with peace and love we make music.  yours truly, rebecca hill


this page is for investigation purposes only.  i encourage you to support these artists and purchase their music.  good luck expanding your musical minds.  these are the songs i carry with me as i drive to the west, chasing the sunsets.  i take the time to let myself unwind.  i leave behind the things i know and, this is how i grow.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

start getting excited for pitchfork

the national, the black lips, beirut, matt & kim... the list goes on.
saturday should be a great day in chicago.
i am getting quite excited for pitchfork music festival.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

tortoise: ten-day interval

is everyone getting excited for pitchfork?
tortoise will be playing at 5:00pm on the connector stage
gear up musical vagabonds. this is going to be good.

Monday, July 13, 2009

ron pope: a drop in the ocean

tastes of calm seas and pomegranate teas
scents of bay rum and bubble gum
tastes of salty treats and lonesome beats

... recommended to me by my brother Tyler. He loves music too. I love him.
What a grand musical world we sing and live in.

isn't he cute?

with peace and love we make music,
rebecca hill

Saturday, July 11, 2009

ROTHBURY: the final day.

 I woke Sunday morning, after a brief slumber, to see The Hard Lessons at Sherwood Court.  I tried to make it up for The Ragbirds, but without a phone or an alarm clock, I had only the heat of the sun to rely on to wake me up.  I had a lovely conversation with Augie and Korin (husband and wife), earlier in the trip so I was glad I woke in time to catch their one o'clock performance.  The band labels their music on their myspace as rock/indie/soul... I would have to agree with this description, but also sprinkle a bit of blues on top of that.  Growing up in Detroit it is quite clear that they were inspired by their historic Motor City musical surroundings.  Korin's voice was fantastic.  You could hear and feel her emotions, which allowed my to imagine, quite vividly, the story behind what they were singing about.  I think that pain is what inspires most musicians to start writing music, that is certainly the case for me, and then the music allows you to conquer that pain and find solace and happiness within.  This band has been rocking the midwest and touring all over, so keep a close watch on The Hard Lessons.  They just released a new album, Arms Forest.  The band's description states, "Arms Forest is a sea of hands raised high, dancing in a living room.  Arms Forest is a stockpile of weapons, for sale out of back seats of automobiles.   Arms Forestis the meeting place for lovers finding each other for the first time.  Arms Forest is a symbol of chaos, danger, and freedom"... the description alone should sell you on this one, but let the music speak for itself.  There are free downloads available on their website, and free streaming on their myspace as well, but I recommend a live viewing if at all possible. 

         After the Hard Lessons finished their set, I wandered to the Odeum to check out the Toots and the Maytals.  Formed in the 1960's, this is one of the most infamous ska and reggae band, and for good reason.  to I worked in a small boutique in high school that sold women's clothing, shoes, and accessories, and they also played the Toots and the Maytals and Jack Johnson on repeat for the entire two years that I worked there.  Needless to say, I have not really listened to the Toots in about 2 years, because I felt I had my fill for quite a while, but I was excited to invite them back into my life.  Their live performance stirred up memories of mavi jeans, trashy magazines and junk food tshirts... and it also stirred up a smile and dance in me.  Their performance was reggae-licious.  Tasted a bit like green teas, blue seas, and palm trees.  I paired their jams with a sangria and some pad thai... very tasty.  

         As their set was wrapping up I headed back to the budweiser tent to put up some Tweets.  My newfound friends from Spin Magazine were interviewing Guster.  I had seen Guster perform at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio three years ago.  I was sixth row, front and center and it was a great time.  This was my first introduction to Andrew Bird, who opened for the band.  His whistling wooed me and I am still a devoted fan.  Daniel Casanova interviewed the band, and told them about our run in with Sasquatch from the night before.  They found it just as amusing as we did.  After Guster left the tent, The Hard Lessons came in for an interview. Korin was wearing an awesome owl necklace (I am obsessed with owls, but that’s a whole different story).  During the interview, Casanova asked the band what the worst part of being in a band and touring with your spouse, and Korin said, “Parallel parking”.  I found that pretty amusing.  If that’s the worst of their problems I don’t think this band will be breaking up anytime soon.

         After The Hard Lessons wrapped up their interview I breezed by the Ranch Arena to catch a bit of Guster before Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.  They had a large crowd and sounded great.  They had the crowd smiling and dancing.  Guster reminds me of summer time and happy days... so pretty perfect for a Saturday in early July at one of the best music festivals of the year.

After a few songs I rushed back through the forest to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, a band I had not yet seen before but played on my ipod countless times.  This Vermont band just started gaining popularity after releasing their newest album, This is Somewhere.  I have been a fan of Grace Potter for sometime now.  I am a fan of any female musician with a knack for lyrics and a voice that can wow a crowd.  Grace Potter was even more amazing live than I had imagined.  She sang and played piano and guitar.  Watching her bang those keys as she belted out her songs was unbelievable.  She is absolutely stunning in real life.  She was wearing a long sleeved black sparkled mini dress that I think caught the audience’s attention.  As soon as she opened her mouth it was understood she could have been wearing a potato sack and the crowd would still have been cheering.  Grace Potter and the Nocturnals rocked my world, and I would certainly not mind seeing them again.

         While waiting for Matisyahu to get started I walked past The Hold Steady and was less than impressed.  Perhaps Grace Potter was too hard of an act to follow, but I was not impressed with the vocals and the instrumentals were not overpowering enough to keep me interested, so I headed back for Matisyahu.

Matisyahu blew my mind.  It was incredible.  That man can speak/sing so incredible fast and articulate... it is insane.  Hearing him beat box was also out of this world.  He played with two young men ( i had my eyes on the keys/synth man in the cool sunglasses, long hair and red bandanna personally...), both of which proved worthy of staring the stage with this talent.  Matisyahu's appearance is quite unusual with his long beard and tall thin stature, but the one piece jumpsuit was what really gave me pleasure.  I like the bold fashion statements, however quirky or bizarre.  It takes balls.  The audience loved this show and by the end every one was tired from dancing, but still sad to see the stage clear.

I walked by the Odeum to catch a glimpse of Willie Nelson and a bottle of water before heaing back to Sherwood again for Ani Difranco.  I have been a fan of Ani since my junior year of high school, and this was my first time seeing her live, so it was exciting.  "Fuck you" was my theme song for about a year; i loved it.  Probably mostly because I was not allowed to swear growing up, so singing along was rebellion on so many levels.  She had quite a happy crowd (not all of her songs are infused with f bombs), and seemed to have a lot of backstage supporters as well.  She sings of ideals and dreams that are undeniably good, and her talent follows those same guidelines.  I sat for this show and watched the crowd dance.  Sometimes its nice to sit and soak it in, especially as the trip was coming to an end and I was beginning to feel extremely exhausted.  Rothbury was a vacation, and a great one at that, but I can't say I had a whole lot of resting time.  

I went into the forest for 10 minutes of rest before Dylan and ran into Brian from Guster.  He recognized my face from the Budweiser tent earlier and walked over to say hello.  I worked at a Bagel shop in Oxford, Ohio, called Bagel and Deli and one of the sandwiches is called, the Guster bagel (turkey, pepperoni, cucumbers... ).  I mentioned it to the band and apparently they had already been and were big fans of the steamed bagels.  The band had gone there a while back and were pleased to hear that their bagel still stands proudly on the wall; even asked me to email them a picture (still on my to-do list).  Brian told me that it was his first time in the forest and the band was rushing off to Nashville for some recording time, which left no time to experience the forest late at night, which is definitely the best time.  So, hopefully Rothbury will invite the boys back again next year so that they can get their fill of the Sherwood Forest.

Bob Dylan was the finale to my musical encounters at Rothbury.  Seeing him was pretty surreal.  And for as long as he has been around, he still is able to get the crowd moving and singing along, which is quite impressive.  I thought his outfit was a bit outdated, but who am I to judge.  I was walking around in a bathing suit and a ripped up jeans skirt, so I wasn't screaming trendy class either.  I stayed for about half of his set when I began to fall asleep standing up, by no fault of Dylan's, just the complete lack of sleep I managed to get between shows, fireworks, and campground commotion over the past three days.  I went back to camp, intending to take a nap and wake for Big Gigantic, but I sadly woke at 6 am Monday morning to my crew pinching my face, and nudging me to wake and help pack away our tent and scattered belongings for the trip back home to Chicago.  I was sad to leave, but dirty enough where I knew it was quite necessary.  it was the longest I think i have ever gone without a shower... but totally worth it.  I saw some amazing music, met some amazing people, and had an absolutely stellar time hopping through the forest to the three Rothbury stages.  It was a trip I will remember forever.  I hope my story will inspire more people to attend next year if you missed out this year, and I hope that it made those who did attend share a smile of remembrance with me.  

with peace and love we make music, 

rebecca hill


Friday, July 10, 2009

ROTHBURY: The Fourth of July

I must say that Saturday was my favorite day of Rothbury, for many reasons.  I was familiarized with the Rothbury grounds by this point and was rather liking my solo festival experience.  Every show I would encounter a new friend or dance partner, which was rather fun.
I got a late start to my Saturday and unfortunately missed Four Finger Five and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, but made it to the Ranch Arena for Son Volt.  Son Volt is an american folk/country band with some fun instrumentals: mandolin, fiddle, banjo, lap steel, pedal steel, drums and guitars.  It was a good way to kick off the day.  I watched a few songs and then headed to the Odeum Stage to watch some Jackie Green.  
Jackie Greene, labeled a folk/rock/psychedelic artist, had quite a large crowd for their early performance.  His song "shaken" got me into this artist about a year back, which you can stream on his myspace page.  I danced around for a bit to this Californian talent and then headed to the Budweiser tent to listen and Tweet in the comfort of some shade.  Saturday was quite sweltering.
Maxim Radio was interviewing straggling fans and they crept up behind me to ask what I was twittering about.  I told them about my music blog, so that was pretty exciting coverage for me.  They also asked me if I would laugh or be disgusted to see someone shooting fireworks out of their butt... a bit perplexed my response was, "I don't think I would watch to find out"... although after some bit of afterthought on that question, I think that it would be pretty impossible not to watch that in action.  Probably why Jackass was such a success; most people are perverted, some are just better at hiding it.  If anyone was following me on Twitter that day, you already know that Railroad Earth was my next stop.
Railroad Earth plays with a plethora of different instruments, which is always fun to watch live.  They play with a stand up bass, violins, guitar, drums, dobro, banjo, mandolin, flute, saxophone, and bouzouki.  This band is from New Jersey, just neighbors to my Connecticut home.  This band has been around since 2001 and has worked hard at successfully recruiting a wide and loyal fan base.  After a few songs I had to depart to check out Zappa Plays Zappa at the Sherwood Court before the Black Crowes.
Zappa Plays Zappa was in the midst of tearing up some guitar solos as I walked up to the stage.  It was very sexy.  This Californian rock/alternative/jam band knows how to finger; I can say this with much certainty.  This is a tribute band, led by Dweezil Zappa, the eldest son of composer Frank Zappa.  They devote themselves to reincarnating his music and the fans definitely seemed to dig it.  I really enjoyed that the band played with two drum kits.  I don't think there can ever be too much percussion.  The band spiced up their set with a lot of comic relief.  During one song, one of the vocal members performed an interpretive dance... I wish that I could begin to explain what this large, somewhat dweebish, bird-like, sesame street-esque dance looked like, but I am sure it's on youtube somewhere.  It was hilarious.  I think the band was having a very hard time keeping straight faced... I caught the lady on the keys cracking up more than once.  I did not blame her at all, especially when he bust open his collared shirt, leaving his bare chest for all to see.  This was when I decided to head over to the Odeum to see The Black Crowes. 
My dad was a fan of The Black Crowes.  I used to listen to them a lot my freshman year because they were my favorite band to work out to.  "Go Faster" and "Kicking my Heart Around" were always good upbeat songs to get me working the treadmills a little bit harder.  I haven't been on a treadmill in about two years so I danced harder than ever to this band to make up for it.  Seeing Chris Robinson up close and personal... well close enough... was pretty cool.  I am a big Kate Hudson fan also, so I've done my fair share of following them in all the Hollywood gossip magazines when there was a long line at the grocery store.  The Black Crowes have been around for a while and done a lot of touring and Chris Robinson's vocal chords have not got tired yet.  His voice was pretty incredible live.  They will be touring through December so I suggest catching a live show if they make a stop near you.
John Butler was the next musical act I wandered through the forest to see.  (By Saturday people were getting quite tired and the forest was more of a resting ground then it was Friday night.  It began filling up with more and more hammocks as people got tired.  There was a hammock vendor close by the entrance... genius marketing.)  I must admit I have a huge crush on John Butler.  He grew up in Pinjarra, West Australia, and I have a soft spot in my heart for accents.  I have been to New Zealand and Australia... being surrounded by such beauty, I think it would be hard to not carry that with you through music, art, thought, or whichever your personal medium.  John Butler is a strong advocate of peace and environmental responsibility, which I also fin quite attractive.  Rothbury must have been a fun festival for him, because the green force was ever present.  He was a beautiful performer to watch live.  I danced around crowds of smiling hippies as they sang and danced along to his songs.  He seemed to have an ability to almost hypnotize the crowd into feeling peace and comfort as he guided them with his soft lyrics and calm guitar that played as elegantly as the wind.
The wind carried me to the Sherwood Stage next for Les Claypool.  I do not know exactly how to explain the music of Les Claypool, but he is best known as the bassist for Primus.  He rocks the bass like nothing I have ever seen before.  It was evening by this point and every one was starting to loosen up and gear up for the long evening that was still ahead of us.  His music tastes of gumdrops and poprocks, smells of rice cakes and frosted flakes, and pairs best with tambourines and and tangerines... Its quite fun to dance around and get a bit funky.  It doesn't always make sense, but it always sounds good.  It was a very good pre-deadset.  That is for sure.  It put the crowd in good spirits, got the blood flowing, the moon glowing, the sun setting... Perfect.
All of Rothbury, myself included headed to the Odeum to see The Dead.  This is definitely the most legendary band I have ever seen live.  I think every one has at least one absolutely devoted Dead head friend.  I know I have at least two dozen.  I think it would be pretty impossible to grow up without hearing a lot of it.  I work at a bagel shop with a lot of musical enthusiasts... and I think the Grateful Dead is on 90% of my coworkers ipods, so i've heard a very good amount of the music in my past four years of bagel steaming.  I first got introduced to the Grateful Dead at church camp in middle school.  I met a very young hippie, who introduced me with her purple boom box, in our log cabin, before going to dinner where we would sing children's christian tunes... it opened my eyes, for sure.  The Dead entered the Odeum stage over thirty minutes late, but the crowd forgave them immediately with a very loud applause upon their arrival.  They started playing and everyone went wild.  People were dancing, smoking, drinking, singing, jumping, cheering, hugging, sitting, sleeping, swaying, and just eating up every beat.  It was something I will never forget.  I danced to the first two songs and then made my way from the right hand corner of the sound booth through the sea of adoring fans.  I made it to the right side of the stage past the tight crowd and just took it all in.  I saw the sea of people light up like a rainbow; every one in their festival attire complete with hats, angel wings, glitter, paint, henna tattoos, and wide smiles.  I watched them move like clock work to the beat of The Dead.  I watched the Sun as it started quickly setting pouring light over the crowd as it snuck behind the hill of food vendors.  The sun went down and it was replaced by the lights of the Rothbury sign looking over the lights of The Dead show, and glow of smiles and wide eyed fans.  I can think of no better way to celebrate the Fourth of July.  I think we all felt free at that moment.  Independence, freedom, love, music... we felt all of those things.
I walked again to the Budweiser tent to take some notes and rest my legs a bit.  I sat down and introduced myself to the two young men that sat on stage, Matt McClain and Daniel Casanova.  They were wrapping up a day of interviewing bands for Spin Magazine.  They were both from Brooklyn, New York, and both successful music lovers.  Matt went to attempt to get some video coverage of The Dead show, and I took a ride with Daniel to my campground to grab some warmer clothing before the Pretty Lights.  We hopped on the Budweiser golf cart and took a short cut through the Sherwood Forest.  As we drove through the swarms of stragglers we approached a crowd of people looking over a guy that looked nearly comatose, sprawled out like a starfish in the muddy path.  He was covered with a dirty red sheet that looked like a make shift robe of sorts.  We came to a stop to ask if he needed our assistance and we were told the man was fine, just "trippin balls!"... so we continued on our way.  As we started to pull away the tripped out male jumped up, and the red robe did not follow his dirty naked body as he jumped onto the back seat of the golf cart.  Out of shock or surprise, or more likely a combination of the two, Daniel and I started laughing hysterically as we continued to drive through the path with our naked caboose. Every one looked confused and amused as we drove this sight through the Sherwood Forest, as if it was not enough of a sight already.  Just as we stopped laughing and started speaking, our naked buddy popped up out of oblivion, grabbed Daniel's shoulder and scared the crap out of us.  We looked back into his bulging eyes, avoiding the dirty naked scene beneath, and he asked us our names and how he made it onto the back of our vehicle.  We kindly let him off, a bit scared for him and us both.  We turned quickly enough to see him feel his naked ass, realize his naked state, grab his frontal region, and then land face first into the muddy grounds we found him on.  We approached the gate and warned the security guard that there was a naked man in need of some assistance laying in the path about 20 yards behind us.  The security guard shook his head and called to his security guard friend... "Yo! Get over here! We found Sasquatch!"  So apparently our naked Sasquatch caboose has been on the loose for some time that day.  This was the funniest sight I think I have ever seen.  I think I am still laughing... We made it the rest of the way to my tent without any more naked sightings and I grabbed some warm clothes for the evening.  We headed back to the Rothbury entrance for some cajun food and fireworks.  After we got some grub we parked ourselves at the empty Sherwood stage and listened to The Dead in the background finish up their set as the fireworks lit up the sky behind the lights of the Sherwood Stage.... what an appropriate time for Pretty Lights.
We headed to Tripolee for some live Pretty Lights action.  I listened to Pretty Lights and Little Dragon for a week straight during my last week of college.  It seemed to be the best fuel, along with red bull and pad thai for the many all-nighters I pulled scurrying to finish last minute projects before graduation and my move to Chicago.  I enjoyed listening to the live version in my relaxed state with newfound love and appreciation.  "Hot Like Sauce" is, without a doubt, my favorite jam.  It was just as amazing live as I could have imagined.  I love hott sauce in general.  Sriracha is my favorite.  I like to put it on just about everything, with the exception of cereal and vanilla yogurt.  I danced under the lights of Tripolee with quite a smile.  It was awesome.
Next up was MSTRKRFT at the Sherwood Stage.  They started up their set with the Star Spangled Banner, which was incredible.  I am glad the Canadian group let the fans know they were down to celebrate American independence.  The due spun some heavy shit that got the crowd dancing and bopping like crazy.  They chain smoked throughout the whole set, which looked pretty spectacular under the lights... like a homemade fog machine of sorts.  For as tired as I was, I could not stop moving to their beats.  
After they finished, I walked past the Ranch Arena to get a glimpse of Umphrey's Mcgee before STS9 kicked off their live PA set.  My best friend, Todd, is a gigantic Umphrey's fan (talented architect, awesome friend, and great date) so I had to check it out for him, and glad I did.  I would have stayed longer, but I had my fill of jam bands for the evening and was down to dance to a little louder bass beat, so I headed back to the Sherwood Court for STS9.  
I enjoyed the STS9 PA set better than their performance the night before.  The crowd was much more intimate, and dancing a lot harder than Friday night.  The light show was equally awesome and they played until 4 a.m.  They were having so much fun on stage playing music and watching the fans love it... it looked as if they wanted to play all night.  And that is what it's all about.  Love what you do, do what you love.  Music is love. Love is music... and 4th of July 2009 at Rothbury was all of those things.  Time to sleep... one day left... 

(to be continued) 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ROTHBURY: day one and two...

Rothbury was a trip indeed.  It was my first time real break from work since moving to Chicagoland, and it was much needed.  I thought the people watching in Chicago was great until my eyes met Rothbury.  I saw people as fairies, bananas, monkeys, disco balls, and the list goes on.  I would like to share with you my experience at Rothbury, detailed, descriptive, and informative.  For all you festy-virgins out there - you'll know what to expect... and for all you festival-crashers - you'll know exactly what I'm talking about....

Rothbury was my first festival, so I really had no idea what to expect.  I knew that I was not going to be able to shower, that I may get my clothes dirty beyond Shouts capabilities to repair, and I knew that I would be sleeping in a tent somewhere.  I also knew that given my recent track record with three broken phones in the past two months, that I should attempt to upload all of my contacts onto my macbook before jetting off to Michigan, and this is precisely when my blackberry curve bit the bullet.  The small metal opening, fit for charging, came out of my phone, and I knew it was only a matter of time before it would lose charge and I would not have any way of charging it back to life.  So, I spent the first hour of the car ride to Michigan writing down every contact and valuable piece of information I had saved in my memo pad.  
This was indication for me that my trip was going to be a lot more interesting than planned.  I was going to be at a giant festival, surrounded by swarms of people and forests, without any way of knowing the time, or any way of contacting the 6 different groups of friends I was traveling to see.  I would like to say this is not a typical situation for me to be in, but breaking phones and getting into sticky situations is pretty routine.  I finished recording my people's digits when our caravan got word that the gates to Rothbury were busting open early.  We were originally planning on staying in a cabin for the evening and charging the gates prompltly at 8 a.m. when they were scheduled to open, but when we heard the flood was coming we ran to meijer to grab the essentials (pepperoni, pitas, salsa, tortilla chips, peanut butter, raisin bread and nutty bars) and went straight to the campgrounds.  The only flaw in this plan was it was too early, or too late, to get beer, so we were all prepared to spend a bit more money than we had planned.  
We met the lines of music enthusiasts, hippies, drug dealers, party people, festival crashers, vendors galore, and waited patiently while cars were searched, only slightly, and people were directed to the campgrounds that were slowly coming to life at 4:30 a.m.  We pitched our tent in the Trout Campground close to a group of friendly faces and attempted to catch a few hours of sleep.  We were prepared for a long weekend of tempting substances, new friends, little food, no showers, dirty bathrooms, warm beer, melted peanut butter, dirty tents, and amazing music.  At least I was.  I caught a few hours of rest, made a few last calls on my dying cell phone, and went to meet my friends at Toubab Krewe.  
I had friend's who attended Rothbury last year, and they told me that it was incredible, but I really did not expect the festival to be as organized and beautiful as it was.  I was told to bring clothes for warm and cold weather that I would not mind getting dirty or losing, wet wipes to wash myself, food to feed myself, and a blanket to cover myself.  I was pretty prepared for camping dirty, amenity-free.  I did not expect the plethora of food vendors, the tents with computers and internet, the outfits galore, the garbage cans with landfill, compost, and recycling options, and the forest with amazing light shows, hammocks, secret stages, and burlesque dancers.  These were all things that blew my mind upon arrival.  I was thinking stages, tents, and music was enough to make my heart content, perhaps a hot dog stand, so I was filled with excitement, surprise and intrigue, that lasted the entirety of my stay.
Toubab Krewe was the first musical act I had the pleasure of seeing live at Rothbury.  I was introduced to the band only a few days before seeing them live, and thankfully so.  Toubab Krewe is an American instrumental band with Mali influences.  My friend Seema, with her vast musical knowledge, explained the different instruments I was gazing upon.  Toubab Krewe rocks the typical two electric, one electric bass, and drum set and less typical african drum set, a kora (21 string harp-lute), a soku (a malain horsehair fiddle), and a kamelengoni (12 string harp-lute).  I must say the kora put out some amazing sound.  Watching those 21 strings get fingered was pretty aurgasmic.  Their sound shook the ground and forced fans to bop to their beats.  In several west african laungages toubab means foreigner, and krewe means, much like it sounds, crew.  The band released its first record in 2005, produced by Steven Heller, and they are working with him again on a second album.  Their live performance blew my mind, so i must say I am excited for the release of the second album.  
After Toubab Krewe wrapped up their set I headed to the forest with some of my friends.  The trees were glowing white and purple, there were hippies and all sorts of eccentrics strewn between the towering trees, and people already worn out from a full day of drugs and debauchery asleep in the hammocks that were hung about.  I understood why my friend Warner said to me, "Hill, you must come to Rothbury."  I am glad I trusted his short and sweet ultimatum.  The incredible line-up did back up his statement enough, but the forest and excited crowd of fans made the experience feel pretty surreal.  
Next on the musical agenda for Thursday evening was Keller Williams, often described as a one-man jam band.  He has toured with The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's Mcgee, and Yonder Mountain String Band, all of which also graced the Rothbury Stages this year.  Keller Williams plays with his soft rustic vocal chords, and acoustic guitar that he hooks up to a Gibson Echoplex Delay system, which allows for looping and a sound that needs no additional instrumental backing.  He should be an inspiration to all self-taught singer-songwriters.  As a solo musician myself, I feel it can be quite daunting to play solo in front of a crowd.  You can only rely on yourself and the fans to hopefully enjoy.  I think I can positively say... Keller Williams, you were amazing, and the fans did enjoy.
After seeing the first half of Keller Williams I went to check out a bit of Quannum All Stars before the Lotus Show.  I walked through the Sherwood Forest, (it was dark as night at this point, and the light show through the forest was even more magnificent than my last walk through) and headed towards the Sherwood Stage where Quannum All Stars was riling up a large crowd of fans and passerbys.  After leaving the folk/acoustic/indie sound of Keller Williams I found myself dancing down to the front of the Quannum All Stars stage.  The band is from the San Francisco bay area, where they apparently know how to bump that bass.  The Quannum collective featured Lyrics Born, Gift of Gab and Lateef for their two and a half hour Rothbury set.  This is not a sound I would typically bump in the comfort of my home, but it was an undeniably fun time.  The crowd was dancing and the Quannum All Stars were a' pleasing.  Spin Magazine named them as a top 11 must-see bands at Rothbury, so I can check that off the to-do list.
Back through the trip-tastic Sherwood Forest to the Ranch Arena for LOTUS... can you believe this is still the first night?  Lotus uses bass, guitars, samplers, keys, and drums, and a light show that is undeniably awesome.  I would describe the sound to be trip/electro/indie/jam/funk?  If you can swallow all of that, it basically means 'it will blow your mind'.  The band is from Philadelphia and they are known for live musical improvisations.  Improv solos are hard to begin with, but when the whole band is along for that ride, every one needs to be in synch and aware of everything that is going on, or it could be recipe for disaster.  Lotus synched and grooved and captured my heart as I watched the stage light up around the masterpiece of sounds they were painting.  This is a band I would love to see again, because I feel like it would be different every time.
Disco Biscuits amazed me.  I liked the Disco Biscuits pre-Rothbury, but I had heard a few of their recordings that only struck me as average.  This is a band that is without a doubt, better live than recorded.  Hearing home again and watching them groove underneath the lights of the stage and the lights of the sky was a moment I will never forget.  Their vocals were flawless and almost chilling.  They also came from Philadelphia with drums, bass, guitar, and keys that filled an entire forest with good sounding trance fusion vibes.  The sound was absolutely incredible, so props to whoever was sitting behind that booth at the Ranch arena on Thursday night.  
I love the Cold War Kids and I am happy to say their live show did not do anything but enhance that feeling.  I still have a crush on Nathan Willett, the lead singer, so if you are reading this Nathan, email me at meetrebeccahill@gmail.com and we can set up a date!  The band is from California and they rock the piana, drums, guitar and bass.  "Hang me Up to Dry" is a great song, and live... so much better.  I imagine the band fit in quite well at Rothbury, being such a green and environmental friendly festival, because the band performed in a rockumentary last year that was released to support the cause against slavery and human trafficking.  I always like bands that love music and life alike, because as I say... with peace and love we make music.
As I headed back to my tent for the evening I caught a bit of Break Science rocking the Tripolee stage.  This was the smallest of the three stages, but there was quite a crowd breaking it down to their beats.  I would have liked to stay longer, but it was well past my bed time.  I needed to rest up for my Brett Dennen breakfast.
Friday morning my phone was completely dead so I decided to go about the rest of my Rothbury experience solo.  I walked where the music led me.  First, to the Ranch Arena fora musical breakfast.  Brett Dennen was definitely one of my favorite performances.  I could not pull myself away from the front of the stage.  The band was decked in flannel and Brett's elephant guitar looked totally rad, paired with his charismatic dance moves and carrot colored hair.  You could feel his love for music the way he danced heavy as he strummed his guitar and soothed the crowd with his vocal expertise.  The whole band was having just as much fun, if not more fun, than the fans.  The band rocked the keys, guitar, drums, and bass.  Their set list was packed full of originals, a reggae number "watch out, im strong", and the finale cover of michael jackson's "billy jean" won me over.  He made sure to emphasize the cover performance was out of pure love and respect for the recently deceased king of pop.
After rocking to Billy Jean, I made my was to the Odeum to see G. Love and Special Sauce.   G. Love was much smaller than I had imagined in person, but big and bold enough to rip some sweet licks on his green electric guitar. He got the crowd involved singing 'fire it up' as the crowd fired back 'keep on burning'.  The crowd sang and burned down another kinda green in complete support of this musical act.  
After about an hour of G. Love I headed to see Martin Sexton in the Ranch Arena.  Another solo performer who needed no accompaniment.  His voice was incredible.  This is an artist I loved before seeing him live, and the live performance still exceeded my expectations.  His voice was so raw and so beautiful, backed with a fluid guitar, that served as an echo rather than a guide for his music.  This was another set I could not pull myself away from.  I really have a soft spot for great lyrics and fantastic vocals... the combination of the two is prime.
Broken Social Scene was next.  Broken Social Scene is a Canadian indie rock band... often labeled "baroque pop"... not sure what that means, but sounds about right.  I posted up near the front of the stage next to husband and wife members of The Hard Lessons.  They told me all the artists theyve been meeting behind the scenes have been awesome, and that their Rothbury experience has been amazing as expected.  It's always nice to see bands out supporting fellow musicians.  Broken Social Scene performed with seven members and all of them seemed to do a musical chairs act, switching to different instruments and positions for each song.  I like when each member in a group is versatile, the changes allow for a more stimulating live experience.  They warned the audience early in their set, "Be careful when taking drugs.  Some drugs are cleaning products.  Trust me, I know".  I always love a bit of comic relief.  Their song "world sick" was probably my favorite of the ones I had the chance to catch before rushing off to catch a glimpse of the infamous Damian Marley.
When Damian Marley stepped onto the Odeum stage, I think I felt my heart stop for a brief second.  Seeing him in person was incredibly surreal.  His dreads seemed to be a whole separate creature, protecting him, encompassing his body and almost hitting the ground as he walked across the stage.  They were the most amazing dreads I have ever seen, without a doubt.  The entire set with Damian and NAS was unbelievable.  I felt complete contentment as I sang along "One love, one heart, let's get together and feel alright...".  I think the rest of the crowd shared that feeling, it was the most upbeat, dancing, smiling, loving crowd I encountered at Rothbury.  Mixing up the reggae with a bit of raptastic hip-hop when NAS entered the stage was live proof that music makes peace in the way that it connects the world... allowing us to feel, hear, and see the same thing through so many different pairs of eyes.
After Damian and NAS and the three beautiful lady singing dancing crew left the stage I passed by Flogging Molly to grab a corn dog dinner and prepare for The String Cheese Incident.
This jam band was not top on my list to go see, but I am glad I did because their talent was pretty undeniable, and who doesn't love dancing to a jam band? 
After a full day of dancing and grooving I decided to end my night in the forest.  I found a hammock overlooking the Sherwood Stage and listened to Chromeo and Girl Talk end the night right.  I danced right along in my head to some sweet beats, a bit of Michael Jackson coverage, and watched the lights of the forest and the stage synch up, and warm up my head for a bit of rest to gear up for day three.  I walked through the forest to STS9 absolutely killing it, with music that rivaled the strobe lights and starlight, back to my tent in the Trout forest.

(to be continued)

Monday, July 6, 2009


i am back in chicago, and finally clean.
this weekend i saw...

toubab krewe
keller williams
quannum all stars
the disco biscuits
cold war kids
break science ft. adam deitch
brett dennen
g.love & special sauce
martin sexton
damian marley & NAS
broken social scene
flogging molly
the string cheese incident
girl talk
lipp service
underground orchestra
son volt
jackie greene
railroad earth
zappa plays zappa
the black crowes
john butler
wendy darling
les claypool
the dead
pretty lights
sts9's live PA set
the hard lessons
toots and the maytals
yonder mountain string band
grace potter and the nocturnals
willie nelson & family
the hold steady
ani difranco
govt' mule
bob dylan

... so i think i need a nap before i recap all of that for you.
... i did miss the ragbirds, big gigantic, four finger five, 
soulive, and schpongel, but unfortunately/fortunately
the lineup this year was incredible and therefor, pretty
impossible to catch every possible amazing act.  i did try.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

rebecca hill is off to rothbury!

got my sun hat, sun screen, bathing suits, cowboy boots, 
peanut butter, a new notebook, sunglasses, fanny pack, 
and im ready to go taste some tunes!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

g. love: crumble

dear g. love,
i love this song. it makes me very happy. so does all of your music.
i love your album artwork as well; lemonade is delicious.
i can't wait to hear you sing to me at rothbury.
kiss me,
rebecca hill

grace potter: falling or flying

dear grace potter,
i am anxiously awaiting seeing you at rothbury.
your voice is beautiful, peaceful and sexy.
i think i will fall in awe and fly in love.
see you soon,
rebecca hill

disco biscuits: home again

dear disco biscuits,
i am very excited to see you at rothbury. i know we will have
a lot of fun together. can't wait for our first dance together.
much love,
rebecca hill