Other members of the Ireland family are very much in evidence. The crowd ranges in age from perhaps the mid-eighties down to early teens, but I suspect a greater age distribution is often there. We sat down at a yellow table and ordered coffee and breakfast sandwiches as people began to line up for food and take seats in the performance area. A little after 8:00 A.M., Myles walked over to the microphones, pulled his cutaway guitar off the hook on the wall, sat down and began to warm up. He was joined by Maynard Holbroo, a wonderful singer whom we'd seen at the Kruger Brothers' homes as well as at the jam tents of the Wilkes Acoustic Folk Society during the three days preceding Merlefest. Other people sitting in the inner portion of the jam circle were mostly familiar to us, although we didn't know their names. Lots of the same faces show up at jams in this corner of North Carolina.
Tommy Malbouf (?)
On Sunday evening we dropped in, electronically, on the Country Music Awards show coming from Las Vegas, finding ourselves horrified by the glitz, noise, and general mediocre quality of the musicianship. This degradation of country music stands in stark contrast to the warm and authentic sounds originating in places like The Cook Shack that can be found in more quiet and remote spots around our country. The Cook Shack is one of those unique places where bluegrass, classic country, old time, and, yes, pop, rock, jazz, and other forms are kept alive for those who love to hear and make the music. It's one of those places where authentic American music is made and heard and not to be missed, but you'll have to look for them as those who truly love music don't want Nashville or Hollywood to get ahold of them and ruin the experience. We'll be at the Home Town Opry at Main Street Pawn on Friday morning at 7:00 A.M. this week.