By Ben Salmon • The Bulletin


• 8:15 tonight at Village Green Main Stage

• 2 p.m. Saturday at FivePine

• 7 p.m. Saturday at Sisters Art Works

What a life Eric Bibb has lived! The folk-blues master grew up in New York City, where his father was immersed in the vaunted ’60s folk scene. The younger Bibb got guitar advice from Bob Dylan, and Pete Seeger and Odetta were family friends — no big deal. In his late teens, he moved to Europe, where he toiled for more than 25 years before his 1997 breakthrough album “Good Stuff.” Since, Bibb has been cranking out his earth blend of authentic blues, acoustic folk and low-key country music, with a dash of global flavor here and there, such as his 2012 collaboration with Senegalese musician Habib Koite.


• 10 tonight at The Belfry

• 6 p.m. Saturday at Village Green Main Stage

• 3 p.m. Sunday at Village Green Main Stage

Each year, organizers of the Sisters Folk Festival like to push and pull on the traditional definition of folk music, bringing in bluesy acts, jazzy combos and even the occasional rock band. (One of the great moments in recent SFF history was renowned jazz drummer Brian Blade and his odd pop band sending folks scrambling for the exits with a noisy crescendo in 2012.) This year, one of the fest’s stretches is Darlingside, a Massachusetts quartet that plays lush, propulsive roots-pop colored with gorgeous vocal harmonies and occasional string-band breakdowns. Imagine French pop-rock powerhouse Phoenix taking up bluegrass instruments (but keeping the drums) and ripping through Coldplay songs at warp speed. So yeah, this isn’t your grandfather’s folk music, but I have it on good authority that these guys are amazing live.


• 7 tonight at Melvin’s Market

• Noon Saturday at Village Green Main Stage

• 10 p.m. Saturday at The Depot Cafe

In a genre where lightning-fast solos and showcasing your skills are not only accepted but celebrated, the bluegrass played by Seattle duo Cahalen Morrison and Eli West is a breath of fresh air. Over three albums — including this year’s excellent “I’ll Swing My Hammer” — Morrison and West bring a light touch to their lithe jams, which are firmly rooted in string-band tradition but also glow with gorgeous, vibrant melodies. Bluegrass can be dense; these guys know how to let it breathe. Don’t be mistaken, however: They can play, too. Head over to to hear why Morrison and West are one of the best rootsy acts the Pacific Northwest has to offer.


• 7:15 tonight at Village Green Main Stage

• 3 p.m. Saturday at Sisters Coffee Co. (workshop)

• 8:45 p.m. Saturday at The Belfry

• 2 p.m. Sunday at Sisters Art Works

Ruth Moody may not be a household name among fans of folk music, but The Wailin’ Jennys are. Moody is a founding member of that award-winning and globally renowned Canadian roots band, but this weekend, she arrives in Sisters to lead her namesake band through her elegant and beautiful songs. The first two songs that stream at Moody’s website are telling. “Trouble and Woe” is a sparse, traditional-sounding number that clings to the skeletal pluck of a banjo before opening up into a sprightly folk jam, whereas “One and Only” is a guitar-driven, roots-rock song with a rich, warm chorus. What ties them together is Moody’s sturdily sublime voice and her ability to pull off both styles with equal grace and charm.


All-event passes to the 2014 Sisters Folk Festival sold out a month ago. There are a limited number of day passes still available for Sunday, but if you’re looking to enjoy some live music in Sisters this weekend without spending any money, here are a few options.

• This year’s Pickin’ Central will happen from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. tonight and Saturday night at the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce at 291 E. Main Ave. Bring your instrument and jam or just watch and listen.

• On Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., the fest’s new First Street Stage will buzz with the sound of the Americana Project, the educational outreach arm of SFF. Former and current Americana Project students from Sisters High School will perform, manage the venue and run sound. Alumni include Janelle Johnson, Drew Harrison, Laura Curtis, Travis Ehrenstrom, Jena Rickards, Slater Smith, and the bands Patrimony and Tumbleweed Peepshow.

• On Saturday from noon to 3:45 p.m., festival performers will hold free 45-minute workshops at Sisters Coffee Co., 273 E. Hood Ave., that are open to the public. This is a nifty way to hear the artists not only play (most likely) but also share a bit about their craft. The presenting artists are Sam Baker, Tim & Gretchen May, Erin Ivey and the Ruth Moody Band.

• At 10 a.m. Sunday is the annual Community Celebration at the main stage in Village Green Main Stage, 375 S. Fir St., hosted by Sisters fave Beth Wood. Expect a fun and emotionally moving performance featuring a bunch of festival artists.