Kilkenny set to shake at Rhythm ‘n’ Roots

The lineup for this year’s Smithwick’s Rhythm ‘n’ Roots Festival has been revealed, with the final act, Alabama Shakes, just confirmed on Monday.

The lineup for this year’s Smithwick’s Rhythm ‘n’ Roots Festival has been revealed, with the final act, Alabama Shakes, just confirmed on Monday.

Here, according to festival director John Cleere, is what we can expect from this year’s Americana bonanza over the May bank holiday weekend:

Alabama Shakes (US): “Alabama Shakes blend rock with soul, country, blues and roots, earning huge acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Alabama Shakes’ style is marked by lead singer Brittany Howard’s powerful vocals, which have been compared to those of Janis Joplin and Otis Redding, and the group’s irresistible energy: Named “2011 New Band of the Year,” they have just released their debut CD, Boys and Girls. The Alabama-based roots-rock band was named ‘2011 New Band of the Year’ by Paste magazine.”

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis (UK): “Siblings Kitty, Daisy and Lewis play more or less anything they can lay their hands on. Their musical references and skills are rooted in the old tradition where songs and music are handed down. From a young age they have been blowing away and inspiring audiences and have had worldwide success with sold out tours, as well as opening for Coldplay, Razorlight, Jools Holland among others.”

Andy Kershaw (UK): “Andy Kershaw has led an extraordinary life. His unrivalled role in bringing world music to the ears of the West is just part of the story of this man whose zest for life, music, people, experience and travel made him the finest British broadcaster bar none. In his dizzyingly paced and often wildly hilarious book, No Off Switch, he brings alive his matchless career. Andy will appear in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea (Irish Times) at Kilkenny Roots.”

Amanda Shires (US): “Amanda Shires’ voice is distinctly her own. Her Texas twang and fetching vibrato can dance playfully around a melody or haunt a line like a mournful ghost, and she deftly employs her fiddle/ violin, ukulele and even whistling skills to similar effect. The resulting sound is a beautiful but woozily surrealistic swoon — as well befits an artist who cites Leonard Cohen and alt-country dark horse Richard Buckner as two of her biggest musical influences. Texas Music Magazine has named Amanda as its 2011 Artist of the Year.”

Rod Picott (US): “Rod has released five solo CDs and a duo album with Amanda Shires, all to excellent reviews. He is known for his narrative melodic songwriting, passionate delivery and darkly humorous onstage storytelling.”

Israel Nash Gripka (US): “His songs are stories and reflections that serve to kick like classic Rock ‘n’ Roll, while pining with the heart of Americana roots, complete with undertones of soul trampled country, and gospel choirs.”

Hiss Golden Messenger (US): “Hiss Golden Messenger is the current recording name of MC Taylor, also known as Jai ‘Slim’ Diamond, a Californian songwriter whose work is spun from the very brightest threads of the Cosmic American Songbook. Elements of country blues, folk and gospel all shine through a sound described by David Bowie as ‘Mystical country, an eerie yellowing photograph’.”

Dan Baird and Homemade Sin (US): “Dan Baird and Homemade Sin are former Georgia Satellite members Dan Baird, Mauro Magellan and Keith Christopher, along with Warner E. Hodges (Jason and The Scorchers). Brace yourself for a night of good time rock ’n’ roll.”

Willy Vlautin and Dan Eccles (US): “Richmond Fontaine’s Willy Vlautin and Dan Eccles return to Kilkenny for what promises to be a very special show. As well as performing as a duo they will also share the stage with Richard Buckner.”

Richard Buckner (US): “Rooted in a blend of outlaw country, Americana and folk, but venturing into experimental and avant-garde pastures, Richard Buckner is the sort of singer-songwriter one would expect from Merge Records, who released his long-awaited new album, Our Blood, in August 2011.”

Charlie Parr (US): “Charlie Parr is a folk and country blues musician and considered the real deal by fans and critics alike. His show includes a batch of his own songs and well-travelled numbers by Mississippi John Hurt, Charley Patton and other artists from another time.”

Danny and the Champions of the World (UK): “Danny and the Champions of the World were formed in London during the summer of 2007 by Danny George Wilson, following the dissolution of Grand Drive in which Danny performed with his brother Julian Wilson. The band released their third album, Hearts and Arrows, in 2011, the rockingest waxing the Champs have thus far delivered. They can play all night, if you want. That’s what they love.”

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