High Sierra Music Festival
The High Sierra Music Festival
celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. From Thursday, July 1st through late Sunday, July 4th, the mountain
fairgrounds in Quincy, CA that serve as home to this fest will overflow with great music and hearty companionship.
With tents and RVs surrounding the performance spaces and the most casual artist-fan relationship in the fest
circuit, High Sierra stands apart in many ways. The "hang" is all, and it casts a spell over attendees and performers
alike, where often the guitarist who shredded your mind in the afternoon is standing next to you in the evening while
headliners like Widespread Panic, The Black Crowes, Railroad Earth and The Avett Brothers (it's nigh
impossible to hold a summer fest in 2010 without them!) flatten the masses. You'll both have the same stupid,
entirely copacetic grin on your faces, too.
Here's five winners from the broad assortment on offer this year.
1. Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers ::
Thursday :: 12:15-1:30 PM :: Vaudeville Tent
It's worth getting set up early so you can leave your tent behind and catch this nooner with one of the most talented,
charming young singers and bands on the West Coast. They've got the swerve and bluesy slap of vintage Linda
Ronstadt and Traci Nelson & Mother Earth, though their straight pop chops ain't shabby neither. In a nutshell, good,
good, good rock 'n' roll fronted by a powerful, fetching singer. What the hell else do you need to kick off your
[Nicki & The Gramblers also perform on Friday from 11:30-12:45 pm on the Big Meadow
2. Nels Cline Singers :: Thursday ::
7:30-8:45 PM :: Vaudeville Tent
People who only caught wind of mind-blowing guitarist Nels Cline after he joined Wilco have whole worlds to explore in
Cline's past, not to mention his ongoing solo, projects with gifted pals like Jenny Scheinman and more. However, it's
with the Singers that one feels closest to whatever internal mojo fires up Cline. Flanked by Devin Hoff
(contrabass, bass guitar) and percussion & electronics whiz Scott Amendola, Cline veers into hitherto
unexplored sonic spaces. At times jarring or unexpectedly beautiful in the strangest places, the Nels Cline Singers
harness adventurousness to some of the best musicianship we're likely to witness at HSMF 2010.
Singers also perform on Friday from 11:15-12:30 pm in the Vaudeville Tent]
3. Rubblebucket :: Friday :: 4:55-
6:20 PM :: Vaudeville Tent
Frequently those that delve into Afrobeat sound like mere copycats, though many come off well due to high energy
presentation. What's swell about Rubblebucket is how they clearly draw from Afrobeat's ideas but mingle them with
bits of Talking Heads and other rhythm-wise modern rock. Hailing from three fine B's – Burlington, Boston and
Brooklyn – this is a cool opportunity for West Coasters to experience one of the most justifiably buzzed about bands
on the circuit right now.
[Rubblebucket also plays Thursday 3:30-4:45 in the Vaudeville Tent]
4. The Black Seeds :: Saturday ::
2:20-3:40 PM :: Vaudeville Tent
New Zealand may not be the first place one thinks of when it comes to quality funky reggae music, but that might
change real fast once you hear the Seeds. With a reach way beyond roots reggae (though they do that well, too), this
band makes honestly soulful music with one of the strongest vocal mixes around. And their compositions are
smartly drawn and full of perfect, unexpected twists and breakdowns. Come prepared to sweat a bit.
Black Seeds also play Sunday 1:45-3:00 on the Big Meadow Stage]
5. Newfangled Wasteland ::
Sunday :: 5:30-6:45 PM :: Big Meadow Stage
You ain't never heard Beck like this.
Made up of Trevor Garrod (Tea Leaf Green) on keys & vocals, bassist-singer Steve Adams (ALO,
Big Light), guitarist Chris Haugen and drummer-singer Dave Brogan, the quartet shows real
affection and just enough irreverence to make the material soar. Even the more familiar Beck ditties wiggle
differently in their grasp, and their knack for unearthing pleasures in deep cuts is something
[Newfangled Wasteland also plays 2:30-3:45 pm on the Grandstand Stage on Thursday]
High Sierra Music Schedule
High Sierra Late Night
High Sierra Official Site