There's an impressive line-up for this weekend's first ever LA Acoustic Music Festival on the Santa Monica Pier, today (Saturday, June 6th) and tomorrow (Sunday, June 7th) and it looks like it will guarantee that this will be just the first of many annual LA Acoustic Music Festivals to come. Sponsored in part by Amoeba Music and a benefit for the California Acoustic Music Project (CAMP), the artist line-up for the two day festival includes Richard Thompson, Nanci Griffith and the Blue Moon Orchestra, Bruce Cockburn, The Kingston Trio, David Lindley, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion.
Santa Monica's pier is currently celebrating its 100 year anniversary & includes such attractions as its historic 1922 carousel and its interactive aquarium. Seems like a great place to host this two day festival, a must for all fans of Americana and folk music. In fact, catching critically acclaimed singer/songwriter/guitarist Richard Thompson alone, who performs later today, is enough of a reason to attend this event.
Thompson is one of the greatest guitarists of our time (Rolling Stone placed him in the Top 20 of the magazine's list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time) and has been making incredible music since his early musical days in the legendary British folk-rock group Fairport Convention. Thompson, who penned such classic early Fairport songs as "Meet On The Ledge" and "Crazy Man Michael," was a member of Fairport Convention from 1967 to 1971. He still occassionally performs with Fairport -- usually at their annual Fairport's Cropredy Convention. Soon after splitting from the group he released his first solo album on which Linda Peters (soon to be wife Linda Thompson) sang. The two married in 1972 and officially became a musical team for the years 1973 to 1982 (a little longer than their personal relationship lasted), releasing a total of six albums together including I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight and Hokey Pokey, which the song "A Heart Needs A Home" (video below) comes from.
As a solo artist, Thompson, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday, has remained quite prolific. The underrated artist has always been happy to remain a little bit below the mainstream radar. He not only commands a dedicated cult following but also counts many musicians as major fans. His compositions have been covered by such artists as Elvis Costello, Nick Drake, R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, David Gilmour, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Mary Black, The Corrs, Shawn Colvin, Norma Waterson, and Maura O'Connell. Over the years Thompson has also collaborated in the studio with countless artists including Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin, Bonnie Raitt, Crowded House, Beausoleil, Loudon Wainwright III, and Teddy Thompson -- his son from his marriage to Linda Thompson. Over the decades he has also worked with some artists that one mightn't have expected from a folk rooted artist, including experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser, with former Pere Ubu singer David Thomas's group The Pedestrians, and with the acclaimed Anton Fier led shape-shifting group The Golden Palominos. Five years ago Thompson was invited to compose the soundtrack for the Werner Herzog documentary Grizzly Man. The recording of the soundtrack connected Thompson with a group of Bay Area improvisational musicians.
In addition to Richard Thompson, today's line-up at the LA Acoustic Music Festival will include opening act The Refugees (feat. Wendy Waldman, Deborah Holland, & Cindy Bullens), Joel Rafael, Eliza Gilkyson, Jimmy LaFave, who was tagged “Best Singer-Songwriter” by the Austin Music Awards, Natalie MacMaster, and Bruce Cockburn, who will be the final act today. Tomorrow's line-up will include Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, Slaid Cleaves, Stonehoney, Ribbon of Highway, Endless Skyway, who will perform a Woody Guthrie tribute, David Bromberg & the Angel Band, David Lindley, and the great Nanci Griffith and band will close out the Festival as the last act on Sunday.
The all day LA Acoustic Music Festival runs from 10am in the morning today and tomorrow, Sat June 6th & Sun June 7th. Tickets for the festival are available at Amoeba Music Hollywood or through the festival site. General admission tickets for this benefit festival are $110 for both days for adults, and $80 for children for both days. $65 for one for adults, $45 for children for one day. Premiere tickets, for seating up front, cost $130 for adults for both days or $75 for one day. Children's premiere seating is $100 / $45. More info here.
Richard Thompson live at Austin City Limits (2006)
Richard & Linda Thompson "A Heart Needs A Home" live on Old Grey Whistle Test(1975)
Nanci Griffith "Roseville Fair" (live) (1985)