Back Stage with the Bands

Where can you find Margo Price when she’s not on the road or at home in Nashville? What’s Nathaniel Rateliff’s favorite Southern song? G&G got the chance to find out last weekend at the inaugural High Water Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, where we caught up with dozens of the musicians backstage.

Hosted by Charleston duo Shovels & Rope, the fest boasted a line up stocked with such G&G regulars as The Avett Brothers, Dawes, John Moreland, and JD McPherson, plus Price, Rateliff and his band, the Nightsweats, and more than a dozen others. Click through the slideshow to see the highlights from all the sets, and get to know some of the artists.

View as Slideshow

deer tick

Artist: Deer Tick

Hometown: Nashville, by way of Providence, Rhode Island

Biscuits or cornbread? Cornbread

Favorite Southern town: New Orleans. “I haven’t found a part of New Orleans that isn’t my favorite part,” says singer-songwriter and guitarist John McCauley.

Favorite Southern song to cover: “This goes right back to New Orleans,” McCauley says. “I love playing Fats Domino songs.”

>Watch Deer Tick’s G&G Back Porch Session

Photo: Sully Sullivan

jd mcpherson

Artist: JD McPherson

Hometown: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Biscuits or cornbread? “I’m a biscuit person.”

When it’s mealtime on the road: “It’s a toss-up between catfish and Thai food.”

It’s not a music festival without: “Seeing other bands. Both seeing bands play that you’ve never seen before, and getting to see the friends in bands who you see all the time on the road. That’s my favorite part about festivals.”

Photo: Sully Sullivan

margo price

Artist: Margo Price

Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

Biscuits or cornbread? Cornbread. “We had it growing up. I was raised on corn up in Illinois—my dad farmed corn. Cornbread was just what we had.”

Favorite Southern album: “Tom Petty’s from the South, and I love every single record he’s ever done.”

Favorite Southern town: Austin, Texas. “I love the music scene there. And I love the hill country—going out to all those little roadhouse bars, with people two-stepping and drinking Lone Stars.”

>Watch Margo Price’s G&G Back Porch Session

Photo: Sully Sullivan

margo price

Margo Price performs a Saturday evening set.

Photo: Brennan Wesley


Artist: Dawes

Biscuits or cornbread? Cornbread.

Favorite Southern city: Asheville, North Carolina. “There’s basically a great restaurant per person.”

Who would win in a band wrestling match? “Trevor [Menear, guest guitar player]. He’s a beast.”

>Watch Dawes’ G&G Back Porch Session

Photo: Sully Sullivan

nathaniel rateliff and the nightsweats

Artist: Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

Biscuits or cornbread? Cornbread

Favorite Southern City: New Orleans. “It has the most soul, the most friendly people, the best musicians and the best food.”

Favorite Southern Song: “Southern Man” by Neil Young

It’s not a music festival without: “Somebody taking a nap in a port-a-potty.”

>Watch Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats’ G&G Back Porch Session

Photo: Sully Sullivan

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats bassist Joseph Pope III.

Photo: Brennan Wesley

the deslondes

Artist: The Deslondes

Home: New Orleans, Louisiana

Biscuits or cornbread: “It depends on who’s cooking.”

Favorite hometown eats: Roast Beef Po-Boys from Frady’s One Stop Food Store

Favorite Southern town: Waverly, Alabama. “They’ve got the Old 280 Boogie. It’s a tiny little town in Alabama, and it’s really beautiful.”

Favorite Southern song to cover: “Yum Yum Yum” by Joe Tex. “It’s all about Southern down-home cookin’.”

>Watch the Deslondes’ G&G Back Porch Session

Photo: Sully Sullivan

caroline rose

Artist: Caroline Rose

Biscuits or cornbread? Biscuits.

Favorite Southern town: Merigold, Mississippi. “It’s my favorite town because it’s so kooky and strange and interesting—they’ve got Po’ Monkey’s and McCarty’s Pottery.”

Favorite Southern song: “Jolene,” by Dolly Parton. “I feel like that’s everyone’s favorite. It’s a perfect song! It sounds great solo, with a band, with an orchestra—any way you play it, ‘Jolene’ sounds full and complete and makes you feel something.”

Photo: Sully Sullivan

the suffers

Artist: The Suffers

Home: Houston, Texas

Biscuits or cornbread? Biscuits. “I’m not gonna pull over to a Cornbreadville,” says frontwoman Kam Franklin. “But when you’re on tour and you see a Biscuitville, all of a sudden biscuits are like gold. That place is a touring band’s dream.”

Favorite Southern song: “International Player’s Anthem” by UGK and OutKast.

Photo: Sully Sullivan

Lucius harmonizes on the Stono Stage.

Photo: Brennan Wesley

jump little children

Artist: Jump Little Children

Home: Charleston, South Carolina

Biscuits or cornbread? Cornbread. “But there’s a caveat: savory cornbread, not sweet cornbread.”

Favorite Southern town: Athens, Georgia. “It embraces that weird Southern-ness—the arty, hidden kind.”

Best Southern cup of coffee: Gaulart & Maliclet (Fast & French) in Charleston, South Carolina. “We don’t all live in Charleston anymore, but the minute we set foot in town, we always go to Fast & French.”

Photo: Sully Sullivan

matthew logan vasquez

Artist: Matthew Logan Vasquez

Home: Austin, Texas

Biscuits or cornbread? “My mom’s jalapeño cornbread.”

Favorite Southern restaurant: Jacques-Imo’s in New Orleans (“Get the alligator cheesecake. Actually, get everything.”) or Green Acres in Birmingham, Alabama (“Birmingham is a pretty amazing place—it is the most hospitable place in North America.”)

Photo: Sully Sullivan

middle brother daws matt vasquez john mccauley taylor goldsmith

An impromptu reunion for Middle Brother, the acclaimed trio comprised of Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, Deer Tick’s John McCauley, and Matthew Logan Vasquez (solo artist and Delta Spirit frontman).

Photo: Brennan Wesley

Aaron Lee Tasjan

Artist: Aaron Lee Tasjan

Home: Nashville, Tennessee

Biscuits or cornbread? Cornbread. “My grandmother made cornbread, so I kind of got used to eating it when I was a kid. But one of my favorite meals ever is at the Jefferson Diner in Rhode Island. Get a piece of blueberry cornbread. It’s life-changing.”

Favorite Southern song: “Thirteen” by Big Star. “So much Southern music comes from blues and gospel and country, but that song and that band appeal to me because they really aren’t particularly any of those things. They’re very Southern—I mean, they’re from Memphis—but they do a different thing with it, stylistically.”

Photo: Sully Sullivan

Artist: Arum Rae

Biscuits or cornbread? Cornbread. “It can come sweet, it can come spicy, but every time it’s good.”

Favorite Southern town: Savannah. “It’s got a vibe that’s very mysterious and old.”

Best pit-stop meal: “I seek out greens as much as possible. But for comfort food, I go to Waffle House—they’ve got the grits and the eggs.”

Favorite Southern Song: “Simple Kind of Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. “It’s very human—his desire to be better, and his mother helping him understand how to be better. People want a love and a friendship. I think it’s one of the best songs ever written.”

Photo: Sully Sullivan

indianola owen beverly

Artist: Indianola

Home: Jackson, Mississippi

Biscuits or cornbread: Cornbread.

Favorite Southern town: Indianola, Mississippi. “I mean, I named my band after it. My favorite blues guitar player is from there—Albert King,” says songwriter and performer Owen Beverly. “The first time I went there, I was on a road trip from Jackson up through the Delta with my dad. We stopped through Indianola for just a few hours, and it’s stuck with me.”

Favorite hometown eats: Pulled pork at Hickory Pit in Jackson, Mississippi. “They’ve got the best barbecue in the world,” Beverly says.

Photo: Sully Sullivan

shovels & rope

Artist: Shovels & Rope

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina



Photo: Sully Sullivan

Shovels & Rope turn up the volume for a hometown crowd.

Photo: Brennan Wesley

the avett brothers

The Avett Brothers shine in the final performance of High Water Festival.


>Watch The Avett Brothers’ G&G Back Porch Session

Photo: Brennan Wesley

The Avett Brothers shine in the final performance of High Water Festival.

>Watch The Avett Brothers’ G&G Back Porch Session

Photo: Brennan Wesley

The Avett Brothers shine in the final performance of High Water Festival.

>Watch The Avett Brothers’ G&G Back Porch Session

Photo: Brennan Wesley