Old Settler's Music Festival Day 2

Live Shots

Doyle Lawson
Doyle Lawson (Photo by Shelley Hiam)

Old Settler's Music Festival

Salt Lick Pavilion, Driftwood, April 21

"OK, everybody get their banjos out," instructed Tony Trischka midway through his banjo workshop Saturday afternoon at Old Settler's Music Festival. Indoors at the Discovery stage, instructional lodge between the grounds' two main gathering points, the 63-year-old master musician estimated he had been studying banjo 48 years and still couldn't fully catalog the licks/riffs/tricks visited on the original African instrument by its greatest innovator, Earl Scruggs, who died March 28. He of the renown "Scruggs style," which, Trischka explained, introduced syncopation to an already percussive musical delivery, loomed omnipresent at OSMF in its 25th anniversary year. Scruggs wasn't alone, either. Jason Isbell on the Hill Country main stage preserved his legacy in the Drive-By Truckers on early set singe "Decoration Day" and capped an hour-long Van Zant twang – that's Ronnie, Donnie, and Johnny, not Townes – with a penultimate set piece, Neil Young standard "Like a Hurricane." At the opposite end of the Salt Lick's waterfront playground, as backed by alt.country pioneers the Bottle Rockets, New Wave-era breakout Marshall Crenshaw also took charge of his time slot immediately by delivering cuts from his eponymous 1982 debut as if Buddy Holly had lived to be his age ("Cynical Girl"). Two years ago, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver delivered an act-of-god set during a downpour at OSMF. After embedding an a cappella gospel throat lump into his stirring return, the Tennessee bluegrass titan thanked "the good lord above for such a beautiful day." Amen to that, and "Gone at Last," anointed, announced Lawson as "definitely the fastest" such cover by its author, Paul Simon. Michigan's DIY pickers and thumpers Greensky Bluegrass later added Simon stomp "Gumboots" and Springsteen's "Atlantic City," while Sarah Jarosz countered with Patty Griffin, Tom Waits, and a Levon Helm send-off in "Up on Cripple Creek." Long after the funnel cakes had grown cold, Iron & Wine took the chill off the fast-cooling night with Sam Beam singing so soulfully poetic that Doyle Lawson should crack his songbook next.

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