Released on March 9, 2015
CD, 7", Digital
"compilation of the week" - BBC 6 Music DJ Lauren Laverne
The MusicNOW: 10 Years compilation was released digitally on March 10th, 2015, just prior to the 10th edition of this eclectic music festival of the same name founded in 2006 by Bryce Dessner of The National. MusicNOW Festival set out with a mission to present the best in contemporary music, offer artists an opportunity to take risks, commission new work and attempt innovative collaborations.
The first track "Trials, Troubles, Tribulations" gets at the spirit of the compilation and the event. It is an American bluegrass gospel song written by Estil C. Ball. Here it is performed by Sounds of the South, a project featuring Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Volcano Choir), Sharon Van Etten, Megafaun, Matthew E. White, and Fight the Big Bull. The project, organized by Megafaun, initially appeared at Duke Performances in North Carolina and MusicNOW in Cincinnati, Ohio, and subsequently traveled to Sydney Festival in Australia.
Or take the track "Love More" - a contemporary song written by Sharon Van Etten. But here it is performed by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Volcano Choir) with backing by Aaron & Bryce Dessner, Colin Stetson, and members of the yMusic Ensemble. The fresh, collaborative magic encapsulated by this 2010 performance would resonate through the player's activities in the years to follow. Colin and yMusic members Rob Moose and CJ Camerieri would go on to become core members of the Bon Iver live band which recorded 2011's self-titled album that later won a Gramnmy for Best New Artist. Aaron would go on to produce Van Etten's 2012 breakout release Tramp. Aaron & Vernon launched a larger, but still intimate Eaux Claires festival in Wisconsin in 2015, inspired largely by the example of Cincinnati's MusicNOW.
The 17 track live album also highlights festival-only surprises like Fleet Foxes' leader Robin Pecknold playing the traditional song "Silver Dagger" for the first time, the debut performance of Grizzly Bear's "While You Wait for the Others", the premiere of Sufjan Stevens' "The Owl & The Tanager", as well as collaborations featuring Owen Pallett, Justin Vernon, Sharon van Etten, Tinariwen and Dirty Projectors.
From a small festival in Ohio, a world of creativity germinates and grows.
"Many of my most significant memories as a musician have taken place in Cincinnati during the MusicNOW Festival over the last 10 years," says founder Bryce Dessner. "When we started, we were driven to create an intimate music festival that was as much a creative refuge for the artists as it is for the audience to partake in intimate and rare performances. We have celebrated works in progress and new commissions, new collaborations and detailed music of all kinds regardless of genre or popularity."
Dessner is widely known as the guitarist for The National. Those a little more in the know are aware of Bryce's work in performance projects (such as The Long Count) and classical composition (including his work with Brassland label artists Clogs). MusicNOW was founded as a way for Bryce to explore all facets of his artistic interests and has served as a collaborative laboratory that provides a friendly and supportive audience for internationally renowned artists. Through the years, Dessner has guided MusicNOW to become the premiere event for blurring the imagined lines that divide musical genres.
As of 2015, the MusicNOW festival has taken place every March in Cincinnati for ten years running. For the full schedule and more details on the history of the event visit musicnowfestival.org