Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2010

Hot Rize played a 50th wedding anniversary party on Monday at Denver’s wonderful Mercury Café. Then we took a stab at recording the next day at out old stomping grounds Colorado Sound studios. We recorded a version of “Wichita Lineman”, an old time piece called “Diamond Joe” (recorded by Charlie Butler in 1937), a Nick Forster instrumental called “Runty”, and a Pete Wernick banjo tune called “Spring Break”.

On the way to Telluride Wednesday, Kit and I stopped at a little taco wagon and lunched at the counter in the dry western slope wind. Two barbacoa and two pastor - just right. If you’re heading through that way, the wagon is on highway 141 south of the Whitewater Hill Vineyards, between Clifton CO and highway 50. Stopped again at City Market in Montrose for condo provisions, and then arrived in Telluride about 6pm.

I think this is actually my 33nd Telluride Bluegrass festival. Thursday morning, I introduced Sarah Jarosz and then sat in with her, singing “Tell Me True” and playing fiddle on Kate Wolf’s “Telluride” to kick off the festival. The crew put up some new semi-permanent towers for the speakers this year and while it was quite a project, it will make hanging the speaker stack much easier in coming years. Planet Bluegrass staff made some commemorative t-shirts for the occasion, proclaiming 2010 as the “Year of the Big Erection”. My band set was last that night, in high country cool temperatures from 10:30 to midnight. Sarah introduced me, and then she sat in, along with a band including Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, Mike Bub, and John Gardner. Other guests included Rob McCoury on banjo, Jerry Douglas on dobro, and Dierks Bentley on vocal and guitar – we sang a duet version of “Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)”, which is on his new bluegrassy CD “Up On The Ridge.” I played most of the new “Chicken & Egg” material, and the crowd was wonderful.

On Friday at noon, I took the gondola to the Mountain Village to rehearse a song with the Courtyard Hounds. They asked me to sing Jacob Dylan’s part on “See You In The Spring”. Rehearsal was better than the show later that afternoon, but it was fun to sit in with the Dixie Chick sisters and their new band. Hot Rize played right before them and we had fun. Elmo Otto, looking like a much older Sam Bush, sat in with Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers.

This morning my friends Dave and Karen Lamb hosted a performance and CD signing at their wonderful store Telluride Music. Sales are good there and at the Country Store on the festival grounds. Now I’m officially off duty. Kit and I just ate green chili cheeseburgers in our condo while listening to Jerry Douglas’ set on KOTO. Drummer Omar Hakim is amazing and so are Victor Krauss and Jerry. Sam Bush just sang “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” with those three. We’ll head over to the town park in a minute to check out Dublin rockabilly singer Imelda May.

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by R & T