Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Photo Treats III - Merlefest 2009

Donnie Swaim

Donnie Swaim died unexpectedly last fall at the age of 51. In many ways he represented the spirit of local musicianship that has made Merlefest one of the great Americana festivals.  He lived in Wilkesboro and played Dobro and guitar in several local bands.  With his wife, Lynn, he spent a good deal of time caring for Tut Tayler and his wife Lee.  During the three days preceding the opening of Merlefest, he could always be found near the tents the Wilkes County Acoustic Folk Society maintain for jammers throughout the festival.  He was a very good picker with a pleasant baritone voice, but more important, he was a friendly, welcoming figure who brought strangers into the community and made them feel at home.  He is missed by all who knew him and this post is dedicated to his memory.

Merlefest opens with three evenings of informal picking. By Wednesday, many of the musicians to be featured during the week have started to arrive, and some of them join the local pickers and visiting jammers at the folk society tents.  On Thursday, the music begins and lasts for four solid days of joyful celebration.  The following pictures make no effort to be comprehensive, but I hope they capture some of the spirit of the place.  It's chilly now in Wilkesboro, but Merlefest is only four months away.  I hope to see you there.

Jamming with the Kruger Brothers

Jens Kruger

Odessa Jorgenson (Bearfoot)

Jessica Lovell (The Lovell Sisters)

George Shuffler (Guest with the Peter Rowan Band)

Peter Rowan

Cindy Baucom, Terry Baucom, Jamie Dailey

Jerry Douglas 

Travis Tritt

Mike Witcher (Missy Raines and the New Hip)

Aaron Ramsey (Mountain Heart)

Jason Moore (Mountain Heart)

 Barry Abernathy (Mountain Heart)

Jim Van Cleve (Mountain Heart)

Josh Shilling (Mountain Heart)

Danny Roberts (Grascals)

Jamie Johnson and Terry Smith (Grascals)

Kristin Scott Benson

Missy Raines (Missy Raines and the New Hip)

Jason Carter (Del McCoury Band) 

Del McCoury

Rob McCoury

Kate Hamre (Bearfoot)

Tammy Rogers (The SteelDrivers)

John Cowan

Jeff Autry (The John Cowan Band)

Kym Warner (The Greencards)

Carol Young (The Greencards) 

Dancin' Dave

Tony Williamson

Sierra Hull and Rebecca Lovell

Sam Bush


Jack Lawrence (itinerant musician)

Tut and Lee Taylor

Greg and Janet Deering

Cory Walker (Sierra Hull and Highway 111)

Pete Wernick

Leigh Gibson, Eric Gibson, and Pete Wernick

Carol Young (The Greencards)

Eamon McLaughlin (The Greencards)

Maura Shaun Scanlin

Eric and Leigh Gibson

Lynn and Donnie Swaim

Doc Watson