Earls, Jerry and Tim

We went our first DC Bluegrass Festival this weekend held at the Sheraton at Tysons.  Interesting and small hotel festival.  Not impressed with the hotel as it is a bit tired and not well maintained.  The food service left me cold also.  I don’t know why I have high expectations for food at festivals?!  We could have left the hotel and walked to a number of restaurants however with the cold weather we opted to stay on the premises.  For lunch, we had the mediocre lunch buffet.  We booked a club room to have access to the club where we did enjoy a fantastic sunset over the Blue Ridge mountains however no alcoholic beverages were available according to the attendant-everything got drank up the night before and the hotel did not re-stock.  Not a huge issue however the food in the club seemed like leftovers from the lunch buffet.  I know hotels like to serve buffets however some establishments make it a highlight rather than leftover banquet food.  About 9:30 pm the hubby got hungry so we tried the restaurant again, he ordered a hamburger and I had the steak quesadilla which was really a hamburger quesadilla, both ended up being the best food we had while there which isn’t saying much.

There were workshops in the afternoon and we went to two, the first one with Tim O’Brien.  We sat in the last row and still had a great view.  Listening to Tim talk about the instruments he plays and the songs was enthralling.  He told the history behind the song, Mic Ryan’s Lament written by Robert Dunlap.  The tune is Garryowen which is an ole time Irish song.  It became the song of Custer’s 7th cavalry and the lyrics to Mic Ryan describe 2 Irish brothers who came to America and one ended up fighting for the Union in the Civil War and the other at the Battle of Little Big Horn.  He closed the session singing Walk Beside Me, one of my favorites.


Jerry Douglas had a dobro workshop where he played 2 old dobros that he uses with the Earls of Leicester, who were the headliners for the festival.  I have seen Jerry play many times and in this setting, up close and personal and listening to him talk is a highlight.  He is kind of local to this area, playing with the Country Gentlemen as a younger guy.  He said he liked the second Birchmere the best.  I don’t remember the first Birchmere.  And do remember the second location, great intimate venue.


We caught a little of the Banksters.  I took in Sierra Hull’s set, I do love her voice and she can play the mandolin.  Of course the Hokies were playing basketball so part of the time, we watched the game in the room. And then came back down to see the end of Blue Highway and all of the Earl’s set and it was a great show.  Those guys appear to be having so much fun playing the music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.  This time I attempted to keep a setlist but they soon quit announcing the song and just played one after the other.  They played about 30 songs, starting a little after 11 pm and playing to about 12:30.  Shawn Camp channels Lester Flatt in a captivating way.  Extraordinary entertainment.

IMG_2037 IMG_2038 IMG_2043


TTB and Spirit Family

Do you ever get behind on everyday tasks?  Well this last week has put me behind and I plan to catch up, starting with this post. We saw the Tedeschi Trucks Band last Friday night at the Warner.  Went early for drinks and appetizers at Chef Geoff’s Downtown.


Again, we scored great seats through the early artist sale.  I found  the setlist online, I can’t seem to remember to take notes!IMG_1964

  • All That I Need
  • Do I Look Worried
  • Get What You Deserve
  • Midnight in Harlem
  • I Pity The Fool
  • Break In The Road 
(Betty Harriscover)
  • Keep Your Lamp Trimmed
  • Done Somebody Wrong 
(Elmore Jamescover)
  • Shelter
  • Key To The Highway
  • Let Me Get ByIMG_1956
  • Idle Wind
  • Bound for Glory
  • Living Loving Maid > The Storm
  • E: Keep On Growing
  • Living in the Palace of the King

The opening act was new to me, Spirit Family Reunion, kind of a string band, bluegrass, roots music fusion.

IMG_1942Lots of energy and I will definitely be on the look out for a repeat viewing!  The washboard player was my fav. IMG_1948

On to the next show!

Driftwood & Donna


Donna and Driftwood Encore

This third-to-last week of work has flown by before I got to post about last weekend’s fun.  We saw Donna the Buffalo at the Jefferson in Charlottesville on Saturday. Met some friends from Roanoke for the show and also had dinner with long time friends who moved to C’ville many years ago.  We had dinner at the Commonwealth Skybar, which is an open air bar on the mall.  Thank goodness they close it off in the winter and have plenty of heaters.  So good to see everyone.

Doug and Candy

Doug and Candy


We walked around the mall which I found a bit creepy.  I thought a bit about the young murdered UVA student who was last seen on the mall alive.


The sunset was filled with color!  The contrast between the dark earthly objects and the sky struck a beautiful scene.IMG_1908

I don’t have a setlist for Donna though there were lots of new songs with old ones mixed in.  A group called Driftwood opened, new to me however our friends saw them at Floydfest.  Energetic female fiddler and the band also hails from NY State like Donna.  Best part was the encore with both Driftwood and Donna on the stage closing with a Gimme some loving’/Shout medley.  Not something I expected Jeb and Tara to bring out.  Jeb rocked it as always.  Lots of dancing feet!


Donna took the stage a little before 9:30 and then played until about midnight without a break.


We rode the shuttle from the hotel to the Mall and then found a cab back to hotel–another late night!  And then we arose early on Sunday to beat feet back to DC so I could see Gigi at the Kennedy Center with some girlfriends.  I loved Gigi with Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical (which I have not seen!).

And then on to the work week which I will share in my next post.


Weekend tidbits

We had a busy, busy weekend and now have the MLK holiday or what used to be Lee-Jackson Day in Virginia.  Though Hubby doesn’t get a holiday as his company only gives a few holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Infamous Stringdusters

Infamous Stringdusters

So Friday night we saw the Infamous Stringdusters, a favorite bluegrass band at the State Theatre in Falls Church.  Another fantabulous night of music.  Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen Band opened who we saw last year at Merlefest.  Great band also!  Highlights for me were opening with Lovelight, then in the second set Scarlet Begonias, Let it Go and Cripple Creek.  Met up with some longtime friends we hadn’t seen in a while for the show.  And we met some new folks while hanging.  I ended up as the DD, and we headed home around 1:30am which made for a late night for this old lady.  Here is the setlist:01 Lovelight, 02 GDTRFB, 03 In God’s Country,04 Starry, 05 LLD jam>Y2k, 06 Fearless, 07 Blockygrass, 08 Angeline *, 09 Blue Night *, Second set 01 Jam>Hitchhiker, 02 Hey You, 03 All I can Take, 04 Mountain Town, 05 PBD, 06 Scarlet Begonias>OMB, 07 Colorado,08 Red Fox,09 Let It Go,10 Pioneers, 11 Echoes,12 Cripple Creek>Machines, 13 Head over Heels.  * Frank Solivan set in.

Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen Band

Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen Band

These guys opened strong and set the mood for a great night.  During the Stringdusters they were walking around and enjoying the show.  And towards the end of night, here we are hanging with friends and taking a selfie.

Candy, Doug and Vance

Candy, Doug and Vance

Saturday ended up pretty quiet, lots of time in the kitchen, cooking breakfast, baking cookies to send with ben-jammin’ back to school, and then dinner.   Sunday, we made the round trip to Radford to take ben-jammin’ back for his second semester.  He was so ready to go and get back to school, friends, the dorm, just away from us!  The trip started out miserable as it poured down a cold rain until we got out west on I66.  Then it turned into a pretty nice day.  We literally dropped his stuff in the dorm room, went out to eat lunch, stopped to buy him some bottled water, and dropped him off=about 2 hours in town.  As the great hovering mom that I am, I so wanted to help him unpack and organize his room.  Didn’t happen!  He wasn’t wanting any help.  So after a big hug good bye, off we went, back up the road to NOVA.  The entire trip took about 10-11 hours.

So today, I have to get my retirement papers completed.  Announcement at work coming this next week!


Setlist and other lists

Sam Bush, Herb Pederson, Emmy Lou Harris, John Starling, Sarah ?

Sam Bush, Herb Pederson, Emmy Lou Harris, Seldom Scene, Sarah ?

We had a great time at the show last evening.

Had a light supper before hand at Old Ebbitt Grill, took advantage of their valet parking.   The pork belly tacos were wonderful! Then we walked  across the Ellipse to DAR Constitution Hall for the show.

A couple friends were there also, one of them always keeps track of the setlist, thank goodness.  He emailed the following to us early this am. My edits in Bold

One of these days- buddy Miller

Will the Circle – Mavis Stapleton

The Darkest Hour – Sara Watkins
Shawn Colvin –  red dirt girl
Milk carton kids – Michelangelo
Wheels – Hillman Pederson
Holly Williams Chris Coleman? -Orphan Girl
Steve Earle – 31st Floor?
Trampled by Turtles ??
Lucinda Williams – hickory wind
Rodney Crowell – empty bottle, broken heart
Lee Ann Womack- Born to Run
ELH; Sam; herb; John Starling; Was; Sara – Gone Long Gone. For Warren Hellman


ELH Lanois – Blackhawk
Iron and Wine – wrecking  ball
Shovels and Rope –
Mary Chapin Carpenter and Vince Gill – roadrunnin’
Oberst Patty Griffin Shawn Colvin- Allejuhah
Martina Mcbride – when I stop dreaming
Patty Griffin – valley of sorrow
Steve Earle Lee Ann Womack herb – Pancho & Lefty
Vince Gill – together again
Sheryl Crow- two more bottles of wine
Ooh Las Vegas
Kris Kristoferson-Crowell – loaded again

Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson

Lovin her
Alison Krauss– til I can gain control again
Cash on the barrel head
Emmy- Boulder to Birmingham

the finale

the finale

My photos from my iPhone6 got worse as the night wore on, may be the wine effect!!  The stage hands did a great job changing sets up between each performer and yes Sam Bush was in the band!!

Sam Bush, Sarah Watkins, Don Was

Sam Bush, Sarah Watkins, Don Was

It is still cold, hoped to take down outside Christmas decorations as that is on my to-do list however, it needs to warm up some more.  So will spend the day cooking, made egg muffins, biscuits, sausage, bacon and cut up grapefruit for brunch.  And will be the sous chef for Hubby’s spaghetti sauce efforts later today.

I have seven weeks left before I retire on Feb. 28.  I have a few things to do, like find our wedding certificate, I think it is the safety deposit box!  At least I hope so.  I have to complete all the paperwork and get one form notarized.


Emmy Lou

Headed out to tIMG_0361his Life and Songs of Emmy Lou Harris show tonight!  SOOOO excited.  Emmy Lou is one of my favorite musicians.  With this incredible line up the show promises to be a once in a lifetime event!  I paid way too much for the tickets and then had to fess up to my huDSC_0031bby. He got over the sticker shock.  Though not listed, I am pretty sure Sam Bush will be playing in the band tonight.

Lots of great music headed to DC this winter.

Infamous Stringdusters have 2 nights at the State Theater next weekend.  Followed by Donna the Buffalo in 2 weeks.


Donna at Merle 2014

February brings Tedeschi Trucks Band to the Warner Theater on the 20th.


Tedeschi Trucks at Merlefest Year??

Then the DC Bluegrass Festival in Tysons on the 28th featuring Earls of Leicester and Tim O’Brien to name a few.

All my photos seem to be from Merle sometime over the last 10 years.  When I retire I want to organize all these digital photos so I can locate them more easily!

Will report back on the show!