As festival season will soon commence with the coming of spring, warm weather and Bob Weir (seriously, the man seems ever-present) one can look to Coachella Valley’s own Stagecoach Festival, the ever-prevalent country/folk/Americana/roots gathering held in the very same Empire Polo Fields as our dear friend Coachella is. While 2015 marks only the 8th annual return of the festival Stagecoach has managed to secure some enormous names since its formation. This year’s lineup is no different, with names both contemporary and legendary on the bill, ranging a multitude of genres and decades of infamy.
Despite the star-studded schedule, Moxipop has selected five of the artists we’re most excited to see on the lineup this year. (Arguments, contestations and general profanity accepted in the comments section below.)
1. Sturgill Simpson
The psychedelic country maven has plans to make the rounds at most every festival this year, but he’s likely to feel most in his element at Stagecoach. The critically acclaimed Metamodern Sounds In Country Music placed the Nashvillean into the unique spectrum of bohemian-county, the likes of which haven’t been paralleled since Graham Parsons tripped through the Grievous Angel era. Simpson’s presence alone advocates mind-expansion of sorts, which will compliment the scene quite nicely in addition to adding some levity to the straight-laced acts of the weekend.
2. Merle Haggard
Would it truly be a country music festival without one of the surviving outlaw kings present? Merle has been gracious enough to tour into his late 70’s with no signs of stopping any time soon. Surprisingly not a headliner – Goldenvoice has reserved those slots for Miranda Lambert and Tim McGraw – Haggard nonetheless promotes an air of true legitimacy to this year’s festivities. A festival without a legend is heresy; Luckily Merle ain’t no heretic.
3. Kacey Musgraves
One of the most intriguing figures in the contemporary scene, Musgraves lays waste to the tired myth that females working in the country métier have to fall prey to overproduction to push their record. Musgraves’ relatively bare-bones rural sound perfectly compliments her smoky vocals. (Think the Stevie Nicks of Mineola, TX) The bottom line is Musgraves’ live performance is an enchanting experience. Good on stagecoach for booking some class rather than cheese.
4. The Devil Makes Three
We’ve seen this merry band of zeitgeist-bending pranksters constantly flirt with temptation, sin and liquid seduction over a wildly entertaining slew of albums. The Santa Cruz trio has played the gamut of festivals and gigs ranging from small-town wine events to 2015’s Shaky Boots in the south. Playing anything from Dixieland jazz to rockabilly, The Devil Makes Three are anything but boring, and a welcomed addition to an otherwise fairly segregated list of artists.
5. The Lone Bellow
One of the most highly touted Americana acts as of late, The Lone Bellow has made it a goal to craft their sound around emulating a hootenanny. The single “Then Came The Morning” off of the Bellow’s latest release of the same name is a triumphant example of the current state of Americana (or at the very least the direction it ought to head in.) The Lone Bellow puts on a killer live show, and the Brooklynites will no doubt bring a dose of much-needed energy to the desert.
Check out stagecoachfestival.com for more information on the above artists and to view the entire lineup for 2015’s festival.