, Ozark Mountain Daredevils and other roughhewn, harmony driven outfits of yesteryear. With a strong debut under their belt, it's gonna be fun to see how these boys evolve.

4. Dubtribe Sound System :: Saturday night/Sunday morning :: 1:20-3:00 am :: Outpost Stage
It's a real treat to see these San Francisco electronica pioneers reemerging on the festival/live circuit. With a lot of folks losing it for Pretty Lights and other young acts, it's worth stepping back to check out a band like Dubtribe that led the way to today's vibrant electronic music scene. Their sound mashes up the swoony parts of classic disco, the slinkier bits of Krautrock and no small measure of psychedelia. Yep, it's as yummy as that sounds.

5. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad :: Sunday :: 4:00-5:30 pm :: Main Stage
Try saying their name without smiling. Go on, we'll wait. Okay, now boost that grin factor with a together, gently funky sound that embraces one like a lost friend. By this tail end of Wakarusa you'll be hurting in body and spirit – face it, you won't be near as well behaved as you'd like to be – and a heaping helping of swaying, pleasant reggae inflected music is gonna be just whatcha need.

Wakarusa Schedule

Wakarusa Directions

Wakarusa website

Continue reading for Mountain Jam...

Mountain Jam

Mountain Jam VI will fill Hunter, NY with some really sweet music June 4-6. This Warren Haynes/Radio Woodstock organized gathering includes Drive-By Truckers, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, The Avett Brothers (is one allowed to have a summer fest without them in 2010?) and, of course, Gov't Mule. This year also features a 70th Birthday Celebration by Levon Helm & Friends that should be one of the most unique sets at any festival this season. Here's a few more interesting options to consider at Mountain Jam 2010.

1. Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams :: Friday :: 12:45-1:30 pm :: East Stage
Quite the mouthful of a name, but a tremendously appealing, earthy band inside it. There's some dusty Dylan in them, and a good measure of LSD-country rock and Tom Waits-ian storytelling. Some darn fine accordion, too. Where many bands just leap out at the listener, these cats 'n' kittens curl up nice and slow, warming you by degrees and imparting their purr into your pores. Go in open-minded and see if you don't leave with a skull full of goodness. Murphy & SCD play a second set on Friday in Colonel's Hall from 3:30-4:30 pm.

2. Jerry Joseph & Wally Ingram :: Saturday :: 4:30-5:30 pm :: Awareness Village Stage
There's a level of intimate conversation at work in this duo, which finds one of today's finest yet under-sung greats plying his craft with a delicacy and thoughtfulness sparked and built by one of the greatest percussionists going. They seem both comfortable and endlessly surprised together, and that combination scoops up listeners with the skill and dexterity that only old pros like Jerry J and Wally exhibit. Call this a master class in back porch perfection. And the covers are sublime with this pair, too.

3. The Brew :: Saturday :: 6:30-7:30 pm :: Colonel's Hall
A good sense of humor and disciplined musicianship are The Brew's hallmarks, often wedded to tunes that smack of U2 and Barenaked Ladies both, or in their best moments, Steely Dan without a stick up their ass. Unpredictable, enjoyable, jazz tinged rock is what they stir up, and it's pretty tasty stuff.

4. These United States :: Sunday :: 2:30-3:30 pm :: Colonel's Hall
Let's put this bluntly: If rock 'n' roll is your church then you need to skip to this medicine show with haste. There's the same strange wisdom and controlled cavorting of Saint Bob of the Rolling Thunder big top days, and something a touch more modern and mournful – yet almost always offered in ways that make one hum and slap their thighs in time. TUS' swell and quite moving new album, What Lasts, arrives July 20, and hopefully they'll share some fresh tunes at Mountain Jam.

5. Jay Farrar :: Sunday :: 4:00-4:40 pm :: Awareness Village Stage
In Son Volt, Farrar can rock like Neil Young or sway like Keith & Gram in Joshua Tree, but solo Farrar is a true son of Woody Guthrie, though marbled through with a touch of Tim Buckley's folkie mysticism. If Mountain Jam audiences are lucky he'll bring along his Son Volt mate Mark Spencer to add pedal steel touches to his tremendous tunes.

Mountain Jam Schedule

Mountain Jam Directions

Mountain Jam website

Join us next week when we'll have pictures and more from Wakarusa and Mountain Jam. And remember, festival folk, share what you've got, spare a smile and drink lots of water!

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