Live from Alex’s Americana music festival

7:12- “When the music’s over…”

The music is done. The cases are packed, the musicians finish the last drops of drinks while they pull on coats and hats, cords are rolled and amps unplugged.

For a Sunday afternoon, the day was an undoubted success. Alex’s was packed with standing-room only, and the all-ages aspect of a daytime show lent a whimsical, playful atmosphere to the show, while young children ran around, dancing with one another and strangers alike.

The Americana festival came off with minimal hitches and difficulties.

“It was a great time and I am looking forward to doing it again, if Charles wants to,” says Mysha Caruso, lead singer of Kites and Crows and organizer of the festival. “It was an unforgettable experience.”

The Charles in question is Charles Tobey, owner of Alex’s. “It turned out wonderful,” said Tobey. “All these musicians deserve the respect they get here in Ashland.”

That said, the night is coming on, the sun has set, and drinks are refilled as regulars reminisce upon the last four days of outstanding music here at Alex’s. Eleven bands and almost 20 hours of music later, we all can sit back and reflect upon the ocean of talent that flows through our fair town, soaking Ashlanders with sincere music that comes from our neighbors and friends, and continues to make Ashland a truly unique, splendid place to be.

5:02-

Members of Flat Five Stringband strum their ragtime tunes at Alex's. Photo by Lenny Holland/The Siskiyou

Flat Five Stringband have taken the stage, with their bluesy, ragtime/dixieland music grabbing the attention of young and old alike, from children swaying to the music, weaving in between dad’s legs, to the elderly who sip tea, careful to not take their eyes off the band for too long.

Their music is meandering and complex, with intricate lines weaving among the six members, everyone taking a stab at a new lead melody that draws the piece in a new direction. The group is made up of three guitarists, a violinist, an accordionist, and an upright-bass player. The mood is swinging and smooth, and the crowd is into it.

4:00-

Kites and Crows have finished their spell-binding set, tugging on the crowd’s heartstrings with their top-notch storytelling prowess. Mysha Caruso’s lyrics are able to draw in and capture the attention of even the stuffiest and gruffest of listeners.

Jason O'Dea of Intuitive Compass. Photo by Lenny Holland.

And now the old-timey street music of Intuitive Compass has the standing-room only crowd at Alex’s bobbing heads and stomping feet, as the members of the local band strum banjos, guitars, an upright bass and washboards.

Their music has a certain 1920s-feel to it, reminiscent of ragtime. They dress in a style all their own, leaving one to wonder where exactly clothes like theirs can be obtained. With feathered caps, striped stockings and brass-buttoned double-breasted coats, the band are genial and upbeat, have long ago mastered the art of stage banter. Their lyrics speak of travel, trouble and temptation, with rich storytelling.

As Intuitive Compass close out their set, the crowd prepares itself for the bluegrass stylings of Flat Five Stringband, hitting the floor here shortly.

Due to some technical difficulties, rotten luck and being born under a bad sign, photos are unable to be uploaded directly from the venue, but rest assured, they will be posted as soon as possible, so stay tuned…

2:36-

The sunlight is shining mutely through the high windows in Alex’s Plaza Restaurant and Bar in Ashland, casting a web of warmth upon local folk heroes Kites and Crows as they play their first haunting, sweetly somber song of the afternoon.

Nancy Martin and Mysha Caruso of Kites and Crows. Photo by Lenny Holland/The Siskiyou

This is the last day of Alex’s 4-day Americana music festival. The food is popping and sizzling in the kitchen, the beer is foaming and bottles upended for the scarf-wrapped revelers here beside the fire’s glow, while Kites and Crows’ Mysha Caruso’s tender voice rises above the din of the crowd’s chatter. The music beautiful and almost mystical; the perfect beginning of the festival’s last day of music.

After Kites and Crows are Intuitive Compass, and Flat Five String Band will be closing out the afternoon. Photos and updates are on the way, so if you can’t make it down to check out the music, stay up-to-date right here…

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