Jonathan Trundle | MTSU Seigenthaler News Service
The stars were out in full force at the fifth annual Bluegrass Situation Superjam Sunday night at That Tent.
Actor-musician and Superjam originator and host Ed Helms, country star Martina McBride and bluegrass legend Bobby Osborne headlined one of Bonnaroo’s tried-and-true festival closers for the acoustic set.
In a news conference Sunday afternoon, Helms — best known as an actor in — “The Hangover” franchise and TV’s “The Office”said the group rehearsed the event for the first time this year, because in the past it had been a “cluster (expletive) in the best possible way.”
Practice paid off. The show went over without a hitch.
After traditional Bluegrass performances from Nashville-based The Bryan Sutton Band, Helms, Mandolin Orange and Greensky Bluegrass, the crowd welcomed McBride’s cover of the Beatles’ “Blackbird.”
In another genre change, singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno delivered one of the best performances of the set, merging funk and bluegrass with her cover of Prince’s “Kiss.”
The biggest shock to the crowd was when the 85-year-old Osborne took the stage with his mandolin, performing three songs throughout the show.
In a nod to Tennessee, the group joined on stage to perform “Rocky Top,” the Felice and Boudleaux Bryant classic first made famous by Osborne and his late brother, Sonny Osborne, who recorded and performed as the Osborne Brothers. The crowd enjoyed the upbeat change, enthusiastically shouting “Woo!” in each chorus.
With all of the performers on stage, the superjam concluded with a powerful version of “God Bless the USA,” headed by Helms, with Moreno, a Guatemala native, singing a chorus in Spanish.