Strings & Sol 2016

Strings & Sol 2016
December 9-13, 2016
Now Sapphire Resort
Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Our fifth Strings & Sol was really something special. Having been our fourth year at Now Sapphire, we had the lay of the land down quite well and with so many familiar faces all around, it was like one big happy reunion. We enjoyed almost perfect weather for the enture four days, and saw countless sit-ins and special jams to make for another unforgettable run of music. A big thank you to all who joined us in Mexico and added to the good vibes we felt all week long!


Shortly after getting settled in, Yonder Mountain String Band got the music started for us at Strings & Sol 2016. New favorite “Insult and an Elbow” kicked things off before a Winds of Wyoming>Funtime>Winds of Wyoming sandwich with Danny Barnes, a Casualty with Larry Keel, and a handful of other choice jams. The next day, Yonder played a super intimate afternoon set in the palapa, opening up with the situation appropriate “Bloody Mary Morning.” The set trekked on and featured other covers including "Sister Golden Hair" and "Scent of a Mule." A unique Yonder show indeed! Two days later on the final night, Yonder Mountain held the honors of closing down the beach and did so in grand fashion as they always do. Keller Williams hopped on keyboards for a sweet rendition of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," before both Tim Carbone and Anders Beck came out for a jammed out Years with Rose>Traffic Jam. To end the set, Yonder dug deep and sandwiched Ween’s Piss up a Rope in between On the Run, before inviting a cast of Strings-y characters up on stage for one last hoo-rah: Lou Reed’s "Walk on the Wildside" for an encore.


Coming in hot after the recent release of yet another new album, Greensky Bluegrass satisfied the tastes of Strings & Sol with 3 shows this year! Their first show came on the evening of day 2, and while Mother Nature tried to rain us out, the band just rose above and played harder. After opening up with "Old Barns", the guys ran through tunes like "Leap Year" and "Demons" before wrapping up the set with a powerful Windshield. After set break the band returned for another great segment of music, highlighted at the end of a cover of Prince’s "When Doves Cry." The next day, we gathered around the gazebo in the main pool for some afternoon Greensky in the sun! A 1 set show featured rarity covers like "We’re an American Band", "Help!", and "Walk Away." A jovial mood permeated the entire set which even saw both Dave and Anders cool off in the water with fans mid-show. The next and final night saw Greensky play their third show, a special guest heavy affair of jamming. There was a hint of irony and humor as the band sung "Worried About the Weather", before diving into Pink Floyd’s "Time" and a "Miss September" with Andy Goeslling and Duke Davis on horns. Other set highlights include "Jay Walking", "I’d Probably Kill You" with Larry Keel and Danny Barnes, a smoking hot "Kerosene" with Drew Emmitt, and the set ending "Living Over."


On the 2nd day, Railroad Earth treated us to our first of 3 sunset shows for the week. After cleverly beginning the set with "Saddle of the Sun", they kept the beach references going with songs like "When the Sun gets in Your Blood" and "A Day on the Sand", before a sweet version of "The Wheel" put icing on the cake. The following night, Railroad Earth was back at it again for us on the beach. The first part of the show was highlighted by Railroad Earth’s take on "Acadian Driftwood" and a 13 minute, jammed out "12 Wolves." As the evening continued, so did the music as we enjoyed other favorites like "The Hunting Song", "Bird in a House," and "Elko."


Right after Yonder played the Strings & Sol 2016 opening set, it was Leftover Salmon who followed them up and sure did not disappoint! "Mexico" was the first song played, before "Tequila", "Whispering Waters" (w/ Larry Keel), and a cover of Neil Young’s "Alabama". It was then "River’s Rising" that ended their show and sent us down the beach dancing. After a night off, Salmon was back at it on night 3 for another set. Songs like "Liza" and "Two Highways" set the tone for the rest of the show that featured numbers like "Bolin Creek" and "Maria Terea", before "Better" brought us together for one last ho-down in the sand.


After a year away, The Infamous Stringdusters returned to Mexico for 2 incredible shows of their own! The first of which took place on the third night, and included a "Ginseng Sullivan," "My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling," and "Not Fade Away", the latter of which featured Nicki Bluhm on guest vocals. Then 2 days later as the sun set on our final day in paradise, it was The Dusters who provided the tunes. Their 2nd show featured another excellent mix of originals and covers, including Pink Floyd’s "Fearless" and The Grateful Dead’s "Jack Straw", as well as "The Place That I Call Home", and "The Hitchhiker". Jake Jolliff even came out for a dazzling sequence of "Wheel Hoss", and "One More Bridge". We’re still not sure how the guys saved enough energy for Grateful Grass later that night!


Speaking of Grateful Grass, Keller Williams' contributions to Strings & Sol 2016 cannot be overlooked! After pickin’ for us on the beach during his Keller and the Keels set, Keller had the duty of closing out the festivities on the final night with Grateful Grass late night. The former set featured a collection of unique covers, indulging a Danny Barnes’ led version of Beck's "Loser", as well as Marcy Playground’s "Sex and Candy", and Tom Petty’s “Rebels”, among other gems. By the time night 4 rolled around and it was time for Grateful Grass, Keller and his Stringduster buddies had their work cut out for them! Classics like "Brown Eyed Women", "Eyes of the World", and "Bertha" permeated the palapa as we danced our final dance of Strings & Sol 2016.

Activities and Extras:

As always, the Strings & Sol fun extended beyond the stage and incorporated a range of activities and extras for fans and artists alike to enjoy. Some of the 2016 highlights included Greensky Bluegrass’ Tropical Drink Challenge, the annual autograph signing, a special “Songs in the Round” pickin’ session with Barnes, Keel, Aijala, and Goessling, and some poolside games with Vince Herman and Tim Carbone! The Infamous Stringdusters even treated us to a special “unplugged” set in the palapa. Of course, we have to mention our Discograss theme night, a colorful evening of retro grooves and garments. Combine all these extras with the wonderful weather and all the music out on the beach, and we’ve got ourselves a recipe for a one great vacation!


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