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MerleFest 2012 - Sunday

May 01, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Susan and I arrived early to open the WDVX booth and plan our day.  Roy Book Binder at the Americana Stage, Scythian at the Watson Stage, followed by Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives and Alison Krauss and Union Station.  That should make a full day.

Washington, D.C., based Scythian has become a favorite at MerleFest for their kicked up Celtic adrenaline music.  They kept the audience on its feet from beginning to end - closing with a cover of "Those Were the Days."

Scythian performs on the Watson Stage.

After leaving the Watson Stage area for a break, we stopped by to see Turtle Old Man at his booth.  He makes exquisite jewelry from fossils and gemstones.  

Tuttle Old Man (Jim Rice) from Boone weaves silver wire through polished stone.

Next up on the Watson Stage - Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives.

Marty Stuart

We wrapped up our musical weekend with the first half of Alison Krauss's set.

Alison Krauss

Susan and I returned to the WDVX booth to get ready to close and tear down once the crowd had left.  Anna, Josh, and Drew had already taken inventory and done what preliminary work could be done, so we sat and listened to the music coming from the Watson Stage.  By the time that the music ended with a final tribute to Merle, fans were headed for the exit, without a lot of interest in stopping to visit.

Oh, and after seven years, I'm still trying to catch up to Roy Book Binder.  Due to a schedule mixup, Susan and I had to stay in the booth while Roy was doing his final set for the weekend.  Maybe next year.

Thanks and deepest gratitude to Susan, Drew, Anna, Josh, and the other volunteers who helped staff the WDVX booth.  Thanks too to Jonathan Maness for the planning and preparation for MerleFest.  With luck, he'll be able to join us next year.



MerleFest 2012 - If it's Saturday, it's all music

April 28, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Today, Susan and I decided to try to hear as much music as we could.  Right now, we're listening to the Tedeschi Trucks Band perform on the Watson Stage.  But that wraps up the evening.  We started our day at the Creekside Stage for Jim Lauderdale and friends.  From there we headed to the far corner to the Hillside Stage for the Greencards.  Led by the husband and wife team Kym Warner and Carol Young from Australia, the Greencards are producing some of the finest Americana music around.  They filled the Hillside Stage area to capacity.

Kym Warner on mandolin. Carol Young on vocals and bass.


Wylie and the Wild West followed the Greencards on the Hillside Stage, so there was no reason to go anywhere else.  If for no other reason, you know Wylie's distinctive yodel - it's the "Ya-hoooo" in the yahoo.com commercials.  But his music is much more than that.  Check out this video on YouTube:  Yodeling Boogie.

The Hillside Stage is home to a five-year MerleFest tradition:  The Hillside Album Hour featuring the Waybacks and friends.  The first album hour wasn't even planned that way.  The Waybacks just went onstage with a bunch of friends and played the songs on "Led Zeppelin II."  It was such a hit that MerleFest asked them to do something similar the next year.  So it was "Sticky Fingers."  Since then, guessing the album has become an annual event.  Two years ago, the Waybacks were joined by everyone from Sarah Dugas to Jerrry Douglas to Jim Lauderdale to Elvis Costello in re-creating "Abbey Road."  And in 2011, Joan Osborne lent her vocals to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of "Eat a Peach."  (All but "Sticky Fingers" are available online at FestivaLink.

Once again, an overflow crowd gathered before the Hillside Stage, waiting to see who had guessed right.

And this is the reaction when the Waybacks opening gradually gave away the album:

For 2012, they had chosen Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced?"  The Waybacks and friends (Sarah Dugas, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Jim Lauderdale, Kym Warner, Christian Dugas, and Jens Kruger took the audience from "Purple Haze" to "Stone Free."

Sarah Dugas sings "Purple Haze."

With James Nash providing the guitar licks.


Sam Bush and John Cowan stepped forward for "Hey Joe."


And what does it take to have Jim Lauderdale, Sarah Dugas, and Sam Bush as you backup singers?


The artists gave us a beautiful and touching rendition of "The Wind Cries Mary" in honor of recently lost friends from long-standing MerleFest stage staff to Earl Scruggs, Dick Clark, and Levon Helm.  And then, just to throw a curve and some humor at us, they performed "Third Stone from the Sun" as a mixed medley with Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" (sometimes known as "Everybody Must Get Stoned").

What a treat.

Saturday's not over.  Susan Tedeschi's singing "Why Don't We Do It In the Road" right now.  And there's more to come.


MerleFest 2012 at the Midpoint

April 27, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Los Lobos is onstage - the last performance on Friday.  So MerleFest is almost halfway over.  What happened on Friday?  Well, here are a few things that appeared in front of the camera.

I'm not even sure who or what this is.


Red shoes.  It can only be Casey Driessen.


Jonathan Scales of the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra playing "Pan Grass."


Wylie Gustafson of Wylie and the Wild West imitating Paul Zarzysky during "Rodeo to the Bone."


Patrick Simmons, John Cowan, and Darrell Scott.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the Original Lineup with Casey Driessen.

And tomorrow will be even better.

MerleFest 2012 - Random Sights on Thursday

April 26, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Thursday's winding down.  Dailey and Vincent are onstage.  Here are a few things seen around the festival today.

Volunteers Dick and Anne Ince staff the WDVX booth.

Sand sculptors at work.

WDVX fan Doyle Carter from Morristown, Tennessee.

Jim Lauderdale joins Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins of Donna the Buffalo in the Watson Stage.

MerleFest Check-in and Setup

April 26, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Susan, Drew, and I arrived at MerleFest check-in this morning (Thursday, April 26) about 9:00.  Wow was it raining!  After picking up the WDVX passes, we were escorted to our booth in the Shoppes at MerleFest.  There it was, a 10x10 foot tent with a table and two chairs.  We had just a few hours to convert it to a miniature WDVX museum and merchandise shop.

While Dailey and Vincent did their sound check, we unloaded Drew's truck and tried to remember how things went together last year.  Piece by piece, things came out of boxes and found their place. Anna and Josh joined us, and we were done just in time.

9:45 am - Before


2:30 pm - After


The gates are open, and here come the music fans.

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