As you might expect, Grey Fox delivered a great lineup of talent at the 2009 Festival. Here are some highlights of great performances during the weekend.
Sierra Hull (Main Stage)
Why do people rave about this young performer? Because she deserves it! She is a virtuoso on mandolin, has amazing control over her vocals, has great instincts for set choices, has the stage presence of a seasoned professional, and surrounds herself with accomplished musicians. Needless to say, Sierra's set was engaging, amusing and beautifully executed. She played many of her tunes from her CD release "Secrets" which has a broad selection of bluegrass covers and original tunes. She is showing great promise as a song writer but clearly knows how to choose pieces to suit her vocal range.
Claire Lynch (Main Stage)
It is so great to have Claire Lynch back on the festival rotations. This woman was a pioneer in woman's bluegrass and has withstood the test of time. Her set was a diverse selection of favorites and new tunes from her project to be released in early September – "Whatch gonna do?" From straight on Bluegrass to gospel, to a light hearted swing beat to a few ballads, the set offered a strong mixing and merging of styles showcasing Claire's breadth of talent. She was clearly a crowd favorite. Wrapping up the set with a smoking rendition of "Wabash Cannonball" with both Jim Hurst (guitar) and Mark Shatz (Bass) strutting their stuff in toe tapping breaks. The crowd screamed for more with a standing ovation, Claire and the band returned to the stage for a heartfelt rendition of "We Should Only Have Time for Love" What a lovely message to leave us with – if only more of us could live this way.
Casey Driessen (Master's Tent)
Phenomenal and eclectic are two words that give meaning to Casey's work. He appears to be a favorite year after year in the Master's tent with overflowing crowds cramming in to hear what he comes up with next. Not only did Casey showcase his music during the set, he shows great rapport with the audience by answering questions while demonstrating techniques. Casey performed a few pieces from his newest project "Ooog" but the surprise and delight of the workshop was a tribute to Michael Jackson by performing the entirety of MJs Billy Jean using a looping device. Think about the uncommon musical mind he must have to be able conceive a fiddle arrangement with all the important layers of this complex tune and then to perform it as a solo at a festival. The audience was wild with enthusiasm. Way to go Casey!
Thank you, Grey Fox, for bringing on this phenomenal talent.