Wednesday, August 6, 2008

National acts share stage with locals

Valley singer sings backup for headliner

Express Staff Writer

Jimmy Smith, on bass and Claude Bernard, of the Gourds, tore the Hailey City Park apart on Friday at the 31st annual Northern Rockies Folk Festival.

Of all the great things that have occurred during the 31 years the Northern Rockies Folk Festival has been produced in the Wood River Valley, the highlight Saturday night may be one of the best. During Nashville singer/songwriter Radney Foster's set, he called for Wood River Valley native Kim Stocking to accompany him on a song. It was a grand moment both for the hard-working singer and leader of her own eponymous band, as well as her many fans in attendance.

The 31st annual Northern Rockies Festival was held under sunny (and then starry) skies in Hailey, Friday and Saturday. Music was provided by valley-based bands Sheryll Mae Grace, Finn Riggins, The Damphools and the Kim Stocking Band, as well as the Boise and Stanley-based Jeremiah James Gang. California band Marley's Ghost played both nights, and Steelhead Redd from Pocatello opened the show on Friday.

Austin-based band the Gourds fulfilled all expectations by playing at full tilt for the up-and-dancing crowd.

Stocking, who has played the Folk Festival seven years in a row, is more than just the sweetheart of the festival. She is on the festival's board of directors as well.

"This is the best day of my life," she said through tears later that night. "I am so lucky."

Earlier in the day before coming to play her own set, she took Foster fly-fishing in the Big Wood River.

Foster proved to be one of the kindest of headliners. Besides letting Stocking take the stage, his band members saw plenty of solo action, notably guitarist Eric "Ebo" Borash.

Then he stayed late into the night, chatting with fans, posing for pictures and signing CDs before noticing that the lights were already out.

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