Friday, April 24, 2009
Merlefest 2009 - Thursday
Merlefest 2009 kicked off with wonderful weather. In usual Merlefest fashion, a chill fell over the Watson stage area as cool air settled in the bowl where the stage is located, but the music had an audience and there was lively enthusiasm. For us, the hassle of the Jam Camp performance (and a slight equipment malfunction) mean I don't have as many pictures as I'd like. Nevertheless, here's some material from Thursday evening. The festival makes a huge expansion on Friday. There's lots of great music and probably more to do than we can manage. Stay with the blog as we try to bring you the scope and color of another Merlefest.
Although Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent had each performed many times from the Watson stage, this is the first time they've appeared as a band. They played new material from their "Brothers by Different Mothers" CD as well as a neat barbershop style gospel tune and some of the very popular work from their first album. Their placement, between the Peter Rowan band and Jerry Douglas and Travis Tritt seemed almost guaranteed to introduce their music to a new audience. Dailey & Vincent offer an appealing combination of fast paced bluegrass, deeply felt and wonderfully rendered close harmony, lots of gospel music, and plenty of comedy.
Legendary Dobro player Jerry Douglas, who's appeared on countless albums in nearly every musical genre and country music star Travis Tritt are touring as a duo. This was Tritt's first appearance at Merlefest and he relied on Douglas' popularity and familiarity here to help make him welcome. The two of them put out lots of high intensity sound and plenty of energy. I was surprised by Tritt's virtuosity as a guitarist. They sang a mix of Tritt's earlier country hits and songs from Douglas current CD "Glide."