by Grant Gilmore
The Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts is right around the corner, to be held August 5th-7th. Its impressive slate of live performances will not disappoint!
Opening the festival in the Bowl on Friday at 6 pm is Aubrie Sellers, daughter of country singer-songwriter Lee Ann Womack. Don’t expect your classic country with Aubrie, as she brings a fresh sound to the genre with her distinctive garage country rock. Up next on Friday at 8 pm is legendary country group Asleep at the Wheel. Ray Benson founded Asleep at the Wheel in Paw Paw, West Virginia 46 years ago. Now based in Austin, Texas, the band holds 10 Grammy awards, 20 studio albums, and 20 singles on the Billboard country charts with over 1.5 million records sold. Grammy Award-winning Still The King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys is the band’s most recent release and marks their third full-length Bob Wills tribute album. Between those Texas twin fiddles and boogie piano, you can bet you’ll be dancin’ and swingin’ all night long when the Wheel rolls into town! Saturday kicks things off Saturday at 12pm in the Bowl with indie folk rockers Hollow Wood from Boise, Idaho. If The Lumineers are your thing, then these youngsters will provide you their unique take on this genre of music. Following them at 1:30pm will be the fun loving ethnic funk of Ghana, Africa’s own Paa Kow with band full of accomplished musicians complimenting some of the best drumming you will ever hear. Joshua James from Salt Lake City hits the stage next at 3 pm with an Americana sound that is much more than what you might expect. Whether he is in the studio recording an entire album of Modest Mouse covers, or searching deep inside to unearth some of the most introspective music around, you can bet Joshua will be bringing an amazing set of music ranging from straight up gospel inspired rock to a selection of beautifully crafted ballads. Main Stage Dance has moved from Friday evening to its new slot at 4:30pm on Saturday. Following that performance at 6pm is none other than James McMurtry. His new album and first studio release in six years, Complicated Game, has been critically acclaimed by media icons Rolling Stone, Paste, Pop Matters, and many more as one of the best albums of this year and even decade. Headlining Saturday night is the energetic Sonny Knight and the Lakers with their booty shaking blues, funk, and soul from Minneapolis. This is a show not to be missed! Opening Sunday’s performances at 12pm is the Montana Jazz Collective, featuring some of the best musicians from our great state. Next up at 1:30pm was to be Ethan Tucker, but confirmation of his appearence as of press time has not been confirmed. If a replacement is necessary, rest assured it will be with another great act. Headlining Sunday afternoon are Hard Working Americans. Todd Snider fronts an all-star lineup featuring Dave Schools (bass) and Derek Trucks (drums) from Widespread Panic, Neal Casal (guitar) from Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood, Chad Staehly (keys) of Great American Taxi, and Jesse Aycock (pedal steel). Their new album has been hailed as one of the best of our generation. The weekend music lineup is a stark departure from recent years, with an impressive slate of touring acts and performers. Get tickets now for a mere $20 at Cactus Records and various other outlets. This admission will guarantee an entire weekend of excellent music. •