“Suffering jukebox in a happy town, you’re over in the corner breaking down/They always seem to keep you way down low, the people in this town don’t want to know.”
The prose and music of former Silver Jews frontman David Berman, whose latest project Purple Mountains was supposed to perform at this weekend’s event before his untimely passing last month, will be celebrated in Big Sur. Kevin Morby will make sure of it.
“I will still be performing in Big Sur Sept. 20 despite the tragic loss of David Berman and Purple Mountains no longer playing,” singer-songwriter Morby, who was in the band that backed Purple Mountains’ record, announced on Instagram. “I still look forward to this weekend and you better believe I will be playing many Silver Jews covers in honor.”
Morby will be performing solo on Friday at the Fernwood campgrounds. The Brooklyn musician’s fifth solo LP Oh My God, released in April, scored critical acclaim for the singer’s look into the omnipotent and omniscient.
There’s another one of Friday’s performers, singer-songwriter Sachiko Kanenobu, regarded as Japan’s first female singer-songwriter. Her hypnotic, one-of-a-kind melodies put listeners in a trance. Kanenobu’s seminal 1972 Misora is still one of the most celebrated albums of the early 1970s folk and rock scenes.
Kanenobu settled near Sonoma, California, retiring from music and concentrating on raising her two children. But Misora keeps coming back from obscurity, luring in new fans. Last year, she performed several sold-out shows in Japan, playing Misora in its entirety.
On Saturday, master instrumental guitarist William Tyler will kick off a full day of music with tunes that sound like they belong to the score of a film.
“There are no short-term rewards for doing this kind of music,” Tyler says. “You just have to be grateful for every opportunity you have to even go out on the road and do it for people and hopefully come up with a little money. That’s all you can really ask for.”
Meanwhile, Yo La Tengo has a long “special” set planned for Saturday.
After more than 30 years, the band continues to grow a fanbase well beyond a cult following. Last year, they released their 15th full-length studio record, There’s a Riot Going On.
Besides all of the outdoor music, Farmer Dave and the Wizards of The West round out the lineup indoors.
CAMPING WEEKEND 4pm Friday, Sept. 20 and 11:45am Saturday, Sept. 21. Fernwood Resort, 47200 Highway 1, Big Sur. $290; group packages available. 667-2422, folkyeah.com