•Charleston City Paper Stage
6:30-7:30 p.m.

The Cary Ann Hearst Band, led by spirited vocalist Cary Ann Hearst, has always featured a well-qualified group of collaborators. These days, the team usually includes drummer Evan Bivins, pedal steeler Josh Kaler, bassist/guitarist Ash Hopkins, and guitarist Sadler Vaden. They headline the locals showcase at 6:30 p.m.

“I happen to be friends with every band scheduled for the local stage,” says Hearst. “I am looking very forward to running around with old friends to the other stages and being like, ‘Is this what our life is? We get to be part of this stuff?’ Also I can’t wait to see Al Green and Buddy Guy. Mr. Guy and I overlap, so I am gonna have to haul it from the main stage to the local stage in time to go on. If I am late, you know where to find me. I hope I get to shake their hands.

“I can tell you that Danielle Howle will captivate, The Gradual Lean will inspire people to start makin’ out, Leslie will melt faces with genuine rock ‘n’ roll, and, hopefully, my band will cause a spontaneous cataclysm of joy, like when people catch the spirit and start to shake,” she predicts. “That’s what the Reverend Green does, you know. You know I will try to get Sadler [of local band Leslie] to come sing with us … maybe we can talk the Rev. into coming to the local stage … I hope so.”

Hearst and her band recently released a solid collection of rootsy, gutsy country-rock tunes titled Dust and Bones. She plans to perform the tunes and a few special renditions on the setlist this week.

“We definitely have been fine-tuning the live show,” she says. “We also have a batch of new songs that we are really excited about. The special renditions must be kept secret. I will guarantee that the locals stage will be burnt to the ground at the end of our set. I hope those boys got good insurance.”

The fest organizers are proud to have a diverse list of bands on the bill and want to “showcase a broad spectrum of acts while exploring the rich musical history of Charleston and the Carolinas.” How does Hearst feel she connects to the music and style of local and regional scene?

“Our band is deeply connected to the style of the region,” she says. “I have always been intensely inspired by the culture and landscape of Charleston and the sea islands. Listening to our new album, there’s saltwater and religion all over everything, like it was spilled on it. We got that slow Southern dip and strut in our music, and we got a few hillbilly heartbreakers. It’s genuine music, you know, from your bones.”– T. Ballard Lesemann

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