April 12, 2012 | Vol. 42, No. 15

State fair names headliners

Lightning-fast banjo and guitar solos, reggae and classic, country swing will be heard on the main stage at the 44th annual Southeast Alaska State Fair. Colorful, costumed performers with Pendulum Aerial Arts will swing overhead.

“We’ve got a good variety. It will be a little something for everyone,” said assistant fair director Jessica Edwards.

“Larry and His Flask,” an Oregon-based punk-bluegrass band known for high-energy stage shows will play the Saturday night dance under Payson’s Pavilion. The six-member group infuses music made with trombone, mandolin and banjo with a “growly, country twang,” according to critics.

Best-known songs “Beggars Will Ride” and “Closed Doors” can be heard at ReverbNation.

Bad Tenants, a college-aged, hip-hop band out of Bellingham, Wash., will open for the band, as will fair veterans The WhiskeyDicks, who also play Friday night. A group of Vancouver, B.C. “Celtic gypsy punk rockers,” The WhiskeyDicks hold nearly a dozen degrees in music, with musical interests ranging “from Scotland to Slayer.”

Jamaican-born reggae master Clinton Fearon and Boogie Brown Band open Friday night. Fearon, who started performing in 1969 and has recorded 10 solo albums, has worked as a session player for Lee Perry and Joe Gibbs.

He’s known for roots reggae and his standout albums include “Disturb the Devil” and “Mi An Mi Guitar.” “Richman, Poorman” and “Streets of Freedom” are among his notable songs.

Friday’s lead act is Eric McFadden of San Francisco, described by critics as “an authentic old west troubadour and absolutely wicked six-string maestro.” McFadden is a jazz and flamenco guitarist known for “virtuosity, melodic songwriting and rich, deep vocal tone,” according to various websites. He gained notoriety with the band Liar.

Four aerialists will perform 30-minute shows on Friday and Saturday. Credits of Pendulum Aerial Arts include aerial dance performances that are interpretations of masterpieces of fine art. The troupe is known for elaborate costuming and colorful, overhead sets.

Bill Hearne Trio, a country band that’s earned tributes from the likes of Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett, also will perform. Hearne is known for a flat-picking style and for surprising interpretations of obscure country and swing songs.

Griffith dedicated her Grammy-winning “Other Voices, Other Rooms” album to Hearne, and Lovett said he would sit up front at Hearne’s shows in Texas decades ago to learn guitar licks. Hearne, who is blind, performed throughout the Southwest for decades with wife and singer Bonnie Hearne, who also is blind.

Former University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal said listening to the Hearnes gave him “the same pure feeling as hitting a golf ball square in the sweet spot.” Hearne’s “Diamonds in the Rough” album hit fifth on the Americana chart.

A square dance and “Southeast Has Talent” talent show are set for Thursday night. Alaska acts to perform include Anchorage singer-songwriter Marian Call and “Fire on McGuinness,” a Celtic act from Juneau.

A wearable art fashion show will be held Saturday afternoon.Fair dates are July 26-29.