Featured image from Twitter user @passengermusic

We had great weather for this last day of CityFolk, with sun shining and a breeze blowing to confirm that fall is indeed on its way.

I got my festival day started at the main stage with the smooth country stylings of Lucinda Williams. She’s been at this a while, and it took her a few songs to find her energy, but with the help of her solid backing band, she showed the crowd that she’s still got her grit. As I headed to the next show, the breeze brought me the sounds of her finale, in a rousing rendition of Neil Young’s Keep On Rocking In The Free World.

Over at Raven Law, I caught a young talent I’d never heard of before, Terra Lightfoot. Her hair-whipping, guitar slamming performance was immediately alluring to the eyes and ears. Again, I’m a sucker for artists who so clearly love performing, and Terra is absolutely one such person. Her blues/country-influenced guitar playing coupled with her booming soulful voice was just undeniable. It’s thick and booming, but smooth as butter. She sang like if Janis Joplin hadn’t smoked a million cigarettes. And the crowd was loving it. Graciously introducing her band, she invited the crowd to join in the backing vocals on their cover of Sam Cooke’s classic Bring It On Home To Me. Swoon.

Regaining the strength in my knees, I headed back to the main stage for another sister-recommendation (for anyone who read my Saturday Marvest piece, I’ve started taking some of her musical suggestions after years of me showing her stuff, figured it’s time to change the dynamic).

As I walked into the field, the crowd erupted for Passenger taking the stage. I thought it was a band but nope, just one dude on acoustic guitar. He commented on the apparently frequent confusion, saying “This is Passenger, but really it’s just me. My name’s Mike.” This soft-spoken Brit was a well-loved addition to this festival lineup, with a huge turnout for him. While waiting in the beer line, I did an eyebrow-raise at his request for the crowd to please be quiet as possible throughout his set. But when her got around to telling a few sensitive stories about how encounters on his solo travels had influenced his songwriting, the crowd indeed fell surprisingly quiet. Not typically my cup of tea, but I do like a good storyteller, and he even threw in a couple of lovely dynamic covers of Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”. Pretty meta, Mike. I like it.

The end of the Passenger set was a pretty incredible sight, as the crowd belted out his big hit “Let Her Go” to end the regular set. Not only was it mesmerizing to hear thousands of people singing one song in unison, but also hear them scream the melody after he left the stage to entice him to come back for an encore. He obliged, and was visibly touched by the crowd’s methods. A perfect way to keep the energy going into Wilco’s set.

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