I’m writing this a little after 3pm from the WPSU studios in State College, so I guess this report is a bit premature: after all Remington Ryde has probably just taken the stage at the Stony Creek Campground not far from Wellsboro, PA, and The Rowan Cunningham Band will close out the festival from 5-6pm. When we got up this morning to drive from Wellsboro to State College so I could host the Folk Show, a gentle but steady rain was falling—I hope the rain let up enough to make the day comfortable for festival goers.
But even in the rain late Sat night, the music was terrific. I’d seen Joe Craven before, so I had some idea what kind of performer he his, but I was even more impressed this time. He’s an incredibly innovative and sensistive mando and fiddle player, and his range of “found” percussive items is pretty amazing, including the jawbone of a donkey, complete with rattling teeth. And in every instance, no matter how weird the item, the rhythms Joe coaxes out of them are both rock solid and tasteful. This was (Californian) Joe’s first visit to Hickory Fest, and he obviously impressed the other performers, because he shared the stage with a bunch of them, including the Harris Brothers, Rowan Cunningham, Billy Gilmore, Mosier Brothers….