Okay, here is my totally biased list of performers I am psyched are performing at Forecastle. I may not get to see all these folks, because I am 100 years old, and can only go to one day, but if I were going to the entire weekend this is what I’d save my energy Scooby Snacks to see. Note: if you are under 30 probably none of that last sentence made sense.
Anyway, here is my list.
5. Jason Isbell: A long time ago a young(er) Dave Serchuk, and his then-girlfriend Randi Skaggs, caught the Drive By Truckers at the Central Park Summer Stage in NYC. The ‘Truckers were opening, by the way, for Charlie Daniels. He of “Devil Went Down To Georgia Fame.” Well, long story short the Truckers just crushed it that day–like we didn’t even stay for Charlie Daniels–as memorable an opening band as I’ve ever seen, and the highlight for me was this young, fresh-faced guitarist stage right who was just killing on the leads. He seemed a bit of the odd-man out as he was so young compared to the rest of the band, and had what looked like kind of cheesy gear, but he was on fire. And he just seemed cool, even as he also seemed like a guitar nerd. I learned later his name was Jason Isbell. Not long later he quit the ‘Truckers, became heavily involved in substance abuse, and started to carve out his own career as a singer-songwriter, maybe not in that order. But now he’s clean and has released one highly-regarded album after another. My guess: he still reigns on guitar, but just when he feels like it. I’m going to catch this set.
4. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: After a long, hot July day baking in the sun there is nothing cooler than seeing these consummate professionals bring it old school. The suits, the arrangements, the backup singers, the horns, and the incredible voice of cancer-survivor Sharon Jones will make this the classiest set at the fest. Not to be missed.
3. Dwight Yoakam: I have a soft spot for Pikeville native Yoakam. There is something about the way he drawls his words, as the Telecasters twang, and the pedal-steel cries that I just love. One of the few in modern country to carry the Bakersfield sound into the present, he is a leading practitioner of the “good” country that we hipsters claim to love.
2. Gary Clark Jr.: Okay geezers, and folks upset the young-uns don’t understand the blues, you can shut up now. I knew Gary Clark Jr. was something different from the first moment of the first song of his I heard on WFPK, “Bright Lights.” Friends who’ve seen him at Headliners Music Hall have testified he’s great live, and then some. I believe them, and here’s a video of him jamming in Brazil to whet your appetite.
1. Jack White: He’s the one guy alive today that people will talk about in 20 years the way we talk about Kurt Cobain today. I firmly believe this, he’s in his musical heyday, and it’s happening this weekend. You’d have to be crazy to miss his set. I’ve at least liked everything I’ve heard from him, and loved a lot of it. And if you can’t be bothered to move during “Seven Nation Army” you’re probably already dead.
Beck: Beck’s going to have to bring it a hell of a lot more than he did when I saw him in Radio City Music Hall for the “Midnight Vultures” tour for me to recommend him. Especially as he’s following The Replacements, who are probably going to destroy. I’ve heard inconsistency is kind of his thing, so I hope he’s going to have a good night.