Review by Fred Rudofsky
The two-hour drive to Massachusetts for Day Two of the 27th annual Green River Festival, held at Greenfield Community College, goes by in a blur. Sunday’s crowd appears to be as large as the one the day before, and the temperature feels just as hot, too.
I missed Milton, the duo I had seen open for Chris Smither earlier in the month at Club Helsinki, so I head down to the Yonder Stage to catch a a few songs by the Sun Parade. A five-piece band, they mix acoustic and electric sounds, and it’s safe to assume they probably count Big Star as an influence. “I’m Still Here Till We Can Work It Out” and “Molly” sound decent, but I’m not feeling compelled to stick around – indifference, hunger and thirst are kicking in.
At the Main Stage is Heather Maloney, a singer-songwriter who appears to have some fans in the audience given the reception she and her band get. I try to give her a listen, but her voice has more ticks than a deer in summer. Unimpressed, I take a walk over to a hamburger stand to sate the growling in my gut and rejuvenate in the shade of some trees near the festival entrance.
The music of Louisiana, fortunately, is well represented in the Yonder Stage, so I slug down some water and head on over. Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole have a couple of hundred music lovers two-stepping and waltzing despite the mid-afternoon heat. Watson, age 29 but a seasoned musician, alternates between fiddle and accordion, and his sound draws inspiration from pioneers such as Dennis McGhee, Clifton Chenier, Boozoo Chavis. The band can boogie, too, and the crowd’s energy feeds right back to stage. Lyrics sung in English and Creole French blur together, and the thought of announcing the song titles seems secondary to Watson’s goal of keeping that hypnotic groove going…