Mavericks & bluegrass highlight Rhythm & Roots Festival

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The three-day (and night) Rhythm and Roots Festival opened Friday afternoon with the granddaddy of Zydeco, Jeffrey Broussard and his Creole Cowboys, and closed late Sunday evening with one of the newer bluegrass-influenced bands, Railroad Earth, with a lot of great rhythm and roots music in between.

I remember the early days of Rhythm and Roots, when they were called Cajun and Bluegrass Festivals, and held on a hillside in Escoheag. The legendary Del McCoury led the greatest bluegrass band in the country. Del’s two sons now headline the Travelin’ McCourys, the best bluegrass band currently on the scene and winners of this year’s Grammy for best bluegrass album.

Saturday and Sunday were also perfect weather days and the crowds were huge, enjoying a wide variety of roots music from as near as Westerly’s Knickerbocker All Stars to Australia’s Hal Fritz and Cara.

The highlight of the festival for me was The Mavericks, who came on stage Saturday night in grand fashion, adding power and zest to their 30-year-old hit, “All You Ever Do is Put Me Down,” getting the thousands of festival goers on their feet, where they remained for over an hour and a half.

Once again, Chuck Wentworth showed Rhode Island how to put on a festival with all the bells and whistles.

What am I doing next Labor Day weekend? See you at Ninigret Park.

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