Steve Earle & the Dukes, Rodney Crowell, Iris DeMent, Graham Nash and Gretchen Peters headline Perth’s Southern Fried Festival of American roots music from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 July.
As well as these main stage gigs in Perth Concert Hall, there are afternoon gigs in Perth Theatre with Blue Rose Code, The Bevvy Sisters, Darrell Scott, Amythyst Kiah and more. The Salutation Hotel once again hosts late shows after the main stage gigs on Thursday 26, Friday 27 and Saturday 28 July.
Even without buying tickets, there are still several ways to enjoy the Southern Fried Festival atmosphere with free outdoor and acoustic stages and a series of fringe events at venues across the city over the weekend.
Compered by Bruce Fummey, the Southern Fried Outdoor Stage shines a light on the vast spread of American roots music, showcasing the best acts from home and abroad. It opens on Perth Concert Hall Plaza at 5pm on Friday 27 July with 50’s and 60’s inspired country music and bluegrass from Lewis’s The Tumbling Souls. Dancing fiddler Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys mix up country, bluegrass and the traditions of Scotland filtered through their home of Prince Edward Island in Canada at 6pm.
Outdoor Stage openers on Saturday 28 July at 1pm are the young musicians, singers and songwriters from Southern Fried Rock Shop. Perthshire institution, electric blues band Wolftrain take to the stage at 2pm and Bobby King & The Kingfishers get the party started with some sizzling rock’n’roll and rockabilly at 3pm. Perth’s own The Revivals, fronted by Ian Hutchison combine classic rock with a rootsy undercurrent at 4pm. At 5pm, one of the Scottish music scene’s hidden treasures, The Strange Blue Dreams perform dramatic pop, gypsy swing, skiffle, doo-wop and ballads from the music hall to the jet-age. Featuring some of Perthshire’s very finest acoustic musicians, Rancho Rebop & the Full Moon Howlers close the stage at 6pm with their own infectious blend of good-time bluegrass, country, blues and western swing.
More talented young people from the Southern Fried Rock Shop open the Outdoor Stage on Sunday 29 July at 1pm. Dundee’s Boogalusa deliver their uptempo, get-up-and-dance take on rootsy swampland swing inspired by Louisiana Cajun and zydeco, seasoned with reggae, African, Irish and Ska at 2pm. Influenced by folk singer-songwriters like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan as well as alternative country artists such as Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, The Felice Brothers and Ryan Adams, Glasgow sextet James Edwyn & the Borrowed Band take to the stage at 3pm. At 4pm, local heroes Bohemian Monk Machine, a fiercely talented five-piece band drawing inspiration from funk, soul, psychedelia, fusion and other genres perform. Anton & The Colts combine the pristine vocal harmonies of country and bluegrass, raucous bluesy guitars and the tight swinging rhythms of classic soul and funk topped with singer Anton’s sweet smoky growl at 5pm. At 6pm The Daddy Naggins unite five powerful voices for rip-roaring instrumentals, traditional bluegrass classics, folk songs and well-known modern covers.
This year the Southern Fried Festival’s John Ross HiFi Acoustic Stage moves to Perth Theatre’s brand-new Joan Knight Studio. Compered by Roberto Cassani, it opens at 1.30pm on Saturday 28 July with one of the UK’s most talked about Americana acts, talented duo Worry Dolls. Perth-born Mackie Mackintosh aka Son of the Chief, whose debut solo album is one of the best Americana records of the year so far is on stage at 2.30pm. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Eli West combines old and new, folk and jazz and vocal and instrumental in a spell binding set at 3.30pm. Seamless vocal harmonies from The Wandering Hearts are at 4.30pm. Closing the Acoustic Stage at 5.30pm, multi-award-winning Americana artist, Meaghan Blanchard is widely regarded as one of Canada’s finest songwriters.
Sunday’s Acoustic Stage opens at 1.30pm in Perth Theatre with dynamic folk, soul and Americana from Fife’s The Coaltown Daisies. Glasgow songwriter Martha L Healy mixes old time country with modern influences at 2.30pm. Lucas & King, two massively talented musicians who pull influences from 60's pop, blues and country roots flavours perform at 3.30pm. Wesley Randolph Eader embraces a broad range of American roots music including country ballads, bluegrass stompers, talking blues and old-time gospel camp tunes at 4.30pm. The Grahams close the stage at 5.30pm.
Southern Fried favourite Daniel Meade is joined by The Tumbling Souls for a free evening gig in the Twa Tams on Friday 27 July. Americana folk-rock group The Grahams play a free evening gig in The Green Room on Sunday 29 July along with Lucas & King and Wesley Randolph Eader.
Now a festival tradition, the retro all-dayer Rock’N’Roll Rendezvous moves to a new home at The Green Room and will run from 2pm til late on Saturday 28 July. It features four great live bands – The Shiverin’ Sheiks, Bobby King & The Kingfishers, The Diablos and The Groove Diggers – alongside some of the top DJ’s from Scotlands rockin’ scene – Gordon Koolsville, Tojo and Neil Flipsville.
Andy Shearer, Festival director said:
“The overall line-up for Southern Fried once again demonstrates the rude health of the UK’s own homegrown Americana scene and we’re delighted to partner with the fast-growing Americana Music Association UK to offer places to five of their member acts: Lucas & King, Son of the Chief, James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band, Anton & The Colts and The Coaltown Daisies.”
Music fans can play their part in the Southern Fried Festival by joining the Southern Fried Voices choir. Following regular rehearsals throughout July, Southern Fried Voices will join Blue Rose Code and The Bevvy Sisters in an afternoon performance at Perth Theatre. Young musicians can sign up to the Southern Fried Rockshop, a week of music-making and workshops with top songwriters and performers for ages 13 – 17. Red Pine Timber Co.’s Gav Munro hosts the Southern Fried Open Mic from 2pm on Sunday 29 July.
Three Southern Fried stars present their favourite Classic Americana albums in John Ross Hi-Fi at 3pm, on Friday 27 July and 11am on Saturday and Sunday 28 and 29 July. An increasingly popular part of the programme Yola Carter, Gretchen Peters and Amythyst Kiah will talk about their chosen record before it’s played on vinyl through a state-of-the-art sound system.
As always, festival-goers can fuel up with a lip-smacking selection of genuine Southern Fried soul food with highlights from this year’s menu including the festival’s traditional special recipe for fried chicken, pecan crusted catfish, country baked ham with "red eye" gravy, key lime pie and red velvet cake.
Visit www.southernfriedfestival.co.uk for tickets and info.