Some may look at the lineup of this year’s Groove in the Garden and feel there is an underlying meaning to the group of bands featured in the lineup: they are all female or gender binary-fronted acts.
But when festival producer Adam Lindstaedt looks at the list of performers scheduled to hit the stages of Raleigh Little Theatre’s Stephenson Amphitheater and Rose Garden Saturday, all he sees is talent.
“Every year when I book Groove in the Garden, I start with a list of 100 NC bands,” Lindstaedt explains. “After my first round of revisions, I end up with 40 bands. Then I make a second revision down to 20 bands. This year after making that final revision, 17 of the 20 acts on my list were either female or gender binary-fronted acts. It was never intentional to put together a lineup that was solely focused on female performers.”
For Lindstaedt, it was just about how good the bands were.
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“My list of acts is full of bands and performers who we are personally big fans of their music ... those acts who we believe have a great chance to break through and should be heard by the widest audience possible,” he says.
As the trend of female-fronted acts for the event became apparent, each was supportive of the idea of a day of music programmed around a lineup heavily — or entirely — featuring women. One of the bands performing on Saturday will be New Reveille, a new Americana band that has been receiving a lot of attention in recent weeks. The Raleigh-based band recently was given a shoutout in the New York Times’ for their single “Babylon,” as well as an interview with the music outlet Bluegrass Situation, making it one of the most buzzed-about Triangle bands to appear in years.
The News & Observer sat down with lead vocalist Amy Kamm for a few minutes in the band’s hotel lobby during last week’s AmericanaFest, Nashville’s annual week-long celebration of the emerging music genre. New Reveille had a packed schedule, with several showcases around the city, and performances that had many excited about the future of the band.
Q: In the band’s bio, it states that you were a nurse when the group began. What led you to take this leap toward a vastly different career?
A: It’s funny you would bring nursing up, because I just put my license on hold. I figured there was really no sense in paying all that money and getting all of those education hours (to keep the nursing license active), as I’m not really trying to balance (nursing with music). I’m just focused on singing right now. My husband and family are totally supportive of this; they are all in since they all just love music. I just hope this isn’t my midlife crisis. You know, some people buy a car...”
Q: Your album “The Keep” is really amazing, in the sense that it melds such a love of old-time music with new studio production prowess. How far back does the love for bluegrass go with the band members?
A: The writer of nine of the songs on the album — I’m not involved in the writing at all, I just interpret what is there — Daniel (Cook, banjo and guitar player) comes from a Southern Rock background and worked as a video editor by trade, and was editing a video for (Smithsonian) Folkways that had Doc Watson and Wade Mainer. He got hooked on the music from that. Mainer had a particular (2-finger banjo) picking style that was pretty unique, and Daniel would just play that video over and over because it inspired him so much.
Q: One of the things that I haven’t been able to help but notice is how, whenever the band is pictured together, Daniel and George Hage tend to have the three women in the band (Amy, violinist Autumn Brand and cellist Kaitlin Grady) be the focal point of the attention. Suffice to say, this doesn’t seem to be the usual arrangement in musical groups.
A: It’s interesting, because I don’t think it was necessarily the intent, when Daniel was first putting the band together. We found each other through Craigslist, which is weird, because it’s not like I was wanting to get murdered. We met Autumn through the studio where we recorded. She has a great soprano voice that can do harmony, and she knew Kaitlin, who plays cello and can sing alto harmonies. Once Daniel heard all of us together, he just loved the way all of the vocals organically moved the group into a different direction than what he first envisioned. It just feels good, and I think that the label must have saw that as well, because they are completely behind us.
Q: With this being your first “real” singing gig, I have to ask: what held you back this long?
A: I didn’t know that I really could; (didn’t know) that this was ever an option. I didn’t grow up singing or anything like that. My husband would hear me singing in the shower, or in the car, and he just kept telling me, “You have such a beautiful voice, you should really try to do something with it.” I joined the choir at church, and kind of noticed within two weeks that the choir director was pulling me out for solos. I ended up making a demo with that director and one other person, and that was the demo I later sent in to Daniel.
It was more like I just wanted to sing, and was looking for something outside of the church. It wasn’t that I was looking at it as a potential job, but more as just an outlet or extracurricular activity. Everything has just evolved from that, and I had no idea it would end up here.
What: Groove in the Garden
Lineup: Lydia Loveless, Loamlands, Face Girls, Kate Rhudy, ZenSoFly, Tres Chicas, New Reveille, Luxe Posh (House DJ), Reese McHenry, Blue Cactus, Emily Musolino, Kamara Thomas
When: Sept. 22. Gates open at 1:30 with the show at 2:15 p.m.
Where: Stephenson Amphitheatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh
Tickets: $10 in advance or $15 the day-of. $25 for ticket and T-shirt. $65 for VIP tickets.
Info: 919-829-3111 or raleighlittletheatre.org
Upcoming show: New Reveille also is set to perform at the NC State Fair Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Dorton Arena. Concerts are included with price of fair admission.
Lydia Loveless: An alt-country singer-songwriter who has become one of the definitive artists within the genre since making her debut in 2011, and she’s still in her 20s.
Loamlands: Durham’s Kym Register mastered the art of folk-punk with her venerable duo Midtown Dickens, so why act surprised to find that she can handle guitar pop just as well with her newest project? Imagine all the riffs found in your favorite Fleetwood Mac album, but performed by two friends — Register and Will Hackney — instead of five band members who all hate each other.
Pie Face Girls: A Raleigh-based trio who has become the definitive basement-punk band, as well as major influences within the local political sphere when it comes to LGBTQ issues, in a short amount of time.
Kate Rhudy: A childhood spent playing classical violin may have honed Rhudy’s musical chops, but it was a lifetime of journal entries that most influence the Raleigh singer-songwriter’s debut album last year, “Rock N’ Roll Ain’t For Me.” The honesty captured within her songs will grab attention, and by the end of this year’s Groove, this may be the set that gets the most talk.
ZenSoFly: This Raleigh-based singer/rapper has shown so much hustle in 2018 that there’s an argument to be made that she’s the preeminent force on the local hip-hop scene. Sure to be a set of pure fun.
Tres Chicas: A local music festival without Tres Chicas on the bill can barely be taken seriously at this point. Since forming in 1999, the alt-country trio has proven to be both an artistic and cultural force within the Triangle, and reminds those of us in the audience how lucky we are to have these three women within earshot.
New Reveille: See above.
Luxe Posh (House DJ): Luxe Posh is a powerhouse, both behind the turntables and behind a computer keyboard. Whether blazing a trail for female DJs throughout the South through her talents at spinning records or calling out haters, Luxe Posh is the Queen of the local club scene.
Reese McHenry: In the decade that has passed since McHenry suffered multiple strokes, the former Dirty Little Heaters frontwoman has somehow become an even more powerful presence behind the mic. If any performance truly rawks this festival, this will be the one.
Blue Cactus: This duo may usually be found categorized under the Americana umbrella, but make no mistake about it: they are country music. While their outfits scream kitsch, their sound is pure Nashville gold.
Emily Musolino: A singer-songwriter who doesn’t waste time or energy on projects that aren’t worthy of an effort. The owner/operator of Durham’s Blue Moose Studios, she helped create a collective for female artists, all the while crafting one of the best albums to be released by a local artist this year in The Vault.
Kamara Thomas: To call Thomas a mere songwriter is to downplay the sheer storytelling talents exhibited by the performer. As likely to craft a song reminiscent of 70s cosmic-country as today’s Americana sound, Thomas is a talent that points toward a future where she may be performing larger stages than just those found within the Triangle, so catch her while you can.