I got out to Golden Gate Park on Friday just as Buddy Miller was starting his set. Joined by his great back-up singer (whose name is escaping me) his material was much the same as he played at Montalvo a month or so back. I didn't care, Buddy poured his heart and soul into the music and set a high standard for the weekend ahead. "Worry Too Much" and "All My Tears" were highlights. Allison Moorer came onstage for "Tell the World to Stop" which never fails to bring me to tears. Jim Lauderdale brought back the levity for a song they cowrote "Hole in my Head."
The beauty of Hardly Strictly (besides from offering the finest of the bluegrass/Americana/alternative songwriter genre for free) is that all the musicians guest with one another. T-Bone Burnett was gushing so much about the musicians up on stage with him—including Neko Case and John Cougar Mellencamp—you almost forgot what an accomplished veteran he is. In contrast, Jeff Tweedy playing solo, if masterfully, felt like downer. He brought in the largest crowd. Great lyrics, perfect voicing, but his overall tone and the setting sun left me cold ....It was fun to catch up with Anthony Pigeon, down from Portland to shoot the event, between sets.
A pit-stop at the De Young on the way home (membership is great for short visual-art hits) led to a new discovery. Livia C. Stein is the artist-in-residence through October. Bright, large oil and canvas pieces informed by India brought to mind both Clemente and a bit of Chagal and soothed this soul (as did a ride up the viewing tower). She also likes birds. I'm going to go back when she's in studio.
Back in the 'hood, Aaron was having a birthday party where I enjoyed a chat about art and activism with Amy Wilson who is completing a film "Five Reasons Why" addressing climate change.