We’re still recovering from the Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA this past weekend. Two and a half days and three stages of pure, unadulterated music at the Greenfield Community College. It was… draining, yes. But certainly worthwhile.

So as tired as this ragged body may be, we hope y’all give us some leeway with our first day of the GRF post-coverage. We’re not going to be graceful, organized, or even coherent. But we will have pictures! (And all pictures (c) Matthew Keefer.)

Pictures like this one, of jazz/funk master Charles Neville.

Charles Neville, in “more cowbell” mode.

One of the covers he and his band played, we swear, it too us two hours to place it. Jazz? Yes definitely jazz. Freddie Hubbard? Gotta be, right? Not Miles “The Fusion” Davis… wait…

It was actually by The Meters, “Cissy Strut.” For those of you not in the know about The Meters, they’re one of the most sampled bands EVER, and basically no one (but musicians) know who they are. Mega props to Mr. Charles Neville for starting off the festival with some classic New Orleans funk. Much appreciated (even though it took forever to remember who wrote it).

We spent most of our day at the main stage, and have to give our hats off to another fantastic cover, “Up on Cripple Creek.” This one we recognized right away, The Band, and those hats off our over-hatted head go off to Dustbowl Revival, straight out of sunny ole Venice, CA. Actually, we didn’t wear a hat that day.

Liz Beebe and…

…Zach Lupetin of Dustbowl Revival.


Dustbowl Revival is a fairly large bluegrass band – eight-piece – and we have to say, they really enjoy their fans. They played Friday and Saturday, and always seemed to be around the Merch’ tent signing CDs and records both days.You can’t be a band without fans, y’know.

Next up on the main stage was NRBQ – aka New Rhythm and Blues Quintet – aka New Rhythm and Blues really-Sextet – there were six of them, alright. We felt keyboardist and original founding member Terry Adams was the most fun to photograph:

Terry Adams of NRBQ.

They play a honky-tonk style of rock, and date themselves back to the 60s. They opened for the first Green River Festival thirty years ago, and it’s certainly impressive (and good luck) to get them back again on the festival’s big Anniversary. NRBQ was fun, enjoyable, and fresh.

But the night drew on, and we found ourselves waiting for the final main-stage act. It was getting late – past 9pm already – and we were definitely fading. But thankfully we stuck it out, for as enjoyable as it was to watch Terry Adams tickle those (electronic) ivories, the definite winner of the festival for the “Most Enjoyable to Photograph” award goes to Peter Wolf, with his Midnight Travelers. Here’s a more visual reason for it:

Peter Wolf. Not Peter and the Wolf, just one person.

Mr. Wolf, in addition to having a ridiculously cool name, has a ridiculously cool stage presence. Which is to say: he’s all over the stage. A definitely showman, Wolf oozes the kind of stamina and dance moves (one can ooze those, right?) that you wouldn’t expect from an old man, except maybe from Mick Jagger. He’s got the moves, too. Here, we’ve got to offer one more photo (he was too fun to photograph):

…and another of Peter Wolf.

And while we didn’t catch the whole of his performance – which was scheduled to past 10 – we did appreciate the fun and joy he brought to that late-night audience. Bravo, congrats, and balloons to you, sir.

Specifically, this kind of balloon:

The mainstay of the GRF.

The original Green River Festival started off as a Hot Air Balloon festival (we chatted up an old fogey driving the bus), and while the weather wasn’t wholly conducive to hot air ballooning on Friday – or Saturday, or definitely not Sunday – a few people were able to get their rides in.

We thought that history interesting to a now-music festival that brings in the like of Dawes and Shakey Graves and other indies and locals, and while we were strapped for cash (and no, did not partake of the ballooning), here’s to hoping next year’s weather will allow a bit more of the original intention, though we certainly did appreciate the groovy folk music about.

We’ll catch you a little later for this week for Saturday, a ridiculous and tiring and long (and awesome) Saturday of music and Amy Helm and rain.


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