Dan Auerbach at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2017, by Ria Burman
Gillian Welch (photo: Ria Burman)

Day two of Hardly Strictly brought bigger crowds and an abundance of great music. Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn opened the Banjo Stage with their beautiful, gentle collaborations, while the Brothers Comatose opened the Towers of Gold Stage to the masses with energy-jigging, feel-good bopping. It’s impossible to remain still when their vibe ripples through. Poncho Sanchez opened the Swan Stage with Latin Jazz mastery, exploding excellence across the field, while Howard Wiley got fresh mixing Led Zeppelin with Dr. Dre on the sax, opening La Victrola Stage.

Once playing and producing for Lucinda Williams, Gurf Morlix brought down the Rooster stage with banter between great storytelling songs. Kieran Kane and Rayna Gellert played an intimate set at La Victrola followed by Peter Rowan and Jack Casady on the Banjo Stage. An excellent blend of everything awesome, Rowan’s performance was a class act. Lillie Mae fiddled at the Rooster stage mid-afternoon, accompanied on guitar by her brother, before Jamey Johnson got country deep on the Towers of Gold stage.

Gillian Welch gave a mighty fine performance on the Banjo Stage, with “Look at Miss Ohio” bringing the polo field to a collective sway, while Patty Griffin delivered a mesmerizing set with jig-tastic energy and powerfully, delicate vocals. The HSB revue featuring Sugar Ray Norcia, Annie Sampson, Steve Freund, Chris Cain, Ruth Davies, and Tony Braunagel attracted a mamomoth crowd at the Porch Stage. Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys country-swoon-crooned the Rooster Stage while Robyn Hitchcock brought his own experimental rock-random to the Porch Stage.