Three-part harmonies, mom and dad banjos at RockyGrass 2014

By John Lehndorff

7 p.m. July 25,  Lyons: To jazz and gypsy music fans, John Jorgenson is a guitar deity. Telluride fans know John Randall as a guitarist and singer with Sam Bush and Lyle Lovett. Herb Pedersen was a member of The Dillards, the Desert Rose Band, and Old and the In The Grey (filling in for Jerry Garcia on banjo). Together, they produced one of the freshest sets of bluegrass and jazzgrass I’ve heard in ages with technical virtuosity and a lot of heart and precise 3-part harmonies. It also turns out that Jorgenson is a killer mandolin player – pretty good for a hobby instrument. Pedersen sang his great tune “Wait a Minute,” the song made popular by the Seldom Scene.

The set by Béla Fleck, virtuoso 5-string banjoist, and his wife, clawhammer banjoist Abigail Washburn, sounded like it would be way too much banjo. They worked up a wonderful weird medley of songs they had been singing to their son, Juno, about banjos: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and “Oh Susanna.” She sang in Mandarin. He played a solo excursion that Earl Scruggs would have applauded. A double rainbow appeared over Planet Bluegrass and more than a few tears were shed next to the creek in Lyons.

Finale tonight: Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby with Kentucky Thunder.

KGNU is streaming (almost) the entire Rockygrass Festival at The festival will be broadcast live on KGNU (88.5 FM, 1390 AM) and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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