Strings & Sol 2015
Strings & Sol 2015
December 10-14, 2015
Now Sapphire Resort
Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Uno, dos, tres, cuatro… Our vacation just gets better each and every year! Returning to our familiar home of Now Sapphire, we just had the best of times soaking up the sunshine and dancing in the sand. We were joined by old friends Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon and Larry Keel, along with new friends Fruition and Sam Bush Band. The beach is truly a catalyst for magic, as we witnessed through four jam packed nights of musical bliss. Tight pickin’, onstage collaborations, and great weather were the themes of 2015, and we all had no complaints about that!
Fresh off the release of their new album, Black Sheep, Yonder Mountain String Band was in fine form all week. Led by the energy of newcomers Allie Kral and Jake Jolliff, they performed both classic jams and new material throughout their three special guest filled shows, including this rockin' version of "Pockets" with a little help from their friends.
Also fresh off a new album were Greensky Bluegrass, as their two beach shows brought the best of both worlds - one special guest-heavy set and one set with primarily just the Michigan quintet onstage. Whether it was enjoying the best cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” you’ve ever heard or one singing along to one of their many original favorites, it was smiles all around when they were onstage. Watch "Demons" live from the beach!
From New Jersey to Mexico, Railroad Earth brings the good vibes and good jams everywhere they go. Fans were in a frenzy of bliss beginning the moment Todd and the gang came out and opened their first show with "Seven Story Mountain" to their hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Peggy-O” which closed their second show. Add in sit-ins from Larry Keel, Sam Bush, and others, and it’s easy to see why these guys get so much love on the beach.
And of course the festive vibe wouldn’t be complete with some Leftover Salmon! Their two shows were non-stop dance parties, perhaps highlighted by the special guest-filled “Up in the Hills Where They Do The Boogie” jam in front of a beautiful Caribbean Sea sunset. Then there was the bonus for the faithful: Vince Herman brought up his bandmates to help him hold court for the late night John Hartford Tribute in the Palapa!
Also on the 2015 lineup was Sam Bush, who brought his full band down to Mexico for two shows after being featured as a special guest in 2014. Having a living legend with us on the beach was such an honor, and not only were their two shows special, but him and his bandmates left their mark all week by sitting in on sets left and right. Other artists returned the favor and sat in with Sam Bush Band, creating musical highlights such as this rousing “Nine Pound Hammer.”
Strings & Sol 2015 also featured two shows from Fruition, including a set on the beach and a late night set in the Palapa. With a new album due out in April 2016, we got to enjoy a sneak peak of some of the tracks in a live setting including “Labor of Love” and “The Meaning”, in addition to their tried and true favorites.
Activities and Extras:
Strings & Sol 2015 featured fun and excitement both on and off the stage. Almost every artist seemed to be out and about at some point, mingling with fans or helping host an activity! Greensky Bluegrass was particularly active, having judged their own margarita contest and performed a mini, "unplugged" set in the Palapa in an intimate, storytellers fashion. Also getting into the action was Tim Carbone, Andy Thorn, and Jake Jolliff, who all co-judged the Pickin' Contest, as well as Ben Kaufmann (on keyboards!) and Dave Johnston who led us though another unique and jazzy "Not Nearly As Cool As Sinatra" set. Also rounding out the extracurriculars was an enlightening "Stories From the Road" with Vince Herman, Sam Bush, and Tim Carbone, Positive Legacy's Poolside BINGO hosted by Sam Bush, Allie Kral, and Mimi Naja, and other bits of tropical fun...And of course, we have to mention our Pirates and Pixies theme night. It was so amazing to see everyone dress up on the third night and turn our resort into a bustling bucaneer and fantasy land!