10 days of free music + art

Pittsburgh, PAJune 5-14, 2015

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More Openers

This is the second in a two part series on the opening musical acts at this year’s Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Justin Townes Earle
Opening for Kris Kristofferson
Friday, June 11
Dollar Bank Stage at Point State Park

Violating the long-established rules of parent/child musical taste, Steve Earle plays rock-inflected country while his son, Justin Townes Earle, keeps things traditional. So it makes a sort of sense that Justin will be opening for Kris Kristofferson (though JTE is more traditional than Kristofferson ever was). To the casual listener, Earle’s music could be mistaken for something Bob Dylan would have listened to when he was a teenager. Remarkably, Earle’s fixation on old-timey folk feels unaffected. There’s something mysterious about how he can manage this, but most likely it lies in his sweet, unassuming baritone and casual-but-confident musical arrangements. His latest album, Midnight at the Movies, has drawn comparisons to an Edward Hopper painting. It’s something of an odd comparison, painters not typically being analogous to singer/songwriters, but listening to the album you realize how true it is. It’s about mood. Hopper’s late-night, pre-war depictions of lonely Americans positively dripped mood, and they find their musical counterparts in Earle’s songs.

Guggenheim Grotto
Opening for Patty Griffin
Sunday, June 13
Dollar Bank Stage at Point State Park

From the land of Guinness comes Guggenheim Grotto, a folk-pop duo with a penchant for clever, literary allusions. They’ve charted well in their native Ireland, and are poised for real success in the States. Already you can hear the gears of the hype machine turning: Guggenheim Grotto’s music has appeared on One Tree Hill and their most recent album, Happy the Man, rose to #1 on the iTunes Folk Chart. Balancing sugary pop tendencies with thoughtful, wistful lyrics, Guggenheim Grotto are on to something.