Cleek has moved to
Update your treasure maps accordingly.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Merlefest, day one: Fist City

(note, changed the post times on these so they'd read in chronological order)

Got up early, drove to Wilkesboro, NC. Got to our campsites, set up tents, drank many beers, hopped the shuttle to the campus where the festival is held. Being a Thursday afternoon, the crowd was light - very nice. Smoking was discouraged.

Nikon D100, 75-240mm

First show we saw was a band called the Waybacks, whom I'd never heard of. I don't remember what they sounded like. Then an all-female group called Uncle Earl. They were pretty good, and their bass player would show up in many other bands over the next four days. I got a roast turkey leg. Then came Tim O'Brien, who was really good, but looked like he was uninterested in being there. Turns out that's just the way he looks, as I'd learn from seeing him play with many other bands, too. I'd never heard of him before, either. Here he is.

Nikon D100, 75-240mm

The fiddle and guitar players would show up with Bela Fleck, on day two.

Then, the big show for the day, Loretta Lynn. Her band came out, all in matching tan suits - very 1950's - and did a song or two; then Loretta's twin daughters came out and did two or three unremarkable country-pop songs.

Her daughters:

Nikon D100, 75-240mm

Then Loretta herself came out and started what turned out to be an endless stream of apologies for her voice; she said she was hoarse from allergies and might not be able to deliver the kind of show we deserved, etc.. Between every song, she'd apologize for the last one, and apologize in advance for the next. Kinda got old. On the way back to the camp, the bus driver would wryly note that she's been apologizing for being a little hoarse for the last several years. She is at least 70, so I guess that's not surprising.

Anyway, she did seven or eight very hoarse songs, most of them about fighting with her man, including the amusingly-named "Fist City" and "Soul Miner's Daughter" (of course). We'd have many chuckles over that first one back at the camp. Thanks, porn spam, for spreading a new meaning for "fist" far and wide.

Loretta and band:

Nikon D100, 75-240mm

The full series:

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.