In 1996, BK (before kids), The Hermit and I traveled to the Merle Watson music festival in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, for the second time. We flew, packing all of our camping essentials into two giant duffel bags that we checked through. We rented a small car and stayed at a nice US Army Corps of Engineers campground nearby, in nearly the same site we had camped at the year before, when we had met Firewalker (who deserves a post of his own).
My memories of the festival are limited to the Sam Bush set, and I think John Prine was there that year. Otherwise, we hung out at the campground drinking gin & tonic or Merlot, picking tunes, and meeting fellow campers. There was a contingent of Canadians camped next to us, some South Carolinians whom we knew from the year before camped across from us, and we sat and drank and played music with Firewalker and hid our drinks from the park ranger whenever he came around. Alcohol is not allowed at USACOE campgrounds.
I remember in particular one woman named Laura Bird from Canada. She played and sang a couple of Cheryl Wheeler tunes before totally blowing me away with an original song. I just found a journal from that trip today, and I had written down her name and how her music left me inspired. So today I did a Google search, and voila: Laura Bird.
Check it out, listen to the songs, buy her music, she is good. And I remember the ultimate compliment, when they were leaving, and she asked "Who was singing 'The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore' last night? That was good!"
That was me. I am beaming again with the memory.