Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

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Will Overman Band premieres first single off debut album at MerleFest 2016

If you haven’t heard Will Overman Band (WOB), just wait. You will. And you can hear the first single, which is being released on Friday, April 29, at MerleFest exclusively here. From the band’s debut album, the self-titled “Will Overman Band,” the single, “All I Say,” showcases the band’s myriad talents and combines an upbeat tempo that belies the regret-tinged lyrics.


The album is set to be released June 4 at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The band is composed of Will Overman, on guitar and vocals; Daniel McCarthy, guitar; Brittney Wagner on guitar and vocals; J Wilkerson on bass; and Christopher Helms, drums.

Fresh off WOB’s first Northeast tour, you can to hear the band perform live at MerleFest, where it will make its festival debut
at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 30, on the Plaza Stage as part of the second annual MerleFest Band Contest. The band also intends to play a lot in the Pickin’ Place, Overman says.According to the website, the music of WOB — call it “amped-up folk rock” — is as energetic as it is passionate. It can be haunting and evocative yet sincere, sweet. Musically and lyrically, the band draws from its Virginia roots, producing a rare combination of enticing harmony and straight-ahead, hard-charging rhythm and riffs.

Drawing comparisons to The Avetts and Jason Isbell, the band carries an unwavering commitment to its music — and to its fans. That music and those lyrics, as the Huffington Post wrote, seems to draw “ … from the experiences of someone much older.” Soulful and unforgettable. Addictive and sometimes playful. Meaningful and real. Those factors, plus a transcendent passion and unyielding commitment to craft, are what truly define this rising, must-see group of talented young musicians.


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Wild Ponies ride full circle with hometown album release

Mark your calendar for May 13 because that’s when you can purchase your very own copy of Wild Ponies new album, “Radiant” out on No Evil Records. While I found the whole album to be brilliant, buy it for the single, “Love Is Not A Sin,” alone. Trust me on this one.

Here’s a snippet of a verse: “It doesn’t matter who you love, when two lovers find each other, I’d say it’s sanctioned from above …”

The tune was written long before North Carolina’s H.B.2 and similar legislation was recently enacted, but it addresses the issue head on in the Wild Ponies unique rootsy, rock and oh-so eloquent way.


Natives Doug and Telisha Williams came full circle on Saturday night for the album’s release party at The Rives Theatre in downtown Martinsville, Virginia. If you missed them, you can hear them perform at Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival set for May 26-29 in nearby Axton, Virginia. Continue reading

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FloydFest announces 20 new bands to make your Earth Day rock

This just in from the good folks over at FloydFest:

Join us in a celebration of abundance, with the 16th edition of
FloydFest: Dreamweavin’— July 27-31, 2016.

The soundtrack to our spring is the hundreds of submissions we receive for FloydFest’s anticipated On-The-Rise Competition! Some of these are chosen by our in-house jury of talent scouts, and this year include: Dalton Dash, The Devyl Nellys, Grand Ole’ Ditch, Moonshine District, Of Company, The Wildmans, and Zoe Ravenwood. Continue reading

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On Huffington Post: MerleFest Band Competition features possible future festival headliners

The following piece also ran on The Huffington Post here.

Headliners such as John Prine, Jason Isbell and John Oates have drawn nearly 80,000 Americana music fans annually to the hills of MerleFest on the campus of Wilkes Community College each April for the past 28 years. But it is the young musicians trying to make their mark who can provide some of the freshest and transcendent moments at this festival founded by the legendary Doc Watson, who called it “traditional-plus” music.

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On Huffington Post: Major and the Monbacks double up on unusual musical stylings, new album

The following post was also published on The Huffington Post here.

Everything about Major and The Monbacks is doubled. The eight-piece psychedelic rock band has double the number of players most bands have. That means double the sound. And there’s even a set of twins providing double the talent. Think Chicago meets the Grateful Dead meets The Band. And new album paired with a critically acclaimed producer should result in at least double the new fans.

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Six reasons you don’t want to miss Phuzz Phest 2016

Self-pegged as the Camel City’s premier music festival, Phuzz Phest returns April 15-16  for its sixth year with 50 bands scheduled to perform a wide-range of genres at multiple downtown venues and much more in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Festival founder and organizer Philip Pledger has done another outstanding job of attracting breakout talent such as New York indie trio Sunflower Bean, one of this year’s SXSW Music Festival darlings, and Austin-based Southern rockers White Denim, which just released a new album. Both bands are featured in recent issues of Entertainment Weekly.

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Can’t wait for Rooster Walk 8? The Rives Theatre to host several acts in April to tide you over

If you haven’t seen a show at the historic Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville, Virginia, you’re missing out. This former movie house is celebrating its sixth year as a live music venue and community space dedicated to arts and education. Managed by the nonprofit Arts at the Rives Theatre (ART), the theater, which dates back to 1932, is run solely by volunteers.

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