by LUKE BAUMGARTEN, TED S. McGREGOR JR., SCOTT FAINGOLD and JEFF ECHERT & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & t's hard to follow a big anniversary. You go all-out that one big year -- the 10th, 25th, 50th anniversary -- because those kinds of milestones are huge, and then you're left to move on. When the Festival at Sandpoint turned 25 last year, it was a reverie. Los Lonely Boys came. Josh Ritter came. Lyle Lovett came.
How do you follow that? You can't. All you can do is plan a festival that carries on the legacy built by the other 24 years. So you book solid names like Ziggy Marley (Aug. 15) and Wynonna (Aug. 16). You get a couple living legends like Smokey Robinson (Aug. 7) and Richie Furay (Aug. 9). Then you sexy it up for the kids with young talent like Brett Dennen and Donavon Frankenreiter (Aug. 8), folding in family concerts, fireworks and a little symphonic virtuosity courtesy of the Spokane Symphony. In all, a solid follow-up.
For a full schedule, go to www.festivalatsandpoint.com
-- LUKE BAUMGARTEN
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & O & lt;/span & n a November night in 1968, a mysterious new band took the stage at the legendary Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles. Made up of a couple of refugees from the just-disbanded Buffalo Springfield, they blew the room away, and that moment has been memorialized by rock critics as perhaps the defining moment of the country-rock fusion sound being forged in California. A lot of bands were nibbling at the same edges, but when Poco hit the stage that night, it became clear that a new sound was born.
One of the guys playing up there was Richie Furay, whose music career had a funny way of intersecting with such moments. He'll lead the Richie Furay Band onto the Festival at Sandpoint stage Saturday night for what is sure to be a tour through that all-American sound. Pure Prairie League and the Marshall Tucker Band will share the bill.
Now a pastor just outside Boulder, Colo., Furay still remembers that night in '68.
"When the Springfield broke up, Jimmy Messina and I really wanted to be in the gap between country music and rock 'n' roll," Furay recalls. "We had a heart for it, and that music opened the door -- we pioneered the California country rock sound. It opened the door for the Eagles -- I know, because [Eagles' co-founder] Glenn Frey sat in my living room while we rehearsed Poco. Even the music coming out of Nashville today seems to come from there.
"We worked our band really hard," Furay adds, "we perfected the sound. I thought Poco would have more commercial success than it did, but somebody has to pioneer."
Success can be relative: Poco (with various band members; Furay left in 1973) has put out 50 records.
And if you back up a few years, Furay was behind the wheel of another similarly influential band -- literally behind the wheel, as Buffalo Springfield was born out on Sunset Boulevard in 1965. Hearing a Byrds record convinced Furay to quit his factory job in Massachusetts to rejoin his old band mate, Steven Stills, out in California. Furay had known Neil Young from his New York folk-scene days, and driving down the boulevard one day, he recognized Young in traffic (hard to miss him in his 1953 hearse), pulled a U-turn and chased him down.
"You couldn't have planned how the Springfield got together. Driving down Sunset Boulevard, there we are meeting each other. This was in the days before cell phones," Furay laughs. "It was destiny, man."
The next thing everybody knew, Buffalo Springfield was topping the charts with "For What It's Worth," the song that defined a generation with the words, "There's something happening here / What it is ain't exactly clear...." Both Young and Stills emerged from that band to have huge careers; the entire band was enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
After Poco, Furay joined David Geffen's answer to Crosby, Stills and Nash. Souther-Hillman-Furay was a critically acclaimed act, but only lasted until 1975. Part of the reason the trio failed was because Furay decided to move on to bigger things -- much bigger things.
"If somebody would have told me that I would be a Christian back then, I'd have told them they were crazy," Furay says. "If they'd said I'd be a pastor, I'd have known they were crazy."
But that's just what happened, in a truly a-typical rock 'n' roll ending. But Furay, now 64, isn't done -- his 2006 album, The Heartbeat of Love, was well received and features the input of old friends, from Steven Stills to Neil Young. And he still does the occasional tour date with his new, younger version of the Richie Furay Band, featuring musicians in their 20s -- Scott Sellen, Aaron Sellen, Alan Lemke and Furay's daughter Jesse Lynch.
"We'll play 30 years of my music, going way back -- every single aspect," says Furay. "But having these kids in the band makes it young -- and makes it fun."
The Richie Furay Band, along with Pure Prairie League and the Marshall Tucker Band, play the Festival at Sandpoint on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 6 pm. Tickets: $40. Call: (888) 265-4554 or 325-SEAT.
-- TED S. McGREGOR JR.
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & Z & lt;/span & iggy Marley's got quite a yoke to carry. His father, after all, is more or less the patron saint of a small island nation, a religion and any number of blunted white suburban American kids. That's not to mention being considered (accurately or not) the primary progenitor of an entire style of music, reggae. Ziggy, like Sean Lennon, wisely presents himself as a far more modest artist than his father. But that doesn't mean he doesn't preach his gospel.
Marley, in a lilting Jamaican patois, discusses the title track of his latest CD -- now over a year old -- Love Is My Religion: "It is very hard for certain people to understand new ideas and new concepts. Especially when it deals with God. 'Cause these people are so into it, it's like there can't be nothin' new."
He adopts a gently mocking tone: "There can't be nothin' new about God, we know everything already." Then he switches back to his normal voice, with just a hint of frustrated abrasiveness. "No, it's not true, you don't know everything. You don't even know half the story."
Marley sees religious extremism as the root of the world's current troubles. "It is the fault of religion," he says. "It is the fault of those who teach and misguide the people about the concept of God. Love Is My Religion is a way of interpreting and uniting all religions and to let them understand that it is love that is what we are about. It is love what God is about, no matter if you are a Muslim or a Jew or a Christian or whatever, it is really about love."
As far as his legacy is concerned, Marley is acutely aware that many people consider him to be little more than an extension of his father, but this doesn't seem to bother him.
"I'm sure some people still see me like that," he concedes. "But others see me a different way. I will forever be his son, and he will forever be my father. But there are kids who come up who knew me before they knew my father." He sighs and chuckles. "I don't really think about it so much. My music speaks for who I am, and if there is some kind of analyzing to be done, I won't be the one to do it."
Ziggy Marley with Children of the Revolution at the Festival at Sandpoint on Friday, Aug. 15, at 7 pm. Tickets: $56. Call: (888) 265-4554 or 325-SEAT.
-- SCOTT FAINGOLD
DONAVON FRANKENREITER and BRETT DENNER
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & here's just something irresistible about Lake Pend Oreille. It has a sort of magnetism to it. Whether or not that's the specific reason that huge national acts have been drawn to Sandpoint's Festival for the last 26 years, the fact remains that they come.
This year, some of the big names include Ziggy Marley and Smokey Robinson. The younger among us, though, will be better served by the August 8th lineup of Donavon Frankenreiter (left) and Brett Dennen (inset), personifying the sun-kissed atmosphere of Pend Oreille in summer.
Frankenreiter has the sort of voice that's just the barest hint of sound, hardly registering as anything more than a whisper. It's light and breezy, much like the rest of his constituent particles, and coming as no surprise from a man who can claim Jack Johnson as a patron. Nothing bad ever happens in Frankenreiter's universe, a paradise filled with eternal sun, epic swells for surfing, and as one song title can attest, "Life, Love, and Laughter." Expect no angst -- just blissful melodies and borderline jam-band camaraderie. Oh, don't forget the mariachi horn sections and one seriously heinous '70s porn-star moustache.
Frankenreiter would be hard-pressed to name a better supporting act than Dennen, who could pass (at least musically) for the younger brother who's desperately trying to differentiate himself from his older sibling. Both possess the same kind of lilting, quavering voice (though Dennen's is more expressive and soulful). They each have the kind of heart-on-sleeve earnestness that will endear them to festival-goers. Dennen, however, lives in a somewhat gloomier world. Though hardly fatalist or pessimistic, Dennen -- unlike Frankenreiter -- acknowledges the less savory aspects of life.
Yes, the nod really does have to go to Dennen, who manages to make his music seem to matter just a little more than his tour mate. Trying to pick out significant differences between the two, though, is like trying to find a snowflake in a pile of salt. Mostly, festival attendees will be treated to a couple of good-times troubadours. You won't be solving any existential quandaries by analyzing their 10-times-traveled lyrical sentiments, but that ain't exactly the point. They're an ideal soundtrack for sitting on the shores of Pend Oreille, watching the lake lap at your toes and wash your cares away.
Donavon Frankenreiter and Brett Dennen on Friday, Aug. 8, at 7 pm. Tickets: $35. Call: (888) 265-4554 or 325-SEAT.
-- JEFF ECHERT