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“Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you,” Courtney Barnett cried out in her hit single “Pedestrian at Best.” Barnett, a Grammy nominee for Best New Artist, headlined the Thursday portion of the 2016 Nelsonville Music Festival (NMF). While the stage was more or less her pedestal, she stood her ground and appealed to all.

Barnett came up from down under in Melbourne, Australia to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to perform at “one of the best kept secrets of the U.S. music festival circuit” (that’s what Billboard said, so it’s kind of a big deal). NMF is located on Hocking College’s campus in Nelsonville, Ohio.

Barnett, along with Randy Newman, Mac Demarco and Gillian Welch, headlined the 2016 NMF. People of all ages, colors, styles and sizes; from around town and halfway across the country, gathered at NMF to enjoy each others’ company, delicious food, craft brews, local vendors, and, most importantly, the music. 

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats first hyped up the crowd on the main stage (pro tip: watch out, they’re going to be big) but everyone was anxious for Barnett. Her petite figure with wispy brown hair ran onto the stage alongside bandmates Bones Sloane (bass, backing vocals) and Dave Mudie (drums, backing vocals). She smiled at the audience, added an enthusiastic “hi!” and opened with “Dead Fox,” her second single.

The indie singer-songwriter is witty and all of her songs are little anecdotes. Some intricate guitar work compliments Barnett’s thick, prevalent Australian accent. Her voice is like porcelain, and her lyrics are very real, to the point and unforgettable.

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Barnett plays the guitar right-handed and without a pick (pretty badass, right?). During intense guitar solos, she got down on her knees and shredded them out, flipping her hair around like the true rockstar she is, making the crowd go nuts. She played a mix of older music and songs off her most recent album “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.”

The audience demanded an encore, and she closed out with bass-heavy “Pickles From the Jar.” 

Tracks worthy of a listen:

  • Pickles From the Jar
  • Depreston
  • Pedestrian At Best
  • Dead Fox
  • Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party

Check out more of Courtney Barnett on Bandcamp and let us know what you think!


Video courtesy of WOUB PBS.

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