Moscow’s Rendezvous in the Park is sounding blue and soulful this year with a performer who has shared stages with Etta James and Stevie Ray Vaughan, an artist who recorded a track for The LoneRanger movie, a soul singer who was the second-ever woman to be awarded the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, and Friday’s opening band, Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds, who recently recorded tracks with American Idol judge Randy Jackson.
“These are national acts, not up-and-coming local acts,” said Jim Boland Rendezvous co-president.
And Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds, of New York, are almost as far from local as you can get.
“We are hard-soul rock,” said Sister Sparrow, or Arleigh Kincheloe. “We definitely lay a lot of funk in there, too. It’s all rooted in the blues. My brother and I grew up in the blues and playing it and falling in love with that sound.”
Arleigh is referring to sounds from artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, Little Feat and Aretha Franklin, whom she grew to love from her parents’ band, from singing at the age of 9 and from writing music at 18.
In 2008, Arleigh teamed up with her brother, Jackson Kincheloe, did some traveling and found that New York, N.Y., was the right place to start their own band. Her cousin, Bram Kincheloe, joined as drummer, and helped self-taught Arleigh and Jackson find high-level musicians to form a band.
Now an eight-piece band, The Dirty Birds have harmonica, drums, guitar, bass, trumpet, trombone and baritone saxophone. They’re loud — and minus Arleigh — they are all men.
“I am the only girl, but it does get challenging. Sometimes I just need to call my sister and talk about makeup and get some girl time, which is very few and far between,” Arleigh said. “But I feel like I’m traveling with seven big brothers, and they’re always watching out for me and vice versa.”
Another brother figure stepped into the picture when bassist and producer Randy Jackson, also famous for judging American Idol, helped produce The Dirty Bird’s latest EP.
“It was kind of surreal,” Arleigh said. “He was very nice, and very relaxed and chill. We were all cracking jokes and became friends for sure.”
But Arleigh learned more than jokes on set.
“As a producer, he was really, really talented. The biggest thing I took away from it was to rock and have fun with it. You might expect somebody who’s so famous to be intimidating, but he was the opposite of that.”
Arleigh said she hopes for the Jackson-produced EP to come out in October, but said that doesn’t mean there has been a break post-recording.
“The last year or so we’ve been really busy playing, traveling all year and playing a ton of shows,” Arleigh said. “It’s nice to be busy and we get to see the whole country.”
While traveling, Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds have shared the stage with Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, whose sound they have been compared to, Arleigh said, as well as the sound of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
Getting down and dirty (birds)
At Rendezvous in the Park, The Dirty Birds will share the stage with Dave Alvin and The Guilty Ones.
Alvin recorded “Lonesome Whistle” for the movie The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, and conspired with Stephen King and John Mellencamp for the musical “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.”
“If you had to have a desert island album, Dave Alvin’s ‘Ashgrove’ would be the one I’d pick,” Rendezvous’ Boland said.
And Boland could choose from a lot of albums, being that he’s been to Rendezvous for 31 years — as long as the festival has run. Although he has been Rendezvous president off-and-on, he’s also attended each summer as a food vendor for Hog Heaven Sausage Works, which he owns. Boland has seen performers such as Mavis Staples, Arlo Guthrie, The Dixie Chicks, Josh Ritter, Taj Mahal and Sonny Landreth at Rendezvous in the Park.
Co-president Tom Preston’s history with Rendezvous is much shorter.
“I didn’t go to Rendezvous until eight years ago. I knew Rendezvous was happening, but didn’t want to be bothered to go. People kept telling me I should go,” Preston said.
One year, he finally decided to attend.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I’ve been cheating myself out of this opportunity,’” Preston said.
And he’s gotten the same reaction from those he’s convinced to purchase tickets through the years.
“It’s a jewel of a festival, but all you have to do is go to the park,” Preston said. “You get a chance to see quality of music that you don’t get to see in this area, that you’d pay much more for somewhere else.”
The nitty gritty details
Rendezvous in the Park is a four-day event in Moscow’s East City Park, and a button for an all-access weekend costs $50.00. Children, ages 12 and under, are free.
Thursday tickets cost $15 or $7.50 for youth (ages 13 through 18). Friday tickets are $20 or $10 for youth. Saturday tickets cost $25 or $12.50 for youth. Sunday tickets are $15 for the Rendezvous Orchestra, a group of regional and classical musicians.
Tickets can be purchased online at rendezvousinthepark.com/wp/tickets or at the gate, which opens at 5 p.m., while the shows start at 6 p.m. Food, beer and wine vendors will be available and Preston suggests bringing a lawn chair or blanket for seating.
Rendezvous for Kids takes place at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday, and includes art activities, art workshops, a Rendezvous T-shirt, lunch and a lunchtime performance. Registration is $35/child for both mornings or $20/child for one morning. A preschool program is also available. Children are able to walk on, if accompanied by an adult, at 9 a.m each day for $10/child, but the purchase does not include a T-shirt or participation in art workshops. For more information on ticket prices, events, sponsors or to become a Rendezvous in the Park booster member, visit rendezvousinthepark.com.
Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at: @LindseyTreffry.
6 p.m. Thursday
Opener: Left Hand Smoke
Main: Lloyd Jones
6 p.m. Friday
Opener: Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds
Main: Dave Alvin and The Guilty Ones
6 p.m. Saturday
Opener: Eilen Jewell
Main: Janiva Magness*
*To read more about Janiva Magness, visit Inland360.com at http://bit.ly/172LV79.
6 p.m. Sunday
The Rendezvous Orchestra