Monday, May 25, 2009

Stoney End Bluegrass Festival

Saturday I took a drive down to beautiful Red Wing, MN with my friend Jason to go to Hobgoblin Music to attend the Stoney End Bluegrass Festival. Although there were some workshops and small jams happening in and around the shop, the main action was on the outdoor stage. As we were getting settled and catching up with folks, we enjoyed a nice set by Switched At Birth, who did really nice versions of John Prine's "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" and the Traveling Wilburys' "End of the Line." Then came my favorite Minnesota bluegrass band The High 48s, tearing up the stage with a killer set (their second of the day), proving why they rightly won the last year's RockyGrass band competition...

- Never Been So Lonesome
- Square Fingers (a really great instrumental written by fiddler Eric Christopher, who toured last year with the James King Band)
- Sad, Lonesome Eyes (very nice!)
- Road to Columbus
- Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool (beautiful harmonies)
- Up North
- Night on Buffalo Mountain (banjo player Tony Ihrig picked up the Dobro for this murder ballad)
- Harbor of Love (very lovely take on the Bill Monroe gospel song with mando player Chad Johnson on lead vocals and bass player Rich Casey taking a rare turn at the vocal mic)
- Paul & Silas (yes!)
- Lost Time Waltz (very pretty instrumental)
- Joe Hill's Will
- Drink Up & Go Home
- 40 Years of Farming
- Orange Blossom Special (I know everyone does this, but these boys do a really exceptional version of it with a nice medley of fiddle tunes in the middle)

Folks looking to check out The High 48s should take note that they will be playing festivals across the country, hitting WI, ND, MT, MO, WA and of course CO, as they return to play the RockyGrass Festival. For their full tour schedule, click here.

After The High 48s, I heard some of Adam Granger's set with Dick Kimmel, but we had to go before I got to catch Hello Stranger and Long Time Gone. All in all, a great day of music, made only better by the amazing drive home into the stunning sunset.


Matt Winters said...

A bluegrass festival where there's more action on stage than in the parking lot? Sounds fishy...

Cool to hear about the "End of the Line" cover. As described here, we saw Chatham County Line sing "Handle with Care" last summer at a show, and it was a-w-e-s-o-m-e.

Makes me want to be a bluegrass DJ again... Sniffle...

Ellen Stanley said...

have you explored radio opportunities in urbana? i know there's station there...will get you a contact if you like.