12 Best Things We Saw at MerleFest 2016

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

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Best Life Partners: Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch
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Jim Gavenus10/12

Best Life Partners: Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch once said that tying her personal relationship with Dave Rawlings to their act would be "hokey and lame." At MerleFest, though, they were one in the same. No George and Tammy show, their heart harmonies in the Dave Rawlings Machine magnetized the audience. As if perched on a radio barn dance stage, they swung from their flirtatious "Sweet Tooth" to the grim "Bodysnatchers" from the "Knoxville Girl" school of songwriting. Throat problems had scotched their scheduled press conference earlier in the day, but their voices purred by showtime.

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