The Ann Arbor Folk Festival is celebrating 40 years with a killer lineup stacked with lady power. Here are five acts that you won't want to miss if you're heading to the fest.
The former Rilo Kiley lead singer and general queen of indie rock, Jenny Lewis, is quite possibly the most intriguing artist on this lineup. She hasn't released any new music since 2014's The Voyager. Last year, Lewis did a slew of shows celebrating the 10th anniversary of her first solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, but this upcoming show doesn't seem to be tied with the past anniversary shows. Who knows what we are going to get when Lewis takes the stage. Maybe some new tunes? Maybe she'll dig deep into the Rilo Kiley catalog? We can't wait to find out.
When Kacey Musgraves first hit the scene, she was following the release of one of the best country debuts in quite some time. Her music was the opposite of what the Carrie Underwoods of the country music industry were doing: making actual twangy country songs. And songs like "Follow Your Arrow" and "Merry Go Round" brought a progressiveness that is often not seen in country music too. Instead of singing about chugging beers, Musgraves sings about equality and smoking weed.
We tend to have a soft spot for Margo Price since she's signed to Jack White's Third Man Records, but this Midwest-born country singer is also breaking the norm like Musgraves. Price sounds more folk than country, but it's important to remember that "alt-country" artists like Price and Musgraves are just playing what used to be considered actual country. Price's lyrics tell of harrowing experiences growing up poor, but there is also so much love and fierceness in her voice that it softens the blow. Price's debut album, Midwest Farmer's Daughter, released in March, made her a critical darling, and we just can't wait to see what kind of show she puts on — plus, the girl loves herself some whiskey.
C'mon, it's the Indigo Girls. Nothing says "fighting the man" like this Grammy Award-winning folk duo, consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. They'll be fresh off a performance in Washington, D.C., at the Women's March, so expect them to be fired up and ready to resist. We are ready.
The best part of the folk festival is that is straddles so many different genres. Valerie June, for instance, is a blues and gospel singer, but her voice melts into this folk umbrella of country and indie. Hailing from Memphis, June melds her bluesy roots with bluegrass twang — you can't help but stomp your foot along. She also has a new album coming out this year, so expect some new tunes.
Starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Jan. 28; Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor; theark.org; tickets are $37.50-$50 for a single night and $67.50-$90 for two nights.