TVD Live Shots: Telluride Bluegrass Festival, 6/22

TELLURIDE, CO | 1:10PM: It’s snowing at Telluride Bluegrass Festival. In June. For real.

2:05PM: First stop of the day? None other than the Children’s Talent Show of course! It’s hilarious and heartwarming and my cousins’ kids sang an Irish blessing and nailed it!

2:45PM: The last time I saw the Steep Canyon Rangers was with Steve Martin back at TBF40. While that was a heck of a show, I’m more impressed with them now. Their musicianship is off the charts.

3:47PM: “What—are you guys outta marshmallows already?” It must be Yonder Mountain String Band! The marshmallows rain in from the crowd seconds later. “That’s better,” Dave Johnston laughs.

3:58PM: Today marks the 20th consecutive year that Yonder has played TBF. However, the mood is somewhat somber as we awoke to rumors that former Yonder mandolinist and co-founder, Jeff Austin, was hospitalized. Mid-set, bassist Ben Kaufmann tearfully addressed the situation: “Twenty years ago me, Dave and Adam and Jeff Austin stood on this stage and we shared our music with you for the first time. We woke up today and the internet was on fire with rumors and speculation about our brother Jeff Austin. And what we can say is that he is still with us. What is appropriate right now: if you’re a prayer, send prayers his way. If you’re a lover, send love his way. If you’re a healer, send energy his way. This is what we’re going to send his way.” They then busted out “Half Moon Rising,” a song they haven’t played since Austin amicably left the band in 2014. (Update: Jeff Austin passed on June 24th. We send our love and condolences to his family, friends, and Yonder.)

4:15PM: Yonder is covering Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” right now and it’s outstanding.

5:11PM: I’m listening to Telluride Troubadour Competition winner Emily Scott Robinson on KOTO’s live stream and wow is she going to be famous.

6:12PM: Turns out Steve Poltz isn’t just a great musician and funny guy—he’s also incredibly nice as well! I run into him and his gorgeous hair and asked for a quick portrait photo. He obliges.

8:10PM: The sun came out for Sam Bush Band and so did everybody else! It’s been a pretty freezing day here but even mother nature knows to honor the King of Telluride with her presence.

9:11PM: “As some of you may have heard I had a health scare recently,” King Sam acknowledged. There was concern that he’d be unable to play—let alone attend—a festival that’s never existed without him. “But as you can see, you can’t get rid of me!” he finishes to a huge roar from the crowd. He then dedicated a cover of Leon Russell’s “A Song For You” to his “loved one,” wife Lynn and his daughter Jessica.

9:19PM: Jerry Douglas has joined the Sam Bush Band on stage and I am in heaven because I could listen to him play the dobro all day long.

11:42PM: Railroad Earth had me at their name because it’s in reference to a Jack Kerouac poem. However, they’re definitely more than just the name! It’s 30 degrees F out and has rained on and off all day, but the Festivarians are hanging tough. Their voices carry into the night begging for an encore.

STEEP CANYON RANGERS

YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND

STEVE POLTZ

SAM BUSH BAND

TELLURIDE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL, SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2019

CHILDREN’S TALENT SHOW

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