T’was one hundred degrees, and all through NC
Not a creature dared brave August’s swampy heat;
Yet speakers were hung off the rafters with care,
In hopes that the audience soon would be there;
The bands were nestled all cool in their bus,
While whispers of heat stroke passed between us;
My wife in her sunglasses, and I in my cap,
Had found a good spot, to watch the opening acts,
I was buying some wine, when there arose quite a clatter,
I turned my head to see what was the matter.
Back to our lawn chairs I flew like a flash,
Passed the wine I’d just bought, and let out a gasp.
The rollicking cast of this bluegrass-themed show
Played the opening song, which I did not know.
But, who to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Gillian, David, and twelve tiny reindeer,
Err, no, t’were not reindeer, t’was a different show.
No, these were musicians, some you might know!
More rapid than weasels their guitars they played,
David strummed, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Critter! now, Ketch! now, Morgan and Gillian!
On, Greg ! on Christmas ! on, Ian and Justin!
To the top of the verse! now wait for the call!
Now solo! solo! Solos for all!”
As dry leaves that before the hurricane fly,
When one missed a line, they all let it slide.
Through song after song the players they flew,
The dozens of boys (and Gillian too!)
And then, with a winking, most departed,
For the first band’s set had officially started.
Justin Townes Earle was doing his show,
Though soon was re-joined by some from Old Crow.
He was dressed all in white, at least it looked to me –
For from where we were sitting, we couldn’t see his feet.
An acoustic guitar he had flung on his back,
And he sang country songs, old-timey, in fact.
Then the Felice Brothers: their antics, how merry!
Their cheeks were like roses, their noses like cherries!
Carefree and raucous through their songs they careened,
Like Marah and Dylan, the Pouges and Springsteen.
So joyous their playing, we assumed they were drunk;
So young, so irreverent, my wife called them “punks”.
In his grey flannel suit and her simple black dress
The David Rawlings Machine came up to play next.
Songs about sugar, Cortez, and Queen Jane,
Gillian Welch strummed, while David Rawlings sang.
Though it’s not quite the same, to see them this way,
It’s still a good time, and boy can he play!
The Old Crow Medicine Show, they were the last;
They sang of cocaine and moonshine, love and white trash.
They’re a boatload of fun, with their songs about sin;
And they played fast as lightning, and sharp as a pin.
We’d seen them before, but they were better this time;
Or maybe it was the heat – and the beer, and the wine.
And then all the bands, they all went to work,
And filled up the stage; then started with a jerk,
A song from the Willburys: The End Of The Line
Though it was a little rough we all liked it fine.
And then a ‘Mats song, from Pleased To Meet Me.
Justin Earle sang it, it felt a bit sleepy.
Yet then came a song they played with real feel
Old Crow’s Dylan re-work, the great Wagon Wheel
The crowd sprang to their feet, with cheers and with whistles,
And the band played the song, and man did it sizzle.
And then they were done, and up came the lights,
“Thank you to all, and have a safe drive.”