MerleFest 2017: 11 Best Things We Saw at the Roots Music Festival

From Zac Brown Band's stripped-down set to the Avett Brothers doing double duty, the highlights of the annual North Carolina hoedown

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
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Willa Stein7/11

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

Like his compadres Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas, Marty Stuart is a veteran of the first MerleFest, where they all played for free in order to help build a 30-year tradition. That was back in Stuart's hip-shaking "Hillbilly Rock" era. On closing day, he showcased the sweeping vision of his later recordings, including "Old Mexico" and "Time Don't Wait" from the brand new concept album Way Out West. Never one to forget the greats of American music, he and his show-stopping band featured Marty Robbins' "El Paso" and Woody Guthrie's "The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd," sung by drummer and standout harmony singer Harry Stinson. Toward the end of the set, Stuart rued missing Doc Watson's funeral five years ago, but compensated with a stirring performance of the bluegrass gospel "Angels Rock Me to Sleep."   

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