Today was split up with 4 in the first half and 3 in the 2nd, which I preferred to yesterday's format.
(1) The show started with _Newfound Road_ - a bluegrassy band. I'm not in love with country and bluegrass, but I can at times enjoy it, and I found this set indeed enjoyable. One of the band members had very ... relaxed neck muscles, and he was referred to in the introduction as their very own bobble-head.
(2) _Eilen Jewell_ came next. I liked her voice. If I were bored and looking for something to do, I'd not say no to a full length concert by her -- but she was a bit more country than I usually seek out, and I occasionally found her tunes repetitive.
(3) The surprise "win" of the evening was _The Doyle & Debbie Show_. The only way I can think to describe them is to ask you to imagine the most hokey of country/religious couples -- being parodied amazingly well. The setup was so good that (other than the location) I wasn't sure they weren't "for real" (and even given the location I wasn't sure they weren't) until I realized the title of their first number was "whine whine twang twang". I occasionally found their shtick reminiscent of Reverend Billy (C. Wirtz). I guess Doyle is the same Doyle as it's ever been, but his Debbie is his third Debbie, and she's only been in the duo for 6 weeks. They were amazing.
(4) _Red Horse_ closed the first half. Eliza Gilkyson, John Gorka, and Lucy Kaplansky. Harmonizing with each other and individually singing each others songs. I did have to laugh at John Gorka (whom I am very partial to) indicating that he was elected as the spokesperson due to his Porky Pig style of elocution. It didn't fire me up, but it was very entertaining, and I could see listening to them as I relaxed with a cup of tea. This was the only group from the first half that I had any prior knowledge of.
I wasn't sure how the 2nd half would go -- there were 2 people whom I thought could easily be the main headliner, and one group I'd never heard of.
(5) _Judy Collins_ was pretty amazing. And I probably _was_ moving half as well as she does when I was half her age. Some of the old standards (Both Sides Now, Diamonds and Rust) I believe she sang a touch differently than she had when she recorded the popular versions. I was of two minds about that -- it wasn't the old comfortable quilt I could wrap myself in, but it was a pretty new one, changed and grown. Some people modify the melody because their voices can no longer perform tricks they used to be able to, but I do NOT believe that was the case here. Then she performed some powerful songs I'd never heard before. Simply amazing. I'm very grateful that she was asked to play here, that she said yes, and I am very glad I got to see her.
(6) Oh my goodness! _Mavis Staples_ -- If your thing is gospel... if your thing is soul... if your thing is rock (a la "The Band") -- If your thing is a woman of immense energy. with an incredible voice that can reach down into unexpected places -- Get thee to a Mavis Staples concert!
(7) The 34th Ann Arbor Folk Festival closed with a performance by "The Swell Season". They were good. I wasn't familiar with many of their songs, and none of them (on a first listen) reached out and told me that I had to have more, but they were good. There was one song they did I had heard before, where he used a slightly different set of lyrics than the ones I was familiar with, but who am I to say that _his_ are wrong.
When they finished, the audience brought them back on stage, and they brought everyone else -- from both nights -- who was still there, to sing "Forever Young". In a bit of an ironic twist, it seemed that all the performers were not only using lyric sheets, but were holding them out at arms length, proclaiming presbyopia. The highlight of this song for me was someone -- I honestly have no idea which performer it was -- taking a verse on the fiddle.