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All the Clues are in for The Waybacks’ Album Hour on the Hillside Stage at MerleFest

Hill Side Photo by Jacob Caudill
Photo by Jacob Caudill

By Jesse Wood

Well, all the clues are in for 2015 Album Hour at the Hillside Stage at MerleFest, which begins on Thursday.

Album Hour, however, takes place on the Hillside Stage from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, and The Waybacks have announced that Joan Osborne will be a guest on stage.

The event has become a fan favorite, where The Waybacks perform a classic album in its entirety. Fans gather at the hillside hours before the show to snag a great seat, and the album in question is always a guarded secret until that first note is played.

In past years, The Waybacks have performed the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, the Beatles’ Abbey Road, the Allman Brothers’ Eat a Peach, Bob Dylan and The Band’s live album, Before The Flood and Are You Experienced by Jimi Hendrix.

Perhaps just as much fun – well, probably not – is the “cryptic and mysterious” clues that The Waybacks release before the show, so fans have a chance to guess what album the band will be playing.

The Waybacks
The Waybacks

“Selecting an album each year is always both a fun and challenging process,” Michael Nash, The Waybacks manager, has said in the past. “Once we do decide on something, we begin to drop hints in regular intervals leading up to the show. As the years have gone by, we’ve found that we’ve had to make those harder and harder, as there are a lot of pretty sharp Album Hour fans out there. Seeing the creativity of their responses based on some pretty cryptic clues is a blast. We love how people have taken to the adventure.”

So what are the clues that the band has released on this Facebook page?

  • We promise to treat you right.
  • Myrtle Grant, his ex, wanted nightly bar romance.
  • Smiling rookie flips out on two joints.
  • She was a friend of mine.

The clues have elicited responses such as Bob Marley’s Legend, Pat Benatar’s Crimes of Passion, Cream ‘s Disraeli Gears, Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus, Grateful Dead’s American Beauty, Eagles’ Hotel California, Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills and more.

One person on Facebook had a plausible guess:

“I’m guessing Hotel California. It’s a stretch, but the “nightly bar romance” seems fitting, the “rookie flips out on two joints” could be Joe Walsh and the colitas, “we promise to treat you right” may be the hotel staff, “she was a friend of mine”… I don’t know… maybe the woman mentioned in The Last Resort??”

What do you think the album will be?

Comment below or join the discussion at the “2015 Hillside Album Hour Guess-A-Thon” Facebook page.