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Willie Nelson and Family @ The Mann with Allison Krauss and Kacey Musgraves.

June 16, 2014

encore1Text and images by Andrew Mendelson.

Kacey Musgraves, a relative newcomer to the country scene, opened the night of country music at The Mann on Friday with her five-piece band. They performed a rockabilly-infused set for 45 minutes to an enthusiastic crowd, closing with an a cappella version of “Happy Trails” as the band members’ jackets were lit up with LEDs.

Allison Krauss and Union Station followed, opening with “Let me touch you for awhile.” They played a 75-minute set with the virtuoso backed by impeccable bluegrass  harmonies and a group of musicians who have played together for more than two decades.

Willie Nelson and Family opened with Whiskey River and moved deftly from one song to another, with few pauses in between. The audience sang along to many of the songs, reacting as if they were seeing an old friend.

The 81-year-old Willie still plays a crisp sounding guitar, while his voice is sorrowful and rich. The “family” is his five-piece band.

The other two groups joined Willie on stage for an encore of standards, including “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Roll me up and Smoke Me When I Die” and “I Saw the Light.”

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