Merlefest 2007 is over and the reports are that it was a spectacular festival. I’ve heard several people recount for me the highlights of this year’s event. But my friend Scott Rouse, a Nashville based producer, had what must have been the coolest experience of the festival this year. Scott spent Thursday afternoon with Doc Watson and Elvis Costello.
He and Doc hung out in my hotel room and laughed and told stories for a little over 30 minutes. They both had a great time. Elvis’ “cool” is for real. what an awesome guy. He was relaxed and there to listen to whatever Doc wanted to say and talk about. Doc told stories from his childhood and so did Elvis. They talked about their wives and the festival and even food. Afterwards when Elvis left Doc said “That Elvis Costello is a good boy. I really like him. Yeah, he’ll do.”
Scott’s dad, Jim Rouse, was there with them and took the picture.
Elvis Costello at Merlefest? I wondered how that went over, but Scott assured me it was a hit.
Elvis did an awesome show and was welcomed with open arms into the Bluegrass world when he let go with some of his biggest tunes done acoustically. Sam Bush on mandolin, Byron House on bass etc. Its hard to go wrong there. His show floored the crowd.
His respect and love for Bluegrass runs deep. He, for real, loves it. The British really understand the importance of the history of bluegrass and music in general. They get all up in it. Take John Paul Jones for instance. He spent a couple of nights at the Carter family’s home. He’s read the book twice and the Carter family is one of the first things he wants to talk about when you talk to him. He’s totally obsessed with absorbing and learning all he can about our music. And it isn’t just the non de-script, overall view type info most people get from just learning a little bit about bluegrass and its history. He can go DEEP into where our music came from. There’s a guy, who was in one of the biggest rock bands of all time, and he is totally humbled by Mother Maybelle. It really makes you think about how important our heroes really are, not only to us, but to the most potent musicians in the world.
Yes, bluegrass may be a smaller genre in the larger music world, but it’s important. It’s important to us, and it’s important to musicians in other genres as well. And if you like good music, I guess you almost have to like Doc Watson!