Overheard Sunday morning before Del McCoury: "Is everyone he plays with the world's best?" "No, just the country's best."

Del McCoury Band by Jake Krolick
Del was on at noon and he sure did impress. Flanked on either side by band members, and grinning from ear to ear, Del ripped through a catalogue of bluegrass that burned hotter than the noontime sun. Early on a "Fifty Two Vincent Black Lightning" stood out among the highlights. During his performance an announcement was made that a couple had recently been married and they had saved their wedding bouquet to have Del toss it out to the crowd. Del obliged and threw that bouquet deep into the mix and launched into a ripping "Nashville Cats." He then took every crowd request that was shouted. After each one he would introduce Ronny and Rob McCoury, Jason Carter, or Mikey Bub, saying how each one had won this or that award. The sun singed my skin as the North Mississippi Allstars and John Medeski chilled on stage.

What seemed like a pretty standard NMA set gave way to such intricate keyboard stylings by Medeski. The energy between him and bassist Chris Chew was quite remarkable. Chew was dancing all over the stage. I had dreams of the Campbell Brothers coming up for a quasi-Word reunion. John Medeski is exactly the musician the NMAS need to throw them further into stardom. Cody Dickinson finished us off with his lightning fast handwork on the washboard.

All Good 2004 by Jake Krolick
Digger and I chose to watch Jeff Austin's solo set before packing up the car and heading out. It's a good thing we did because Jeff was really incredible alone. The ride home gave me five hours to reflect on the weekend as I drove up to Philadelphia. Walther Productions pulled together an awe-inspiring group of musicians. It's wonderful to get them all together for a weekend of music and fun. All Good was just the spot to pay homage to the folks who play the music of our lives and ultimately put a smile on our face daily.

This summer when you watch Olympic coverage on TV or read about it in the paper, think about the men and women putting in two hour plus sets in blazing heat or freezing temperatures. Playing strings till fingers are raw. Lungs so dry from singing that the desert looks wet. Yes, these are my Olympians, my heroes of the jam.

All Words & Images by: Jake Krolick
JamBase | Philadelphia
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[Published on: 7/16/04]

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