This was the first year that the  free, three-day music festival Hardly Strictly Bluegrass was without it’s founder Warren Hellman. Warren passed late last year and left a San Francisco tradition that is being faithfully carried out by an army of music lovers, bigger and better than ever. This year’s festival in Golden Gate Park featured 6 stages,  a crowd of 600,000 and 88 acts with a variety of artists like Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, The Lumineers, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Conor Oberst, The Civil Wars, Son Volt, Ralph Stanley, Nick Lowe and many more. Check out a handful of the many covers from the weekend below!

John C. Reilly – Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down (Traditional)
The actor, comedian and musician John C. Reilly covers this traditional song that is most recently know as a Johnny Cash track. Featuring Tom Brosseau on guitar.


The Civil Wars – Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover)

Joy Williams and John Paul White aka The Civil Wars made their HSBG debut this year after cancelling last year’s appearance last minute. They drew a large crowd and did a very cabaret style cover of Michael Jackson‘s hit, “Billie Jean”.


The Cowboy Junkies – Don’t Let it Bring You Down (Neil Young cover)

The Cowboy Junkies haven’t been very active with their live touring, so it was a great addition to the festival to have the indie, alt/ folk/country band play. During their set  they decided to pay homage to their fellow Canadian Neil Young by doing a fantastic version of “Don’t Let it Bring You Down”.


Amanda Shaw – Should I Stay or Should I Go (The Clash cover)

Cajun fiddler Amanda Shaw rips a shredding take of The Clash‘s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”


Dwight Yoakam – Sloop John B (The Beach Boys cover)

Country music veteran Dwight Yoakam brings his twang to the classic track off The Beach Boy‘s 1966 album, Pet Sounds.


Keller Williams & Friends – Women Are Smarter (Harry Belafonte cover)

Keller Williams, Steve Kimock & Kyle Hollingsworth with Bernie Worrell, Wally Ingram and Andy Hess create an all-star jam band that takes the Harry Belafonte calypso hit to new places.


Reignwolf – The Chain (Fleetwood Mac cover)

Showman Jordan Cook, aka Reignwolf grabbed hold of an electric mandolin, and in over-driven blues mode, slashed out a unique version of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”.


Get more info on Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on the festival’s website.

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