|Andrew Weigel||Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival 2010|
These are pictures from the 60th Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, which ran between May 13th and 16th, 2010. Click on any picture on this page to bring up the full-sized version. The comments from earlier festivals (the 2009 festival and the 2008 festival) are also generally applicable here, as well as pointing up the differences.
Some performances were also recorded by members of the audience and posted on YouTube. You'll see the links next to the mention of the song.
The differences from last year's festival are interesting. The number of vendors was down last year, but picked up this year (even Martin Guitars came back).
Almost all of the performers were top tier, with very few of the younger bands just starting out which characterized last year's festival. While it means the quality is higher, it was also interesting to see groups just getting started.
The workshops were good, as always. They were down a little from last year's, which were a bit down from 2008. Both Doyle Lawson and Rhonda Vincent gave workshop sessions in 2008, but neither did this year, for instance.
A plus was that the crowd was better behaved than last year, with little obvious drunkenness.
One notable feature was "the Return of the Dobro". It was a rarity here last year, but this year had as many great players as you could hope for: Mike Auldridge, Josh Swift, Rob Ickes, and Jerry Douglas, to name a few.
One surprise was that the Grape came to bluegrass. Who'd of thunk it. Rhonda Vincent certainly provided the biggest surprise.
The biggest change was certainly the new stage (referred to by many of the performers as "the stage that Alison built"). Another welcome change was the absence of the funny money that had to be used to purchase food at previous festivals.
The first couple of days saw more Mennonites than at previous festivals.
You can't have a page on the Gettysburg BGF without mentioning the fishing. The pond had at least one very large bass, which showed no interest in any of the lures tossed its way. As far as I know it survived the four days, to taunt the next set of visitors.
And totally unlike every other music festival ever, the weather was fabulous. One brief shower, and that was it.
At 1pm it was overcast and 57 degrees.
The first three pictures show the new stage. They were taken from just in front of the road paralleling the stage. It's a big difference and a big improvement (particularly for the performers) from earlier years. There were surprisingly few glitches associated with it.
The Boxcars were formed at the beginning of the year, and this was their first bluegrass festivals. They're old pros, and it was clearly evident. It's fronted by Adam Steffey, on mandolin. He came most recently from the Dan Tyminski Band (which disbanded so that Tyminski could spend more time with AK after the Roger Plant escapade ended). You can see him in the Dan Tyminski Band 2008 pictures. Also from the DTB (and visible in the 2008 pictures) is the banjo player, Ron Stewart, who is really outstanding.
From the group Blue Moon Rising are Harold Nixon on bass and Keith Garrett on guitar (in real life Keith is a high school chemistry teacher from just outside of Knoxville). John Bowman is playing fiddle with the group. He came from J. D. Crowe's band, and you can see him playing bass on the J D Crowe 2009 pictures and J D Crowe 2008 pictures. Keith Garrett and John Bowman fronted most of the vocals.
As in many other bluegrass groups you'll see the members trading off their instruments. The last picture has Ron Stewart on fiddle and John Bowman on banjo.
They said their first CD will be out in September. Without a CD it's difficult to be sure you're getting the song titles correct, but these are some that I noted. They were very accomplished in a variety of styles.
Their second song was a driving instrumental, with a prominent banjo: fast, sure, and with a lot of string bending. Next was a slower tempo song, Waylon Jennings' "Cloudy Days". Their fourth song was "(The Girl I Love) Don't Pay No Mind".
Fifth was "To Your Hometown" (this is when the switched instrument picture was taken). It was followed by a very quick instrumental featuring the fiddle and banjo. Their seventh song was "(She's Packed all her Things and) She's Gone", a sad song by Keith Garrett. The very nice mid-tempo "I've Been Waiting" (co-written by Ron Stewart) followed.
The ninth song was a quicker gospel tune, "Take Me in your Lifeboat". The mid-tempo "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" (not "DLtDGD") was tenth. They did a very nice rendition of the standard "Gotta Travel On (I've Laid Around and Played Around This Old Town Too Long)". They did an equally fine job on "No Place to Hide", known mostly as an AKUSfJD song.
With their lucky 13th song (though unlucky for Polly) they did the traditional "Pretty Polly". It's not a bluegrass festival until someone has killed his love. This was followed by a very fast instrumental.
Overall, they're a very, very good traditional bluegrass group.
Sierra Hull is one of the rising stars of bluegrass. She has one CD out, Secrets, and is working on another. She is reminiscent of Alison Krauss.
Songs included "Two Winding Rails (When Clouds Turn to Gold)" (from Secrets), Lester Flatt's "My Little Girl in Tennessee", and "Just When I Needed You" (done by many, including Hank Williams).
LRB is fronted by Sammy Shelor, a 4-time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year. Their current CD is No Turning Back, and their next, Still Learning, is to be released in July.
Before their set Sammy Shelor conducted a very interesting banjo workshop. He said he doesn't listen to bluegrass / banjo, because he then begins to play like what he's been listening to. He basically listens for anything that has a groove. He is not a traditional banjo roll-player (though he plays all the rolls) – it's whatever works. Definitely not your typical bluegrass banjo player.
Their bass player, Mike Anglin, uses an electric bass, a rarity in bluegrass, and it's a 5-string bass at that. It had more definition than the acoustic bass, but also lacked the warmth and boominess.
Playing guitar was Andy Ball, and Mike Hartgrove was on fiddle (he's played with both Doyle Lawson and George Jones). Ashby Frank (at the festival with Alecia Nugent) played mandolin in the place of Brandon Rickman, whose wife had just had a baby.
Their set included "Lonesome Won't Get the Best of Me" (from The Road with No End CD), "My Heart Belongs to You" (from Window of Time), "Who Needs You" (from Old Country Town and available on The Best of the Sugar Hill Years), the Great Depression-themed "We Couldn't Tell (When the Mighty Dollar Fell)" (from No Turning Back), the uptempo "Somebody's Missin' You" (from No Turning Back), "Long Gone" (from Old Country Town), "Roving Gambler", the Stanley Brothers' uptempo "Dog Gone Shame" (from Talkin' to Myself) which wandered into weirdness, and the fiddle tune "Angeline the Baker".
LRB is a definite crowd favorite, the first band at the festival to receive a standing ovation.
Sammy Shelor at the artists' tent after their set.
The "First Rule of Tuning": you can only get so close. Maybe that should be the "Only Rule".
Doyle Lawson is bluegrass royalty, a star. Everything about his shows exhibits a combination of professionalism, musicianship, warmth, and humor which results in a tremendous rapport with the audience.
The band has a full instrumental line-up; it's relatively rare to see all the instruments in one bluegrass band. One rarity is the acoustic guitar bass, played by Jason Leek. The guitarist and lead singer is Corey Hensley. He's from the town of Sod, WV, which Doyle says is "just outside of Wal-Mart."
Dale Perry plays banjo and sings bass; this is his second stint with Doyle. Jason Barie, the fiddle player (and very impressive), is the youngest member of the band and has been with them for a year and a half (as Doyle said, "once past six months, it's a milestone"). He works in a custom cabinet shop when not touring with DL&Q. On dobro is Josh Swift – absolutely one of the best dobro players in the world and certainly one of the most distinctive.
Their most recent CD is the gospel Light on My Feet, Ready to Fly.
The played "The Old Timer's Waltz" (from the 1985 recording Once and for Always). After a fiddle tune they played the hit "More Behind the Picture Than the Wall" (from the 2007 CD of the same name).
Doyle mentioned that his allergies were kicking up due to the pollen. You could hear it in the timber of his voice. He followed this with his golf joke about the guy who killed his wife and took a 7 . . . .
Doyle knows how to talk to an audience. It is a surprisingly difficult skill, as you see with so many groups. And Doyle makes it look effortless, which is what the stars do.
They then did a few a capella gospel numbers. First was "My Lord's Gonna Move This Wicked Race" (from the current CD), followed by "I'm Going to Heaven" (from the 2005 recording There's a Light Guiding Me). A capella is always a highlight of Doyle's shows. After this they did the always popular "Sadie's Got Her New Dress On" (from More Behind the Picture than the Wall).
This is Doyle Lawson talking to fans outside the artists tent (the other band members were also there – the pictures simply didn't turn out well). The bluegrass stars are always gracious and considerate, spending considerable amounts of time signing CDs and programs, and posing for pictures.
And they seem to dress fabulously, though it's not clear how that figures into the whole bluegrass celestial astronomy.
The first day of the festival was very impressive. There were two great banjo players and one fabulous dobro player.
At 1pm there was a high haze, and it was hot! A big change from Thursday.
Bluegrass sets can often be characterized by the genres they illustrate (this is not a bad thing), and this was well-illustrated by IIIrd Tyme Out. They did miss the "sicky-more tree" genre, unfortunately, which left some fans disappointed.
Russell Moore (guitar and vocals) introduced the members of the band during their set. He also singled out the sound and merchandise guys, which was nice and not as common as you might expect.
They started their set with "Moundsville Pen" (from the IIIrd Tyme Out CD, as well as the earlier Erase the Miles), a classic of the genre "gone to prison & won't see my wife and momma again". This was followed by another genre song, "Cold Summer Day in Georgia" (from John & Mary), of the "woman's done gone" genre. Third was the well-done "Carolina's Arms" (from Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, their current CD).
Next up was the genre jackpot, "My Little Home in Tennessee" (from Letter to Home). It encompasses the "momma's died", "woman's done gone", and always popular "old home" genres, besides being an old Carter Family favorite (which could be a genre of its own).
It was back to the "woman done gone" genre with "Till the End" (live at the mac), a slower number that sounds as if it were written for George Jones (but more probably Vern Gosdin).
At this point a breeze came up, to the relief of the crowd, though it also brought the promise of rain.
Also up was Wayne Benson's instrumental "Tillery Cove" (from his Instrumental Anthology CD). He plays a mandolin with a pick guard, which is something of a rarity, though not unheard of. The slower "Me and Dad" (Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out) took the band to "dad's a truck driver" country.
Edgar Loudermilk plays (and sings) bass. A taxidermist in real life, his 3 years with the band make him the newest member.
"Wade in the Water" (from Best Durn Ride) was a beautifully done 3-part a capella gospel number. The well-known gospel "The Eastern Gate" (aka, "I'll Meeting You in the Morning") followed (from Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out).
The fiddler, Justen Haynes (5 years with the band), was introduced, and then led the band through a number of fiddle tunes.
Steve Dilling on banjo was the final member to be introduced.
They closed their set with "My Angeline" (YouTube "My Angeline"), also from the current CD. They received a heart-felt standing ovation from the crowd, which they richly deserved.
She kicked off her set with "Anybody Else"s Heart But Mine" from her current CD, Don't Turn Your Back.
She's the 2007, 2008, & 2009 IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year. Her band is relatively new but has the level of playing you'd expect. The banjo player, Mike Sumner, for instance, is a two-time winner of the Winfield National Banjo Championship.
Pete Wernick stated his philosophy simply: have the most fun soonest.
"How to Jam", at least as much as jamming itself, is a part of most bluegrass festivals (see Ira Gitlin's 2009 workshop for another approach).
Pete listed these prerequisites:
Pete suggests using an electric tuner. Purists recommend tuning by ear, but in a noisy environment where you have to be in tune quickly, a tuner seems the expedient choice.
As Ira pointed out last year, the biggest "trick" is to watch the guitar player and pick up the chord changes from the positions of the fretting hand (usually the left). Pete had a volunteer from the audience come up to the front to demonstrate this.
Pete made the important point: no excuses! The most important thing is simply to get started. Similarly, start singing from the beginning, even if you're not a singer. Most people, including those who do sing, aren't singers, either. It can be easier if you find smaller groups to play with.
You can find much useful information on jamming (and playing bluegrass generally) on his website, Dr. Banjo - Jamming.
One of the all-time great high-enery bluegrass bands, and an immense crowd favorite. The personnel are all stand-outs, but special mention needs to be made of the guitarist, Clay Jones (now departed from the band), and the primary singer, Josh Shilling. Unusual for a bluegrass band, they feature an electronic keyboard.
You can see videos from their set at YouTube "Mountain Heart" and YouTube "Mountain Heart Jam"
They wrapped up their set with "Lee Highway Blues", from No Other Way. The crowd was on their feet and brought the band back for an encore (very rarely allowed for afternoon sets), "Freeborn Man", the Jimmy Martin classic (frequently played by Tony Rice).
Charlie Sizemore spent nine and a half years as the lead singer with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain boys before leaving to attend law school and establish a law practice in Tennessee. He continued to play on a less regular basis before taking a break from the road altogether. He is now back, with the Charlie Sizemore Band.
They kicked off their set with "No Blues Is Good News" (from 2007's Good News), followed by "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up" (from the same CD). Also from that CD was "Devil on a Plow" (aka, "If There's a Farm in Heaven"), a dad song.
"Old Dogs, Children & Watermelon Wine" was a change of pace, from Charlie's CD of Tom T. Hall songs. Also by Tom T. Hall was "That's How I Got to Memphis", from Charlie's earlier In My View CD.
Next up was a gospel waltz, followed by a banjo instrumental.
One of his most recent hits (three months at number 1 on Bluegrass Unlimited's National Survey and nominated for IBMA Song of the Year) came next, "Alison's Band" (you get the idea), also from Good News.
After the dinner break came the US Navy Bluegrass band, always popular at bluegrass festivals. They have a new CD coming out over the summer.
A number of songs also exhibited their song-writing skills, including "Weakness" and "Heart of Caroline" (by Wayne Taylor, available on Country Current Live, Sugarland Run, and Navy Blue Bluegrass).
"Days are Breaking on My Soul" was done a capella, captured in some of the pictures.
"Wherever You Are" was another song written by a member of the band, Kenny Ray Horton (with Bruce Baitsch). They did an instrumental medley, including, of course, "Anchors Aweigh".
They received an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end of their set. For an encore they did Wade Mainer's 1937 classic, "Ramshackle Shack".
Long Road Home, from Boulder, CO, is a combination of young (Martin Gilmore on guitar and Justin Hoffenberg on fiddle) and old (Pete Wernick on banjo, Gene Libbea on bass, and Jordan Ramsey on mandolin).
Their second song was "Ain't No Use" (aka, "You Know and I Know That It's True"), from the first Moby Grape album. About time the Grape got some recognition for their pioneer bluegrass sound, and one wonders when the covers of "Sometime" and "8:05" will appear. I asked Pete Wernick later if it was his idea – it couldn't have been one of the kids in the band – but he said it came from Gene Libbea. He also said he wasn't familiar with Moby Grape's version - there are others?
This was followed by Tom Waits' "(My Baby's Leaving on the) 2:19", with the immortal line "Were you drying your nails or waving goodbye?" Both these songs are on their CD Long Road Home - Live at eTown Hall.
Martin Gilmore handles most of the lead vocals. He is in fact named after the guitar company (if Ricky Skaggs can have a daughter Mandy...).
They played "Mary's Home Each Night in My Dreams / So Sweet and Fair", followed by Hot Rize's prison ode "Ninety Nine Years (and One Dark Day)". That song is also on their CD. A variant of the crime song is the innocent victim, exemplified in "They're Taking Me to California" (for a crime he didn't commit).
They received a nice ovation and were brought back to do "He Died a Rounder at Twenty One" as an encore. Given all the troubles recounted in bluegrass songs, 21 seems a ripe old age.
These are pictures from her afternoon and evening sets.
Alecia Nugent is a singer-songwriter with a large voice which is very expressive. She can sing anything, and her sets included songs by Bill Monroe, Dolly Parton, and Merle Haggard, to name a few. She's a three-time SPBGMA Female Vocalist of the Year, including 2010. Her band is also great, with a really outstanding guitar player.
Many songs were from her current CD Hillbilly Goddess, which was #2 on the charts (Alison Krauss sang backup on some songs). It was popular at the festival as well, selling out in the artists' tent.
In her afternoon set she sang the title track (co-written with Sonya Kelly and Carl Jackson), which includes the lyric "Instead of Dolce & Gabbana, Smith and Weston is in her purse". What's not to love?
Her evening set included "Don't Tell Me (to Stop Loving You)" (from Hillbilly Goddess), "My First Mistake" (from Alecia Nugent), Bill Monroe's "Can't You Hear Me Calling", and Merle Haggard's "Back to the Barrooms Again".
You'll recognize Ashby Frank, the mandolinist, from Thursday's performance by the Lonesome River Band, where he was filling in.
Later in the set was "You've Still Got It" (from A Little Girl...A Big Four-Lane), written by the bass player, John Pennell. He was on stage earlier in the day, with the Charlie Sizemore Band.
Next was Terry Baucom's instrumental "Knee Deep in Bluegrass", which gave the band a chance to swing. It's interesting that Alecia Nugent doesn't play an instrument on stage. That's rare (Carrie Hassler is another singer who is content to be a singer).
The set continued with "A Dozen White Roses" (A Little Girl...A Big Four-Lane), about Jimmy Martin. That was followed with "Cryin' All the Way to the Bank" (Hillbilly Goddess), about a couple of divorces.
After a tremendous ovation she came out to do "(With) Paper and Pen" (Alecia Nugent), which she says is her most-requested song.
Alecia Nugent at the artists' tent after the first set.
Alecia's evening set.
Saturday was a beautiful day – cool, breezy, sunny with scattered high crowds.
Looking across the crowd from stage right, panning from left to right. The partial white tent on the far left in the first pictures is the artists' tent.
The SteelDrivers (that really is the name – at least it makes Internet searches easier) are a relatively young (2-year old) band from Nashville, with a heavy country & blues influence. They're an audience favorite – they won the 2009 IBMA "Emerging Artist of the Year" award.
They kicked off their set with "A Kiss Before I Go". Mike Henderson introduced their music as "uneasy listening, where bad things happen to good people – like life".
They went on to play "Midnight Tears", from their eponymous CD, followed by "Midnight Train to Memphis" (aka, "40 Days"), from the same CD. There's a picture of it below with Mike Henderson on steel guitar (a rarity in bluegrass bands).
While we're on the subject, this is that Mike Henderson, as in the Bluebloods, who released a number of high-energy blues/country CDs going back to the mid-90s. It feels very different seeing him billed as the group's mandolinist.
The lead singer, Gary Nichols, had just joined the band, replacing Chris Stapleton, who left to focus on songwriting and his family. Gary has a distinctive bluesy/gravelly voice.
They continued from their first CD, playing "Sticks That Make Thunder" (YouTube "Thunder").
Other songs included "Only One Way (to Get to Heaven)" and the banjo/fiddle tune "The Litte Rabbit". "Where Rainbows Never Die" (from Reckless) featured Mike Henderson playing slide on the steel guitar, as seen in the pictures. They closed with "The Blue Side of the Mountain" (from The SteelDrivers).
They received a standing ovation from the crowd.
These guys are firmly in the Old Pros category (they also mentioned that they'd been at 59 of the 60 GBBGFs (there are generally two per year)). They're relaxed, they have fun, they forget the lyrics, and they interact with the audience almost as well as Doyle Lawson does. Their jokes may even be better (whatever "better" means in this context).
They play a lot of songs that are not traditional bluegrass nor the newer contributions to the genre. It's a hard row to hoe, not to mention a fine line to toe.
As you can see, their line-up is a little out of the ordinary, having a dobro but not a fiddle.
They started with well-known bluegrass songs like "Old Train (I Think I'll Stay a While)" by the Pedersens, from the self-named CD, and "This Morning at Nine" (from Scenechronized).
After a reference to "the stage that Alison built" they switched gears with John Fogerty's "A Hundred and Ten in the Shade" (also from Scenechronized).
The Scene are long-time Dylan fans, playing "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" (same CD) and "Boots of Spanish Leather" (from Scene It All). This lead them to remark on Dylan's Grammy nomination for "Best Foreign Language Performance".
They went on to the gospel standard "I'll Be No Stranger There" ("there" being heaven), from A Change of Scenery, ending a capella.
They received an enthusiastic standing ovation.
Blue Highway has been around now for 16 years. Of note the lineup includes dobro (Rob Ickes, 11-time IBMA Dobro Player of the Year – 12 if you add in the 2010 award won after the festival) and upright electric bass (quite unusal).
They played "Born With a Hammer in My Hand" (written by band members Shawn Lane and Tim Stafford), from their eponymous 2007 CD. They went on to "Through the Window of a Train" (co-written by Tim Stafford), the IBMA Song of the Year for 2008.
"Some Day" (from Lonesome Pine) is an a capella piece and their most-requested song.
Tim Stafford (guitar) performs most the MC chores, of whom it was said "he's from so far out in the woods that even Episcopaleans handle snakes." (If you don't go to a lot of bluegrass festivals you might need to recalibrate your sense of humor before you attend one.)
Back to the music with "Tears fell on Missouri" (from this year's Marbletown CD). This was followed by "Sycamore Hollow", from Through the Window of a Train. Not quite sicky-more, but you take what you can get.
After the break for music, it was back to vaudeville: "We've had a lot of requests, but we're going to go on playing anyway."
Next up was "Lonesome Road Blues", which showcased the banjo. They closed a capella with the gospel standard "Wondrous Love" (from the CD of the same name), which they introduced as an example of Sacred Harp singing.
Their Saturday set included some overlap with Friday's LRH set. All songs mentioned here (with the exception of "New River Train") are from their CD Live at eTown Hall.
They played "Shackled to a Ball and Chain" (by Martin Gilmore and Justin Hoffenberg), Charlie Monroe's "New River Train", "2:19" (played Friday as well), "Ain't No Use" (the Grape again!), "Green Cotton" (by Martin Gilmore), and "Mary Lou" (by Martin Gilmore and Justin Hoffenberg).
The traditional bluegrass band Big Country Bluegrass came on after the dinner break. They are almost more old-time than bluegrass.
The songs they played included the Stanley Brother's "White Dove" (by Carter Stanley) and Roy Acuff's "The Wreck on the Highway" (from The Boys in Hats and Ties).
Of note is that the quality of the sound system was generally better than in prior years.
This section has pictures from her afternoon and evening sets.
Rhonda Vincent is a Star, no other way to put it. Not in a diva sense, but as someone who puts on a tremendous show, cares about her audience, and is a total professional. If you take a survery of t-shirts worn during a festival, hers are always the most popular.
Doyle Lawson also comes to mind in this context. Alison Krauss is a different breed altogether.
When a Rhonda Vincent set is about to start everyone comes back to their seats. When it ends there is a considerable exodus. Rhonda Vincent doesn't sound like anyone else, which is refreshing.
They played "All American Bluegrass Girl", from the CD of the same name. After this was Jimmy Martin's "Hit Parade of Love" (RV does many of his songs), from the CD Good Thing Coming.
They switched to gospel for "I Heard My Savior Calling Me" (from Destination Life, the most recent CD at the time of the festival), followed by "I Will See You Again" (from Good Thing Coming).
Later they played "Dog House Blues" (unrecorded as far as I can tell), Barbara Mandell's "Tonight My Baby's Coming Home" (from the new CD, Taken), and "Muleskinner Blues" (from Ragin' Live).
Almost all performers spend time at the artists' tent after their sets, signing autographs, posing for pictures, selling CDs and t-shirts. RV brings her own tent, just in case the venue hasn't provided one (I can't think of another artist who does this).
Bus is the bluegrass mode of artist transportation. RV's is by far the most colorful (unfortunately there was no way to get a decent picture).
During the dinner break the stage hosted the marriage of Hank Janney (radio broadcaster) and Linda Lookadoo (concert promoter), two friends of Rhonda Vincent. The wedding cake was placed in RV's tent, to be shared with the fans.
These pictures are from the evening set. Before it started a woman who had arrived late asked if Rhonda was wearing the same dress she wore for the afternoon set. People do care about their Stars....
There was little song overlap between the two sets, which was nice and something of a rarity with bluegrass bands. They kicked it off with "Anywhere is Home When You're With Me" (from Destination Life), followed by "After the Fire is Gone" (recorded as a duet on Daryle Singeltary's That's Why I Sing This Way), probably best known as a Conway Twitty / Loretta Lynn duet. They also played "Is the Grass Any Bluer (On the Other Side)", from The Storm Still Rages, back when she was a brunette.
Looking ahead, AK had a Special Surprise Guest, but you have to say that RV trumped her....
Kicking off the mini-set was "That's Alright Mama" (not easy to decide which/whose CD - LP? - to mention here). There was "Love Me Tender", the song for the newlyweds' first dance.
Back in the real world, there was a move to the downbeat side. They played "(In the) Deepening Snow" (on her husband's grave), from the pre-Rage family album Bound for Gloryland. This was followed by the Dolly Parton / Porter Wagoner "Just Someone I Used to Know" (The Storm Still Rages), where RV played fiddle. They did the a capella gospel number "(I'll Make You) Fishers of Men" (from One Step Ahead); there's a picture below.
Dolly Parton's "Jolene" (Back Home Again) closed the show and brought the crowd to their feet in an enthusiastic standing ovation.
The first encore was her "God Bless the Soldier" (from All American Bluegrass Girl), where she played guitar (YouTube "God Bless the Soldier").
The second encore (encores are normally controlled, in the interest of keeping to the festival schedule, but Stars have their own rules) was "America the Beautiful"; the crowd stood during the performance.
Sunday was another beautiful day.
Darren Beachley was at the festival in prior years with Doyle Lawson (see Doyle Lawson 2008). He is still a great singer, though sounding a little more country than he did when he was with DL&Q. They feature dobro rather than fiddle; when you have Mike Auldridge on dobro you can do that. Though a "young" band, they were very popular with the crowd.
They have one CD out, Take Off, which was #13 on Billboard's Bluegrass Chart at the time. There is also Darren's solo compilation, Sad Songs & Sunday Mornings. As you might expect, many of the songs they perform are not from their recorded CDs.
They played "One Last Time", followed by the Louvin Brothers' "You'll Forget" (from Take Off) and a song I associate with Doyle Lawson, "I've Heard These Words Before".
Darren has picked up some of Doyle Lawson's stage patter skills; it's not as easy as it looks.
From the Take Off CD came the Tom T. Hall & Miss Dixie song "Tall Weeds and Rust", the Johnny Rodriguez country hit "How Could I Love Her So Much", and "Jenny".
The banjo player, Mark Delaney, has a CD, SideCar. From it the band played "Candlewood". They went on to play the gospel "Dreaming of a Little Cabin", probably best known in the Porter Wagoner version, and Bill Monroe's slow "Kentucky Waltz".
They followed with their first single, released in October of 2009, "Love You Don't Know" (from the first CD). "More Than I Can Bear" was from the same CD. The well-known Civil War song "Lorena" (popular with both sides during the conflict), featured Mike Auldridge.
From their first CD came the Osborne Brothers' "Miss You Mississippi". A familiar Mike Auldridge instrumental followed, which sequed into "Walk, Don't Run".
After an enthusiastic standing ovation they did "Tennessee", which featured the banjo player singing bass.
Mike Auldridge in the artists' tent after their set.
The boys were back again after Saturday's set, performing mostly different songs.
They played their oft-performed version of Steve Earle's "Hometown Blues" ("Nothing brings you down / like your hometown"), from Scenechronized, and Bill Monroe's "With Body and Soul" (covered by many others, including the Grateful Dead), going back to their debut recording, 1971's Act I.
They played the old Stanley Brothers song "How Mountain Girls Can Love" (from Scenic Roots), after which Dudley Connell pointed out that all Stanley Brothers songs are old, as Carter died in 1966.
They went outside the genre for Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" (from Live At The Cellar Door). This was followed by the traditional folk song "He Was a Friend of Mine". From the country songbook they took the George Jones hit "Walk Through This World with Me" (from 1973's Old Train), of which they said it'll make you take back stuff you never stole.
And for something different they started up Chuck Berry's "Nadine" (from Scene It All), which they then started up a second time when they couldn't remember the words (it's not a real Seldom Scene performance unless this happens a couple of times - they're very relaxed about it). This sequed into Jimmy Martin's "Hit Parade of Love" (from Live At The Cellar Door), which was familiar from Rhonda Vincent's version on Saturday. And then it was back to "Nadine".
This brought the crowd to their feet in a standing ovation, which was followed by the encore "Another Lonesome Morning".
ISD certainly plays differently - ProgGrass? - with a lot of passion. They are primarily an instrumental band (the words of the vocals are often difficult to understand in any event). They do a lot of instrumental jams. Certainly one of the more interesting bands on the circuit. They were the IBMA "Emerging Artist of the Year" in 2007.
From their current album, Things That Fly, they played "(They're) All The Same" and "It'll Be Alright". They played "Lay Your Head On My Shoulder", which is as yet unrecorded by them.
They received a very warm standing ovation. As an encore they did "There's A Fork In the Road", the title track of their first CD, which was the IBMA "Song of the Year" for 2007.
Everybody's a fan. Mike Auldridge watching ISD at the festival.
The crowd settling in for the Alison Krauss set. The pictures are from stage left, panning from right to left.
Zooming in on the white tent seen in the middle picture above.
They came on after a longer-than-usual dinner break, which gave those coming just for their performance (and it was a sizeable number) time to get settled in.
AKUSfJD has their share of bluegrass fans, of course, but they also have many fans from outside the bluegrass world. This made the crowd a little different from that for the earlier performers. Oddly there were very few AKUSfJD t-shirts. The TSI ("T-Shirt Index") is normally a fairly good indicator of the depth and breadth of interest from bluegrass fans (Rhonda Vincent always has a very high TSI, for instance).
Almost all of the songs they played would be familiar even to casual fans (like me). It is a very tight band, and the performances are almost exactly like the recordings. Alison's vocals are uncannily similar to the recorded versions.
A live performance makes you appreciate the importance of Dan Tyminski. Alison Krauss has a beautiful voice, but her songs tend to fit in a narrow spectrum. Having a singer of Tyminski's ability allows the group to avoid a sameness in the songs. You can see from the set list how the two primary singers' songs are interspersed.
They played a long set, an hour and forty minutes (no intermission, of course). They did not congregate at the artists' tent afterwards.
Shortly before the festival Jerry Douglas broke the ring finger on his right hand while fixing his garage door (the details are on Jerry Douglas' blog. You can see the splint he was wearing.
Their first song was "Let Me Touch You For A While" (YouTube "Let Me Touch You"), which had Ron Block on guitar rather than banjo. This has an Alison vocal, of course. It was followed by a song with Tyminski on lead vocal, and then an instrumental number.
Alison returned on lead vocal for "The Lucky One" and "Baby, Now That I've Found You". This was followed by "Ghost In This House" (YouTube "Ghost"). Most of Alison's songs were at a slow to moderate tempo.
Dan Tyminski had the vocals on the quicker "Rain Please Go Away". Alison followed with "Every Time You Say Goodbye".
Jerry Douglas was then featured on a tribute to Josh Graves (the dobro player with Flatt & Scruggs, who basically brought the modern dobro style into bluegrass, working up finger-picking similar to Earl Scruggs' banjo-picking style). It included "Salty Dog" and a number of other F&S songs that Graves had performed on.
Alison then pointed out to the crowd that it had been 12 years since she had last appeared on the stage of the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival.
After "The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn" (vocals by Tyminksi), Alison brought out one of her favorite musicians, Tony Rice. Their first song was "Shadows" (YouTube "Shadows"), which Alison had recorded with Tony Rice. Dan Tyminski followed with the uptempo Fats Domino tune "I'm Walking". Alison then sang lead on "Sawing On The Strings".
She followed with "Early Morning Rain", with Dan Tyminski on mandolin (YouTube "Early Morning Rain"). "Four Strong Winds" was next (YouTube "Four Strong Winds").
Dan Tyminski had the lead vocal on Flatt & Scruggs' "Down The Road" (aka "Pearly Blue"), the last song that Tony Rice sat in on.
After Tony left Dan did his oft-performed "Man Of Constant Sorrow", which they followed with "I've Got That Old Feeling". Alison sang the last two songs of the set, "When You Say Nothing At All" (YouTube "Nothing") and "Oh, Atlanta".
The fans gave them an enthusiastic standing ovation. The band came back to do "A Living Prayer" as an encore (YouTube "A Living Prayer").
And that closed out the festival.
Last updated: February 16, 2017. Copyright 2005-2017, Andrew H. Weigel (AHW). E-mail: Web2013@andrewweigel.name.