Folk and Roots fest wanders from own roots
In its 13th year, the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival looks a lot different than the fest I discovered more than a decade ago. In the past few years the festival has taken on a decidedly more world music theme, which is interesting but becoming tiresome. Closing Sunday night is Etran Finatawa, a band from Niger.
In 1999, in the fest’s second season, I saw Steve Earle and a set from Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett. Robbie Fulks headlined the first festival. Jon Langford performed with the Mekons in the third year. I saw Richard Thompson open for Patti Smith that same year. And while Smith’s appearance raised eyebrows about her folk and roots credentials, the world music lineups overwhelmed the Americana acts in recent years. That’s too bad given Chicago’s strong foundation of roots and insurgent country.
Here are some tracks from that Tweedy/Bennett show, a pair of Wilco songs and two covers, including Daniel Johnston’s True Love Will Find You in the End.