Still, he chose Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" when he invited old Charleston friends to join him and his band on stage. They were Charleston lawyer Josh Barrett, who Carlson said he has known since grade school and once played together in the same band; Bartett's wife, Julie Adams of the Mountain Stage Band; and Ron Sowell, also of the Mountain Stage band and artistic director of the Woody Hawley series.
The extended group also sang "Peaceable Kingdom," which Carlson co-wrote with Jon Gailman in 1974. Ron Sowell told how he heard the song in an Atlanta record shop and liking it so much, he bought Carlson's album and recorded the song with the band he then played with -- The Putnam County Pickers.
Another West Virginia connection is the Avalon Folk Festival in Paw Paw, where Carlson and his band have played at the clothes optional event. Naturally, Carlson got a song out of it: Done in Calypso style, Carlson sang of "folk music in the raw in old Paw Paw."
It wasn't all laughs, though. There were what Carlson called "quiet songs," like "The One Called Shenandoah," in which a country singer has been singing for 40 years about "Wildflower, Tennessee and Shenandoah."
Carlson was accompanied by very accomplished musicians; Paul Payton on the key board and Vinnie Pasternak on the mandolin and banjo provided a polished sound to the sets.
Nels Andrews opened the evening with a half dozen of his original, very literate songs. He won the hearts of the audience by sharing his ordeal. He learned on Saturday morning that he hadn't arrived in Charleston, W.Va. He was, instead, in Charles Town, W.Va.
The next Woody Hawley concert is Jan. 5, featuring Michael Johnson.
Reach Rosalie Earle at ea...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.