It's bittersweet...the last day of the 41st annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival has arrived. My legs are tired...in fact my whole body is sore and worn out from drinking numerous New Belgium beers and moving to bluegrass music for the past 4 days. After countless nightgrass acts, free Elks Park workshops, and 4 days of Telluride Town Park mainstage its all coming to an end.
Dailey and Vincent kicked off Sunday's festivities with an hour-long gospel set. Bela Fleck and Brooklyn Rider were up next on the Telluride mainstage and echoed relaxing banjo tones around the box canyon.
We know its a bluegrass festival...but Nikki Bluhm and the Gramblers provided a breath of fresh air from the traditional bluegrass sound and brought more of a gritty rock in roll influence to the festival. Nikki Bluhm is as easy on the eyes as she is the ears with a voice reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, and Grace Slick all in one! Listening to her and The Gramblers perform on the main stage and the night before at The Fly Me to the Moon Saloon was a real treat and perhaps two of my favorite shows all weekend. Listen to them cover Janice Joplin's Piece of my Heart:
Jerry Douglas and The Earls of Leicester quickly brought back the traditional bluegrass vibes featuring Shawn Camp, Johnny Warren, Charlie Cushman, Barry Bales and Tim O'Brien banding together to recreate the wonderful music of Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys.
6 time festival veterans Greensky Bluegrass rocked the Main Stage with their newgrass sound.
The afternoon Elk's Park workshop included a magical performance by bluegrass babes Aoife O'Donovan, Tift Merritt, Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins & Nicki Bluhm. It was a rare treat to see these ladies share the stage and an unforgettable moment in Telluride Bluegrass history.
Ray Lamontagne was a major disappointment for several fans anxious for him to make his Telluride debut. Most musicians are humbled and appreciative to get the opportunity to play in Telluride. Upon walking out on stage Ray felt the need to express his negative options on folk festivals and folk music in general. He seemed perplexed that he was even invited to play at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. He referred to the hundreds of hardworking Planet Bluegrass Staff and musicians occupying the pit in the front row as "the Walking Dead". Hey Ray..."You are the WORST Thing" that happened to the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Do us all a favor and take your "Troubled" attitude somewhere far away from our pristine box canyon.
The Telluride House Band brought back the good vibes and closed out the main stage with a bang. Several guest performances insured including appearances by the lovely Allison Krauss and Del McCoury.
As the night came to an end all one can do is reflect back on the memories created and begin planning for Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2015!