What is the Liveliest Roots Music You Have Ever Experienced ?

I was thinking about this question the other night when I saw the Celtic Rock/Punk band Flogging Molly on Austin City Limits.  I had never seen them before so when checking my music streaming site I found their LIVE AT THE GREEK THEATRE album.  This is some of the most infectious "get up and dance" music I have ever heard with wild and crazy audience participation.  In the same vein, the D. C.-based outfit Scythian rocks the dance stage at Merlefest each year and clubs on the East Coast with a mix of celtic, klezmer, middle east, western swing, country ("Devil Went Down To Georgia").  They were in town a couple of weeks ago at a local club doing rocked up traditional celtic songs.  The energy level of the packed crowd on this holiday weekend night was incredible.  Enter the Haggis is another celtic-style group that will get the pub crowd moving. 

A good video of Flogging Molly at Greek Theatre  


The funk fans at our local radio station swear by this genre for danceability though I'm not sure it fits under the No Depression tent.  Zydeco bands, whether old school or new generation group mixing in funk and soul are festival favorites.  For getting a crowd moving and heads bobbing, even on slow ballads, a Chicago-style electric blues band playing boogies and shuffles is hard to beat.

My favorite live Cajun CD is Balfa Toujour's LIVE AT WHISKEY LANDING.  Zydeco ace Geno Delafose helps out on a couple of songs.  It is hard to beat Beausoleil or Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys at a live gig.

If you've ever had clogging lessons, many bluegrass and old-time string band songs will get your feet moving.

"Old time rock and roll" with Stones, Seger, Mellencamp works for some folks.

Hard to classify New Orleans groups like the Neville Brothers and the Radiators are festival favorites.

I've seen Los Lobos seven times and never been disappointed at their mix of rock and south of the border dance songs.  Mali rock group Toubab Krewe puts on a great show with a mix of traditional and rock instruments and a lot of instrumentals.

Now that Summer is here, what lively groups would you invite to your backyard festival if you had the dough.


Two memorably lively concerts were Lyle Lovette and the Large Band at the Beacon.  Francine Reed is back and every song has a new arrangement with lots of focus on solos for the many skilled players in the band.

My other favorite was Time For Three at Joe's Pub.  They are a trio of high energy classical musicians who play lively imrovisations and takes on pop songs.  I'm sure my description is totally inadequate.  Check them out.

Oh how I love Francine Reed!!

No question that for me (at this time anyway) it would be the Mavericks. I finally saw them for the first time last spring, and I haven't taken their most recent CD out of my car rotation since. Every time it plays again I'm back at that concert singing, dancing, and feeling joyful.

Lyle and Francine!  Yeah! At the Chateau in Woodinville, Washington!

And then............ Lucinda Williams walked out on stage at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle with her long time band. Killer! They blasted though Can't Let Go. Then Lucinda introduced a guest: Bill Frissell! Dang!  Bill played the entire show. A couple times Lucinda stepped aside and the band jammed. Too cool! The first encore was an amazing version of J.J. Cale's Magnolia.  Memories!

Thanks, Lucinda!

I caught Lucinda last September and I heartily agree, one of the top 2 or 3 shows I have  ever seen. I have a question. When I saw her, she seemed glued to a music stand, even to the point that when she went off-list, someone had to bring her more sheet music. Is this a reason for concern, is she suffering from some illness?

Liveliest........ not best.... livliest.

Roots music only eh?   Otherwise I'd say George Clinton the  Parliament/Funkadelic era.


Scythian is a good one. If they can play Merlefest I think you should be able to count them. Enter the Haggis is Canadian, unless I'm mistaken. Does Canadiana count?

Cadillac Sky - If you didn't get up, David Mayfield would single you out, come down from the stage, and pull you up.