No Country’s Guide to Pilgrimage Fest 2015 | Saturday Preview Pt. 1

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We first told you about the inaugural Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival back in April, and have kept you filled in as the lineup expanded in subsequent months, quickly becoming Middle Tennessee’s can’t-miss fall event. Set to take place Sept. 26 & 27 at the Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin, TN, Pilgrimage is exactly the type of fest we’ve been hoping to attract in the Nashville area for years, and we couldn’t be more excited for this weekend’s bill, which boasts Wilco, Weezer, Willie Nelson, Cage The Elephant, Steven Tyler, and many more! In addition to music, Pilgrimage will showcase the best of the region with local food, drink, and art, and is committed to creating a family friendly environment, complete with early start and ending times, a kid’s stage, and more. For those looking to keep the fun going late, the fest will also sponsor official after parties, with low admission prices for Pilgrimage ticket holders.

Single day and weekend passes are still available here, and if you’ve been counting down the days like we have, then you already know it’s sure to be a blast (and, undoubtedly, the first of many great years for this stellar new event). To help you prepare to make the first Pilgrimage, we’ve put together a weekend guide with more information and song previews of every single act, ordered by performance time. Below, check out part one of our rundown of Saturday’s lineup!

STEVIE WOODWARD

HQ: Nashville, TN

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Saturday | Hard Rock Harpeth River | 10:30am

What Stevie Woodward brings to the music world isn’t something that can be developed, mimicked, or coached; it’s something she was born with. Being a self-taught guitarist, her natural ability to create entrancing melodies and combine them with relatable lyrics only goes to show that her God given ability of music was by no mistake. Combining elements of country, rock, and blues, her musical inspirations Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen all taught her that the most important thing about being an artist is when it comes to your music originality is key.

Priding herself on non-conformity in regards to her music, Stevie identifies that like her idols, what makes her a one-of-a-kind artist is that she is able to leave a lasting impression on anyone who hears her music. Because of the display of her commitment to keeping her music pure, unique, and original, Stevie has won numerous songwriting competitions across the region and has had the opportunity to play original songs across the region alongside some of the best musicians. While Stevie calls Myrtle Beach, SC home, she moved to Nashville, TN to further her music, and since the decision to do so has shown to be beneficial as her career continues to thrive in the heart of Music City. [via]

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KINGFISH

HQ: Friars Point, MS

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Saturday | Pilgrimage Midnight Sun | 10:45am

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram was born to Princess Pride Ingram and Christopher Ingram in 1999. Exposed to the rich Gospel music emanating from his family’s church, combined with the Blues he heard being played by musicians in his Delta neighborhood, also learning at the Delta Blues Museum under the tutelage of Daddy Rich and Bill Howl – N – Madd Perry and being a cousin to the great and legendary Country music singer, Charlie Pride, Kingfish became a natural sponge of musical talent.

At the tender age of 6, Kingfish began playing the drums. Three years later at the age of 9, he took up the bass guitar. At the age of 11, he began playing lead guitar. By the age of 14, he had mastered all three instruments and has added vocals to his ever growing list of talents. Kingfish’s guitar influences run the gamut of the Blues from the Delta Blues of Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, and Lightnin’ Hopkins to the electric Blues of B.B. King, Albert King, Big Jack Johnson, Albert Collins, Freddie King, Lefty Dizz, Lucky Peterson, Little Jimmy King and Buddy Guy to the Blues Rock of Lance Lopez, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Allman Brothers, Jonny Lang, Steve Marriott, Prince, Michael Burks and so many others. Surprisingly at such a young age, he can play just like his idols and mentors and possesses the additional ability to create a Blues sound entirely his own. It is refreshing to see a young person return to his musical roots and master a genre of music that was created and was popular even before his grandparents’ generation and renew its popularity by breathing new life into the music.

Kingfish has shared the stage with household names such as Bob Margolin and Guitar Shorty and has played festivals and venues all over the southern region. He’s even opened for Buddy Guy! Even though he’s from the Delta, surrounded by all of its plantations and and he travels Highway 49 and Highway 61 on a regular basis, unlike many of his musical predecessors from Mississippi, Kingfish never had to pick cotton or sell his soul to the devil at the infamous Crossroads. Yet, this child prodigy’s soul is possessed with the feeling, passion and fire of the much older men who created the most important genre of American music, the Blues. [via]

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ELEL

HQ: Nashville, TN

ELEL. Photo by Matt Cairns.

Saturday | Fender Premium Audio Gold Record Road | 11:15am

Nashville 8-piece ELEL led by Ben Elkins, consists of two horns, drums, three keys , guitar, bass and whole lot of vocals. They released their debut, self-titled EP this spring, propelled by first single “40 Watt.”

ELEL was born from Ben meeting a girl named Eliska. Ben’s now wife softened his edges while introducing him to the likes of Beach House and Toro Y Moi. The softer influences on his life started coming out in his songwriting and production. Speaking on ELEL, Ben says “It’s the outcome of me producing music that risks leaving space and communicates emotion easily and softly.” This band represents a new start for its members, for a variety of reasons. Tied together by the bustling Nashville music scene but from an array of locations, ELEL includes Ben (Arkansas), Zach (Kentucky), Tim (Mississippi), Jo Jo (Brooklyn, NY), Alex (Pennsylvania), and life-long Nashvillians (so far) Frederick, and Stefan. According to Ben, “40 Watt is a big loud dance song about dancing with one other person in a little bitty house.” Look out for more new music soon. [via]

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GUTHRIE BROWN AND THE FAMILY TREE

HQ: Nashville, TN

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Saturday | Hard Rock Harpeth River | 11:45am

Guthrie Brown is a young buck, up and coming songwriter based out of Nashville TN. His songs paint pictures of wild western skies as well as colorful love stories. His songwriting is always expanding along with the sound of his band “The Family Tree,” in which there is indeed a family dynamic between Guthrie and back up singer/sister, Maddy Brown. Though the other band members, John McNally (Guitar), John Ogelby (Drums), and Will Honaker (Bass) are not blood related, the musical chemistry between the bunch is as dynamic as a family band. Guthrie Brown and the Family Tree have been a band since the summer of 2013. Guthrie first released an EP that was recorded in his bedroom of a small house in North Nashville in 2012. He went on to release a second EP with “The Family Tree” that was collectively produced by Stuart Mathis of (The Wallflowers, Lucinda Williams) and Trey Grey of (Ronnie Dunn). This EP was entitled Spirit of the Elk and can be found on Spotify and iTunes. [via]

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HOLLY WILLIAMS

HQ: Nashville, TN

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Saturday | Pilgrimage Midnight Sun | 12pm

Part of the key to Holly Williams’ success as a singer-songwriter is that it’s never been her mission to try and live up to the legacy cast by her famous and prolific father and grandfather – Hank Jr. and Sr., respectively – nor has she spent a lot of time trying to live it down. The respect that Holly has garnered as an artist over the course of many years spent building an international fan base, and the release of two acclaimed albums, 2004’s The Ones We Never Knew (Universal South) and 2009’s Here With Me (Mercury Records), has come on her own terms, based on her own sound. Indeed, to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a last name is just a last name.

The Highway finds the 31-year-old artist putting a distinctly personal spin on universal themes like love, loss, conflict, family and desire. The Highway is heavy with references to memories of simpler times and beloved relatives; ruminations on lives destroyed by addiction; our shared need to love and be loved; and an earnest longing for the road.

Holly spent nine months recording The Highway, which she self-financed and released independently. Just because she went independent on this one doesn’t mean she was by herself. Throughout the process, the Nashville-based songwriter was surrounded by a hyper-talented supporting cast, including co-producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars), her multi-instrumentalist husband Chris Coleman, bassist Glenn Worff (Mark Knopfler), pedal steel guru Dan Dugmore (James Taylor, Stevie Nicks), and friends like Dierks Bentley, Jakob Dylan, Jackson Browne and Gwyneth Paltrow who all make guest appearances on the record.

In addition to her music, Holly carries a fondness for fashion and haute homemaking, passions she channels into H. Audrey, her Nashville women’s boutique, and her lifestyle blog, The Afternoon Off. [via]

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SAINT MOTEL

HQ: Los Angeles, CA

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Saturday | Fender Premium Audio Gold Record Road | 12:30pm

Saint Motel was born around 2009, by film school classmates and long time friends A/J Jackson and Aaron Sharp.  Initially the two bonded over their shared love of music, like Imperial Teen and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd Movement, and their appreciation of obscurist cinema. After bringing Dak Lerdamornpong and Greg Erwin into the fold, the band released their debut EP ForPlay in 2009 and put their visually oriented talents to use by adding a certain element of spectacle to each performance.

In making their first full-length, Saint Motel again tapped their imagination by infusing some flashy exuberance into the album. After years of building an underground fan base in the States, Saint Motel took off for England in mid-2013, released “My Type” that August, and soon found themselves in the music-industry spotlight when the head of the BBC announced via Twitter that the song was destined for hit status.

Now at work on their second full-length album, Saint Motel are pushing forward with the loose yet deliberate experimentalism that propelled the making of My Type. “By the time we started working on the last EP, we’d all gotten tired of making chuggy, guitar-based rock, and our tastes were expanding more and more into other genres like jazz and electronica and soul,” says Sharp. Naming the Bar-Kays’ iconic instrumental piece “Soul Finger” as a one particular influence, Sharp notes that “the energy of that song is so incredible and you feel it so viscerally and we just thought, ‘We need to make music that makes people feel like that.”

But while soul, R&B, and funk music might have helped inspire Saint Motel’s own sound, it’s hard to pigeon hole them to any genre. “So much of why I love music has to do with that beautiful mystery of not knowing why I love music!  I’m constantly drawn to particular sounds—it could be a melody in a calypso song, a lyric in folk song, sometimes these little pieces hit you so hard and excite you and inspire you and you don’t even understand why,” says Jackson. “To us everything has potential, so we try it all.” [via]

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MADISEN WARD THE THE MAMA BEAR

HQ: Kansas City, KS

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Saturday | Hard Rock Harpeth River | 1:15pm

Real Bio: Mother/son group Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear consists of Madisen Ward; and Ruth Ward. They are a modern soulful/folk music duo. Performing mostly all original written music in various coffee houses, for anyone who will listen.

Fake Bio: Madisen Ward grew up in a haunted farmhouse in the late 1800s; surviving on only Robins eggs and cactus milk. He plays music mostly to forget about his rotten past as a blind matador. Ruthie ‘Mama Bear’ Ward was a 14th century opera singer; burning wicker chairs in the fire place of her living quarters. She only performs music to get revenge on the murderer of the Renaissance Era. [via]

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TRAMPLED BY TURTLES

HQ: Duluth, MN

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Saturday | Pilgrimage Midnight Sun | 1:30pm

Trampled By Turtles formed in 2003 in Duluth, Minnesota. From their beginnings on the Midwestern festival circuit, they have reached new heights with each album. The release of 2012’s Stars And Satellites saw the band play to more fans than ever, sell close to 100,000 albums, make their first national television appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman, and have their first concert feature, Live at First Avenue, broadcast on Palladia.

Last year’s Wild Animals found Trampled by Turtles working with a producer for the first time in four studio records. The band placed themselves in the capable hands of longtime Duluth, MN compatriot Alan Sparhawk of the band Low and engineer B.J. Burton (Poliça, Megafaun, Volcano Choir) who crafted a sonic landscape that was spatial and new at Cannon Falls, MN’s Pachyderm Studio (Nirvana, The Jayhawks).

Wild Animals is the sound of a band at the peak of their potential, strengthened from a decade together, winning some and losing some, but growing none-the-less. The album captures the intense nature that goes with being alive, melding the universal and the personal. [via]

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