Monday, September 7, 2009

Laughing Waters Bluegrass Festival

The Laughing Waters Bluegrass Festival is my favorite Labor Day tradition in Minneapolis...a free bluegrass festival in Minnehaha (Dakota for "waterfalls," although often mistranslated to mean "laughing waters") Park, a short walk from my house. As always, it was a lovely people-watching event of hippies, bikers and families. After my sister and I got loaded up with seafood tacos and calamari from Sea Salt Eatery, we settled down to enjoy the end of the set from the Sawtooth Bluegrass Band --a group of very young boys in matching blue shirts who did some nice traditional bluegrass tunes. Two of the members just won third place at MBOTMA's Duet Championships at this year's Minnesota State Fair; they did a nice rendition of Gillian Welch's "By the Mark." Then came my favorite local bluegrass band--The High 48's. Here's what they played:

Never Been So Lonesome
Leaving Me Tomorrow
Jeanne Marie
Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool
Who Needs Love
Square Fingers
I've Endured
Mill City Stomp
Joe Hill's Will

Encore: Orange Blossom Special

Derek Johnson's voice sounded particularly fine today, and the band really kicked it with a high-energy tight set. Following them, we heard a bit of Hello Stranger before we walked back home.

Another fine Labor Day, full of good bluegrass and good times.


Matt Winters said...

Hello Stranger the bluegrass band is not the same Hello Stranger as recorded "We Used to Talk"... I guess I'm ... relieved?

I remember going to Nature's Classroom in 7th grade, where we would sing songs every night, and one of them was "Joe Hill's Will," and one of the counselors (? - I think that's the right term) said that Joe Hill was a guy who "lived up in the hills near there." Sinister disguising of a labor song!

Ellen Stanley said...

I remember Nature's Classroom...good times! The High 48's say they learned "Joe Hill's Will" from Wisconsin-based Art Stevenson & High Water, not from your counselor at Nature's Classroom. :)