Michael Erlewine took some great band photos of us while we were at Wheatland this year. You wouldn't believe it but surrounding this photo were tents, campers, and pop-ups. A regular campsite!
Luckily, Spencer's new bride, Becky Cain, came prepared to make us a sweet spot to relax and pick under their easy-up, and when I told her we were going to take some photos, she pinned up her wears to make the perfect backdrop. Then Michael worked his magic with the camera, and I think this turned out to be the funnest photo-shoot to have ever happened.
The festival was a total success for us! We played the CD Release party for "Release Your Shrouds," and were shown amazing support by the Wheatland community.
It was an honor to play this cornerstone Michigan festival. Many of the people who attend have been going to Wheatland for 30+ years, and you can literally feel its roots when they welcome you in.
I also had a great time watching Joshua and Keith give workshops with the Joe and Eric of the Gibson Brothers....
Joshua Rilko & Joe Walsh. Wheatland 2012. Mandolin Workshop.
Eric Gibson & Keith Billik. Wheatland 2012.
Then it was on to The Earthwork Harvest Gathering 2012! This was our first year performing at Harvest Gathering as Earthwork Artists and it felt wonderful! That warm cozy feeling of being home was around every corner and the good vibes were on the steady.
Kimberly Huguelet snapped these two photos during the festival that really capture the atmosphere. The old barn has been undergoing restoration efforts, which have only added to magic of playing music in it. I was recently asked what my favorite place was we've ever played, and this is it. Hands down.
We headed South after Harvest for IBMA's World Of Bluegrass, which was kicked off Sunday afternoon with a performance by the Travelin' McCoury's & Friends at Cumberland Park in Nashville. Joshua, Mark and I all attended the free concert and enjoyed a few locally brewed ales, which were surprisingly tasty!
We're so spoiled here in Michigan with the microbrews and craft beers that we tend not to get our hopes up when traveling out of state, but I think this craft, along with the roots music revolution, is spreading far and wide. Yazoo Brewing Co. out of Nashville, TN was an affirmation to the aforementioned, I'm glad to say.
Sunday night, I did a songwriter's showcase at the famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. It was extra special because fellow Michigan songbird, Rachael Davis, came out to test the waters of her new Nashvillian hometown, and sang harmony with Joshua and I.
There's nothing better than being in a new place with a piece of home by your side. And there's also nothing better than getting to hear Rachael sing. www.rachaeldavis.com
Monday night, Mark did the Slidegrass tribute to Uncle Josh and Brother Oswald along with Chad Graves, Greg Cahill, Tim Graves and his band. It was a fantastic, historical tribute, and it was fun to see Huggy Bear up there jamming his heart out!
Slidegrass "officially" kicked off the IBMA for us and the things never slowed down...
From the all-night pickin' party hosted by OG Flatbelly, Joshua Brand, to the Tennessee giggin', to the all-night hotel hallway and stairwell jammin', the week was all we had hoped in terms of musical inspiration and sleep depravation.
I think this photo captures the general tone of IBMA. People from all walks of life getting together and participating in the true spirit of Music. A jam like this is like getting together with old friends and having a great conversation. (Even if you've previously never met.) Everyone speaks in the language of the song.
IBMA is worried about its longevity as an organization. Membership and attendance have gone down with the economy and the community is ridden with dialogue about what is, or is not, "Bluegrass."
Meanwhile, a tremendous outpouring of love for Music was happening in every corner of the hotel connected to the Convention Center. No two jams sounded alike. Virtuosity and creativity ran rampant.
Everyone there seemed to share in their love for traditional music, and their desire to create something new educated by something old. Heart was in every song.
So I was confused when the IBMA song of the year posed the question "Whatever happened to the heart of a song?"
I, for one, was humbled to be a part of such a living, breathing, heartfelt community. So thanks to everyone at IBMA this year for keeping the Music alive. See you in N.C.!!!