Aaron Lee Tasjan
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
San Francisco, Ca
October 8, 2017
Recorded by Daspyknows
Recorded from dead center 30 feet from stage
Schoeps MK4/RBox Tascam DR-2D 24 Bit 48K
Processed using Soundforge 11, resample, to 16bit 44.1K
TLH to convert to Flac
By the third day I am tired but still need to get there early to secure the spot.
I arrived at 6:45 just as the morning light was starting. We needed spots on 4
stages so made those stops first. I then put my chair down at Rooster stage so
I was ready for the Lampedusa set which I was looking forward to. Finally I
made it to Banjo Stage and found the tarp. I got set up early and was ready for
the Emmylou Harris soundcheck. This is the only time security is overbearing
because Emmylou Harris doesn't want pictures or video taken without her makeup.
She played parts of many songs telling the early morning crowd to come back
later for the full set. After the set finished there was about an hour until
the first band game on.
The Sons Of The Soul Revivers opened the show. They were a San Francisco Gospel
band that got the crowd moving early. I had never heard of them before but I
enjoyed the set.
"The Sons of The Soul Revivers
The gospel sensations have released an inspired album, LIVE! at Rancho Nicasio,
showcasing the band at its best. Led by Walter Morgan Jr., and his two brothers
Dwayne and James Morgan, they formed in the 1970s to continue the tradition that
their father, Walter Sr., and his brothers started with the original Soul Revivers
in the 1960s. Over the decades, The Sons of The Soul Revivers have performed with
a who�s who of gospel music."
Next up was Hot Tuna Electric. Something fitting about two former members of
Jefferson Airplane playing for free in Golden Gate Park on the 50th Anniversary of
the Summer of Love. This set brought out a good crowd to see these living legends
perform. They really wanted to play so they started a little early. For a bunch
of 70 year olds they can still bring it.
"Hot Tuna Electric
The name Hot Tuna invokes as many different moods and reactions as there are Hot
Tuna fans - millions of them. To some, Hot Tuna is a reminder of some wild and
happy times. To others, that name will forever be linked to their own discovery
of the power and depth of American blues and roots music. To newer fans, Hot Tuna
is a tight, masterful duo that is on the cutting edge of great music."
As soon as Hot Tuna ended I made my way through the crowd to the Rooster Stage and
found my tarp and chair. I would have prefered to see Dave Alvin and the Guilty
Ones but it was being recorded, no one was recording Aaron Lee Tasjan and I expected
a big crowd heading over for the Lampedusa set and beating the crowd was a good idea.
There were others on the tarp which was expected and fine. As long as we had space
for tapers and our friends it was all good. Aaron Lee Tasjan was ok. My friend said
the set reminded him of Neil Diamond. A few of the songs were good and a few I could
"Aaron Lee Tasjan
American singer-songwriter, guitarist and record producer, Tasjan is reported to have
his own distinct version of indie folk grit. Garret Woodward of the Smoky Mountain
News says, �Tasjan�s words are soaked in spilled whiskey, misunderstood tears and
dusty memories. Each number seeps into the cracks of your troubled soul.�
After the Aaron Lee Tasjan set ended waves of people appear for the Lampedusa set
which was made up of Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams and
Emmylou Harris. The day before Steve Earle hinted that Bob Weir was going to show up
too. Lampedusa is a touring benefit to raise money for refugees and refugee rights.
A cause that needs attention these days. Before the set started one of the guys on
the back of my tarp asked me to move because he couldn't see. I looked at him and
said you are sitting on my tarp, matbe you can move if you can't see. I was dead
center and wasn't moving. The set started with an inspired version of Refugee.
Each of the artists sang a song and a few songs in Bob Weir came out and watched on
the side of the stage. During the set we were getting buzzed by the jets from fleet
week. It was bad timing and at one point Steve Earle expressed his annoyance. Not
the first time and it won't be the last. He finally comes out and Emmylou Harris
moves to the side to make room. They play I know You Rider which was fun. After
the song Bob Weir and Emmylou Harris switch spots and is on stage for one more song.
Once the set ends I battle the crowds to get back in time for John Prine at the Banjo
"Lampedusa featuring Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Lucinda
Williams Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller & Lucinda Williams
are performing a special acoustic set for a cause close to the artists� hearts. This
gathering of Lampedusa is part of a series of shows that aim to raise awareness of
the 65 million displaced people around the world as a result of war, conflicts, and
I made it back with ten minutes to spare for John Prine. As Roger Waters said at
Desert Trip one year ago John Prine is a national treasure. I have seen him many
times at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and felt this was his best performance. I found it
interesting how many younger people made their way up to where we were for the set.
There were two teenage girls behind me who were big fans. It was interesting to see
the connection to some of the younger generation he has made.
Illinois native, singer/songwriter John Prine�s career spans 40+ years and encompasses
diverse music genres. With his wry sense of humor, sharp, incisive songwriting, and
endearingly offbeat perspective, he distinguishes himself as a true original. His
first official book, John Prine Beyond Words, is a songbook that curates selections
of favorite songs, photos and stories drawn from his catalog."
Finally the finale of the festival, Emmylou Harris. Before the set we got to hear
Warren Hellman's three daughter thank all those who helped make it possible. The
thank yous were heartfelt and the crowd expressed their gratitude to the family.
Their father Warren Hellman started this festival 17 years ago. After his passing
he put money in a trust to fund it for 10 years. Last year was the first time there
was not the traditional "should we do this again next year" and we all felt like we
might not have this special event. This year the crowd was asked and responded with
a Hell Yeah. Then Emmylou came out and sounded great. She put on a nice closing set
that the crowd enjoyed. At the conclusion there was the feeling of sadness that it was
over and also elation for having such a great time. I enjoyed seeing lots of old friends
and made some new ones. All in all I could not have asked for more.
Harris is known as much for her eloquently straightforward songwriting as for her
incomparably expressive singing. Admired through her career for her talent as an artist
and song connoisseur, Harris shook up country radio in the 1970s, and established herself
as the premiere songwriter of a generation. Few artists have achieved such honesty or
have revealed such maturity in their writing. Forty years into her career, Harris
continues to share the hard-earned wisdom that - hopefully if not inevitably - comes with
getting older, though she�s never stopped looking ahead. Also appearing as part of Lampedusa
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