The summer music festival isn’t over yet… when the “Outlaw Music Festival” came to town on Friday, the fact was that the parking lot (where many had their tailgates on) and Xfinity in Mansfield, Massachusetts. It became clear in the center (where many people were shaking). , September 16.
A subgenre of country music, outlaw country was first mentioned in the 1970s and represents the rebellious spirit of Nelson and the artists he traveled with, including Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Lucinda Williams. This genre shows the spirit of musicians seeking more artistic freedom in their work. Many people who call themselves outlaws present country music beyond how it is currently defined.
Fans young and old, and (although we have no empirical data to back it up) fans from across the political spectrum have come together under the Outlaw Country umbrella for a diverse line-up. Many in the crowd were longtime Willie Nelson fans, but some would have sworn they didn’t listen to country music. Whatever their feelings, it’s clear they were enjoying a late summer evening at the venue once known as the Great Woods.
Openers Particle Kid, Brittany Spencer and Larkin Poe got the party started for the early risers who were there for the 4pm start. We arrived at the end of Larkin Poe’s set, with plenty of time to watch the sister duo thump out some great tunes in the blues-rock tradition.
Then Billy Strings… what a force in live music. His ‘newgrass’ jam his band his approach to bluegrass revitalizes the genre (not really what it needed to be). Undoubtedly, he is bringing an enthusiastic new audience to bluegrass music.
Strings and his band blasted through a series of covers and originals, including the frenetic opening “Fire in My Tongue” and John Hartford’s cover of “All Fall Down.” The energy was pure jam his band, with each member of his crew playing solos throughout the set. He joined Nelson’s son Micah on a stunning closer, a cover of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.” It’s been said before and it’s true, if you get the chance go see Billy Strings!
Speaking of high-octane acts, Americana Music Award-winners Avett Brothers are best known for smashing tunes at their live shows. They stayed true to last night’s formation, saying, “Your life doesn’t change. By the elect.” Of course, their music is personal, not political. Brothers Scott and Seth write about their family, growing up in North Carolina, and the relationships that have come and gone over the years.
The highlight of the evening was when Seth Avett joined bassist Bob Crawford for a stunning version of Jim Croce’s “Operator,” which was recently part of the band’s setlist. At that moment, the audience, who hadn’t heard this song in years, was happily singing it. As with the recommendations here, don’t miss Avett when you’re back in town.
Willie Nelson was the original outlaw and, at 89, still causing a surprising amount of trouble. Strumming his legendary acoustic guitar, Trigger, Nelson sings the opening “Whiskey River,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Mommy Don’t Raise Your Baby To Be A Cowboy,” and “Bloody Mary Morning.” I sang my favorites such as ”
With the support of his son Micah and band members onstage, Nelson’s vibrant set featured reworked versions of his classics as well as several covers. Micah leads on the lyrical “Die When I’m High, Halfway to Heaven,” while Nelson joins the ensemble on stage to join the Closer’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” did.
Several more shows are scheduled for this season at the Xfinity Center. Click here for more information.
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