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Premiered August, 2004

Veteran rebel and godmother of folk, Joan Baez brings a feeling of hope, dignity and humor to the set of Soundstage in an evening that recalls the icon's success in the 60's, but also shows that she and other featured artists are looking after folk's future. Ever mindful of politics, the regal beauty delivers a stunning rendition of "Christmas in Washington," along with other gems including "In My Time of Need" and "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)." Baez then blesses the future of folk with a captivating cover of guest star Gillian Welch's "Elvis Presley Blues."

Welch performs her Appalachian-influenced "Look at Miss Ohio" and the up-tempo track "No One Knows My Name" from her recently released album Soul Journey. Welch engages viewers with her uncanny ability to be both soul and folk in the same instant. The songstress has enjoyed immense success since the Grammy win of O Brother Where Art Thou's "I'll Fly Away" and "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby" with Alison Krauss.

Clean-cut Nickel Creek, who are produced by Alison Krauss and recently won their own Grammy, point the direction in which instrumental folk is headed. On this episode, the 20-something trio plays their hit "Smoothie Song," along with the crowd-pleasing "I Should've Known Better." Mandolinist Chris Thile strums with a vengeance to other bluegrass-inspired tunes including "Tom Bombadil," "Reasons Why" and "This Side" while siblings Sara Watkins, on fiddle, and Sean Watkins, on guitar, demonstrate not only versatile musicianship, but also their knack for exceptionally smooth harmonies.