Merlefest Day 3 Brings A Tom Petty Tribute & Legendary Collaborations

Merlefest Day 3: Tom Petty Tribute & Legendary Collaborations

Doolin’ [Photo Credit: Ryan Case]

This was my first year attending Merlefest to cover for the blog. Aside from that, I have only been once, like 13ish years ago. Man, let me tell you, I have been missing out. I can not begin to tell you how much fun I had on the day I did go and I wish that I had been there the entire weekend. I hope to camp out and cover the whole shebang next year! As you can imagine, Merlefest Day 3 brought all kinds of coolness, just like the rest of the weekend. Read on to get all the details.

Merlefest Day 3 Brings A Tom Petty Tribute & Legendary Collaborations

MerleFest continued its 31st annual homecoming of musicians and music fans with an all-star lineup Saturday, April 28th. The festival takes place among the rolling hills of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Festival-goers enjoyed exceptional sets from Americana king Jim Lauderdale along with special guests Buddy Miller and North Mississippi Allstars; the Father of Newgrass Sam Bush; renowned dobro virtuoso Jerry Douglas; guitar-genius Tommy Emmanuel; and powerhouse multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens. Other highlights included The Reunion Jam which brought Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Bryan Sutton, John Cowan and more to the same stage, as well as additional performances by Town Mountain, Elephant Revival and Dead Horses. The highly anticipated and respected MerleFest Album Hour tradition, honored Tom Petty with a full cover of Full Moon Fever performed by The Waybacks, Mike Farris and John Cowan.

During the press conference at 7 p.m., Jerry Douglas announced that he and Tommy Emmanuel, “will be touring together more,” while speaking on the success of their first collaboration at this year’s MerleFest. The conference also featured John Cowan, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, and Dominic Davis, longtime bassist for Jack White. Davis, who also tours with Lauderdale, Miller and the North Mississippi Allstars, commented that in addition to playing MerleFest for the first time this year, this is also the first time he will playing with the aforementioned artists in the same place.

Merlefest Day 3: Tom Petty Tribute & Legendary Collaborations

Jim Lauderdale [Photo Credit: Jim Gavenus]

Late night events included the First Annual Barn Dance hosted by Town Mountain and the beloved BGS Midnight Jam, co-hosted by Jim Lauderdale and Town Mountain. The Jam included performances by We Banjo 3, Buddy Miller, Unspoken Tradition, North Mississippi Allstars, Mandolin Orange, Peter Rowan, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, John Cowan, Frank Sullivan & Dirty Kitchen, Rosie & the Riveters, Tommy Emmanuel, Bryan Sutton, Donna the Buffalo, Jim Lauderdale, Town Mountain and more. Highlights from the jam include Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale’s take on “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down”; North Mississippi Allstars joined by Dominic Davis on upright bass covering “Pallet on Your Floor”; and Mandolin Orange with Bobby Britt (of Town Mountain) and Tommy Emmanuel performing “Stone Wall Around Your Heart.”

Check out my interview with Town Mountain here.

Visit Merlefest on Facebook to watch the footage from BGS Midnight Jam.

Click here for a full list of Saturday’s performances.

About MerleFest

MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.

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