WILLI CARLISLE is a poet and a folk singer for the people, but his extraordinary gift for turning a phrase isn’t about high falutin’ pontificatin’; it’s about looking out for one another and connecting through our shared human condition. Born and raised on the Midwestern plains, Carlisle is a product of the punk to folk music pipeline that’s long fueled frustrated young men looking to resist. After falling for the rich ballads and tunes of the Ozarks, where he now lives, he began examining the full spectrum of American musical history. This insatiable stylistic diversity is obvious in his wildly raucous live performances, where songs range from sardonic trucker-ballads like “Vanlife” to the heartbreaking queer waltz “Life on the Fence,” to an existential talkin’ blues about a panic attack in Walmart’s aisle five. With guitar, fiddle, button-box, banjo, harmonicas, rhythm-bones, and Willi’s booming baritone, this is bonafide populist folk music in the tradition of cowboys, frontier fiddlers, and tall-tale tellers. Carlisle recognizes that the only thing holding us back from greatness is each other. With a quick wit and big sing-alongs, these folksongs bring us a step closer to breaking down our divides. His latest album Peculiar, Missouri captures Carlisle’s impressive range as a songwriter and musician.
JAIMEE HARRIS‘s sophomore effort Boomerang Town marks a bold step forward for this country-folk-leaning singer-songwriter. It is an arresting, ambitious song-cycle that explores the generational arc of family, the stranglehold of addiction, and the fragile ties that bind us together as Americans.
Harris began cultivating Boomerang Town in 2016, a time of great loss for many in the Americana community, with the songwriter losing several musicians close to her. A shift in the nation’s political landscape had ushered in a new level of cultural polarization and for someone who grew up in a small town outside of Waco, Texas, Harris believed the values instilled by her parents were not entirely in line with how many were viewing, and vilifying, Christians. As a person in recovery, Harris has had to re-evaluate her own connection to faith and find strength in a higher power. It was from the intersection of these social, personal, and political currents that the album was born.
While themes of addiction and grief permeate sections of the record, it echoes hope in the face of the darkness. Boomerang Town understands that love and grief are two sides of the same coin.
Join us at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa’s Promenade Ballroom for the afterparty, where PILGRIM will take the Horton Records Stage. Front man Beau Roberson is a gifted songwriter with powerhouse vocals that are a perfect match for his profound lyrics. Each song is a perfectly crafted musical short story waiting to unfold. His band of Tulsa musician brothers are an integral part of the aural journey, maximizing the impact of each note and each song. Like the best music, this is difficult to fit into the tight confines of any one genre. But make no mistake, this is next-level stuff. Recommended if you like Wilco, JJ Grey & Mofro, Nathaniel Rateliff or Shinyribs.
Register now to join us for this performance as well as dozens of other sessions featuring keynotes, artist conversations, roundtable discussions, and much more. Switchyard will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa, which has made a special rate available for festival attendees.