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LOS ANGELES, CA- Country, roots, and Americana from established and rising stars in music were on full display at Goldenvoice’s Palomino Fest in Pasadena, California on July 9, 2022. The one-day music festival was held at Brookside at the Rose Bowl and featured 19 artists whose performances were spaced across two stages. With the legendary Willie Nelson slated to perform, the producers named its two stages after Willie’s 1983, honky tonk album with Merle Haggard “Pancho & Lefty”.

The “Pancho Stage” was designated as the main stage, and “The Left Stage”, which was appropriately staged left of the Pancho Stage, was the secondary stage. Below are some thoughts on each performance Blurred Culture was able to catch on the Lefty Stage. Don’t forget to click through the artist’s image to check out their full photo gallery and some found fan-video from the performance!

Written contributions to this page are from Max Sloves and Derrick K. Lee.

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Jaime Wyatt at Palomino Festival Brookside at the Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA 7/9/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com. Published with permission.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Jaime Wyatt at Palomino Festival

As I waded over to the Lefty Stage, Ms. Wyatt was asking the crowd if anyone knew what and where the original Palomino was. The crowd’s response ran the gamut from “strip club in Vegas” to “yer mom’s house.” Not sure what the proper answer was but the question begs the question or, rather, the point: that this is a curated collection of artists, all gathered under the outstretched wings of Uncle Willie’s subtle grin of approval, a man whose aforementioned iconoclasm is always tempered by an unflinching respect for the iconoclasts that came before him. Simply said, history matters. With no tradition, there’s nothing to disrupt. Picasso wasn’t born a cubist, or if he was, he didn’t discover it to the world until he’d mastered the tradition he was about to dismantle.

So… Palomino. Some names are arbitrary or serendipitous but some are carefully chosen. Jaime suggested this festival’s title might have significance that can’t fit in a hashtag. Pros know. And she looked all the part of a pro. Dark hair falling down both sides of a baby blue suit, Ms. Wyatt could’ve been the CEO of Shitkickers Inc. Queen of the South, Nashville Edition. Are we still allowed to say people look sexy? She did. Looking sharp and belting it out to the early crowd. A crowd that wasn’t thin on numbers. Ticketholders seemed to recognize this lineup was strong, top to bottom.

“In my story, love fucking wins!” That was the intro to “Wasco”, a beautiful ballad about a couple of losers finding victory in … each other.  Damn, maybe that’s why a semi-lit nerd and sucker-chump romantic like myself feels so many feels when I hear and listen to these artists sing their STORIES. Because not all music has to tell a story. Sometimes a beat is all we need to feel what we gotta feel. Sometimes a scream or a guitar solo gets you right in the kishkes in just the right way. But a good story hits different. And I’m not sure there’s a genre that’s more committed to and better at telling STORIES than … what do you want to call it, country? Americana? outlaw? … awesome? Bless the names or fuck em, it’s all good.

Alas, stories don’t always pay the bills. About middle to late set, Ms. Wyatt mentioned to the crowd that they could spend their well-earned money on merchandise and their time on Spotify, because this thing she’s doing up there on the stage and in the studio, it’s a living. It’s a hustle. And all too often, it’s a sacrifice to be an artist. That said, when Wyatt proceeded to belt out “Neon Cross”, it popped with an energy that reached far beyond the boundaries of the recorded version. A rendition that could only be appreciated live. Which leads me to my parting thought: Go people! Go to concerts! Go hear, breathe, sweat, sing, clap, dance, love, make sexy time … with each other. All of it. Feed your soul, feed an artist.

Sierra Hull at Palomino Festival Brookside at the Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA 7/9/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com. Published with permission.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Sierra Hull at Palomino Festival

I forgot how much I loved a good banjo/mandolin jam…. until I was reminded how glorious they are by Sierra Hull.

There was a good year in my college days that I went on a Bela Fleck bender. Every since I found that Flight of the Cosmic Hippo CD at my university’s record store, spend hours on the weekend digging through record crates finding every Flecktones album I could find. That musical journey had me diving into bluegrass and I’ve got a nice collection of some quality vinyl on my shelf as a result.

This performance by Sierra Hull was my introduction to her and her music. As soon as I saw her strap on her mandolin, my curiosity piqued. As soon as I saw her fingers start to pluck away at those strings, my jaw dropped at her virtuoso skills. Mind blowing. I’m sure she could have played an entirely instrumental set, and the crowd would have been satisfied. This young lady’s mandolin skills are beyond reproach. 

While I was gobsmacked by her mandolin skills, my festival coverage cohort, Max, pointed out that I should discount her vocal abilities as well. I couldn’t agree more. Her voice is no joke. There was something deceptively powerful in it, and as Max pointed out, her voice was “like getting knocked flat on your ass by the softest wind.” I don’t think I could have said it better. Just lovely.

Amythyst Kiah at Palomino Festival Brookside at the Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA 7/9/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com. Published with permission.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Amythyst Kiah at Palomino Festival

Amythyst Kiah’s music slaps. If you don’t consider yourself a fan of blues/folk music, I highly recommend that you give Amythyst Kiah’s 2021 album Wary + Strange a listen. The album as a whole is a solid, but when you cull out and playlist those hard hitting blues jams with the amplified distorted bass lines (“Black Myself”, “Hangover Blues”, “Fancy Drones (Fracture Me)”, “Sleeping Queen”, “Opaque”), I guarantee you’ll have “stank face” for a solid 20 minutes. 

What makes Amythyst’s recordings so good is the passion in the vocals expressing the powerful messages in her lyrics. I got a taste of that expressive power at Palomino, but I think… and now this is just my two cents … I probably would have enjoyed my first Amythyst experience in a setting other than at a festival. I think I would have really connected more with the music… and forgive the cliche… if I had witnessed her perform in a darkened concert hall as opposed to under the bright afternoon sun. I feel that gravity and heaviness of her music … the power of her music … demands a venue that requires full attention and focus. You lose a little bit of that with drunken cowboys on a sunny afternoon.

Valerie June at Palomino Festival Brookside at the Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA 7/9/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com. Published with permission.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Valerie June at Palomino Festival

COMING SOON

Morgan Wade at Palomino Festival Brookside at the Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA 7/9/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com. Published with permission.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Morgan Wade at Palomino Festival

COMING SOON

Charley Crockett at Palomino Festival Brookside at the Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA 7/9/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com. Published with permission.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Charley Crockett at Palomino Festival

COMING SOON

Turnpike Troubadours at Palomino Festival Brookside at the Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA 7/9/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com. Published with permission.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Turnpike Troubadours at Palomino Festival

COMING SOON

Old Crow Medicine Show at Palomino Festival Brookside at the Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA 7/9/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com. Published with permission.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Old Crow Medicine Show at Palomino Festival

COMING SOON

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at Palomino Festival Brookside at the Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA 7/9/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com. Published with permission.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at Palomino Festival

COMING SOON.

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