We have been hard at work getting the 2018 lineup completed and planning for our move to our new permanent home, just southeast of Lockhart. But this weekend my husband and I had the pleasure of seeing the Del McCoury Band play the Paramount Theatre in Austin. Del has been a semi-regular fixture at Old Settler’s since before I began booking the show in 2007. It was refreshing to see the band without having to worry about the festival happening all around me. Del gave a shout out to Old Settler’s Music Festival and with that went right into “All Aboard.” It felt really good to have the fest recognized by a bluegrass icon.
And the train keeps rolling, and the world keeps turning.
All aboard, All aboard, everybody’s gotta get on board.
“All Aboard” is a spiritual song and as I listened to the lyrics, I began to think about how grateful I am for the many fans, volunteers, sponsors, and artists who have told me that they are “on board” with us for our move to Tilmon, Texas. So I decided to do a limited “All Aboard Super Early Bird Special” – and roll back prices to pre-2014 numbers. So we’re offering a limited number of the “All Aboard” tickets beginning Wednesday, October 25th at 10 am as a thank you for all of you coming to the brand, new 145-acre venue with us.
Which brings me to more exciting news … we’re ready to unveil the first wave of lineup announcements! Speaking of the McCourys, Del won’t be here this year, but The Travelin’ McCourys and Jeff Austin Band close Thursday night with the Grateful Ball, a “Deadicated celebration” of the Grateful Dead’s music. I’ve seen this show twice – at two different festivals – and loved it both times. It’s a wonderful collaboration – and The Travelin’ McCourys do it so well.
We’ve also got another wonderful collaboration – I’m With Her featuring Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan. Long-timers will remember Sara Watkins playing with Nickel Creek and sitting in with John Hartford for what turned out to be his last performance. Aoife is no stranger to the festival either – she was the vocalist in the innovative, high energy bluegrass band Crooked Still. And, of course, we all know Sarah Jarosz – multi-Grammy winner and winner of our very first Youth Competition in 2002.
For those who like to color outside the lines, we have Greensky Bluegrass who play their own unique version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a string band with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. If you like it on the jammy side, we’ve also got the improvisational and lyrical skills of Railroad Earth. For the traditionalist in all of us, we’re proud to present Balsam Range, the award-winning, bluegrass chart-topping band from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Flat picking wunderkind Billy Strings is back along with bluegrass-pop-roots band Front Country and “Celt grass” players We Banjo 3.
No Old Settler’s would be complete without one of the great Texas songwriters – this year Ray Wylie Hubbard makes a return appearance. Two Canadian songwriters who couldn’t be more different – Steve Poltz and Colter Wall – also take the stage. Steve is devastatingly funny, wildly innovative and unexpectedly touching. Colter is a pure folk singer – and when you hear him sing, I guarantee you’ll do a double take because you just can’t believe that such an old soul voice comes out of that very young man.
Local favorites The Deer and the Peterson Brothers both make encore appearances. And Jose Galeano, lead singer for Latin fusion band Grupo Fantasma, presents his new band, Galeano. Tex-Mex infuses the energetic style of indie-rockers Calexico and they’ll showcase new music from their new album coming out in January. Donna the Buffalo perfectly showcases groove-heavy, danceable roots rock and I hope The Herd will be pleased. Last, but not least, we have the angel-voiced, four-part harmonies of Darlingside and 2017 Youth Competition Winner Sophie Scott.
And we’re not done. That’s about 2/3 of the lineup. Right now, I have more offers to artists out and am waiting to see what comes back. Hope to have some more good news soon.
For those of you who like to come early, we’ll do a Wednesday night Open Mic for all the pickers and players out there. So practice up.
See you down the road.
PS Oh yeah, tickets … get ‘em here. And thank you so much!