A breakdown of this year’s Hinterland lineup
Sturgill Simpson's "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" was named best country album during the Grammys' pre-telecast ceremony on Sunday — and it was a moment that put the Nashville musician's career arc into perspective. Wochit
Not sure where to start with this year’s Hinterland Music Festival lineup? Don’t worry, we made a list to help.
Organizers unveiled the 13-act lineup Tuesday morning. Below you’ll find a breakdown of each act announced to appear at the festival, returning Aug. 3 and 4 to the Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in St. Charles.
Time to dig in, festival fans. It’ll be summer before you know it.
Kentucky native Sturgill Simpson returns to Iowa following a sold-out 2016 performance at Hoyt Sherman Place, a gig that came in support of “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth,” Simpson’s third full-length take on soul-stirring country rock.
The album suited Simpson well, earning him a Grammy Award for “Best Country Record” and nomination for “Album of the Year” in 2017.
Signs point to Iowans hearing new music this August from the songwriter known for speaking his mind about the status quo of modern country: Simpson erased his social media accounts last October, indicating a new album cycle may be forthcoming.
Before the “Sailor’s Guide” and the Grammy Awards and the tidal wave of critical praise, Simpson played Vaudeville Mews in downtown Des Moines … to about 20 people. That's a far cry from the 9,000 or so Hinterland draws in an afternoon. Welcome back to Iowa, Sturgill.
Spin this song:“Call To Arms”
Band of Horses
New music may be coming from Band of Horses. The group took to Instagram last weekend to post an update from the studio, saying they returned to the room where they crafted 2016 release, “Why Are You OK,” to “soak up its vibes for our newest endeavor.”
If that new endeavor is a new studio album, it would mark the band’s sixth and first since guitarist Tyler Ramsey and bassist Bill Reynolds departed Band of Horses last May.
The band last played Des Moines in 2016, a headlining show at Hoyt Sherman Place. Before that, fans caught Band of Horses at Val Air Ballroom in 2010. Hinterland marks the third confirmed show on the band’s calendar, following a pair of festival sets in April.
Spin this song: “No One’s Gonna Love You”
Finally, central Iowa scores a CHVRCHES show.
The Scottish dark pop trio, fronted by Lauren Mayberry, heads to Hinterland in anticipation of releasing its third record. Fans don’t yet know the release date of the new album, a follow-up to to 2015’s “Every Open Eye,” but they do know two-time Grammy Award-winning “Producer of the Year” Greg Kurstin collaborated on the lead single, “Get Out.”
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The track dropped last week and has since raked in more than 1 million spins on Spotify alone. Regarding the track, Mayberry said: “(Kurstin) doesn’t try to make you write a certain kind of song. He just listens and then Jedi puppet masters the best work out of you."
While new to the Hinterland stage, this August won’t be CHVRCHES first Iowa appearance. The group performed in Iowa City in 2015 as part of a University of Iowa-sponsored show.
Spin this song:“The Mother We Share”
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats
Missouri-born Nathaniel Rateliff returns to the Hawkeye state in anticipation of “Tearing at the Seams,” the latest studio effort alongside his band the Night Sweats — due out March 9.
The band dropped a new single, “You Worry Me,” in January, a track NPR’s Bob Boilen described as building on “the twin sax, trumpet, guitar and piano-driven sound that makes the Night Sweats such a fun group to hear live.”
The “I Need Never Get Old” songwriter holds an interesting connection to Iowa’s music community. He co-curates the annual GARP Music Festival, an intimate, two-night event of music at Codfish Hollow, eastern Iowa’s music-turned-barn venue. Rateliff co-headlined last year’s gig, saying he’d return every fall for the event.
Like Simpson, Rateliff also played Vaudeville Mews early his in career, appearing at the Iowa music club in 2010.
Spin this song: “S.O.B”
Georgia-bred American southern rock hits the Hinterland stage with Blackberry Smoke, a group that's toured with the likes of ZZ Top, Zac Brown Band, Eric Church and more.
The group released its latest studio effort, “Like An Arrow,” in October 2016, but Hinterlanders may hear new music this summer — the band is set to release its sixth album, “Find A Light,” in April.
Blackberry Smoke is an alum of the Nitefall on the River and Wooly’s stage, appearing at the former with Warren Haynes-fronted Gov’t Mule.
Spin this song:“One Horse Town”
Margo Price released the best country album of 2017. Just ask Rolling Stone.
“No other country act, and precious few from any genre, went nearly as deep as Price did this year,” the cultural publication proclaimed in its end-of-the-year country list, placing Price’s “All-American Made” in the No. 1 spot.
Released under Jack White’s Third Man Records, “All American Made" has been praised by critics at Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. The album, Price’s sophomore effort, got raves for her honest, no-nonsense look at society (in the chorus of “Pay Gap,” she sings: pay gap, pay gap,why don’t you do the math?/Pay gap, pay gap, ripping my dollars in half).
Not convinced? Listen no further than the Willie Nelson collaboration on the album, “Learning to Lose.”
Price, an Illinois native, performed in Des Moines last fall, providing main support for Chris Stapleton during his appearance at Wells Fargo Arena.
Spin this song:“Pay Gap”
Described as a psychedelic “one-woman band,” Australian songwriter Tash Sultana heads to Iowa following the international success of “Notion,” an EP that led her to break an arena attendance record in her home country.
As a relative newcomer to American touring, Hinterland plans to be the Iowa debut for this 22-year-old NPR described as “rapturous and resonant.” Her first American club tour, last year, sold out coast-to-coast dates.
Spin this song: “Jungle”
This soulful songwriter dropped his latest studio album, “Encore,” in January, a release critics say spends time “surrendering to the immediacy of feeling.” The 11-track effort comes via Elektra Records, East’s second effort on the major label.
Pop culture tidbit: East dates award-winning country singer Miranda Lambert; he co-wrote tracks on Lambert’s latest album, “The Weight of These Wings.” He joins Simpson and Rateliff in previously appearing at Des Moines’ Vaudeville Mews.
Spin this song: “All on my Mind”
J Roddy Walston and The Business
J Roddy Walston and The Business … the name of this Virginia-based band just makes you want to dance.
And that’s what you’ll do during a Walston set. The Vagrant Records group brings a taste of piano-pounding rock to the stage, touring in support of 2017’s release, “Destroyers of the Soft Life.”
Spin this song:“Don’t Break the Needle”
An alum of Rolling Stone’s “country artist you need to know” feature, Tyler Childers returns to the region following a sold out at Vaudeville Mews last November.
Harnessing sincere storytelling in his songwriting, the 2017 album from this 26-year-old Kentucky native, “Purgatory,” was co-produced by Simpson and Johnny Cash engineer David Ferguson.
Spin this song: “Whitehouse Road”
An up-and-coming artist self-described as “this generation’s country classic champion,” Hedley could be one of those “Remember seeing him when?” acts. He’s backed by Third Man Records and plans to put out a debut record, “Mr. Jukebox” on April 20.
If the title-track single is any indication, it’ll be the “so glad I got here early” festival set of the summer.
Spin this song:“Mr. Jukebox.”
Hinterland taps a tried and true Iowa act as the first of two local groups on the bill. The Nadas play the Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in support of the group’s newly-released studio effort, “Louder One,” which dropped in January.
The show comes as the Nadas spend 2018 celebrating 25 years of crafting folk rock for fans in Iowa and beyond.
Spin this song: “Walk Away”
Des Moines’ own Ancient Posse continues to score spots on Iowa’s biggest stages.
The 80/35 Music Festival alum and Des Moines Register “artist to watch in 2018” released its debut single, “Windless,” last July. Plans for this year include dropping a full-length album, produced by Iowa’s own Brandon Darner (known for working with Imagine Dragons and Des Moines band Holy White Hounds).
Spin this song: “Windless”