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

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Mandolin Orange
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Ed Gavenus5/11

Mandolin Orange

Watson and Monroe remained incarnate as the popular Mandolin Orange hit the main stage under a cruel evening sky. From down the highway in Chapel Hill, the duo of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz and their band pounded out the bluegrass standard "My Long Journey Home," which the two legends routinely polished up in their day. Marlin seemed sheepish invoking his looming forebears, but he needn't have flinched. The band's striking originals – "Wildfire" and "That Wrecking Ball" – explored the mystery of the human experience with authority that belied their musical youth. The rain came, and Mandolin Orange sang about "floorboards creaking" and "memories slipping away."

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