Merlefest day 2

Here’s a day 2 report on Merlefest 2011 from Georgia Lowrance. She has promised us daily updates, with photos, from her position on the ground in Wilkesboro.

The Creekside Stage is one of the smaller stages tucked away in a corner of the festival, but one of my favorites. My first goal this morning was to catch The Kruger Brothers perform.

Some would call it classical with European influence, or music that expresses love of the American spirit. Some call it bluegrass. Whatever you call it, Kruger Brothers shows are both calming and exciting, and beaming with their sheer joy in playing music.

Not far from the Creekside Stage is the Watson Main Stage which was recently pressure-washed and re-treated, making it look brand new. The Josh Williams Band took on the Watson Main stage today, and breathed life back into the crowd with some solid bluegrass. Josh is a super-talented, multi-instrumentalist, guitar phenom and truly gifted singer and songwriter. Along with Jason McKendree playing banjo, Nick Keen on mandolin, and veteran bassist Randy Barnes, Josh gained more than a few new fans.

Me being one of the newbie fans, I scrambled in my pocket looking for some extra cash as soon as they were done, so that I could run down to the store to purchase the re-release of Down Home.

Later in the day, one of the most acclaimed instrumentalist in music, dobroist Jerry Douglas took to the stage with Omar Hakim and Victor Krauss. Jerry has performed at every Merlefest since it began 24 years ago. He is currently on tour with Alison Krauss & Union Station, but managed a day off so as not miss this year’s Merlefest.

For that I’m grateful. It wouldn’t be Merlefest without him.

The cherry on top for me came not from a bluegrass, but an American rock band. The Doobie Brothers, with newgrass hero John Cowan on bass, played through a wonderful set of songs that got the crowd up dancing, and forgetting about the cold night’s air.

And last but not least, I headed to the dance tent to catch the second half of the performance by Scythian, already in progress. The tent was packed full with people overflowing outside. Everyone was dancing, and the ceiling was starting to drip moisture from all the body heat generated from getting down with Scythian.

Two more days to go!