Well, we’ve made it this far. Didn’t I say last May this day would come? We were all ~so sad~ and now look at us: closer than farther from Monterey and the tenth annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival and, as of today (like forty minutes ago actually), relishing the complete lineup in all it’s eclectic, curated glory.
As per usual, there are some legendary new artists, several returning artists, plus a returning artist with a surprise twist. TBQH, this lineup announcement really threw me for a loop, I was mildly shocked in the best way. Without further ado...
The final artists announced to play Cali Roots 10 (or CRX, as we are lovingly referring to it):
Slightly Stoopid & Friends
AND FRIENDS! That means guest appearances. Last month they released a version of their single “Too Late”, remixed by fellow CRX headliners and Closer to the Sun alum, Stick Figure.
Dadmosphere, how we love you. The “Trying to Find a Balance” rapper is currently touring the nation and promoting his seventh studio album, Mi Vida Local, which—according to his website— “Instead of bragging about backstage misadventures it’s about grappling with mortality”.
The 2x Grammy-nominated Arlington, VA-based Soldiers of Jah Army frontman Jacob Hemphill met up with Sugarshack Sitdown last month to talk about their album Poetry in Motion... he had a frank discussion with Xiutezcatl (another CRX performer) about making conscious music and the responsibility we have to love one another. Watch the full interview HERE.
One of my biggest regrets of Cali Roots last year was missing their set. Only AFTER (literally that Sunday night) did I realize I am, in fact, mildly obsessed with Tash Sultana. I mean, how could you not be? There’s an unexplainable depth and mystery to this native Aussie; the ethereal riffs and bleeding vocals are intoxicatingly powerful and are just really on a different vibrational frequency. Try to listen to “Notion” and not cry, I dare you.
This folkey-bluesy rocker was a little bit of a surprise to see on the lineup. In a good way. Citizen Cope, aka singer-songwriter Clarence Greenwood, is set to release his first album in over seven years on March 1. Titled Heroin and Helicopters, the record will be released under his own label, Rainwater Recordings. Until then, you can listen to his title track “Justice” HERE.
Oh, how I love Steel Pulse. No matter how many times I see them, it’s always better than the last. One day I will get my wish to see them play the entire Handsworth Revolution album, but until then... this CRX set is going to be an solid replacement.
So, about The Movement. They opened up The Bowl on Day 1 of Cali Roots last year and I cannot even begin to describe the energy they brought. It was, IMO, the absolute best way to start a festival. Everyone loves The Movement, right, so even at noon on Friday there was a crowd. To have so many ~vibes~ swirling around that early in the day was magic. And if I remember correctly they closed with their banger “Siren” and it was pretty much ON like a light after that.
After releasing his first full-length album Lily of the Valley in 2017, the St. James Parish-born and singjay-styled Jesse Royal dropped a powerful, poignant music video for single “Generation”, featuring mentor Jo Mersa Marley. Jesse is quickly cementing his status as one of Jamaica’s top emerging artists and after seeing him at Reggae on the River, one of my favorite artists too.
Do you like podcasts? Ballyhoo! Frontman Howi Spangler pilots a show called Tales From The Greenroom and he talks about everything from the business side of music to interviews with people like Rome Ramirez (Sublime with Rome) and Micah Pueschel (Iration). I’ve been itching to see Ballyhoo! live ever since Howi appeared on Kash’d Out’s “Being Easy”; his voice is crazy unique and I feel like their set is going to be really high energy and fun for some reason ;-)
Ocean Alley is another band I regretfully missed last year, which is why I’m so excited this ragtag group of six Australian boys will be back to grace us with some echoey, dreamy sound waves and guitar licks. I’m currently listening to their latest album Chiaroscuro and getting lost in my daydreams….
For Peace Band
I think For Peace Band are some artists I’m most excited about seeing play CRX. If you haven’t heard of them, let me educate you verrry briefly:
Drummer, Freddy, is also lead vocals (wild)
You do not want to miss them, I promise you will be a fan for life.