Grey Fox Bluegrass Fest

Last weekend I was at the Grey Fox bluegrass festival and despite most of my friends not showing up until the final day, I had a blast. I picked up a passenger from craigslist and her party was nice enough to let me camp with them in the shady trees that line the festival grounds. It was a lot hotter than last year and while rain was scarce, Saturday night we got hit with a four-hour lightning storm that shut down Sam Bush’s set early. Sometimes people ask me: Hugh, you’re an old punk rock dude. Why do you like bluegrass? Like punk, there is a certain DIY aspect to bluegrass — even moreso because you usually don’t need any amplification for the instruments. The songwriting has a definite dark side that appeals to me along with blunt honesty. As you can tell from the photos, I like what the kids are doing as much as the established artists. Check out Crooked Still, Sarah Jarosz, and Della Mae at their websites! It’s funny that many of these kids are studying bluegrass at places like the Berklee School of Music and the Boston Conservatory. Enjoy the pix and playlist below.

Oak Hill Respite

oak hill backyard

I spent the weekend in Oak Hill which was a little subdued because half the family is under the weather and the weather is a little under itself. Spring comes two or three weeks later up here than in the city. It was my friends’ daughter’s fourth birthday and they had a swim party at a YMCA which was fun even though it’s really hard not to snark at basting and swimming in Clorox┬«.

We missed a wedding at the Twelve Tribes compound. The ceremony is said to be full of ritual reverance and divinity. Couples in the Tribe are not allowed to even kiss before they get married there although they may hold hands. I would hope they have elaborate forms of handsies and arm wrestling to go with the sweaty palms. The honeymoon suite near the creek gets lots of spring and summer action.

I’m going to try and come up to the Grey Fox bluegrass festival again this year. There’s an Irish music festival in nearby East Durham at the same time. The hills will ring of droney folk music while the people dance like chickens.

oak hill cow