Now in its fourth year, FemmeFest continues to not only be a showcase for women in music, but a showcase for local musicians as much as nationally touring artists. You might as well get any granola folk images out of your head as well because the genres are just as diverse as you'd expect to find at any festival worth attending. Here's a quick rundown of some of the artists you'll see around NoDa this weekend:
Jennifer Knapp hit a controversial crossroads when the then Christian folk-rock singer announced that she was a lesbian in 2010. This followed a seven-year hiatus from music, but since that time she's returned more focused than ever. Her latest album, Letting Go, shed the Christian label and focused on making music without boundaries or labels of any kind. Her strength shines through in her music.
Elizabeth & the Catapult is a Brooklyn-based pop-rock trio that has been slowly and steadily building its fan base over the last few years. The band's popularity has steadily increased since the release of The Other Side of Zero last year. Elements of folk shine through at times, but the music generally defies just one category.
Charlotte Parrott is finishing up high school, though her songwriting ability is beyond her years. While growing more comfortable as a performer on the stage, Parrott has also increased her lyrical and musical abilities, highlighted by a sweet voice.
Donna Duncan's approach to blues has the grit of smoky soul you'd expect to come with experience, but the freshness you want from a freshman performer. Finding that balance makes Duncan one of the more enjoyable blues voices in town.
Grown Up Avenger Stuff, fronted by Deirdre Kroener, finds moments of pop sensibility as often as it finds the time to unleash a barbaric scream and get your angst flowing. A lineup change at bass hasn't hampered the band a bit, and its new music continues to show skill in songwriting and lyrics, while not losing touch with a taste of humor.
HuDost embodies the phrase world music with a style of its own. Whether singing in different languages, focusing on the rhythm of the song or just telling a story to draw in the listener, singer Moksha Sommer can be quite hypnotic in the best of ways.
Jill Dineen Band brought down the house at FemmeFest last year, so it makes perfect sense to bring them back for an encore. Her style of blues is driven by emotion and the strength of her vocals, as much as the backing band that provides the perfect backdrop.
Mieka Pauley is an artist we're lucky enough to see at just about every FemmeFest and unfortunate to only see during FemmeFest. She transcends the ordinary when it comes to the label of being a folk singer, thanks to immense vocal abilities, fantastic range and quality lyrical content.
Reeve Coobs has a vocal style that can be as easygoing as a comfortable chair one moment and as powerful as a tornado the next. She knows exactly how to express her thoughts and apply the perfect tone to give the words as much meaning as possible.
Natalie Royal's hypnotic vocals fit in perfectly over her music, whether she's playing acoustic guitar or a ukulele. Since leaving the Queen City for college, her lyrics have gained more maturity and style.
Shana Blake has been in a few Charlotte-based bands over the years, and regardless of who she's performing with, she knows when to rock it, or when to let her soul shine through. Her vocals can be as radiant as they are powerful.
Rebecca Pronsky veers away from country into something a bit more honky-tonk — a bit more classy without abandoning a certain twang that sounds more retro than redneck.
StellaRising is a Charlotte-based quartet that fuses elements of rock and Southern style into a brand that falls somewhere in the realm between Joan Jett and the Go-gos — finding the moments that are heavier and balancing them with hints of pop.
Karla Davis is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from Monroe who brings in a bit of country style for her brand of folk.