Four Artists To Watch: Nelsonville 2019

May 8th, 2019

The best two weeks of the year are quickly approaching on my calendar. And I am stoked.

It kicks off on June 6th -- less than a month away -- I’m talking about Nelsonville Music Festival 2019, and if you don’t have your tickets, what are you doing?!

I hope to see you there, and more importantly, I hope to see you at these stages -- here’s the four acts, in my opinion, you simply must not miss:

1. Michael Hurley

A familiar face around Nelsonville, Michael Hurley is an absolute legend. The 77-year-old has been active since 1965, producing some of the best folk music in the world. A wise friend of mine, Ryan Homcy, recommended him to me a few Nelsonvilles ago, and had some really good advice: “If you haven’t gotten into his music by now, don’t even try. Just go, and witness his performance, and you won’t regret it.”

I haven’t regretted it for a second, and intend to catch every Michael Hurley set this year. Michael Hurley will play all four days, June 6th-9th.

2. Julia Jacklin

I keep forgetting Julia Jacklin is playing this year, and it’s a massive surprise every time I look up the lineup again, which reveals that she’s playing TWO SETS!!! I’m very excited… If you can’t tell.

Jacklin put out maybe my favorite album in February, called Crushing (I wrote a review here), and I am extremely amped to see her play live. Listen to the record if you haven’t already -- and don’t miss her performance on the 8th and/or 9th.

3. Todd Snider

In a similar vein to Michael Hurley, this 66-year old songwriter is an Athens, Ohio regular (both are, interestingly, based in Portland now).  Also a similarity with Hurley… If you haven’t dug into his 19 releases by now, you’re safe to just show up and listen to the man’s stories through song.

I encourage you to watch the video above -- Talkin’ Seattle Blues -- a song I always enjoy hearing at least once per Andymanathon.

4. Mavis Staples

If you don’t stick around on Sunday evening to see Mavis Staples, I don’t know if we can be friends. 

Just kidding, it’s not that serious… But it kind of is. 

Her new record, We Get By, is probably out by the time you read this (5/10). And it’s probably fantastic.

Let’s look back to just one lyric as an example of the way she poetically navigates this era’s intense social struggles on 2017’s If All I Was Was Black (embedded above): “When I say my life matters, you can say yours does, too... But I bet you never have to remind anyone to look at it from your point of view.”

 I’m thrilled to listen to this new record, and even more thrilled at an opportunity to see Mavis Staples again in person.


Hope to see you there, and if not, at Bonnaroo (more words coming next week about 'roo goals)!