Temperatures pushed uncomfortably into triple digits Sunday afternoon at the Gorge, for the last day of Watershed Fest. It was hot and shade was scarce, particularly around the festival stage. Rather than finding comfort in the air conditioning of my rental car, I’m still glad I stuck around early into the evening for Seattle country singer-songwriter Rae Solomon’s set that began at 4:35 on the festival stage.
The festival stage was under-populated all weekend, and it was unfortunate because there was a lot of really good music being played by (mostly) local, under-the-radar artists and there wasn’t that much overlapping with the main stage. Solomon’s upbeat set was a case in point. The crowd wasn’t huge, but the ones who were there were digging what they heard.
Opening with the rockin’ mission statement “Country-Fied Chick,” Solomon set the tone for her show early. It would be one of the favorite sets of the day, as, like Miranda Lambert on the main stage the night before, Rae Solomon is very much a rock star and she owned the stage.
Outfitted in a white dress and impossibly high heels, she contrasted with her five-piece band who all wore black shirts. I couldn’t begin to imagine how it was for those guys! But the band sounded great (two guitars, drums, bass and fiddle) and everyone maintained a high level of energy throughout the 40 minutes they were on stage.
All eyes, though, were on Solomon who has a dynamic stage presence, along with some very catchy country-pop/rock songs. Much of her set was made up of songs from her new (very good!), self-titled EP, which was self-released at the end of last month. The more upbeat songs (like “Country-Fied Chick” and “Don’t Bet the Farm”) got the audience’s attention quickly. The same could be said of the familiar covers, including Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” (which might be the most covered song this side of Ipanema), but still very nicely executed. The set closed with a retelling of Charlie Daniels Band’s “Devil Went Down to Georgia” that slayed the crowd. Solomon sang the words quickly, mostly from the catwalk part of the stage that extends into the crowd, with her fiddle player following. When he began his solo parts, you’d think he was trying to burn the stage down. It didn’t hurt having a 100 degree headstart.
- Country-Fied Chick
- Sugar Daddy
- Chasing the Sunset
- Don’t Bet the Farm
- Get in My Way
- We’ve Got Us
- Jolene (Dolly Parton cover)
- Willing Heart
- Devil Went Down to Georgia (Charlie Daniels Band cover)