12 Best Things We Saw at MerleFest 2016

From Jason Isbell's triumphant headlining set to Old Crow Medicine Show's super-charged strings

Best Envelope Pusher: Alison Brown
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William Sparklin1/12

Best Envelope Pusher: Alison Brown

From the Watson Stage crowned by the green of 200 trees, banjo great Alison Brown steered clear of modern politics, reaching back instead to Civil War conflict in "A Long Way Gone," about the Battle of Nashville. The Connecticut native has pushed the boundaries of folk and bluegrass, in her case by adding electric keyboards and embracing jazz-brunch styles. Knowing that her MerleFest audience has always listened to pop radio — whether it admits it or not — she offered light-rock favorites by Chuck Mangione and Cyndi Lauper.  

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