Los Lobos at MerleFest 04/27/2012

Posted: May 27, 2012 in Bluegrass, MerleFest, Review
Tags: , ,

Los Lobos
MerleFest Day 2, Wilkesboro, NC

This MerleFest set was the culmination of one of the best nights of music in a long time. It started off with the original line-up of Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, then Sam Bush, and finally Los Lobos as the closer where Sam Bush, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks joined for almost the entire set.

Los Lobos with Sam Bush, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks at MerleFest

Los Lobos with Sam Bush, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks at MerleFest

Other Day 2 acts that I saw:

  • Jonathan Scales Fourchestra – Very interesting jazz-influenced steel drum player. I hadn’t heard of him before but I’ll definitely try to see him again.
  • Enter The Haggis – Great name for heavy metal band, maybe the opener for Spinal Tap. As a Scottish folk rock band, the name is the best part.
  • Jens Kruger, James Nash & Kym Warner – Nice combo of three players I like individually.
  • Peter Rowan & The Free Mexican Airforce – I always enjoy seeing Peter Rowan and The Free Mexican Airforce is one of his better line-ups.
  • John Hammond – I’d only seen him once before (opening for David  Lindley at the Great American Music Hall) and I was excited to see him again. The complexity of his simultaneous guitar and harmonica work is amazing.
  • The Waybacks – Always fun to see but I’d just seen them recently at The Sweetwater and Freight & Salvage so I cut out a bit early to see Darrell Scott.
  • Patrick Simmons, Darrell Scott & John Cowan – This was an interesting set. I first learned for Darrell Scott when he was touring with Tim O’Brien. I have always enjoyed John Cowan’s vocals but not enough to see him anywhere else other than MerleFest. I’m not quite sure how Patrick Simmons fit in but I assume the connection is a result of John Cowan touring as the Doobie Brother’s bassist.
  • Béla Fleck & The Flecktones – This was a great set and as I mentioned above, the beginning of one of the best runs of music I’ve ever seen. I first heard of Béla Fleck when he and The Flecktones opened for the Grateful Dead’s 1990-1991 New Year’s Eve show and it was great to see the original line-up again.  I got to see them at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco back in March and I was really looking forward to seeing them again at MerleFest. Casey Driessen joined them both times which was a real treat because I really like his fiddle playing.
  • Sam Bush– A MerleFest regular that I enjoy more every time I see him. This year Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks joined him for a blues-infused bluegrass set. Better yet, the set was reggae-free; there’s nothing worse than country/bluegrass bands doing reggae. If you doubt that, listen to Willie Nelson’s “Countryman”. Except for a decent cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Sitting in Limbo” listening to the album is painful as you find yourself embarrassed for Willie.
  • Los Lobos – You are reading it.

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