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Three Cryptic Clues Released So Far for The Wayback’s 10th Hillside Album Hour at MerleFest

A previous Hillside Album Hour at MerleFest. Photo by Jacob Caudill

By Jesse Wood

The days leading up to MerleFest are when musical sleuths attempt to guess what classic album The Waybacks and special guests will perform at the Hillside Stage in late April.

Not only has the Hillside Album Hour become a Mecca-like destination during the four-day festival for the past decade, the Guess-A-Thon on social media leading up to the performances has become a necessary affair in its own right.

So far, The Waybacks have released three clues. Like recent years, the clues are intentionally cryptic. You have to go down a hoop-jumping, rabbit hole of far-out associations to bands, musicians, songs, lyrics and other popular culture references to figure out what album they might play.

Here are the three clues released so far for decryption in 2017:

  • What’s your name? Who’s your daddy?
  • Five-of-five. We’re off to a great start!
  • “Mr. Jones really did not know what was happening here, did he?”

These are some of the clever guesses on The Waybacks’ Facebook page:

Hmmm … Ballad of a Thin Man … Mr. Jones was the Thin White Duke … Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars? And Bowie wrote What’s Really Happening. Yes, stretching/wishing. Will also accept Dark Side of the Moon. đź™‚

What’s Goin’ On, Marvin Gaye. Marvin Gaye was connected to Billy Paul, who sang Me and Mrs. Jones. And Mr. Jones didn’t know about what Mr. Jones was doing, right? I know, it’s a stretch….

The song “Time of the Season” had the line: “To take you in the sun to (promised lands)”. Mormon settlers in the desert saw in the Joshua trees the image of Joshua raising his arms, thus encouraging them that they were on their way to the American promised land. So, I’m still guessing (fingers crossed!) U2’s The Joshua Tree. 

I think others had it right (was Rebecca Hendrix first?): Byrds, Fifth Dimension. It all fits. Clue 1: “What’s Happening?!?!” Clue 2: Track 1, “5D” Clue 3: Jim/Roger McGuinn’s name change. Right or wrong, thanks to John Sellards for filling in that last blank.

I’m so fixated on Bowie so I just find what fits. But this is a Zombies’ lyric — and there is some connection to killing Zombies with a Bowie knife in Call of Duty. not that I play Call of Duty. But I do know how to Google. Though thought the clues were google-proof so who knows… could be way off track

The previous guess received this reply: Bowie’s Thin White Duke character was described as “a mad aristocrat, an amoral ZOMBIE and an emotionless Aryan superman.”

The Byrds, The Zombies, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye and U2 are just a few of the band guesses for the upcoming Hillside Album Hour at MerleFest in North Wilkesboro.

Since 2008, some of the following albums covered at Hillside Album Hour include Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II, The Beatles Abbey Road, Allman Brothers Band Eat A Peach, Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA, Crosby Stills Nash and Young Deja Vu, Bob Dylan Before the Flood, Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced?, and Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers. 

In between clues, The Waybacks announced that Celia Woodsmith from Della Mae and elsewhere is the guest vocalist at this year’s Hillside Album Hour: “And, no, Celia will not tell you what the album is regardless of bribes or threats, so don’t even go there,” the announcement on Facebook read.

See the clues below. Click the posts below to check out all the guesses and to make one yourself!

For more information about MerleFest, which starts on Thursday, April 27, click here. 

For more information about The Waybacks, which will perform on Saturday, April 29, click here. 

Clue No. 3

Clue No. 2

Clue No. 1