This year’s Roots N Blues MVP prediction


Each year, as the Roots N Blues Festival is coming up, I examine the makeup of potential MVPs (most valuable players). Who will make the festival surprisingly and satisfyingly memorable?

It’s easy to pencil in the most flashy headliners or acts. But, often, it’s not the familiar names and fleeting peaks that seal a festival experience. It is the lesser-known actor who overwhelms you and becomes your new favorite group, the instrumentalist who shows his prowess, the songwriter who goes straight to the heart with a single unforgettable line.

This year’s festival takes place September 24-26 at Stephens Lake Park, and a closer look at the roster reveals a number of possible MVPs – artists and players who will distinguish the 2021 edition of Roots N Blues when we will all be miles away. road.

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Tarriona “Tank” ball

Tank and the Bangas

The singer of Outfit of the New Orleans Tank and the Bangas is a real presence, with enough charm and command to power two or three groups. Ball channels her expressive voice to give each song what it needs – and audiences far more than they might expect.

Sheryl Raven

To poach the title of Crow’s 2002 record, “C’mon C’mon”. Headliners don’t always fulfill the role of an MVP, but Crow’s history as a Missouri native – and MU graduate – and a deep and wide catalog that spills over into American music banks leaves it likely that ‘She’ll leave Columbia better than she found it there this time around.

Flor de Toloache

Flor de Toloache

It’s hard to separate the members of this New York-based mariachi band, given the richness of their music. Founded by Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol, the group balances tradition and forward movement, showcasing all the beauty and depth of a sound often relegated to background music by Americans in northern Mexico. The chance to reintroduce and recontextualize mariachi for a Roots N Blues audience promises that Flor de Toloache will be among the most exhilarating acts on this year’s poster.

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Mickey guyton

The Texas native swept country music like a fresh breeze. Guyton’s Grammy-nominated single “Black Like Me” helped reframe conversations around race within the genre; Guyton’s voice quality, a gift of nuance strength, sustains this song and everything she sings. The resilience and heart that it projects cannot help touching a crowd of festival-goers.

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The Hanseroth twins

Brandi Carlile, center, poses on the red carpet with Tim Hanseroth and Phil Hanseroth for the 17th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at the Ryman Auditorium on September 12, 2018.

Tim and Phil Hanseroth are already the MVPs of the Brandi Carlile festival headliner; the twin brothers were part of his group, contributing from the start to vital instrumental parts and vocal harmonies. Anyone who reads Carlile’s memoir “Broken Horses” will understand how much the songwriter relies on the Hanseroths not only for musical support, but for emotional stability as well. Carlile’s songs are so strong, and his talent so great, that his music could do without brothers. But they beautify and adorn the music on an almost spiritual level, and promise to amaze the festival crowds with how they manage to bond with Carlile and.

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Phylshawn johnson

If a local is likely to seize the day, it’s Johnson, primarily the drummer – but a multi-tone player and singer – for Missouri folk-rockers Violet and the Undercurrents. Already one of the true MVPs of the regional music scene, Johnson’s freebies appear on stages large and small; she’s talented but tasteful behind the drums and adds a million little flourishes that take a good song to greatness, and a big one in personal pantheons.

Rising Appalachians

This year’s Roots N Blues features a number of sister acts, all of which have the potential to draw festival crowds into their larger musical family. The New Orleans-formed duo of Leah Song and Chloe Smith offers an integrated approach to world music, combining regional sounds suggested by their band’s name with percussion instruments from around the world. This thoughtful ecumenical approach is expected to reach a number of Roots N Blues listeners on a body and soul level.

Aarik Danielsen is the News and Culture Editor for the Tribune. Contact him at [email protected] or by calling 573-815-1731.

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