this weekend marked the first-ever No Depression Festival at Marymoor Park- a full day devoted to the artistry and tradition of Americana Roots music, Seattle-style. headlined by Iron & Wine and Gillian Welch, the line-up also included local favorites like Sera Cahoone, as well as Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. with the promise of cold beer and that collection of artists, i didn’t need any more convincing!
so, we arrived just in time for Justin Townes Earle , son of Steve Earle, to saunter onto the stage in a pant-suit and slicked back hair. looking the part of the consummate Old-Time musician, he picked his way through 45 minutes of covers and original tunes, setting the stage perfectly for the festivities that followed.
the richly varied and fantastically eclectic crowd continued to pour in- little kids running around barefoot, Seattle hipsters sunning themselves in Converse and flannel shirts (despite the 80 degree weather), blankets, a fenced-in beer garden, picnics, Frisbee games… it was the quintessential festival setting. we hit up the BBQ stand, grabbed a few beers and caught some sun while Jesse Sykes and then a band called Patterson Hood & The Screwtopians took the stage. to be candid, they were forgettable. blame it on the beer, but those sets floated by as pretty good background music. but! soon enough, as the sun was setting, my heart skipped a little as the quiet, quirky Sam Beam approached the mic. As the one-man band Iron & Wine, he astonished us with his raspy storytelling ballads and hushed melodies. at times, the crowd was silent, almost straining to fully take in his sound. he played old hits like “Naked As We Came” and the popular Postal Service cover “Such Great Heights”, but also sang some songs from his new album Around the Well. the topper, however, was when he played “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”. i died a little. ok, ok, ok, so it is from Twilight, but in my defense it took me a whole 24 hours to figure out where I had heard it! have a listen:
after Sam sang to us, Gillian Welch and her amazing partner-in-crime David Rawlings came out and gave to us an hour long gift of music. their voices are so perfectly in-synch, welded together with rich harmonies and haunting tones… it was enough to give me goose bumps that lasted the whole night. if you haven’t heard them, go here. your life might just change.
don’t say i didn’t warn you.
next year, mark down the second weekend in July. No Depression will return.