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CLUE #4: A catcher in the wry managed to famously wax nostalgic.

Make your guesses at our Facebook event page. Here's the link:

2014 Hillside Album Hour Guess-A-Thon!

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CLUE #3: No rain, no choice, no substitute.

Make your guesses at our Facebook event page. Here's the link:

2014 Hillside Album Hour Guess-A-Thon!

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CLUE #2: The brothers walked a moonlight mile like a rolling stone on fire; so heavy a road should never be.

Make your guesses at our Facebook event page. Here's the link:

2014 Hillside Album Hour Guess-A-Thon!

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Yes, it's true. The Waybacks are returning to MerleFest for our 7th consecutive Hillside Album Hour! Either we must be doing something right or someone's not paying attention.

If you've been around for all of these, or heard it through the grapevine, we began with Led Zeppelin II and rocked on with Sticky Fingers, Abbey Road, Eat A Peach, Are You Experienced, and Before The Flood. Along the way, we've been aided by a dazzling array of talented partners-in-crime, including Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, John Cowan, Joan Osborne, Susan Tedeschi, Sarah Dugas, Mike Farris, Della Mae, The Wailin' Jennys, Jim Lauderdale, Sam Bush, Jens Kruger, Jerry Douglas, John R. Burr, Kym Warner, Rob Ickes, and the list goes on.

In keeping with tradition, we'll be posting a series of oblique, obscure, and otherwise impossible-to-solve clues for you all to attempt to decipher. So unless you're incredibly gifted at breaking cryptic codes, you might just have to wait for the downbeat at the Hillside Stage to find out what we have in store.

But that shouldn't stop you from trying. Fabulous prizes beyond thought await the winner. Or something. Make your guesses in the spaces below. Guess early and often. But don't offer the same guess more than once. There are no bonus points for that.

Make your guesses at our Facebook event page. Here's the link:

2014 Hillside Album Hour Guess-A-Thon!

And now, for your guessing pleasure, is our first clue for 2014. Good luck and let the guessing begin!

CLUE #1

Imagine a murder of crows, a number of them too high to fly, unable to fit into the overhead compartment, yet not high enough to appease the demands of the Yellow Bird, nay the Blackbird.

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It took awhile, but we're finally able to offer you the chance to check out last year's Hillside Album Hour in the privacy of your own home, car, headphones, or wherever you like to groove on tunes. It took two discs to fit all the music but we captured every last note and packaged them up for your listening pleasure. So, click on the link below to head on over to the company store and get your dose of the good stuff.

Hendrix on the Hillside

We'll have digital downloads available in the not-too-distant future, but for now it's old school, just like Jimi did it.

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CLUE #4: I was familiar with one road, and the other just disappeared into the distance.

Make your guesses at our Facebook event page. Here's the link: 2013 Hillside Album Hour Guess-A-Thon!

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CLUE #3: Check out our post in the Earth Sciences forum.

Make your guesses at our Facebook event page. Here's the link: 2013 Hillside Album Hour Guess-A-Thon!

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CLUE #2: Two lost orphans find their way home.

Make your guesses at our Facebook event page. Here's the link: 2013 Hillside Album Hour Guess-A-Thon!

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Well, they said it couldn't be done, but The Waybacks are returning to MerleFest for our 6th Hillside Album Hour! This is starting to become an addictive habit.

Our run of past transgressions, in order of appearance, began with Led Zeppelin II and rocked on with Sticky Fingers, Abbey Road, Eat A Peach, and Are You Experienced. Along the way, we've been aided by a dazzling array of talented partners-in-crime, from Emmylou Harris to Elvis Costello, John Cowan to Joan Osborne, Susan Tedeschi to Sarah Dugas, Sam Bush to Jens Kruger to Jerry Douglas to Jim Lauderdale, and many, many, more.

For this year's model, we're digging into the vaults for something we think is pretty special. We hope you will, too.

In keeping with tradition, we'll be posting a series of oblique, obscure, and otherwise impossible-to-solve clues for you all to attempt to decipher. So unless you're incredibly gifted at breaking cryptic codes, you might just have to wait for the downbeat at the Hillside Stage to find out what we have in store.

But that shouldn't stop you from trying. Fabulous prizes beyond thought await the winner. Make your guesses in the spaces below. Guess early and often, but don’t offer the same guess more than once – there are no bonus points for that.

Make your guesses at our Facebook event page. Here's the link: 2013 Hillside Album Hour Guess-A-Thon!

Your first clue follows. Good luck to all. Let the guessing begin!

CLUE #1: This fabled recording studio is no stranger to the Album Hour.

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Resident Waybacks guitarist extraordinaire James Nash has just released an instructional guitar video, aptly titled "Making the Acoustic Guitar Rock!" The two-hour DVD covers a wide range of topics, from basics like alternate picking and how to make bar chords and string bends easier, to more advanced strategies for moving around the fingerboard and playing over chord changes. James shows how he works influences like Keith Richards and Neil Young into his flatpicking, and shares ideas for improvising over bluegrass standards like "Cherokee Shuffle" and "Blackberry Blossom," as well as songs like "Hide Your Love Away," "Cocaine," and his own "Bright Place."

There's a lot here for players of all levels, as well as some exciting off-the-cuff studio jams. So, if you want to get a glimpse at how James does what he does on the acoustic and bring some new ideas and techniques to your own playing, head on over to our Mercantile & Boutique at the link below for more info.

Making The Acoustic Guitar Rock!

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This past April we celebrated our fourth consecutive Hillside Album Hour by playing the Allman Brothers' classic recording, Eat A Peach, in its entirety, along with a version of Whipping Post for good measure. Joining us were good pals Joan Osborne on lead vocals, John R. Burr on keyboards and Hammond B-3, Larry Atamanuik on drums, and the Wailin' Jennys on backing vocals.

We're happy to announce that we captured every note and are now able to share them with you via the modern miracle of CD or Digital Download, as you choose. To check out what took place on that sun-drenched afternoon under a fine Carolina blue sky, click the yellow peach colored link below, head on over to our Mercantile & Boutique, and get a healthy dose of those timeless tunes.

Eat A Peach

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We're very pleased to confirm that our pal, Joan Osborne, will bring her serious vocal chops to bear as our lead vocalist for this year's Hillside Album Hour at MerleFest on April 30. We'll be holding our annual contest to guess the album on Facebook this year. Stay tuned for the first clue and details on how to enter your best guess.
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We're honored to be included on Jerry Jams for Rex, a recently released compilation of live performances of Jerry Garcia tunes to commemorate the 15th anniversary of his passing and benefit the ongoing efforts of the Rex Foundation.

Jerry Jams for Rex includes our version of Dupree's Diamond Blues, along with an array of inspired performances by the likes of Phish, Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, The String Cheese Incident, Keller & The Keels, Railroad Earth, The Black Crowes, Moonalice, Yonder Mountain String Band, Widespread Panic, Hot Buttered Rum, and Steve Kimock Crazy Engine. An exceptional tribute to an exceptional musician and spirit.

To learn more about this great tribute to Jerry and help the Rex Foundation carry on their good work, please visit this link to sample tracks and purchase the CD or downloadable tunes. Jerry Jams For Rex A project well worth your support!

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We recently returned from an exciting new adventure in Waybacks land - orchestration! On June 12, we performed all of Abbey Road w/Special Guests Joan Osborne, John Cowan, and Jens Kruger at the Riverbend Festival in Tennessee, backed by the Chattanooga Symphony. All on a hot summer night atop a giant stage on the river facing the shore. What a trip!

Many thanks to our guest artists and Bob Bernhardt, Maestro of the Symphony for a job very well done. A sampling of the reviews captures how good we all felt about the show:

"The Beatles would have been proud last night. The Chattanooga Symphony, Joan Osborne, The Waybacks, and John Cowan combined to cover The Beatles Abbey Road album, and did it in a most spectacular way. George Martin, The Beatles producer, Geoff Emerick and Alan Parsons, engineers on the Abbey Road Album, would be proud. Chattanoogans in attendance last night were proud of their symphony. I am proud of the folks at Riverbend who took a chance with this show and pulled off what may have been the greatest show in Riverbend history.

Opening with "Come Together", the group proceeded through the original album, scored beautifully, with Joan Osborne and John Cowan providing the lead vocals for the concert. The group even did an encore, which is hard to do once you cover the entire album, but they improvised and came up with a cover of "I Saw Her Standing There". Yes, The Beatles would have been proud, as was I."
- Bob Payne, The Chattanoogan

"Wow. I'm almost at a loss for words to describe how incredible it was hearing tonight's headlining performance of "Abbey Road" by the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera's partnership with vocalists John Cowan and Joan Osborne, banjo player Jens Kruger and The Waybacks.

Frankly, I don't think I've ever enjoyed live music quite as much as the hour long performance I just experienced.

Obviously, with such excellent source material as the Beatles legendary studio opus, it seems like it would be impossible to go wrong, but material that well-known is a decidedly double-edged sword. It's almost impossible to live up to a suite of music that well known, and if you try, your performance is automatically put under microscopic scrutiny. I think tonight’s show easily survived that scrutiny.

There's a reason "Abbey Road" was never performed live. Its intricacies and nuances were so heaped upon one another that to attempt to recreate it live would require, as it did tonight, a full orchestral backing. This was an exciting opportunity to experience the album in what I think is the form closest to how it would have been performed by the Fab Four live.

Guitarist/singer/songwriter James Nash, who founded The Waybacks, led us on a brilliant rendition that played to the ensemble's strengths. Cowan is the human equivalent of vocal dynamite, which I think was obvious to everyone after he lit into "Oh! Darling" ("Carry That Weight" was another standout).

Not to be outdone, Osborne showed she can dance like a Bond girl and fit vocal tongue and groove as the lead on "I Want You (She's So Heavy)."

The Waybacks and Kruger added incredibly spicy acoustic accompaniment in just the right places. If you think fiddle sounds like a weird ingredient to add to "The End" and "Her Majesty," you haven't heard Warren Hood give it a go. He made it sound, well, the word "good" comes to mind, but it doesn't do it justice. On the same song, Nash proved he’s got killer guitar chops that made me want to cut off my fingers I was so envious.

I know this comes across as a Beatles fan gushing, and I've never made a secret of my idol worship of the Liverpoolians, but I also scrutinize groups that cover them much more than I do tributers of any other group. This was, hands down, the best performance of Beatles music I've ever heard, including Abbey Road Live!, the Athens, Ga.-based group that make a living doing just this kind of tribute show.

If there's one thing that fans of the Beatles can take away from tonight, it's that to really do their studio work justice requires a full-on orchestra backing. The CSO's performance was just ideal to accompany this show. It seriously couldn’t have been done, well or not, without them. We should be proud to count such a group of musicians among our ranks.

Although the show was fairly short, at just an hour long, I've never been so entertained for that length of time. The cherry on top, however, was when we, the audience took to our collective feet and showed such appreciation that Nash came back out on stage.

"We didn't know Chattanooga was going to be this kind to us, so we didn't prepare anything (as an encore)," he said. "Give us a second, and we'll make something up."

I've gotta say, I envy their ability to improvise, if their bopping rendition of "I Saw Her Standing There" really was done on the fly. The awesome riffs seemed too good to be the product of flying by the seat of your pants, but these guys had already demonstrated they had incredible chops. I can't say I would have had high hopes for "Beatles banjo," which Nash asked Kruger for, but he certainly delivered the goods.

All in all, the best time I"ve had at Riverbend ... ever. It's hard to see how it can get any better than this."
-Casey Phillips, Chattanooga Times Fee Press

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If you happened to make it to the Hillside Album Hour at Merlefest this year for the band's version of Abbey Road, you know what a stellar afternoon everyone had - musicians and audience alike. Well, through the miracle of modern technology, here's your chance to hear it all again. Or for the very first time, if you didn't get down to Hillside.

Our heroic cast of characters for the occasion included (in alphabetical order): Elvis Costello, Jerry Douglas. Sarah Dugas, Byron House, Jens Kruger, Jim Lauderdale, and Shannon Whitworth. Head on over the our Mercantile and Boutique and check it out. Abbey Road @ Hillside Not to be missed!

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We're just back from MerleFest and had a blast breaking out The Beatles at this year's Hillside Album Hour. A gorgeous spring day, thousands of jubilant fans, and an array of talented guest artists sitting in with us on one of the best albums of all time. Pretty great way to spend the day!


Many thanks to our special musical guests (in alphabetical order): Elvis Costello, Jerry Douglas. Sarah Dugas, Byron House, Jens Kruger, Jim Lauderdale, and Shannon Whitworth.

Head over to our Gallery for a few of the pics!

We'll savor this one for awhile.

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We're excited to report that we've been invited to join a stellar line-up for the Furthur Festival @ Mountain Aire this coming Memorial Day weekend in Angels Camp, CA.

Held at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds, site of many legendary Mountain Aire musical gatherings staged by Bill Graham Presents in years past and home of Mark Twain's famous Jumping Frog Jubilee, the festival includes sets by Furthur (Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, et. al.), Hot Tuna, Jackie Green, Galactic, Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, Mark Karan & Jemimah Puddleduck, The Mother Hips, and more.

There will be special late night shows, an acoustic stage, a Grateful Dead memorabilia exhibit, and who knows what other surprises. Hope you can come out and join us for a festive weekend in the Sierra Foothills.

Tickets go on sale March 26th. See details below.

Furthur Festival

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After much strategic planning, high-level negotiations, communication breakdowns, technical difficulties, detours, u-turns, and other stuff, the brand spanking new-and-improved Waybacks website has been launched!

The much-rumored, never-before-seen Waybacks Machine has been let loose from the basement laboratory and can now be found pictured on our home page in all its high-tech glory. This is where the music comes from, people, believe it or not.

Our cool little Media Player will offer audio and video content from a variety of sources for your listening and viewing pleasure and we'll regularly be updating it with new tunes, vintage performances, and other dazzling feats of prestidigitation.

Our Photo Gallery will house a broad sampling of the band doing what they do, onstage and off.

Our remodeled Mercantile and Boutique will be stocked with a vast array of melodies and merchandise designed to enhance your daily life.

All this and more!

We invite you to stay awhile, push buttons, click links, explore and discover, and return frequently!

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Check out the review of our recent gig in Charlottesville, VA in this month's issue of Relix.

The Waybacks In Charlottesville

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"STICKY FINGERS" BY THE ROLLING STONES! The Waybacks performed the entire classic Stones album "Sticky Fingers" with the help of Emmylou Harris, John Cowan, Sam Bush, Rob Ickes, and Byron House. What a party! Check out "Wild Horses" with Emmylou Harris on YouTube! Many other clips up on YouTube as well...

Last year it was Led Zep II, performed in its entirety with an all-star cast including John Cowan, Pete Wernick, Byron House... Check out a JamBase review of Merlefest '08 with a feature on our Zep set.

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Selected live shows surreptitiously recorded by the band. Volumes 1-3 are available NOW! These are entire shows, brought to you in either glorious full-resolution audio on good old-fashioned CDs or downloadable high quality (192kbps) mp3 format, for use with iTunes, iPods, etc. There is no copy protection on these mp3 files, so you can freely copy them wherever you want, easily burn CDs, whatever. But please, please, please don't post them to music-sharing sites... this is how we make a living, folks!
- Free sample download track of us covering the James Brown classic "There Must Be A Reason," featuring our pal, the extraordinarily-talented Danny Barnes on banjo. Enjoy!

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The Americana Music Association's Top 100 albums for 2008 are in, and we are honored to be listed. Big thanks to the AMA for its continued support of so many of our friends and heroes.