This year Folk Alliance International celebrated 30 years of making folk music magic happen. This year started out with the International Folk Music Awards. This year also started on Valentine's Day; what could be better then to declare our love of folk then to gather as a community to play music, network, create friendships, and grow our music craft. There are three main components to Folk Alliance. 1. Official Showcases. Ten stages with 30 minute sets featuring some amazing musicians. 2. On three floors of the hotel after the official showcases are the private showcases. Room after room on the floors are filled with bands playing short sets of music. The last sets start at 3:30 in the morning. 3. Education is another aspect this conference with lots of workshops on all kinds of topics.
After the Music Awards on Wednesday, people headed back to the Westin Crown Center for the private showcases.
I first caught Them Couley Boys in the lobby. A fast moving bluegrass band.
Next up I saw Ed Romanoff (New York, NY). Ed's voice has a soothing quality. He paints pictures with his words.
Next up, a Michigan favorite, The Accidentals (Traverse City, MI), are a toe tapping, upbeat band. Even in a small hotel room you can feel the energy level turn up. This band was one of I Love KC Music's FAI favorites. Yahoo Music described them as one of the top ten bands to watch in 2017.
Olivia Fox (Kansas City) followed with their smooth harmonies, folky vocals, and a with a danceable beat. I Love KC Music cannot get enough of this band.
Making Movies packed into a little room and played some songs with Ensemble Ibérica. Seeing them in a more intimate setting shed a new light on their music-with the guitars turned down a little, the percussion got to shine. When they played with Ensemble Ibérica, their music went from a rock feel to a thing of beauty.
Elena and Los Fulanos (Washington, D.C.) plays bilingual folk rock.
The Matchsellers (Kansas City/Warsaw, IN) played some songs off their newest album, Bluegrastronauts with Betsey Mae. This upbeat bluegrass band plays imaginative, quirky songs with an old time feel.
Ordinary Elephant, playing on a high of just having won the folk artist of the year at the International Folk Music Awards played a sweet set.
Ivy Roots (Kansas City), has one of those voices that has you hanging one every word and her smile while she plays lights up the room. Looking around the room you can see the joy catching. Ivy Roots plays a mix of soul, folk, and R and B.
A typical lobby scene is to find musicians making friends and making music together.