Tonight was the first night of the 2011 Ann Arbor Folk Festival.
I'll try'n remember the order the acts played in and perhaps say a little something about them.
MC Susan Warner -- did an excellent job. She was very funny and complemented the acts well.
(1) Theo Katzman -- I've heard him before -- I think he played at Take a Chance Tuesday.
(2) The Paper Raincoat -- fairly cool. They sounded like a cross between Simon and Garfunkel and The Story. Their last song, Rewind, was excellent.
(3) Spring Standards -- James, James, and Heather. They were fun to watch and I enjoyed them, but -- realize I was sitting as far back from the stage as one could be and still be on the "main" floor inside the doors -- I occasionally had to plug my ears because they were painfully loud. Also I had problems understanding their lyrics. Their last song, however, was GREAT. (Edited to remove incorrect song suggestion... I don't remember what this was.)
(4) Anais Mitchell -- she had an ethereal wispy voice which reminded me of Melanie, and she didn't steer clear of political topics. A very enjoyable set.
(5) Vienna Teng. As her set progressed, so did my appreciation. I started feeling "well yeah, she's okay." Then I mused on how several of my friends are fans/groupies of hers, and I could finally understand that, although I didn't think I'd go out of my way to see her. Her final song (about advice from grandma) was just amazing. I don't think I'll become a groupie, but I'm surely more likely to go see her the next time I hear she's playing than I was before today.
Other than Susan Werner, there were 2 performers after intermission.
(6) Citizen Cope. Hmmm. Mix a cup of Bob Dylan, a cup of John Martyn, a half cup of Bob Marley, a couple tablespoons of Jonathan Richman, a splash of the Fools. Mix until Ose, record at 45, play at 33. There were an amazing number of fans of his in the audience -- many whistles, cheers, communication ("You're awesome!") I should probably say nothing more at all.
(7) The Avett Brothers. This group was pretty amazing. They reminded me a lot of the Great Lakes Myth Society, with a bit of The Weavers and The Plasmatics tossed in. I think that was a cello, but I've never seen one played like that before. Unfortunately, again I had my fingers in my ears for much of the show. Two of our party ended up listening to the end of it from the lobby because it sounded better.
I think my favorite song from the last half of the show was the one Susan did.