VIDEO: Lil’ Smokies, Drunken Hearts, Accidentals at Four Corners Folk Fest

The 22nd Annual Four Corners Folk Festival is just three weeks away, taking place here in Pagosa Springs on Reservoir Hill Park September 1-3. Thousands of people from the Four Corners region and beyond will stream into the town to enjoy 3 days of live musical performers from internationally touring musicians. This year’s lineup includes Los Lobos, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, The Wood Brothers, Sarah Jarosz, The East Pointers, John Fullbright, We Banjo 3, Quiles & Cloud, Session Americana, Freddy & Francine, Ghost of Paul Revere, the FY5 Band…

…and this week’s featured artists: The Lil’ Smokies… The Accidentals… and The Drunken Hearts.

The Lil’ Smokies
With their roots submerged in the thick buttery mud of traditional bluegrass, The Lil’ Smokies have sonically blossomed into a leading player in the progressive acoustic sphere, creating a new and wholly unique, melody driven sound of their own. The quintet, from Missoula, MT, has been hard at work, writing, touring and playing to an ever-growing fan base for the past 7 years. The fruits of their labor recently culminating with wins at the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Momentum Award for Best Band and at the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass festival band competition. In 2013 the band also won The Northwest String Summit Band Competition. With a unique blend of traditional bluegrass, newgrass, innumerable unique originals, sheer raw energy, and exquisite musicianship, The Lil’ Smokies weave seamlessly through genres, leaving behind melodies you’ll be singing to yourself for days and a jaw you’ll have to pick up off the floor.

 

The Lil’ Smokies have become festival favorites coast to coast with highlights including Delfest, Pagosa Folk N’ Bluegrass, ROMP Fest, Hangtown Halloween, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Northwest String Summit, Targhee Bluegrass Festival and many more. This five-piece bluegrass ensemble features Andy Dunnigan (dobro), Scott Parker (upright bass), Matt Cornette (banjo), Jake Simpson (fiddle) and Matt Rieger (guitar).

Their closing set on Friday, September 1 at 7:00pm marks The Smokies’ first appearance at The Four Corners Folk Festival. They’ll follow it up with a 1:45pm set on Sunday, September 3.

The Drunken Hearts
From their humble inception as an acoustic trio, The Drunken Hearts have grown into an electric five-piece that is captivating audiences across the country. In those few years, the Colorado-based group has managed to make a name for itself in a state that is known for producing and cultivating world-class music. The band fearlessly bottles a tempestuous, yet honest, brand of American music — infusing spirited vocals with electric and acoustic instruments, and crafting thoughtful songs that are resonating with crowds everywhere.

Lead singer and acoustic guitarist, Andrew McConathy, knew the band needed to expand musically to satisfy his growing songbook of material. With their latest release, Love & Thirst, the band’s journey is clear and truthful, letting the listener in beneath the love and loss that has shaped the band and its members.

 

Following the 2016 release of Love & Thirst, the band toured the country from coast-to-coast, with stops at famed venues and festivals, such as Electric Forest, Vertex, Fayetteville Roots Fest, Hangtown Music Festival, and the band’s own YarmonyGrass, among others. Very much in their element on the festival scene, Tyra Sutak (Elevation Outdoors Magazine) described her experience as being “Magnetic. It’s one of the only words my buddy and I could agree on to describe the feeling of the first time we caught Colorado-based band, The Drunken Hearts, live.”

The band will soon be releasing a new album, The Prize, and is touring extensively across the nation. They will play the festival’s main stage on Friday, September 1 at 3:30pm.

The Accidentals
Named among Yahoo Music’s “Top 10 Bands to Watch in 2017,” The Accidentals’ adventure began in their hometown of Traverse City, MI, when Katie Larson, a sophomore cellist, and Sav Buist, a junior violinist, were paired for a high school orchestra event. The gifted young musicians became fast friends and before long, bandmates. Having both grown up in musical families with professional pianists for fathers and vocalists for mothers, their shared influences bounced between classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, alt-rock, and the obscure. In 2014, Michael Dause officially joined the group as a percussionist/drummer.

 

The past five years have seen The Accidentals perform more than a thousand live shows, including headline dates, festival sets, and shared stages along such like-minded acts as Martin Sexton, Brandi Carlile, Andrew Bird, The Wailers, Joan Baez and others. 2015 saw the band embark on their first full-scale national tour, funded in part by an Indiegogo ‘online garage sale.” That year’s SXSW debut saw them hailed by Billboard for “displaying a genre-hopping range of influences and some smart songwriting skills to go with their abundant musical chops.”

The Accidentals have conjured a truly one of its kind sound and vision, booming with free-thinking musicality, wisdom, and an understanding that growth is a process, not something that happens overnight. The Accidentals are already moving forward on their amazing journey, rolling down the windows on an open road towards someplace that’s both true and transcendent.

Don’t miss The Accidentals’ only festival set on Friday, September 1 at 5:00 PM.

The Four Corners Folk Festival is produced by FolkWest, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is funded in part with a grant from Colorado Creative Industries. Learn more at their website.

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Crista Munro

As Executive Director of the Colorado non-profit music organization FolkWest, Crista Munro manages marketing, grant-writing, sales, sponsorships and donor relations... among other duties.