Alan Jackson kicked off the 2014 Merlefest with a twang on Friday night (April 28), drawing one of the largest crowds in the history of the event.

Jackson performed songs from his most recent release, 'The Bluegrass Album,' which remains at No. 2 in the Billboard Bluegrass Album chart after spending four straight months in the No. 1 position. Released in September of 2013, the 11-song album features eight of Jackson's own compositions, recorded live in the studio with some of the finest players in Nashville.

Jackson brought many of those players to the stage with him Friday night. His band consisted of Scott Coney (acoustic guitar), Sammy Shelor (banjo), Tim Crouch (fiddle), Tim Dishman (bass), Rob Ickes (dobro) and Ronnie Bowman and Don Rigsby (vocals) – all of whom played on 'The Bluegrass Album' -- along with Sierra Hull on mandolin.

Merlefest is a four-day festival that hosts over 130 bands on seven stages across the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C. The festival is known for its unique mix of musical styles, from bluegrass to Americana, Celtic, zydeco, country and more. Merlefest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of the late American music legend Doc Watson.