We went entirely acoustic for the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association’s 32nd annual Festival in early August. It was a real honor to be invited to play this great bluegrass festival and share the stage with bands like Chris Jones & The Nightdrivers (who were great), Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group and The Larry Stephenson Band. The weather was absolutely perfect and we had an amazing time!
We decided to pull more from the traditional side of our repertoire for our sets, so Jed left his pedal steel at home and brought his fiddle instead! We cut loose on some traditional numbers like a twin fiddle version of Bill Monroe’s “Roanoke” and Dan sang an inspired version of the Hazel Dickens classic, “Wont You Come And Sing for Me.” I also dusted off “Great Northern Railroad,” in preparation for the 2012 IBMA Songwriter Showcase in Nashville next month (more on that in an upcoming post).
The highlight of the festival for me took place far from the main stage, on Old Wash Machine Hill Saturday evening. My friend Craig Evans, a great old-time banjo player and the creator of the wonderful Conversations with North American Banjo Builders video series, organized a sing-along jam as a capstone for his video project. You can watch it here. I think it captures the essence of what bluegrass festivals are all about: camping, jamming, sing-alongs, potlucks… community.
And in case you’re interested, here’s some footage from my
Almost Entirely Acoustic Ensemble’s Friday afternoon set: