Festival Country Rendez-vous in Craponne sur Arzon 2010









This year will be my third coming to the festival since its discovery. If, while packing for the 23th Country Rendez-Vous Festival, the program seemed to me a little lighter than the previous versions, once again let us give a chance to this festival which did not disappoint me lately.



For once I did not link up several press conferences for our team. it’s because we’ve got in store many interviews for you each day. It must be said that with Craponne, we are always impressed by the number of artists, and especially the press opportunity to be able to work with simplicity, thanks to the professionalism of the festival’s organizers, which is not always the case elsewhere, believe in the experience of someone who is often travelling in Europe to get you the best of country music for some years now.




The magic of Craponne                                 



No need to explain you how the festival works (scheduled for three days remember), Friday night was as usual an appetizer with a very good surprise. If I barely enjoyed Kevin Buckley’s performance, the public was able to discover an accomplished violinist Miss Leslie and Big John Mills, a giant from Texas who own the expression: "Everything is bigger in Texas". This artist has been named 2006 and 2008 Musician of the Year at the Texas Music Awards, a very good record, I think you’ll agree.,The musical level increases, a good thing, and then all of a sudden here comes one of the most promising bluegrass band in the US, The Grascals. The performance was a musical snap, wow hats off to Craponne. They reminded me of last year’s Carrie Hassler and the Hard Rain, of course with more strength because the 6 members band showed us their talent, a real show. The night ends with Radney Foster’s performance, good music, even if it is always difficult to play just after The Grascals. A first night with a smooth start as usual but that ends in style. I left immersed in my thought when I know what awaits us for the remaining two days.





For those who discovered this festival, let me tell you that Saturday is just the most important day where the most famous headliners are. And this year I was afraid to be disappointed, no big names like Jo Dee Messina and Eric Church as with the previous version, yes I know it is an offense for a Texan like me, Robert Earl Keen who must play this Saturday is a living God there. But let's say that I doubt that younger generations know him.



On Saturday Night at Craponne                           



This Saturday will be memorable, full of good times. We began with a genuine find, a second slap for me with the Quebe Sisters who made us swing, western swing, ha it was a good feeling. They earned so many encores that I have lost count. The band of three pretty girls, sisters, amazed us with their virtuosity on the violin and their harmony. There followed Lucky Tubb with good honky tonk, a successful transition we have to admit. But then it was time for me to see the three artists I wanted to see on stage from the beginning. First the bluegrass of Bradley, Gulley & Fox was really successful. When I listened to their albums I was really hooked, and to see them live was wonderful. Then what about the legendary Robert Earl Keen, now it’s time for us commentator to become a full member of the public, to sit down and enjoy. A performance that was very good. So I am aware that young French generations don’t know him and will be a little disappointed to not see a big name, I must say that the previous edition have also excelled with Eric Church. But if you come from Texas like me or simply know that state, I can assure you that this singer is for young and old alike an inspiration, a national icon that attracts masses. A detail amused me: once Robert Earl Keen gone, it was Ray Wylie Hubbard’s turn to go on stage. Another star made in Texas. If I like less his style, two eminent figures succeed one another, I can’t help but smile because Saturday was so Texan. A nice treat for all the Texans in France. It's on a good note that we left this Saturday night, guessing what the Sunday holds.





In principle, the last day is like a nice descent, with a final song with most artists. That's pretty much what any good journalist will tell you about Craponne. Not that the artists are not so good, or that the day of the Lord has something to do with this, it's just that you must go down anyway.



Sheppard interviewing Susan Hickman



The beginning started out with a bang, forgive the expression, with Lone Star Swing, with really great musicians but well when you know where they come from. Pure swing made in Texas, everyone was dancing and we do not leave the state at the Lone Star. Then came a change that disturbed me a little. If the crowd loved the Canadian Marchalls Doc and his Cajun style, I admit that this style is not my favorite. But that's what makes one of the strengths of this festival, the program allows us to explore many styles of country because we must never forget that country music is like America: rich and diverse. Okay I am trying to speak of a Quebecer, which has little to do with the US but you understand it’s just a manner of speaking.


Finally, what interested me the most was the opportunity to attend a concert of the lovely Susan Hickman, who continues to rise on the other side of the Atlantic. And I must say that if she remember me of Star DeAzlan with her kindness, it’s difficult to not be seduce by the sound of her voice, warm and powerful. I can only urge you to pick up her album because she is a very good singer. Her stage performance was electric, her pleasure to be at Craponne shone and she gave us a very good show for new country lovers, despite a light rain. The young Texan delighted the audience with her songs and her smile and yes it is hard not to talk about her radiant smile. No I am not the only one, many people were present and will testify for me. But we will not stop with this singer because at the moment we have only reach half of the programming. The next artist on stage was none other than the great Daryle Singletary, once again a good performance even though I prefer to keep in mind when I saw him earlier in Texas. The festival ends with the show of Mitch Webb & The Swindles, rock fans have appreciated, we must admit it was really good.



Craponne always surprises by the good atmosphere of the festival, the availability of its artists, an opportunity for the press to work as photographers or cameramen, always a rich and varied program, mixing many styles, to everyone benefits. But above all, this rendez-vous allows us each time to discover lesser-known artists, and yes even if we receive so many albums, we can’t know everything, and Craponne offers this opportunity to bring young artists, bands which without affecting the musical quality, are a pleasure to discover. For my part, this version will give me the opportunity to discover the Quebe Sisters, see Susan Hickman, Bradley and Robert Earl Keen. So if we start trying to compare this edition to others festivals in Europe, I think that it might need a name that makes the difference, you know, a name that really draws the crowds, without affecting the concept that gives pleasure to see. The battle will rage between the French and the Swiss, fans of country music will understand me.





We invite you to go on the Sheppard website to see the pictures from the festival: Photo Gallery






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