After going on hiatus in 2016, Revival Fest — another offering from Savannah Stopover parent company MusicFile Productions — returned this year to the old paint shops at the Georgia State Railroad Museum. The sprawling complex feels just right for a day of music.
The palpable sense of history and craft makes a perfect backdrop for the various southern and roots styles that make up much of the Revival Fest lineup.
The day began with the Sweet Thunder Strolling Band — a project spearheaded by Andrew Hartzell — and then the brilliant young singer-songwriter Caleb Caudle performed on the indoor. Savannah blues stalwarts Bottles & Cans and the Charleston-based, Gullah-influenced Ranky Tanky played strong sets on the outdoor stage.
Savannah’s The Train Wrecks — one of Savannah’s top bands for many years — had the kids dancing inside, and then Cale Tyson played an especially strong set. I am not familiar with Tyson’s work, but I’m looking forward to listening to a lot more of it.
Next up were two stellar acts — one that I know and one that I don’t. T. Hardy Morris and the Hardknocks have gotten a lot of praise on this blog, and their live sets are always intense and tight. Morris and company have a new album in the works — we loved the previous records Drownin’ On A Mountaintop and Audition Tapes — that should be out within a few months.
And Blackfoot Gypsies wowed me both during their daytime set and in their post-fest set at The Jinx after midnight. The Nashville-based band has so many interesting elements that I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll try to do a longer post about Blackfoot Gypsies soon.
Big Sam’s Funky Nation from New Orleans proved a great choice for the inside stage — Savannah audiences aren’t often treated to funk bands of that caliber — and then Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics made a ton of new fans outside. The night was capped by longtime indie rockers Blitzen Trapper, an immensely talented band from Portland, Oregon.
I took a lot of photos, but if you want to see much better ones, you should check out the work of Geoff L. Johnson on the Revival Fest Facebook page. A few here, with lots more after the jump: