Now that MerleFest, presented by Window World, is only one week away, annual festival-goers have surely begun planning their weekends. For those who have not, however, here are five sure-to-be epic experiences that shouldn’t be missed. Make a note or two and join a welcoming legion of music fans in Wilkesboro, N.C., from April 25th to 28th at MerleFest.
Backed by a varying procession of Bay Area players, Paige Clem led an epic CD-release party for her outstanding new album, “Firefly,” at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California, on March 9. Clem, an engaging and talented San Francisco-based songwriter, singer, and guitar player, had plenty of prominent Bay Area musicians on hand to make this a special two-set show.
The Waybacks, along with special guests Joan Osborne, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, and Jens Kruger, have something special planned for this year’s Hillside Album Hour, the band’s eighth consecutive performance of what has become a hallmark MerleFest event.
MerleFest, offering the feel of both music festival and family reunion, drew nearly 76,000 fans to North Wilkesboro, North Carolina during April 25-28, 2013. Beginning in 1988 as a tribute to the life of Merle Watson, this year’s event also served as a celebration of the lives of Merle’s parents, “Doc” and Rosa Lee, who passed away in 2012.
Louis Molinary is convinced that the Stones wouldn’t really care if he wasn’t able to make his mortgage next month. The fifty-something real estate developer from Charleston, SC is quick-stepping into the festival alongside me, headed back to the picking tents. He tells me he’s new to bluegrass music and wants to hear some more, he said.. Until last year, when a longtime friend finally convinced him to come, Molinary had been more of a fan of The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin.
The clock is ticking down the hours and minutes to MerleFest 2009, presented by Lowe's, which will begin its 22nd year of "Music, Moments and Memories" next Thursday, April 23, and wind up on Sunday, April 26, on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
I arrived in the small town of Wilkesboro, North Carolina on Saturday morning. Wilkesboro is not the type of town you really notice or generally have any cause to stop in. In some many ways the town's 10,000 or so residents probably prefer it that way, you don't live in this kind of town if you like hearing your neighbor's TV at night. But last weekend was a weekend that you did want to pull off the highway, because just a few miles off the highway the country's top bluegrass and folk talents gathered to an adoring crowd