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Author: Subject: Merlefest 20 Audio Online Now - Doc's emotional performance -Guitar Excellence

Zen Peach





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  posted on 4/20/2007 at 01:36 PM
Anyone rolling?? PM me if you are.

The festival grounds, located on the Wilkes College campus, have been reconfigured for more stages and more unique shopping booths, from clothes to musical instruments to hand-crafted furniture to anything unusual that you could name.

The campgrounds should be humming with music as well. I'll have musician friends coming in from Canberra, Australia and Toronto and elsewhere.

Good article/interview with Tony Rice in the new issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine;

quote:
Acoustic Guitar Magazine
June 2007, No. 174



Tony Rice: Flatpicker Extraordinaire

For more than 30 years, TONY RICE has exemplified flatpicking genius. Having played in numerous groundbreaking ensembles and released or appeared on dozens of albums, he has amassed a body of work of uncommon inventiveness and consistent virtuosity. In this exclusive interview, he discusses the roots of his technique and the freewheeling nature of his approach to the instrument. PLUS: We deconstruct Rice's unusual picking-hand style. With audio examples. By Scott Nygaard


That current article will add to the headline act of the weekend at Merlefest, that being Tony Rice playing the best of his 30-year progressive and amazing career. In my opinion, one of the best, if not the best, acoustic guitar player on the planet. His leads and solos are wonderful and innovative. On this gig, he is being backed up by some of the best musicians in the world including Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, and the rest of Union Station plus guests.

The great thing about Merlefest is that it is impromptu jam after jam, with folks like Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, John Hammond Jr., Peter Rowan, about 100 others including the host of the festival, 82-year old American music legend Doc Watson who can still pick lead guitar circles around most players, jamming with each other in a myriad of announced and unannounced configurations.

Jerry Douglas will be playing with his own band as well as with Tony Rice and Alison Krauss and others on both Friday and Saturday, Bela Fleck will play on Friday and saturday, Tony Rice will play on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, etc, you get the picture.

Derek H



[Edited on 5/7/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

[Edited on 5/7/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 4/20/2007 at 02:05 PM
Looks like John Hammond will be giving a blues guitar workshop on Friday afternoon with Roy Book Binder.

And on Friday night Elvis Costello will play and be backed up by Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, and Jim Lauderdale. Ba-da-bing! It won't be often that you will hear Elvis backed up by a band like that, but that's Merlefest.

Other FRiday highlights;

Peter Rowan and Tony Rice at 1:45pm, and then at 4:15pm there is Bela Fleck hosts a jam with Sam Bush, Byron House, Stuart Duncan, Jerry Douglas, Bryan Sutton, and Tony Rice. It will not get any better than that. That will be followed by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. And, Louisiana music will take over the Dance tent with the Red Stick Ramblers from lafayette.

Saturday; 7:10p-8:05p
20th Homecoming Jam hosted by Sam Bush, featuring Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Pam Tillis, Peter Rowan, John McEuen, Tony Rice, and many more.
9:35p-10:50p
A Very Special Performance by Tony Rice and Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas Performing Together an Evening of Material from Tony’s 35 year career.





 

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  posted on 4/20/2007 at 03:12 PM
List of performers and link. I remember when they called this the Fiddlers Convention. Its a good time.

http://www.merlefest.org/


Doc Watson TFSS Jim Lauderdale FSS

Richard Watson TFSS Jack Lawrence FSS

A very special performance by Tony Rice and Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas: An evening of material from Tony's 35 year career SAT Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver SUN

Susana & Timmy Abell FSS Laurie Lewis SUN

R.G Absher & Extra Measure TF Jeff Little FS

Alberti Flea Circus FSS Mark Lippard SAT

Awake My Soul (film) F

Buffalo Barfield FS

The Belleville Outfit (formerly DesChamps Band) FS Brack Llewellyn SAT

Ira Bernstein FSS The Local Boys TFSS

Blue Highway FS The Lonesome Sisters SS

Spencer Bohren FS The Lovell Sisters TF

Roy Book Binder FSS Bill Mathis TFSS

Laura Boosinger FSS Thomas Maupin FS

Sam Bush FSS Andy May FS

The Carolina Chocolate Drops FSS Del McCoury Band SAT

Cherryholmes T The Old 78s FSS

The Circuit Riders F

T Michael Coleman FSS Nashville Bluegrass Band SS

Elvis Costello F

John Cowan Band TFSS Nitty Gritty Dirt Band FS

Crooked Still FSS Dirk Powell Band SS

Deer Clan Singers FS Red Stick Ramblers FSS

Dixie Dawn FS Roan Mountain Hilltoppers FSS

Donna the Buffalo FSS Robinella F

Robert Dotson SS Jim Rooney

Jerry Douglas FS Peter Rowan & Tony Rice Quartet FSS

The Duhks FS Tom Sauber FSS

Béla Fleck FS Darrell Scott FSS

Benton Flippen Band FSS The Legendary Earl Scruggs with Family & Friends SUN

The Flowers Family T Shana Banana FS

Pat Flynn FSS Larry Skipper FSS

Frosty Morn Band FRI Joe Smothers FSS

Forget-Me-Nots T Steep Canyon Rangers TF

Ruthie Foster FS Sacred Harp Singers of Liberty Church F

Bryan Sutton FSS

Paul Geremia FS Tut Taylor FSS

Gospel Jubilators SS Joe Thompson & Bob Carlin SAT

Mitch Greenhill FSS Pam Tillis SS

Buddy Greene FSS Toubab Krewe FSS

Diane Hackworth FS Happy Traum FS

George Hamilton IV FSS Uncle Earl FSS

John Hammond FS The Waybacks TFS

Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz SS Charles Welch FSS

Orville Hicks F Pete & Joan Wernick TFSS

Bob Hill FSS

Willette Hinton & the Hinton Family SAT Wilkes Playmakers FS

David Holt FSS Tony Williamson SAT

Clint Howard F The Worthless Son-In-Laws F

Donna Hughes Sun

Sierra Hull & Highway 111 FSS

The Infamous Stringdusters TFSS

InterACTive Theatre of Jef FSS

Reverend Robert Jones FSS

 

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  posted on 4/21/2007 at 10:00 AM
This just in, Sanjaya has been added to the lineup, and will sing bluegrass versions of Cowsills songs. SHould be great.

 

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  posted on 4/23/2007 at 03:38 PM
One of the highlights at Merlefest this week will be the showcasing iof the best acoustic guitarist in the world- Tony Rice, backed up by Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, and Union Station. This outfit has already performed two concerts in Chattanooga and Louisville leading up to Merlefest this Saturday night. Here are some reviews of the gigs;


quote:
I was in the audience Saturday night for the Chattanooga concert. What an amazing show. Alison's emcee work was charming and funny.

I broke into tears during the Tony Rice-Jerry Douglas instrumental duet.
It was one of those realization moments: that I was watching and listening
to the world's finest musicians on those particular instruments.

My husband (a listener not a player) leaned over and said to me, "Can you
imagine this moment taking place late one night in someone's kitchen. You
could listen to those two right up until dawn and still wouldn't be tired."

Lisa



quote:
Great show. The Louisville Palace is such a great venue for AKUS (Alison Krauss and Union Station). The sound was perfect. Tony was in great form as was everyone else on that stage. I'll be looking for a copy of this show. Interesting note: Hearing banjo on "Manzanita." Ron Block did a great job. What a great show! Tony switched between the legendary guitar (his pre-World War II Martin D-28 with that incredible tone that once belonged to Clarence White) and a sweet sounding Santa Cruz guitar. Dan Tyminski was
playing a Daley mandolin. What a cool way to honor one of your heroes. Hats off to AKUS. I still bow down to Tony!

Keep pickin'

Mike Bucayu
First Quality Music



quote:
The Chattanooga show was awesome. Some of the highlights were Tony and Jerry doing Summertime. Tony started it out on stage by himself with a long improvised solo and then Jerry stepped out and did his thing and then they just melted together. The crowd loved it. They did manzannita,ginsing sullivan,down the road, church street blues, streets of london, song for a winter night,and several more but I need to finish waking up to remember. One highlight that needs mentioning was freeborn man. We carried a rock guitarist with us that had never heard Tony before. When Tony took a break on the song, HE SMOKED IT!!!!!!!!!! The guy with us turned around with his jaw dropped. It was priceless! Best review I can give right this second.Roy

 

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  posted on 4/23/2007 at 03:39 PM
quote:
MerleFest's 20th Homecoming to be Broadcast to Worldwide Audience this Weekend

Starting this Thursday and running through the weekend (April 26- 29), mvyradio [www.mvyradio.com] will carry both live and listen-on-demand streams of performances and interviews from MerleFest 2007, Presented by Lowe's, the 20th Homecoming featuring Friends of Doc & Merle Watson, produced by Wilkes Community College on its campus in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

(PRWEB) April 23, 2007 -- In an exclusive broadcast arrangement with the celebrated Americana music festival, mvyradio is scheduled to deliver more than 75 performances from MerleFest's 13 stages, all accessible through the internet at www.mvyradio.com.

In addition, mvyradio has underwritten the internet delivery of the on-campus radio station WSIF-FM's festival broadcasts which will provide extra coverage -- including both performances and interviews -- at www.radiofreemerlefest.org.

Merlefest will also be broadcast on XM Radio on the X Country and Bluegrass Junction channels.

 

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  posted on 4/24/2007 at 01:24 PM
the bill for this is unbelivable, and i don't even consider myself a Bluegrass fan.

 

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  posted on 4/24/2007 at 06:12 PM
quote:
http://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/article.cfm?ID=8866


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

By JEFF WRIGHT - Bulletin Staff Writer

More than 50 years ago, Lewis Compton wrote a song in his head while working second shift in the sand shaker room at DuPont. Since then, that song, “Sawin’ on the Strings,” has been recorded nine times by various artists.


The song tells the story of “Fiddlin’ Will” starting out with “Way back in the mountains, way back in the hills/There used to live a mountaineer, they called him Fiddlin’ Will/Now he could play most anything and some said he could sing/But the one thing that he liked best to do was sawin’ on the strings.”

The most recent artist to record the Martinsville resident’s song is bluegrass and country crossover Alison Krauss. Shortly before Krauss released her latest CD, “Hundred Miles or More: A Collection,” on Tuesday, Compton received a letter from a friend in the music business telling him that his song would be track five on the album.

“Man, ain’t that something,” Compton quipped.

Compton, 78, is no stranger to the music business. On Oct. 31, 1953, he left his job at DuPont and the next day he started working at WPTF, a radio station in Roanoke.

He put his song, “Sawin’ on the Strings,” on the air at noon that day and “within two hours the road was blocked” with people wanting to come to the station after hearing the song, he said.

Two of those people were Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, long regarded by the industry and its fans as pioneers of bluegrass music. Compton taught them to play it and they began performing it everywhere they went, even the Grand Ole Opry, he said.

After Flatt and Scruggs’ performances on the Opry and elsewhere, people began to take notice of the song and others started to play and record it.

It wasn’t until 2001, however, when Ricky Scaggs recorded the song that it really became known to a more mainstream crowd, Compton said. That also was when his work began to pay off financially, he said, adding that he received 8.5 cents of every record Scaggs sold.

In 2004 as part of CMT’s Flameworthy awards show, Krauss and a band comprised of “the best of Nashville” played “Sawin’ on the Strings,” Compton said. After Compton’s oldest son, Richard, saw the show he told his father that Krauss and company did such a good job on the song that maybe they would record it.

“Things move slow in (the music business),” Compton said, so when Jon Burr, head of licensing for Randall Records in Connecticut, contacted him recently to let him know that the song would be recorded, it came as a bit of a surprise.

Burr told Compton, “You know something, this is going to make you some money,” Compton said. The fact that royalty fees had increased to 9.21 cents as well as the fact that Krauss is a pretty big name meant that he would benefit fairly substantially from record sales, Compton said.

The first shipment of the CDs would be of about 500,000 units, Compton was told, but Burr said that it was not a reach to expect the song to sell a million copies.

For Compton, who relies on social security for his income and spends more than $300 a month on various medications, the extra money will be a big help, he said.

Compton has had diabetes for 32 years and Peripheral Neuropathy, a nerve disease that disrupts the body’s ability to communicate with its muscles, organs and tissues, according to The Neuropathy Association’s Web site. He is limited to what he can do now, but said he has experienced things in his life that many people can only dream of.

Since 1962 he has been known as “The Mouth of the South,” a moniker bestowed upon him by Elmo Langley, one of NASCAR’s early drivers, car owners and longtime pacecar driver.

Comtpon announced every race at Martinsville Speedway from 1955 until 1999, worked in radio for 52 years and was a licensed auctioneer for 36 years.

 

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  posted on 4/28/2007 at 02:17 PM
Merlefest is in high gear. Rained Thursday night, but still caught up with our friends from Australia and Canada and put up some picking parlors and got with it until about 4:30am. An international beer, picking, and single malt fest.

Original member of Led Zeppelin John Paul Jones is here and playing a bunch. It was three years ago at Merlefest that I first met him when he was playing with John Cowan, Sam, David Grisman and that bunch. This time around he showed up to play with the awesome all-female band Uncle Earl. Jones produced Uncle Earl's latest album called Waterloo, Tennessee, a project whose roots started with a late night jam three years ago at Merlefest. Jones came out and played five songs on mandolin with the girls yesterday.

And then,on the Cabin Stage, the rebuilt 1750 log cabin that is used as a smaller stage next to the main stage, so acts are constantly playing, Rayne Gellert and Friends played. Sure enough, on upright acoustic bass was John Paul Jones playing on al the songs. They ended with a wild combination of an old time fiddle tune called "John Brown's Dream" that was mixed with a West African song from Mali called "Kaira." It was funky and had an almost motherland reggae groove to it by Jones on the bass. Rayna played fiddle, there was an electric guitar and a strange kind of african stringed instrument as well. Very cool.

Elvis Costello did his normal thing at first, singing about ten songs by himself. Then, slowly but surely, he brought out a set of great musicians. Jim lauderdale came out and sang a few with Elvis, and then Sam Bush came out on mandolin, Jerry Douglas came out on squareneck Dobro and electric lap steel, and Byron House played bass. The first song they played with everyone out there was thge Dead's "Friend Of The Devil" and it went on from there, ending in a train roll romp on "Mystery Train" with everyone taking solos and kicking it.

Earlier yesterday the best of the newgrass movement jammed out. Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Luke Bulla, Byron House, and two of the world's great guitar players, Tony Rice and Bryan Sutton, standing beside each other and duking it out in a non-competitive way. It was simply outstanding. They played a lot of stuff from Bela's classic album called "Drive" that all these guys played on back in the day.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops won the crowd over as they take back the African American origins of string music. They rocked it.

Today is off to a good start- good weather- about 50,000 people but spread out on the 12 stages,a ton of things to do besides music such as hundreds of booths for shopping and food up one side and down another, and big time collaborations coming up as the best of the best celebrate Doc Watson and the 20th anniversary of Merlefest. There was juist a mandolin jam and workshop where onstage was Ronnie McCoury from the Del McCoury Band, Peter Rowan from Old and In The Way with Garcia and so much more, Dan Tyminski of Alison Krauss' band, James Nash of the Waybacks, Tony Williamson, 16-year old prodigy Sierra Hull, Sam Bush, and about five other pickers - you get the picture. John hammond coming on soon, Del McCoury, Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas and Union Station backing up Tony Rice, The Waybacks, et al.

I'm off and rolling.

DH

 

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  posted on 4/28/2007 at 02:25 PM
quote:
This just in, Sanjaya has been added to the lineup, and will sing bluegrass versions of Cowsills songs. SHould be great.




Have a good time Derek as I know you will!

 

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  posted on 4/28/2007 at 02:43 PM
PattyG, the Red Clay Ramblers are stirring it up and representing Louisiana in a big way. They cajuned up the Dance Tent last night and had then hootin' and a hollerin' and are playing a couple of times again today. Big fun.

DH

 

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  posted on 4/28/2007 at 03:00 PM
Ahh-Eee!

 

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  posted on 4/28/2007 at 08:04 PM
The 20th anniversary jam lived up to its expectations. It started wth Doc watson and Sam Bush and then morphed into everyone- Del McCoury,Ronnie McCoury, Earl Scruggs, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Bryan Sutton, John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Pam Tillis, Pat Flynn and John Cowan and Bela Fleck and Sam Bush who were all in the New Grass Revival together, on and on. Who would have thunk that you would see Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, both legends in their 80's, on the same stage playing with Led Zep's John Paul Jones jamming on "Workingman's Blues." One cool thing - there a couple of Townes Van Zandt songs sung this weekend. Doc Watson sang "If I Needed You," and the super jam tonight ripped on a steamroll New Grass Revival version of "White Freight Liner Blues." They also let fly Bela's instrumental workout , "Whitewater." Peter Rowan and John Cowan and Pam Tillis and Del McCoury sang some Bill Monroe songs to give him his due as well.

John Hammond is the coolest! This was his first Merlefest and he was given a hell of a standing ovation. He ripped on his usual Son House and other smokers, but also threw some Tampa Red numbers out there. Another great was 88-years old Black fiddler Joe Thompson, who played some old school country blues with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Bob Carlin.

Coming up- headline event, Tony Rice backed by Alison Krauss and Jery Douglas and Union Station.

DH

 

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  posted on 4/29/2007 at 12:23 PM
Up 'til dawn, but feeling good. Music picked, discussions with friends from down under about the differences in star constellations visible to the northern eye, early morning birds chirping and mixing with the music as the sky gets bright in the east, old friends, and brand new friends. Time to pack up, load up, and give out a few long goodbyes.

 

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  posted on 4/29/2007 at 12:32 PM


sounds like a blast, with tons of great music.

twelve stages?

John Hammond was my all time favorite guest star at the Beacon, good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

 

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  posted on 4/29/2007 at 12:51 PM
One cool thjing -last night during the Alison Krauss -Jerry Douglas-Tony Rice show, which was incredible, they did a portion where Tony was playing a very cool duet with Dan Tyminski on fiddle, and then Tony did a beautiful solo performance on guiitar as only he can do, and then Jerry walked out to duet with Tony. The moon was up and bright behind the outdoor stage, and the music fit the surroundings. As they played together, as if on cue, a bright green meteor left a long trail to the right of the stage. Those up close did not see it, but you could hear about a fourth of the crowd clap and cheer for the spontaneous light show as the shooting star broke up into many flaming pieces as it disappeared behind the trees. It made you wonder who sent it.

Time to travel.

Derek

 

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  posted on 4/29/2007 at 12:59 PM
Hey Derek,

Thanks for the Merlefest reports, wish I could have made it down there this year. Appears, as always, great music and great jams. You know I wouldn't mind seeing the ABB at Merlefest, perhaps playing a little more acoustic than they normally do, but nevertheless, it would be great show, and I can certainly imagine some of the jam combinations that various members of the band could find themselves involved with. Maybe, next year.

 
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  posted on 4/30/2007 at 03:05 PM
quote:
Hey Derek,

Thanks for the Merlefest reports, wish I could have made it down there this year. Appears, as always, great music and great jams. You know I wouldn't mind seeing the ABB at Merlefest, perhaps playing a little more acoustic than they normally do, but nevertheless, it would be great show, and I can certainly imagine some of the jam combinations that various members of the band could find themselves involved with. Maybe, next year.



There are absolutely combinations with Derek and Warren that would work at Merlefest. And, there is an Allman Brothers connection to Merlefest as well, as I will explain here;

As we on this website full well understand, you never take for granted that a wonderful musician will be around forever, or even tomorrow. Sometimes they die way too soon. Merlefest is named after the legendary Doc Watson's son Merle who died in a farm tractor accident 21 years ago. Merle was a heck of a music and recorded many albums with his father. This is from Merle's web page on the Merlefest site;

quote:
http://www.merlefest.org/MerlesQuotes.htm

On how, when, and why he became involved in music.......

"In the summer of 1964, Dad had been touring about two years. I was 15 years old and got interested in touring with him on the weekends and making a little money. My mother started me playing my guitar when he was on tour about two months before that. I didn't play at all till I was 15. I learned some chords and things. When Dad came back off the road, he told me, "You're going to go out to California with me." I've been with him ever since then. I was still in high school at the time, so I played summers and weekends until 1967, and from '67, it's been continuous."

On what sparked his interest in slide guitar.......

"I started playing slide guitar in 1973 or '74. I heard Duane Allman play "Statesboro Blues" one day. I said, "I gotta figure this one out!" Of course, it was the blues, southern rock, electric stuff. I kind of took from his ideas and put it into country. The black blues influence on him, of course, is where some of it came from, the Delta blues guys. Allman's single-note lead work and clean style of playing are what got me interested in slide work. I hadn't been interested before because it was pretty scratchy and noisy and not real clean music. Allman developed it into this real pretty, clean, single-note lead thing as well as backup stuff."

On who, besides his father, had a significant influence on him.......

"The first influence was in '64. That summer when I started touring I met Mississippi John Hurt. That was my main influence, fingerstyle and blues. Dad's style of playing wasn't an influence on me probably until five or six years later. The first five years were primarily fingerstyle and blues. Dad doesn't slow down or teach very much; he just kind of plays it and you have to just get in there when you can. The flatpicking I started coming along with in the early '70s and paying more attention to Dad's style. Of course, Duane Allman was probably the next big influence with the slide."





When I am at Merlefest and I see Doc Watson play, and he plays probably about 12 different times throughout the four days, and I have to leave to see another band or talk with a musician or meet a friend, I find myself stopping to look back before I turn the corner. Doc is 84 years old now, and I simply want to remember the last time I see him alive, he and his music mean that much to me. Doc Watson - here is a guy who, as a young and blind musician, went on to become a part of the revolution of acoustic lead guitar playing because he was playing in a dance band in his mountain home area of North Carolina one night and the fiddle player didn't show up so he decides to learn the fiddle parts and leads on guitar. From that moment on, the rest was history. Now, at 84, he can still pick a lead lick around most players, and this past weekend he played everything from Robert Johnson to Chuck Berry to Townes Van Zandt.

My friend Bob from Canada and his wife Sue were sitting with me on Sunday watching Earl Scruggs and he told me that he was front and center at the Creekside Stage earlier that morning when there was the allstar gospel jam. He was no more than three or four feet from Doc Watson sitting on the stage. As the members of the Nashville Bluegrass Band and the rest of the musicians were onstage watching Doc, Doc did a solo song that we don't know the name of as of yet. But there was a line in it to the extent of "in my darkest hour, in my darkest moment," and when he sang it Doc just about lost it. His lips trembled and his face gave it away, but he caught himself and didn't missed a lyric, and even sped up the song at the end to make sure the mood remained positive. The other musicians onstage saw it as well, and almost lost it too. Everybody was wondering whether it was the song itself that got to him, or he was thinking of his son Merle whom he has outlived by over twenty years, or an 84-year old man who was thinking about his own mortality. It was pretty much agreed on that if Doc would have lost it, everybody would have done the same, audience and otherwise. Merlefest will be amazingly intense when it is the first festival after Doc passes. Let's hope it isn't for a while. If he comes near you, GO AND SEE HIM PLAY!

The same was true as I walked backstage and saw Gary Scruggs, Earl's son and bass player. I've known them for a while, and they are good folks. Earl is 83 now. Here is a guy who literally and singlehandedly revolutionized an instrument when he joined Bill Monroe's band in 1945 - the first ever real bluegrass band, the time when it all came together. Earl's set was a great one on Sunday. He isn't stupid, as he purposely surrounds himself with great players such as electric guitar and mandolin allstar Brad Davis, Bryan Sutton on lead guitar, the Grand Ole Opry's fiddle player Hoot Hester, and my friend Jennifer Kennedy Merideth on the squareneck dobro. I've known Jennifer since she was a 17-year old phenom who would play the Young Pickers Stage a the IBMA Week convention. Now, she is in her early 20's, is married now, and is playing with an absolute music legend. The squareneck Dobro is a special instrument, and Earl has one in his band because he was the first to put a squareneck Dobro in a bluegrass band when they hired Uncle Josh Graves to play with Flatt and Scruggs in the 1950's. Uncle Josh Graves saw Cliff Carlisle play the Dobro when he was 9 years old and was hooked. Thirty years later a 10 year old Jerry Douglas saw Uncle Josh Graves play the Dobro with Flatt and Scruggs and he was hooked. Last Sunday a young Jennifer Kennedy Merideth was playing a Jerry Douglas model Gibson squareneck Dobro with 83 year old Earl Scruggs. There is lineage in these instruments, folks.

As a side note, when Jennifer got marriad a few months ago in her native Bowling Green, Kentucky, after the ceremony she was carted away with her new husband on her grandpa's restored 1955 John Deere Tractor, which she told me means so much to her. Now that's a country girl.

As all of us know from our love for Duane Allman, I don't take for granted that my generation of players, who revolutionized bluegrass, invented newgrass, jazzgrass, and jamgrass, are still around and getting it done. That is why Saturday night's show with Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas and Union Station playing with Tony Rice was so sweet.
In my humble opinion, Saturday night's show was worthy of release, and I hoped they use what they filmed for a DVD which may happen. Simply wonderful, although I am partial because Tony has inspired me on guitar and is one of the top four that have done so, the others being Duane, BB, and Django. There were times when it was frustrating that Alison had to sing certain songs. I love Alison, and she has a voice from heaven, and she sounded wonderful. It wasn't that she was singing, it was that Tony wasn't. While Tony is the best acoustic guitar player in the world, he was also as good a singer as there ever was in bluegrass back in the day. But, he completely lost his voice many years ago, and now it is nothing but gravel. That really hit me when they played Norman Blake's great tune "Ginseng Sullivan," because I still heard Tony's version in my mind. But I have to say, when Alison sang "Streets Of London," it was hard not to lose it. Incredible.

quote:
STREETS OF LONDON
(Ralph McTell)

Have you seen the old man
In the closed down market
Kicking up the papers with his worn out shoes
In his eyes you see no pride
Hands held loosely at his side
Yesterday's paper, telling yesterday's news

So how can you tell me you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something
To make you change your mind

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags
She's no time for talking
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags

So how can you tell me you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something
To make you change your mind

In the old night cafe at a quarter past eleven
The same old man sitting there on his own
Looking at the world over the rim of his teacup
Each tea lasts an hour, and he wanders home alone

So how can you tell me that you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something
To make you change your mind

Have you seen the old man
Outside the seaman's mission
Memory fading with the minor ribands that he wears
In our city winter the rain cries little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world which doesn't care

So how can you tell me you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something
To make you change your mind



 

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  posted on 5/1/2007 at 05:56 PM
When I go to festivals sometimes, I travel with my infamous and nefarious Uncle Wormy, my uncle who is a West Virginia moonshine making retired rail road man who is a piece of work. Here is a couple from this past merlefest;



Wormy was on a Boy Scout kick at the festival, as he was one when he was younger, ran some dens with his son, and knows a few knots, especially if it means getting a bag open that has whiskey in it. On saturday he was wearing green wool socks in a pair of open sandals the whole time, a permanately multi-stained pair of yellow Carhardt pants that some oil rig guy wore that he bought at a thrift store in Alaska for 7 dollars, as well as a bright red coat with Boy Scout badges all over it. My brother Doug took him to a liquor store and the guy saw him come in dressed like that and asked if he was going for his "Whiskey Badge."

It gets better - the big 250,000 acre Boy Scout camp is out in New mexico and it is called Philmont. Well, Wormy found an old axe head somewhere that has Philmont inscribed on it. At Merlefest the Boy Scouts and their parents and leaders run the shuttle busses that take folks from the festival to the campgrounds and last year Wormy got to know one of the bus driver Scout leaders. So, Wormy decides to take the axe head in a tupperware box on the bus to show the scout leader, but couldn't find him. So, post-9/11 and a few weeks after Virginia tech, Wormy tries to bring in the axe head into the festival, and does so dressed up as I described above. Let's just say they didn't go for that at all, so he had to leave it with them. I watched the guy's face as he discovered the axe in Wormy's bag, and then look at him dressed in green, bright red, and stained yellow, and then shake his head as if to say those three magic words, "Ain't Noway Inhell."

Back at the campsite, Uncle Wormy was fully partaking in the whiskey. I had some new friends with me, and one sweetheart in particular I hadn't known for all that long yet almost immediately was treated to hearing my Uncle Wormy tell my birth story, which, according to him is, "When that boy was born, he was wrung out of a bar room rag. He's so dumb that he dont remember where he s*** last. The boy simply does not respond to therapy." Saying all of that, of course, dressed in green and stained yellow and bright red. But, she has as goofy a sense of humor as I do, is a hell of a fire tender, lives in the mountains of North Carolina and has been off the hard road a bit, and can pick the Dobro. So, we popped open some 2am brews and broke out the instruments and had fun and listened to our Australian musician friend sing some of the funniest and bawdiest songs known to man, the lyrics of which I will post when he sends them to me. Good times.

DH



[Edited on 5/2/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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  posted on 5/2/2007 at 02:38 PM

Uncle Earl with Bela Fleck on the left and John Paul Jones on the right.


Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas


Bela Fleck, Byron House, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice, and Bryan Sutton.

 

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  posted on 5/2/2007 at 05:00 PM
Great reviews and pics of Merlefest, Derek. And LOVE the Uncle Wormy story - LOL!!!

 

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"Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe and I will buy you a bottle of wine, and we'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down..."

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 5/3/2007 at 09:08 AM
quote:
Great reviews and pics of Merlefest, Derek. And LOVE the Uncle Wormy story - LOL!!!



Cool. Yeah, it was a trip, and the Uncle Wormy stories are true and simply the ones I can actually tell on here. Old School Wack.

I am finding out a little more info about that Sunday Creekside jam I referred to above. As I described, my friend Bob from Canada and his wife Sue were sitting with me on Sunday watching Earl Scruggs and Bob told me that he was front and center at the Creekside Stage earlier that morning when there was the allstar gospel jam. He was no more than three or four feet from where Doc was sitting on the stage. As the members of the Nashville Bluegrass Band and the rest of the musicians were onstage watching Doc, he performed a solo song and there was a line in it where Doc just about lost it. His lips trembled and his face gave it away, but he caught himself and didn't missed a lyric, and even sped up the song at the end to make sure the mood remained positive. The other musicians onstage saw it as well, and almost lost it too. Everybody was wondering whether it was the song itself that got to him, or he was thinking of his son Merle whom he has outlived by over twenty years, or an 84-year old man who was thinking about his own mortality.

Since I got home, I heard back from Mike Compton of the Nashville Bluegrass Band yesterday, asking him about what song it was that Doc was singing, and he said it was "Wonderous Love." Yesterday there was a post on the Merlefest message board about it that said this;

" Every year the Sunday at Creekside sets are a magical experience and this year was the most inspirational time we have had yet. When the Nashville Bluegrass Band and the rest of us sat as Doc recounted his testimonial life changing talk with God years ago while on his sick bed, followed by his heartfelt rendition of 'Wonderous Love,' we all were stunned. Nothing I have witnessed at Merlefest compares with that moment of emotional clarity and honesty that Doc poured into that song."

Another person said this;

" That set on Creekside was the most magical experience I've ever had Sunday at Merlefest. Thank you Doc and Nashville Bluegrass Band."

So, something special happened.
Derek

 

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  posted on 5/4/2007 at 01:29 PM


John Hammond at Merlefest on the Austin Stage before his amazing standing ovation.



Merlefest Sand Sculpture crafted as the festival progressed.



Bela Fleck



Jim Lauderdale on the Merlefest Cabin Stage.

 

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  posted on 5/4/2007 at 01:29 PM


Led Zep's John Paul Jones playing bass with Rayna Gellert and friends on the Merlefest Cabin Stage



The Carolina Chocolate Drops performing in front of the No Depression Magazine tent.



The Carolina Chocolate Drops performing in front of the No Depression Magazine tent.



Earl Scruggs with John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 5/4/2007 at 01:30 PM


Mr. Scruggs



My friend Jennifer Kennedy Meredith playing the squareneck with Earl Scruggs and friends.



88-year old fiddler Joe Thompson



Good friend John Taylor and his son William who came back to hang and pick with us again at Merlefest. John is from Canberra, NSW, Australia and is President of the Australia National Folk Festival.

 

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