Best MerleFest Veteran: Jerry Douglas
Taking a page from Alison Brown, Jerry Douglas journeyed through progressive jazz in his 29th appearance at the festival. "We're going to take you into bluegrass with a song by Weather Report," he dryly announced. Like a gypsy peering into a crystal ball and conjuring unsettling vibrations, Douglas's dobro re-imagined a New Orleans funeral march and a Leadbelly prison song. The crowd may have wished for more fire from this reluctant front man, but he and his eclectic band pressed forward, always innovating and seeking knotholes in the fences that divide genres.