Video: Rain and cold can't topple the back half of MerleFest | Music
Music
INDY Week's music blog

Archives | RSS

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Video: Rain and cold can't topple the back half of MerleFest

Posted by on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 10:39 AM

click to enlarge Tony Williamson and Friends - PHOTO BY DAN SCHRAM
  • Photo by Dan Schram
  • Tony Williamson and Friends
MerleFest
Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro
Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 


Arriving early to the festival grounds of Wilkes County Community College Saturday morning, the day's weather promised to be dreary. The wind picked up and blew coolly as crowds hurried through the front gate and to the various stages that hosted the first sets of the day.

I headed for the Creekside Stage to catch the intriguing pair of Cahalen Morrison and Eli West. The Seattle-based duo plays refreshing traditional music with simple instrumentation and vocal phrasing similar to that of Tim O'Brien. Despite only catching half of the set, the pair's I'll Swing the Hammer with Both My Hands became my only CD purchase of the weekend. 

Two yearly traditions followed at the Creekside Stage—the "Memories of Doc" set followed by "MandoMania." Memories, hosted by Doc Watson's long-time bass player T. Michael Coleman, featured an array of former Watson collaborators and friends. They told stories and shared laughs about how the Watson pair impacted their lives. Jeff Little, Wayne Henderson, David Holt, Sam Bush, the Kruger Brothers, Jack Lawrence, Peter Rowan and more joined Coleman for the 90-minute program.

Each year, Tony Williamson seeks out the best mandolin players attending MerleFest to join MandoMania. This version featured Williamson, Mike Compton, Emory Lester, Sam Bush and newcomer Andrew Marlin, of Mandolin Orange. Marlin's addition was an intriguing one, as he's considerably younger than the seasoned instrumentalists around him.But he showed no shortcomings as the five-piece worked through a number of standards while discussing the types of mandolins each played.

Sunday again kicked off with less-than-ideal weather conditions. Still, the troopers of Blu-Bop started the action at the Hillside Stage as a downpour began. The Béla Fleck and the Flecktones tribute act had a mere 30-minute slot, which I thought would equate to two songs from the jam-heavy group. But with seven members rotating in and out, they squeezed in four songs, with the stand-out "Sinister Minister" coming near the end.

Later in the afternoon, Blind Boy Paxton held court with a brief solo show to close down the Traditional Tent. The Queens multi-instrumentalist showcased his abilities on the fiddle, finger-picking guitar and clacking together the hand bones. He was as engaging as any full band. 

As the four-day festival wound down with a triumphant performance by Dwight Yoakam, the number of patrons who remained despite the poor weather proved the festival's real strength. Over the years, Merlefest has built a strong relationship with its fans by ensuring that, even when you risk the inconvenience of a cold and rainy day, you will be rewarded with a considerable day of curated music. Despite such hurdles, attendance grew this year for a festival too strong to be outdone by a few rain drops.

Thanks to Dale Glenn for his assistance in recording audio throughout the weekend.

Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, "James is Out" and "Livin' in America"





Sam Bush, Wayne Henderson and Peter Rowan, "Memories of Doc"



Tony Williamson & Friends, "Kentucky Waltz"



Blu-Bop, "Sinister Minister"



Blind Boy Paxton, "Railroad Bill"


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music



Twitter Activity

Comments

Too bad! You don't know who you are talking about. People these days have become so judgmental and eager to …

by Jennifer Pendur on Heading to Biff Rose Tonight? You Might Want to Check His Website. (Music)

Biff Rose is a sad old bore.

Thank you for protecting people from him.

Just kidding, he …

by Merkley on Heading to Biff Rose Tonight? You Might Want to Check His Website. (Music)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Too bad! You don't know who you are talking about. People these days have become so judgmental and eager to …

by Jennifer Pendur on Heading to Biff Rose Tonight? You Might Want to Check His Website. (Music)

Biff Rose is a sad old bore.

Thank you for protecting people from him.

Just kidding, he …

by Merkley on Heading to Biff Rose Tonight? You Might Want to Check His Website. (Music)

I know that the owners of Neptune's embrace diversity and abhor bigotry. A mistake made? I am sure they think …

by Lisa Lewis on Heading to Biff Rose Tonight? You Might Want to Check His Website. (Music)

yaah this is good posting article feeeling …

by Health Care Guide For Men & Women on Live: Top-Notch Bluegrass from the Soggy Bottom Boys in O Brother Mode (Music)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation