Hayes Carll + Lindi Ortega + The Cactus Blossoms

Three of the headline acts at the week-long ‘Southern Fork Americana Festival’ in Auckland, New Zealand, 7-16 October.

Hayes Carll is a Grammy-nominated Texan songwriter and  Lindi Ortega originally hails from Toronto, but both have ‘paid their dues’ for well over a decade and have a handful of albums each.

On the other hand, young siblings The Cactus Blossoms have just issued their first album from their home-town Minneapolis.


Hayes Carll

On Saturday we enjoyed Hayes Carll’s rhythm-and-arpeggio, guitar-picking together with well-honed, subtly ‘sliding’ country vocal styling.  And a decent vocal range that nicely lifts his newer, more introspective work, on his new album Lovers and Leavers.

NZ’s Adam McGrath (from local band, The Eastern) opened up-tempo for Carll.  Solo with guitar and harmonica, in a crowd-connecting, Kiwi-accented, folk-Americana style.


Lindi Ortega with guitarist ‘Champagne’ James Robertson

Later on Friday – wow, what a stomping show from Lindi Ortega!  Appearing in her signature red boots and hair veil, she did not disappoint fans or newbies.


She played a set comprising almost her entire new album, Faded Gloryville, plus some favourites mostly from the previous Tin Star and Cigarettes and Truckstops albums.


In contrast, The Cactus Blossoms provided a tranquil counterfoil beforehand.


The Cactus Blossoms  (Page Burkum and Jack Torrey)

These Northern boys give out easy brotherly vocal harmonies – the Everly Brothers meets Hank Williams, perhaps.  Sweet and beautiful sounds.

I especially enjoyed the vintage 50s-60s electric guitar tone, injected sparingly by Jack – nice!  All understated in a Minnesota kind of way.


Brendan and Alison Turner

Auckland-based Brendan and Alison Turner opened for them both with a short folksy-country set.  More-than-competent acoustic guitar from Brendan and voice harmony alongside Alison’s sometimes sassy vocals (complete with a bit of boot-stomping).

It was a treat to have fine ‘Roots-Americana’ local artists on display and all these overseas musicians all the way down here.


Some videos:


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