Hanging Out with Tribut at the Hangout Music Festival
So where will you be hanging out the third weekend of May this year? Being the music fanatic we know you are, you might want to get yourself to Gulf Shores, Alabama for this year’s iteration of the Hangout Music Festival. The Hangout Music Festival, which was founded in 2010, features a plurality of musical genres including rock (and indie rock), alternative, jam bands, reggae, dance, and even hip-hop music. But it has done exceptionally well at attracting top tier talent in both established and upcoming band categories. Some of the incredible rock bands that have played the festival in the past include Paul Simon, Jack White, The Black Keys, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews Band, and The Killers. Some of the notable acts included in this year’s Hangout Music Festival include Grammy Award winning Alabama Shakes, The Record Company, and Lenny Kravitz. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlighted acts from previous festivals as well as this year’s group of musical acts.
1. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were a Hangout Music Festival headliner in 2013, on May 18, and played many of their greatest hits including “I Won’t Back Down”, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”, “Free Fallin'”, “Refugee”, “Running Down a Dream”, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, and “American Girl”. In addition to their own amazing songs, they opened with a cover of The Byrds’ “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star”, as well as Grateful Dead cover “Friend of the Devil”. They even played some blues, with Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want To Make Love To You” appearing in the middle of the set list. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were founded in Gainesville, Florida in 1976 with Tom Petty on lead vocals and guitar, Mike Campbell on lead guitar, Ron Blair on bass, Benmont Tench on keys, and Stan Lynch on drums. The band was an essential part of the heartland rock movement that also included artists such as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band as well as Bob Seger in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Heartland rock rejects the synthesizer heavy music that became so popular in the 1980’s, along with its glammy fashion sense. Instead, heartland rock bands, including Tom Petty, churned out much more traditional classic rock sounds focused on guitar rock, with lyrical content centered on issues that touch the hearts of the American laborer. Although the band occasionally makes a surprising move, such as recording the soundtrack to the 1996 romantic comedy She’s the One starring Jennifer Aniston, the band has proven to be a reliable source of incredible songs and a beloved classic rock sound. The band’s latest studio release was the 2014 set Hypnotic Eye.
2. Paul Simon
Paul Simon headlined the Hangout Music Festival in 2011, playing some old favorites like, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”, Slip Slidin’ Away, and Kodachrome, a couple of Simon & Garfunkel pieces including “The Only Living Boy In New York” and “The Sound of Silence”, as well as many cuts from his famous Graceland album that included “Crazy Love, Vol. II”, “That Was Your Mother’, “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”, and “You Can Call Me Al”, which closed the main set before the encore. Paul Simon has certainly been keeping himself busy lately. in 2014, Simon joined up with Sting, formerly of The Police, for a joint-concert tour that spanned North America, Europe, and Australia (Sting will soon be touring with another great rock star and songwriter, Peter Gabriel). In 2015, Paul Simon made an appearance at Billy Joel’s venue-closing show at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum, with the duo performing Paul Simon classics “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”, “Homeward Bound”, and “Late in the Evening”. Simon will soon be releasing his 13th solo studio album, Stranger to Stranger, which quite frankly we can’t wait to hear. One interesting thing to note is the collaboration on the album between Paul Simon and electronic dance musician Clap! Clap! – Simon’s son is a big fan – on three songs featured on the album: “The Werewolf”, “Street Angel”, and “Wristband”. Paul Simon reached super-stardom in the 1960’s as part of the folk-rock duo Simon and Garfunkel with his musical collaborator Art Garfunkel. 3 of Simon’s songs with Simon & Garfunkel were #1 hits including “The Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.
3. Alabama Shakes
Alabama Shakes had an incredible few years. The gritty, soulful blues-rock band from Athens, Alabama, after all, just recently won its first Grammy Awards. The 2016 awards they won included Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Don’t Wanna Fight” as well as the award for Best Alternative Music Album for their sophomore set Sound and Color (they were also nominated for Album of the Year, but lost to pop music juggernaut Taylor Swift). The sound of the band has been compared by critics to mid-20th century rhythm and blues music, as well as rock, blues and soul. Their songs find comparison with artists such as Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding. Brittany Howard, the band’s lead singer, took much of the inspiration for her unique soulful style of singing from AC/DC’s Bon Scott. In addition to influence from the Muscle Shoals sound of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Alabama Shakes has also been heavily inspired by rock acts like Led Zeppelin and David Bowie. Even MC5 has been an influence on the band. The band’s current lineup includes Brittany Howard on vocals, Heath Fogg on guitar, Zac Cockrell on bass, and Steve Johnson on drums. The band signed with ATO Records, and released their debut Boys & Girls in 2012. The album included the hit single, irresistible and guitar-saturated track “Hold On”. Alabama Shakes will be appearing at this year’s Hangout Music Festival on Friday May 20th.
4. Stevie Wonder
In 2013, one night of the Hangout Music Festival was headlined by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; but another night, was headlined by the incomparable Stevie Wonder. A child musical prodigy, Stevie Wonder went on to become one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. During his career, he racked up over 30 U.S. top ten hits as well as 25 Grammy Awards, which is the most a solo artist has ever won. He additionally has won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and an Academy Award for Best Song. He’s been inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to his own battalion of hits, he has written lots of songs for other artists, including “Baby Doll” for The Supremes, “Without Your Sweet Lovin” for Marvin Gaye, “Tears of a Clown” for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, “Thelonious” for Jeff Beck, “Don’t Be Sad ‘Cause Your Sun Is Down” for James Taylor, “Tell Me Something Good” for Rufus and Chaka Khan. For his set at the Hangout Music Festival, Wonder played some of his own gems such as “Higher Ground”, “Sir Duke”, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”, and “Superstition” to close the encore, as well as some cool covers including “Is This Love” by Bob Marley & The Wailers, “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker) by Parliament, and “Day Tripper” by The Beatles.
5. Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz, who will be playing the Hangout Music Festival on Sunday May 22nd, is one hell of a modern rocker. The singer-songwriter, producer and arranger is steeped deeply in a retro style of music that incorporates elements of rock, blues, soul, jazz, funk, folk, reggae and even more. He’s also well known for playing most of the instruments on his albums including guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards. Oh yeah – and he sings. Really, really well. Kravitz has released ten studio albums and is a 4-time Grammy Award winner, all in the category of “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance” for his songs “Fly Away”, “American Woman”, “Again”, and “Dig In”. Having sold more than 38 million records, he’s also worked with the likes of Aerosmith and Mick Jagger, among many others. His latest studio album, 2014’s Strut (Roxie Records / Kobalt Label Services) was named one of Rolling Stone Magazines best albums of the year and boasted songs including “New York City”, and “She’s a Beast”. Strut was produced by Kravitz and features 11 originals plus a Smokey Robinson cover. One thing is for certain: Kravitz’s set at the Hangout Music Festival is guaranteed to be a can’t-miss event.