Hope For Agoldensummer is indie acoustic at Athens’ best.
The project of sisters Claire and Page Campbell, Hope For Agoldensummer has released four albums and been performing for nearly a decade. Its Athens Americana Music Festival performance Saturday was its first in a while, Claire said, but it’s no surprise the band is consistently voted Flagpole Magazine’s No. 1 Athens Folk/Americana act.
The Campbells were joined onstage by The Viking Progress’ Patrick Morales and a quirky assemblage of instruments. The trio’s basic guitar and banjo setup was typical Americana fare, but the addition of ankle bells, glockenspiel, singing saw and other oddities lent the performance the aural eclecticism the audience expected.
The sisters’ vocal harmonies, too ghostly to be charming, were eerily enchanting. Whether singing of broken heart and body in “Fix This” or of “Corn Maze” meandering, the duo silenced the crowd in The World Famous with its lyrical, haunting melodies.
An otherwise ethereal performance was interrupted by Claire’s blunt humor — each instrument change allowed a dirty joke or droll anecdote, as if songs about malt liquor and collard greens weren’t already enough to keep the audience in high spirits.
The band brought a few friends onstage, including venue owner Bain Mattox and doorman Big Chill Wealthy Will, for its lengthy cover of “Fat Back” and called out to audience members at whim. At one point, five folks were crammed onto the tiny stage, with Big Chill coaching the chorus up front.
The overall performance had the laid back feel of a living room jam session. This is an established band with a local following, and for good reason. Corn puns and witticisms aside, the Campbell sisters offer an intimacy of words and sound that makes their music unexpectedly personal and irresistibly inviting.