Friday, April 6, 2018

Country in the NEWS: Where New Country meets Old Country....April 6, 2018 (DelFest 2018 - Lineup)

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DelFest Reveals 2018 Lineup, Rhiannon Giddens Talks About the Eclectic Fest

Rhiannon Giddens

DelFest will take place May 24-27 at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD with a line-up that includes the festival’s namesake, Del McCoury, incoming Country Music Hall of Fame member Ricky Skaggs, and singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens. Billboard is excited to exclusively bring you the festival schedule here.
For Giddens, her appearance marks a return to the event – although 2018 marks the first time she will headline at the festival. The singer, who performed previously with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, says it’s a stop she is looking forward to.
 
 
“I’m excited,” she tells Billboard. “It’s always fun to come back to a place that you’ve been before. I love festivals, and this one is such a great one. I have such great memories of the last time we were there. The fans always get better every year, and it’s so much fun to bring what we’ve been working on and get it before the people.”
Giddens expressed that playing an event such as DelFest – known for its musical diversity – makes an artist try a little bit harder to capture the attention of the audience, no matter where you are in your career. “There’s something about when you’re doing your own shows, where the people are coming to see you. That’s a different vibe, it’s great, and I love it. But at a festival, it’s almost like you are at the beginning of your career again, even if you have a name. There’s always some people walking by who don’t know who you are, so there’s this edge of hoping to pull in even more people, because there are ones that are there to see other acts,” she explained.
The sheer magnitude and scope of the event is something that Giddens feels is artistically enticing. “It is a great opportunity to showcase what we do, which is a lot of different things together. To me, that’s what I believe that American music is. I believe that genres are all false boxes that are put upon our music. I like to let them all live next to each other because I believe that it shows that they all belong together.”
Giddens had high praise for the festival host, Del McCoury, saying of the bluegrass legend, “He’s one of those folks that set the stage for what we do. We wouldn’t be anywhere without these folks. It’s important to honor that. I’m a person that believes in paying homage to people. I think the more rooted you are, I think the more you can push forward. If you lose that root, you fall off the cliff. I think it’s important.”
Where is Giddens right now in her own artistic process? “I’m a little bit all over the place,” she confesses. “I’m working on the next record, and also working on a ballet right now. I’m composing music for the Nashville Ballet. I’m very excited about that. It’s something that is uniquely in my wheelhouse. I’m bringing banjo and fiddle into it. That allows me to flex some slightly different muscles.”
One thing about whatever the new record will sound like is that the direction is left totally up to Giddens, a distinction that she appreciates. “I’m very lucky to be on the best label on the planet. Nonesuch has never pressured me to do anything – other than to make a record. I have never felt any push from them that I needed to do this type of a record. They have faith in my heart and where it needs to go.  I’m always going to want to say something. I think that’s always going to be a part of who I am and the mission. I’m always going to want to highlight stories that don’t get highlighted,” she said in reference to her last disc, 2017’s critically lauded Freedom Highway. “So, will it be in that same vein? Probably not, because I do like to say things in different ways. I think that will always be a part of who I am, and I feel it’s a great privilege to focus on that.”
She also stresses that she doesn’t place any rules on herself when it comes to tipping the hat to songs that have influenced her. So far in her career, she has covered The Staples Singers (“Freedom Highway”), Sister Rosetta Tharpe (“Up Above My Head”) and Patsy Cline (“She’s Got You”), just to name three. “Obviously, Freedom Highway consisted of a lot of originals. I think I’m always going to write. But I’m not one of these people that say ‘Ok, this record is going to be 100 percent original.’ I think that a good interpretation – I don’t like to call them cover. A cover, you do the same arrangement, whereas I like to take a song and make it live in a different way. I think that’s an art form that should be respected more personally. There are songs that people think Nina Simone wrote because she made them her own – and I’m not comparing myself to her, at all. But, I feel that interpreting songs is an important part of American Music, and it’s always going to be a part of what I do.”
Might there be another collaboration on the record, similar to her turn with Eric Church on “Kill A Word.” She says to stay tuned. “I’m just starting to feel stuff out for the new record. I’ve got a really good and exciting idea that might surprise a few people. I better not say what it is, because I haven’t done it yet. It’s something that is off of the beaten path a bit, but I’m really excited about it. Hopefully, I can come up with a couple of collaborations that will be pretty neat. I love collaborations. I was grateful for the one with Eric. That song has lived for a pretty long time.”

Daily Schedule Teaser
Thursday: 
The California Honeydrops
Rhiannon Giddens
The Infamous Stringdusters
& more!
Friday:
Mandolin Orange
Fruition
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
The Del McCoury Band
Greensky Bluegrass
Bryan Sutton Band
The Dawg Trio with David Grisman, Danny Barnes, Sam Grisman)
& more!
Saturday:
Richard Thompson
The Jerry Douglas Band
Sam Bush Band
Billy Strings and Bryan Sutton
Sierra Hull
The Bluegrass Congress (The Del McCoury Band, Ricky Skaggs, Daivd Grisman, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Bryan Sutton, Stuart Duncan)
& more!
Sunday: 
New Orleans Suspects
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Dustbowl Revival
The Wood Brothers
The Del McCoury Band
Old Crow Medicine Show
& more!

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