Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back from Merlefest 09

Thanks for checking us out.  A special thanks to Alice Gerrard  for making it possible for us to be able to perform at the prestigious Merlefest which has been a major east coast annual event for 22 years.  It is our biggest east coast gig to date.  As fans of Doc Watson and his old-time Appalachian mountain region connections,  we felt honored to be there.  Our friend Shay Garriock joined us with his fiddle for several numbers and for a dance workshop.

In the 1970's, we were college students and fans of the landmark album 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken' which featured Doc  Watson among others.   We first heard of the Delmore Brothers from hearing Doc mention them and recognized how they influenced his own flatpicking style of guitar playing.  Upon hearing them we  found ourselves drawn to their energy and creative harmony singing.  Our mission then became to listen to any early country music artist and learn to play certain songs that we liked without the modern influences that are prevalent in today's acoustic music scene. 

 What does it matter, you may ask?  As advocates for the old-time attitude of quality over quantity,  handmade versus machine made, big business versus small business etc.  we feel like the simplistic, honest, approach to making music for the good of the community is what we really  want to be known for.   In other words, even though we were proud to be considered 'artists',  we felt at home playing for the folks at Merlefest  knowing that so many community groups in the Wilkeboro NC area benefit from the success of the festival.   It was a time for us to be with our daughter Hanna who likes to play clawhammer banjo and was impressing folks in the old-time jams she was in.  She only took it up last August 08.  We may evolve into a family band yet.   More as that develops. 

 Thanks to all the volunteers and fans who support the mission of such an event.  What a great memorial to Doc's son Merle who lived a short life but spawned a great public interest in a sub genre of  'acoustic' music that respects the traditions of family and community while expanding to open the minds of all to the great music making spirit that Merlefest fosters.   Google Merlefest for much more info.  Also check back for info about the upcoming release of a new banjo/fiddle CD featuring Southwest Virginia rooted versions of tunes learned from certain 'old-timer' sources.

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