Two nights and more than a dozen world-class musicians.
On Friday and Saturday, downtown Seymour becomes the premier destination for live music with the return of Crossroads Acoustic Fest.
Coming off of a successful inaugural year in 2018, the music festival celebrates its second year with a new lineup of performers heralding from Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and even Edinburgh, Scotland.
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The festival attracts professional singer-songwriters and “roots” artists performing original music, said Shawn Busby, one of the festival organizers who’s responsible for securing the acts.
“We are thrilled with the 2019 lineup,” Busby said. “We strive to provide a diverse mix of instrumentation and musical styles while maintaining our vision of world-class talent.”
While many of the performers are solo artists, the festival also will showcase several duos, bands and in-the-round performances with more than one songwriter onstage at the same time, Busby said.
Artists will perform simultaneously at listening rooms at Rails Craft Brew and Eatery, 114 St. Louis Ave., the Jackson County Visitor Center, 100 N. Broadway St., and in the banquet room at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 122 E. Second St. Shows will start at 6 p.m. and continue through 11:30 p.m.
Weekend passes, which provide access to all three rooms for both nights, are available for $40 at the visitor center or online at crossroadsacousticfest.com. A limited number of single-night tickets also are available for $25.
The festival is a nonprofit event presented by Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the center’s ongoing efforts to provide the community access to the arts.
There will be food and beer/wine trucks set up at the visitor center and in the parking lot behind the Eagles. Food and drinks also will be available for purchase at Rails, and drinks will be available at the Eagles.
Attendees will receive wristbands allowing them to move freely from one listening room to another and see the artists they want to see the most.
The idea for Crossroads Acoustic Fest started after Busby and his brother, Shane, who also is on the festival committee, attended a much larger songwriter festival in South Walton, Florida.
“It’s a unique concept for southern Indiana,” Shawn said. “Our festival is for mature fans who can appreciate the art of songwriting and the stories behind the songs.”
Performers this year include Grayson Capps with Corky Hughes, New Reveille, Tim Easton, Carolina Story, Chicago Farmer, Austin Plaine, Cicada Rhythm, Freetown native Stephanie Lambring, Brent James, Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters, Dean Owens, Buffalo Wabs and The Price Hill Hustle, Ryan Culwell, The Cerny Brothers, Lydia Luce, John Mann and Greg Foresman, Justin Duenne and Robert Reynolds.
Cody Diekhoff of Chicago Farmer is no stranger to southern Indiana, performing every year in Friendship and in Brown County.
He feels a connection to others from the Midwest, he said.
“I’m from a smaller, rural town in Illinois, so it just kind of feels like home,” he said of the area.
As a guitarist, Diekhoff said he loves acoustic shows because they allows him to share stories with the audience.
“I think a lot of times, people like the stories behind the songs,” he said. “The guitar kind of puts the poetry in motion. It’s all about the lyrics and the poetry.”
Diekhoff said he feels most comfortable in that kind of setting.
“It’s the perfect environment for what I do,” he said. “It’s just me and a guitar.”
He also likes to get the crowd involved in singalongs.
“It’s a fun time,” he said.
When he first started getting serious about music, he wanted to be in a rock ‘n roll band, he said.
But that changed after hearing John Prine, who is one of his biggest musical influences, and other iconic Chicago songwriters.
He changed his direction from rock ‘n roll to singer-songwriter troubadour.
Daniel Cook founded New Reveille and plays banjo, guitar and sings. The name means “new awakening.”
“I always jokingly said that when I turned 30, I would pick up the banjo and learn it,” he said. “Come that time, that’s exactly what I did.”
The group has never played a show in Indiana before, he said, and is looking forward to the festival.
“We really like these intimate, acoustic appearances,” he said. “We’ll have four with us, so it’s a stripped-down sound. It’s an opportunity to play different versions of our songs.”
As the lead singer, Amy Kamm said people can expect strong vocals and plenty of good harmony along with solid instrumentation.
“That tends to be the thing that shines the most,” she said. “Sometimes when we have a full band, that gets drowned out a little more. When it’s stripped down, you get more to the essence of the song. You can hear more of the lyrics, and it seems more emotional when it’s acoustic.”
The band seamlessly blends traditional bluegrass/country sounds with a more contemporary feel.
They have been influenced by a variety of artists and musical genres, including Appalachian bluegrass, mountain music, country and old rock ‘n roll.
“I think one of the most flattering compliments we got is ‘You guys sound like a country Fleetwood Mac,’” Cook said.
Kamm said her influences are artists like Alison Krauss and Mindy Smith.
“I love music that is emotive and melancholy,” she said. “I just want to be moved and feel something.”
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What: Second Crossroads Acoustic Fest
When: 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Listening room venues in downtown Seymour, including the banquet room at Rails Craft Brew and Eatery, 114 St. Louis Ave., the Jackson County Visitor Center, 100 N. Broadway St., and the banquet room at Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 655, 122 E. Second St.
Cost: Two-night wristbands are $40. A limited number of single-night tickets also are available for $25.
Performers: Grayson Capps with Corky Hughes, New Reveille, Tim Easton, Carolina Story, Chicago Farmer, Austin Plaine, Cicada Rhythm, Freetown native Stephanie Lambring, Brent James, Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters, Dean Owens, Buffalo Wabs and The Price Hill Hustle, Ryan Culwell, The Cerny Brothers, Lydia Luce, John Mann and Greg Foresman, Justin Duenne and Robert Reynolds.
For information or to purchase tickets: Visit crossroadsacousticfest.com or stop by the visitor center.