Rocky Mountain Folks Festival 2009


M. Ward, David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

After three days of (mostly) beautiful, sunny Colorado weather, over twenty artists and hours of fantastic music, the 19th Annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival drew to a close as the audience singing I’ll Fly Away with Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and M. Ward.

While there were far, far too many great moments to name them all, here’s a short highlight reel of the festivities.

Aug. 14 – Festival Day 1

1:50 pm – Photos of Vance Gilbert and Lucy Wainwright Roche in the gallery. Vance was just singing about his dog in a way that Richard Thompson might.

Lucy was in the songwriting contest but Liz Longley ended up winning the Songwriter Showcase.

3:41pm – Peter Himmelman just got off the stage, what a crazy set. Lots of audience participation, and some rocking jams with some of the Song School students.

He actually jumped off the stage and led the crowd in a giant dance around the festival grounds. It was amazing.

And Monica, the dentist’s wife, may never live down the impromptu song he sang for her and her beer.

5:23pm – Mary Gauthier just played her set, she brought out Over the Rhine for Mercy Now and did some great stuff. 

9:45pm – The wonderfully jazzy Madeleine Peyroux just took us on a musical ride through Paris and dropped us off somewhere in the smoke-filled basement of a ’20s blues joint.

Read about her set.

10:40pm – Musical royalty and booming operatic skills collided during Rufus Wainwright’s set. He’ll be telling Loudon that someone beat Lucy in the songwriter’s contest.

Aug. 15 – Festival Day 2

12:08pm – A few Amy Speace photos have been added to the main gallery. The band’s from New Jersey, where Bob Dylan managed to get arrested, by an officer who didn’t know who he was. Yes, there are people who have never heard of good ole Robert Zimmerman.

4:26pm – Colorado Songwriters in the Round (Danny Shafer, Jami Lunde and Reed Foehl) were in the Wildflower Pavilion.

7:29pm – Over the Rhine review is up.

Their set was five kinds of funky and sultry, with references to Tom Waits, Emmylou Harris, John Prine and Steve Earle flying every which way.

And apparently watching Rufus made Karin want to be a gay man.

10:00pm – Susan Tedeschi and Don McLean photos are up. Read about Don’s set here. The crowd nailed the chorus on American Pie.  It’s one of those special songs that holds a place in just about everybody’s heart.

Aug. 16 – Festival Day 3

3:30pm – Ben Sollee and Blind Pilot pictures are up. Ben plays an amazing vintage, student-grade cello named Kay.

And Blind Pilot does have a vision, for groovy, Americana roots music. They’ll be one of the next big things.

4:23pm – Mia Dyson is kicking out the blues (and Little Feat’s Willin’ and Randy Weeks’ Can’t Let Go maybe -dare we say it- better than Lucinda’s version) on the guitar. She’ll be back in Colorado in the fall, make sure to go check her out then.

5:20pm – The between-set music right now is Richard Thompson singing “Oops, I Did It Again.” The idea of him actually performing this never, ever stops being funny.

7:30pm – M. Ward had special guests (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) come out to up his folk factor and to sing A.P. Carter’s Hello Stranger, or at least try. David was also taking pictures from the stage of the crowd with his Leica.

9:00pm – Brett Dennen shared some special and important advice – stay off the mountains that border the festival grounds – along with a fantastic set that kept everyone dancing.

10:48pm – Gillian Welch and David Rawlings (along with the expected special guest appearance from M. Ward) left the stage after some Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and Look at Miss Ohio.

That’s it, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival #19 is over, leaving us with lots of memories and melodies.

Until next year, over and out.

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Photos by Nichole Wagner

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