Search - Merlefest Live: The 15th Anniversary Jam on DVD

Merlefest Live: The 15th Anniversary Jam
Merlefest Live The 15th Anniversary Jam
Actors: Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2003

In April of each year, thousands of acoustic music fans converge on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC. Merlefest is dedicated to the life and music of Eddy Merle Watson, son of legendary folk icon D...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Country, Pop, Rock & Roll
Studio: Merlefest
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/16/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2003
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A great sampler of historic & special moments from one of ou
J. Ross | Roseburg, OR USA | 11/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Total Playing Time - 73:35
SONGS: 1)They're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone, 2) Bury Me Beneath the Willow, 3)Doc's Medley: Any Way You Want Me/Blue Suede Shoes/Tutti Frutti/Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin On, 4) Sittin' on Top of the World, 5) You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive, 6) Lonesome Pine, 7) A Mountaineer is Always Free, 8) A Good Woman's Love, 9) Blue Moon of Kentucky, 10) Careless Love, 11) Cattle Call, 12) Midnight Moonlight, 13) Sweet Georgia Brown, 14) Summertime, 15) Patrick Meets the Brickbats, 16) Shady Grove, 17) Paul and Silas, 18)Shake Rattle & Roll, 19)Amazing Grace

Capturing the energy and spirit of an eclectic music festival like Merlefest on a 74-minute album would truly be a formidable task for any producer. Rising to the challenge, Jim Barrow and B. Townes succeed with this project which was recorded in April, 2002 at the 15th annual festival in Wilkesboro, N.C. dedicated to the memory of Eddy Merle Watson (1949-1985). This live compilation sampler CD includes cuts from an all-star lineup of Doc Watson, his grandson Rickard Watson, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Albert Lee, Tim O'Brien, Peter Rowan, Earl Scruggs, Nickel Creek, Blue Highway and more. The 19 tracks are lively and are largely drawn from a number of standards that we are familiar with from bluegrass, country, gospel and old-time rock and roll repertoires. Doc Watson appears on ten tracks. Some of the songs come off as hot jam sessions with some occasional bouts of instrumental pyrotechnics from the musical collaborators. Doc's comments are a joy to hear as he guides the arrangements and expresses his glee and appreciation to his accompanists. Doc directs "Sweet Georgia Brown" by exclaiming, "I'll holler the instrument, and whoever plays it, grab it." The sound quality is good, but remember that this album wasn't recorded in a studio. We hear Earl Scruggs tuning his banjo prior to picking "Careless Love." The applause can be distracting. Some of the guitars clearly have pickups on them, and eight of the tracks also include drums. Doc also sounds like he was fighting some hoarseness and vocal exhaustion on "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and a festival closer, "Amazing Grace."

Some of the tighter offerings are Patty Loveless' rendition of "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive"and Blue Highway's "Lonesome Pine" and Tim O'Brien's "A Mountaineer is Always Free." Also, John Cowan singing "A Good Woman's Love" is a song I never tire of hearing, but I have heard better versions of "Sittin' on Top of the World" and "Midnight Moonlight." We have to expect some tradeoffs with live albums that also attempt to capture that energy of groups on a large festival stage. Besides the CD, Merlefest has DVD and VHS products with and even larger (27) number of performances. Merlefest Live! makes a good souvenir for festival attendees and for folks who want a sampler of historic and special moments from one of our nation's premier music festivals. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)
Americana Music at its best!!!
James Cashin | Brooklyn, NY | 06/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Well, well where do I begin? This DVD is a superb sampler of artists from various music styles such as, Bluegrass, Country, Dawg, Newgrass, Cowboy, Celtic, Jazz and Old-Time music. The musicians on this DVD are masters in their field. Let's start with Doc Watson. Doc is getting on in the years and in this DVD it does not show. His pickin' and singin' are spot on! He does a great version, with the Kruger Brothers, of "Shady Grove". Doc accompanies other artist throughout the disc as well and is in great form when doing so. Peter Rowan does an all out version of his classic, "Midnight Moonlight ". Jerry Douglas's fingers smoke on this song. His Dobro solo is worth the price of admission alone! I still have to go on about this song. In the middle of the song Peter turns to his guitar player on his left and says, "Pick it one time, Tony" and man, oh man, does Tony Rice pick it one time. Tony Rice gives us a taste of his superb and dynamic fret board work. Tony rips it up something wicked. The master ends his solo with a "slap" on the face of his guitar to tell us, "That's it, someone else grab a piece of it." BRILLIANT! Some dude named Wyle Gustafson plays with Doc and when he opens his mouth Holy Cow, this Brooklyn Boy feels like putting on his boots & grabbing the saddle, if I could find one in Brooklyn NY, and headin' on out to the prairie. Yahoooooooo!! Wyle is a fantastic singer and boy what a version of "Cattle Call" he does. SUPERB! Tim O'Brien gives us an interesting track, "A Mountaineer Is Always Free" with a tight band of diverse musos. I always feel the wind in my hair and the smell of wild herbs when I listen to this song. It really takes me away to some far off mountain in my mind. Very stimulating music. My 3 year old son loves this song as well. He calls it "2 whistles" because someone is blowing into 2 tin whistles at once and my son always bounces around the living room with his thumbs in his mouth going, "doo do doo doooo do dooooo doo doo do". Chris Thile plays a great track, "Bury Me Beneath The Willow" and his voice is as powerful as his mandolin playing. "The Real Boss", Earl Scruggs brings his family on stage and fingerpicks some gems as well. Sam Bush plays with a few of the talents here and the "Bark" of his mandolin is always a joy to hear.
The concert is filmed well and the audio is very rich and true.
Unfortunately time prevents me from going on about this disc so, if you are looking for the perfect DVD of Americana music. YOU FOUND IT!"