Luther Dickinson

28th Roots Of American Music Festival at Lincoln Center

PROLOGUE: Lincoln Center wrapped up their 2011 'Out Of Doors' season with its 2-day Roots of American Music Festival, co-produced with Spike Barkin.  One of the best things about being in NYC in the summer is all the fantastic free music.  Summer Stage, River To River Festival, Celebrate Brooklyn, etc. are all great institutions. But pound for pound, Lincoln Center Out of Doors is by far the most varied, challenging, inclusive, multi-cultural, multidisciplinary and rewarding of the bunch. AND it is ALL COMPLETELY FREE (many of the other festivals reserve the best acts for ticketed fundraiser shows). After a typical good (and long) day at LCOOD, you feel as if you have just taken a great college course where your ideas about music are reshaped, re-contextualized, and made more exciting many times over. While the aforementioned summer series' fill the calendar with sure-fire crowd pleasers and 'it'-bands, Lincoln Center's public programming, helmed by Bill Bragin and Jill Sternheimer, plays to a higher musical intelligence. If some shows fail, it's because a risk was taken, not because the choice was too obvious.  So thanks for filling my head, heart and eyes with some wonderful experiences this summer.

I shot a bunch of film there this year that will take a little time to sort and edit. But with all things worthwhile, I think there will be a greater value in that than the following day's hyperventilating blog post. (which I did as well, see the Girl Group review on

Photos and commentary (taken from my tweets from that day)

"Don't miss the greatest conglomeration of curiosities gathered under one tent..." (Jim Dickinson, 'Oh How She Dances' )

Sid Selvedge and Sons of Mud-Boy (Cody and Luther Dickinson): shambly, rambly, shaky and beautiful... stirring up winds and strange delta ju ju on 'Goin' to Brownsville'. Sleepy John and Furry in the metaphysical house.

Abigail Washburn is as gifted and innovative as any 'indie-folk' outfit I can think of. probably better. #cantfakethefolk

Ebony Hilbillies taking 'old-school' to a whole 'nuther level. #bigfatdaddy Barry Harris in da house too.

Smokin cigarettes and watchin' Captain...Kangaroo... (with Dailey & Vincent)

Love it when a music legend will still ham it up for a photo. Something sweet about it, or showmanly, or both. #sonnyburgess

Hayden Thompson still cuts an impressive figure...

Cowboy Jack Clement is certainly the smartest man in the room, although he wouldn't want you to know it. #genius

Rudy 'Tutti' Grayzell - no words neccesary

Marty Stuart's tele has a whole separate tele body bolted onto the back of it. #TWAAAANG

Rapt audience as Marty Stuart plays Johnny Cash's lost guitar on 'Dark as a Dungeon', another magical LC Out of Doors moment.

[on a roll of film, more to come...]

--- Complete Gallery Here ---