10/8/09 Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, Silk Hope, NC

Biggie K is a Superstar, Spinning World, Me and Depression, I Wish You Love, Ring of Fire, Yonder, It's Love Time,* Why You Wanna Leave Me?,* Way Back When (Jeb back on Fender guitar), River of Gold, It's a New Day, The Ones You Love

*Jeb on Kent guitar

By Paul Roberge

The day broke beautifully here in central North Carolina, with deep skies of blue and a breeze moving pleasantly through the open window in my study. It is such a blessing when the cool, dry air comes to these parts, after the long hot summer. I did my best to stay focused on the sociolinguistic problem sets that I had to mark this morning and to compose and debug a test that I am to give in my South African literature class tomorrow. But these chores were more difficult than they ordinarily would be. For a day to which so many of us have looked forward with great anticipation had finally arrived.

My dear friend and anthropologist colleague Don Nonini (aka "Uncle Don") and I arrived at the farm a little after 5:00 pm, to have a bite to eat, reconnect with the fine people whom it is our privilege to know, and to experience the farm's quiet beauty before it gets seriously crowded. After all the rain that we have had in what is otherwise the driest time of the year, the festival grounds are lush and green. Blessedness.

The setlist was a melange of new material ("It's Love Time, "Why Do You Want to Leave Me?"), familiar standards ("Way Back When"), and older nuggets ("Spinning World," "I Wish You Love," "River of Gold," "It's a New Day," and especially "The Ones You Love"). DtB shows are remarkably dynamic, and this evening's was true to form. I would not have predicted "Biggie K" as an opener (which may be an artefact of my not getting to as many shows as some Herd folks), but it was quite effective in launching the set. Another milestone to which I look forward is when David McCracken breaks out on organ, and this occurred during "Ring of Fire" (I never tire of this song). Still another benchmark is when the instrumental segments power up to full throttle--the Donna machine, like a turbine, magnificent and beautiful to behold ("Me and Depression," "Yonder"). By the time the band brought out "It's a New Day," we were indeed "up on a holy ride." I continue to watch Vic Stafford's drumming with great interest and pleasure. He and Jay Sanders create a solid rhythm foundation.

The interesting setlist, so well performed, along with the ambient physical surroundings and gentle crowd (a little smaller than last April) made for another special Thursday evening opener at Shakori Hills--one that I shall remember fondly. I hope that somehow, some way, Gene Martin could sense the love and good wishes that are flowing his way from Chatham Country, North Carolina. He will remain in our thoughts. Well, that's the report from Shakori Hills for this evening. G'night.

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