Sunday, March 5 marked the end of the 2017 McDowell Music Festival in Phoenix and attendance records were broken. Saturday saw the Margaret T. Hance Park busting at the seams with EDM music, the predominant genre of the day. By Sunday, M3F reached back to its roots of improvisational jam bands. The music was amazing.
Early in the afternoon, acts Ozark Pappy and Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold got the festivities started with great banjo and guitar. Whiskey Myers brought music from the gut in the tradition of Allman Brothers and Lynard Skynyrd Southern rock. There was the mesmerizing raspy vocal from lead singer Cody Cannon. The seven-member band also included Cody Tate on lead and rhythm guitar, John Jeffers on lead and rhythm guitar, Jeff Hogg on drums and Gary Brown on bass. The band is presently touring in support of their new album, Mud. The crowd-pleasing set today featured an awesome dueling guitar segment.
Railroad Earth followed with their improvisational Americana/bluegrass style. Many have called them a “jamgrass” band. Whatever the description one uses, the result is a tight band with expert musicianship and flowing harmonies. The band is lead vocalist Todd Sheaffer on guitar, Tim Carbone on violin, John Skehan on mandolin, Andy Goessling on multi-instruments (that included guitar, dobro, mandolin), Carey Harmon on drums and Andrew Altman on bass. In 2015, the band started working on some projects with Warren Haynes. It was not a surprise to see Warren Haynes sitting in on slide guitar during their set that included “The Forecast.” Hayes is producing the band in their next album release.
Lettuce brought their jazzy funk with touches of hip-hop, psychedelic synth and rhythm that screamed, dance, dance, dance. This was a predominantly instrumental set that had everyone in the field moving to the groove. Members of the band are Eric Krasno and Adam "Shmeeans" Smirnoff on guitar, Neal Evans on keyboards, hammond B-3 organ, piano, Adam Deitch on drums/percussion, Erick "E.D." Coomes on bass, Ryan Zoidis on saxophone, Eric "Benny" Bloom on trumpet. Mt. Crushmore is their latest cd release.
Gov’t Mule finished the day as Warren Haynes helmed the band through a brilliant set. Hayes is well known for his outstanding guitar prowess and vocals for the Allman Brothers Band. Gov’t Mule originated in 1994 to keep its members busy during the Allman’s down time. Two years ago Haynes left Allman Brothers Band to devote his full attention to Gov’t Mule. The set was filled with many fan favorite songs including “Thorazine Shuffle,” “ Soulshine,” and a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” For a complete set list of Gov’t Mule’s set, please click here. Also, you can buy the set on their website, muletracks.