As the festival season — at least in the northern part of the U.S. — slowly winds down, I am glad that we have some photos from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. It holds a special place for me because fellow West Virginian Hazel Dickens played a role in its origin. Or so the story goes.
The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival was put into motion by the late Warren Hellman, who was able to use his financial resources so that the festival would be free to the public and remain noncommercial. He also played the banjo and toured with Jimmie Dale Gilmore late in life. We all miss him. And, from the festival that is his legacy, Punch Brothers and Steve Earle are featured below.
We also picked up a few late postings from the AMA, from our international friends. Carol G, whom I saw everywhere, is from Scotland. JD Souther, who never broke like his other Southern Californian friends, gave a great, jazz-tinged set at the City Winery during AMA, and Carol G captured that. To our satisfaction, he also told a loud table in the rear to shut up.
Meanwhile, it was Pierre Eriksson’s first visit from Sweden to the fest and I hope it is not his last. Like Carol G, we kept running into each other.
But I could not focus entirely on festival pictures, because there were so many other fine ones to choose from. It was hard narrowing it down to just the ones you see. I had never heard of the Turnpike Troubadours or Spurs for Jesus. The latter, whose photograph was taken in Australia, featured K.D. Twang wearing a shirt a lot like the one I saw Townes Van Zandt wear when I last saw him — the one with royal flushes. So, this edition has a real international flair.
I was sorry to miss Lera Lynn at the AMA, but ND regular Kirk Stauffer’s photo serves as consolation.
Last and certainly not least we get a happy birthday from Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.
Speaking of festivals, I write this from my last one of the year: the Shakori Hills Grassroots Fest in North Carolina. The weather is good, so far. The days are still warm, the nights a tad cool, and a few hearts on fire.
See ya next week.