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FESTIVAL COVERAGE: Deep Roots Mountain Revival 2017

Photos & Review by: Nina Martin With endless, picture-perfect beautiful views, Deep Roots Mountain Revival held it's second annual music festival in Masontown, WV on July 19-21, 2017.

Once you get off the exit to head towards the event, you are submerged in the beauty that is the mountain state. The scenery truly is a perfect first impression for folks traveling in to witness first hand what it looks like living in almost heaven, West Virginia. As you continue the drive you will be challenged with curvy, bendy, windy roads, an old mining site, several homes spaced out along the way, and trees fully in bloom. The paved road gradually becomes a dirt road, and eventually, tucked away deep in the greenery, valleys, and mountains lies Marvin's Mountaintop, where Deep Roots Mountain Revival holds it's second annual music festival. Previously the location of the All Good Music Festival, that held crowds over 20,000, the Deep Roots Mountain Revival brings a portion of those faithful past attendees, with the addition of many new faces traveling from all around the surrounding areas all for the love of deeply rooted Americana, Folk, Bluegrass, Rock and Jam music. The crowds were not quite as big as All Good, but I believe this made much more of a stronger connection between the fans and the performers. Be sure to bring your most reliable walking/hiking shoes, because this place is a DOOZY and can ruin your flip flops in no time. When the daily lineups were announced, it was such a delight to see Thursday filled with some of the best local music that southern West Virginia can offer kicking off the festival. Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns were the first performance of the day [and event] in the VIP Tent. These guys are the perfect blend of smooth and raspy rock. Charleston's own, Qiet took the main stage by storm that evening while The Kind Thieves grooved on at Roots Stage in the evening, keeping everyone dancing. National acts Eric Krasno Band and Lettuce blew away the Main stage with their continuous jams. Closing the first night out was groovy, powerhouse band Aqueous up the hill on the Roots stage. Friday morning festival goers were ready to seize the day and bask in all of the talent nestled on the mountaintop. The Boatmen started the day off at the Revival Tent. These guys have been a huge hit in southern WV for many years and all four members were reunited for this show. Throughout the afternoon there was activities offered both for adults and children, and excellent performances no matter what stage you chose. Sam Bush hit the main stage at 4. The Kentucky-bred mandolinist is the perfect combination of bluegrass and rock and roll, making his live show and spectacular performance for fans of any type. Bush is truly one of the most noteworthy mandolinist for the better part of 50 years, and his set showcased that in the best way. Nashville natives Moon Taxi followed Sam Bush's performance on the Main Stage at 6:30. These guys have been touring and hitting the festival circuit non stop this year, and greatly to their advantage, as their crowds keep growing everywhere they perform. What I enjoy most about the 5 piece indie rocker's sets is the uplifting mood their music does to you. Singer Trevor Terndrup is smiling 95% of the time he is singing and playing, infusing an infectious good energy to the fans. Towards the end of the set Eric Krasno joined the band to cover "Whipping Post" by The Allman Brothers. In that moment it felt as if time stopped and festival goers were genuinely in awe with the remarkable cover and extended jam session, making that performance one of the highlights of the night. Fans herded to the Roots stage to catch White Denim play at 8. This band is such a solid listen with their pure garage rock sound. Eric Krasno joined and performed the majority of the group's set as well. A huge kudos to White Denim and Krasno for playing practically nonstop the entire show. The technicality and speed of each instrument's beats and riffs is absolutely mind blowing to witness. Many fans raved about how incredible their set was throughout the remainder of the evening. Two-time grammy winning guitarist Eric Krasno (Known best for playing in Lettuce and Soulive) sat in and played with several bands throughout Friday and Saturday's lineups. Seeing Krasno perform live is an experience in itself, but seeing what he adds and contributes the bands that he collaborated with was quite remarkable, all while keeping the integrity of the songs too. Down the hill on the Main stage performing is Brandi Carlile. Carlile has such a soulful flare, mixing blues, folk, bluegrass and rock blended and packed together for a remarkable performance. Several times in her set Brandi mentioned how much Marvin's Mountaintop gives her the feeling of being home. The singer certainly had a hold on the audience with her passionate heartfelt songs. Wrapping up the Roots stage was instrumental rock-fusion band Tauk. From the moment the Missy Elliott samples started, this four piece smoothed the stage with their funky r&b jams. There was just the right level of headbanging and dancing in the crowd, and Tauk's groovy vibes were very apparent. Eric Krasno also joined in for more endless, fantastic jamming. Saturday started off with rain. Lots and LOTS of rain. Many sets were interrupted and even postponed throughout the entire day, but that didn't stop the positive interactions under the tents and the bands from improvising with anything available. A prime example of this would be WV natives The Kind Thieves, as half of their Revival Tent set was stopped due to the storms. A few of the members and friends performed a percussion improv, leaving festival goers in awe with everyone having an amazing time yet again. Bluegrass was the name of the game Saturday afternoon at the Roots Stage. Larry Keel, Billy Strings, and Grammy-winning band The Steeldrivers all took over with bluegrass fans fully in tow. The Steeldrivers are an excellent, smooth running ship, as their performance was effortlessly innovative. The Revival Tent is perfectly placed in between the 2 bigger stages with plenty of talented bands to catch. This was certainly the case for me personally, as I was leaving the Roots Stage, I heard some excellent music by a group called I Vibes. At the time they were playing acoustic, as there was a storm warning in progress. I was impressed with them from the first song I heard, with their rock-and-reggae influence. Once they had the thumbs up to play with their full electric set, this first impression was only amplified greater. Keeping everyone dancing was Dr Dog, at the Main stage. These guys are really the epitome of feel-good rock and a super chill vibe. Everyone in the crowd sang along all night; I even saw a family of 2 kids and 2 adults in the front row singing their hearts out to every word and smiling the entire time. Shortly after Dr. Dog was Yonder Mountain String Band, closing out the Main Stage. Whether it was the hypnotizing violin solos, the sweet sound of the mandolin, or any of the banjo, fiddle, bass or guitar, the progressive bluegrass 5 piece captivated the audience the entire performance. It was honestly the icing on the cake for both the night and overall festival. When I think of the words Mountain Revival, no better description comes to mind than this festival. There's no stronger connection than at Deep Roots, as everyone says hello and talks to one another in passing. This was truly a salubrious gathering of 3 days of dancing, laughing, art and live music. A very big thank you to Marvin for opening your mountaintop up allowing music fans to dance and rejoice in the love of music.

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