Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

MerleFest adds Leftover Salmon, Tift Merritt, Jorma Kaukonen, Donna the Buffalo and John Driskell Hopkins Band

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From the good folks at MerleFest:

WILKESBORO, North CarolinaMerleFest, presented by Window World and scheduled for April 27-30, 2017, is proud to announce five more artists added to the MerleFest 2017 lineup: Leftover Salmon, Tift Merritt, Jorma Kaukonen, Donna the Buffalo, and John Driskell Hopkins Band! These artists join a list of performers already announced including Zac Brown Band, The Avett Brothers, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and many more. This year marks MerleFest’s 30th celebration. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Leftover Salmon – Colorado’s Leftover Salmon has established itself as one of the great purveyors of Americana music, digging deep into the well that supplies its influences – rock ‘n’ roll, folk, bluegrass, Cajun, soul, zydeco, jazz and blues. During its 25-plus years as a band, Leftover Salmon has headlined shows and festivals from coast to coast, released nine albums and maintained a vibrant, relevant and influential voice in the music world. The addition of new band members over the years has nurtured an unmistakable evolution and freshness in Leftover Salmon’s sound and has added an edge to the long-lasting power of the band’s music. Fueled by the rhythm section of long-time bassist Greg Garrison, drummer Alwyn Robinson and Salmon’s newest member, keyboardist Erik Deustch, the band is currently enjoying a creative renaissance. Leftover Salmon will perform on Friday.

Tift Merritt – Raised in North Carolina, Tift Merritt has released five full-length albums and two live records, including a recent reissue of her debut album “Bramble Rose” earlier this year. The New Yorker has called Tift Merritt “the bearer of a proud tradition of distaff country soul that reaches back to artists like Dusty Springfield and Bobbie Gentry.” Emmylou Harris calls her a “diamond in a coal mine.” She has performed with the New York Philharmonic and toured with artists as varied as Iron & Wine, Jason Isbell, Elvis Costello and Gregg Allman. Her 2004 release “Tambourine” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Album as well as three Americana Music Awards. She has recently recorded and toured with Andrew Bird’s Hands of Glory, MC Taylor’s Hiss Golden Messenger and Simone Dinnerstein. Don Henley, a founding member of the Eagles, covered Merritt’s song “Bramble Rose” to open up his first solo album in 15 years, “Cass County.” Tift won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest 2000 in the Country category. And, she served as a first-round judge for the 2014 contest. She will perform on Saturday.

Jorma Kaukonen – In a career that has already spanned a half of a century, Jorma Kaukonen has been one of the most highly respected interpreters of American roots music, blues and Americana, and at the forefront of popular rock ‘n’ roll. A member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy nominee, he is a founding member of two legendary bands, Jefferson Airplane and the still-touring Hot Tuna. Jorma Kaukonen’s repertoire goes far beyond his involvement creating psychedelic rock; he is a music legend and one of the finest singer-songwriters in music. Jorma will perform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Donna the Buffalo – One of the most dynamic and determined bands continuously touring America since 1989, Donna the Buffalo has created a community environment at its shows through its distinctive, groove-heavy and danceable music. Donna the Buffalo is a band that is accessible, positive and memorable for the people. With roots in old-time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric American mix infused with elements of Cajun/zydeco, rock, folk, reggae and country, Donna’s music often contains social and moral responsibility as core beliefs, and its simply fun to get out and celebrate life with its band members. They will perform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

John Driskell Hopkins Band – Over the years, John Driskell Hopkins has been in many groups, namely the Zac Brown Band, and recorded his own solo works. John Driskell Hopkins has been singing since he could talk and like many who grew up in the South, Hopkin’s earliest musical experiences were in the church choir. In fifth grade, he started piano lessons and began to learn about music theory in its simplest forms. Later, he applied what he had learned to his Dad’s old Martin guitar knock-off that he found under the bed. He started playing guitar and bass in high school and formed his first band with some high school friends. Having always been heavily involved in the theatre in high school, he went on to graduate Florida State University with a degree in general theatre in 1993. This year, he brings his band to MerleFest for the first time The John Driskell Hopkins Band will perform on Sunday.

Tickets for MerleFest 2017 are on sale now and may be purchased at or by calling 1-800-343-7857. The festival is offering a three-tiered pricing structure. Early Bird Tier 1 ticket discount is available through February 16, 2017. Early Bird Tier 2 ticket discount will run from February 13 through April 27. The third tier will be gate pricing. Fans are encouraged to take advantage of the extended early bird discount.

MerleFest’s lineup reflects the diversity and quality of performers who are the hallmark of the festival. MerleFest is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles that the late Doc Watson referred to as “traditional plus.” The developing lineup is viewable at

The current lineup includes Alberti Flea CircusTodd AlbrightDarin & Brooke AldridgeThe Avett Brothers, Jim Avett, Banknotes, The BattleAxe BandBethel University Renaissance Bluegrass BandRoy Book Binder, The Bluegrass ExperienceLaura Boosinger & The Midnight PlowboysMark “Brink” BrinkmanZac Brown BandAndy BucknerMark BumgarnerSam Bush BandChatham County Line, T. Michael Coleman, The ContendersCounterclockwise String BandDear Brother, Donna the BuffaloPat DonohueJerry DouglasJohn DoyleEric Ellis, Flando Calrissian, Scott FreemanFront CountryThe Gravy BoysThe Green Grass Cloggers and Strictly StringsMitch GreenhillVirgil Harden & the Appalachian CountdownNate Harris and Spice Creek RamblersWayne Henderson, Bob Hill, David Holt, The Hook & Bullet, John Driskell Hopkins BandSierra Hull, I Draw SlowThe InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Steve James, Sarah JaroszChris Jones & The Night Drivers, Jorma Kaukonen, The Kruger BrothersJim LauderdaleJack Lawrence, Leftover SalmonJeff Little TrioThe Local BoysLocust Honey String BandLydia LuceClaire Lynch, Natalie Macmaster & Donnell Leahy, Mandolin Orange, Bill Mathis, Andy May, Del McCoury Band, Pat McInerney, Tift MerrittMipsoMountain HeartMegan NashCarol Rifkin and Jeanette QueenRoanoke, Peter Rowan, ScythianShadowGrassSteve and Ruth SmithJoe SmothersEd Snodderly, The Steel Wheels, Steep Canyon RangersThe Stray BirdsString Madness with Mitch Greenhill, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous SuperlativesSurry LineBryan Sutton BandSwift Creek10 String Symphony, Ken Tizzard, The TrailblazersHappy Traum, Uncle Joe and the Shady Rest, The WaybacksThe WBT Briarhoppers, Charles Welch, Pete & Joan WernickUncle Ted White, and Tony Williamson.

About MerleFest
MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson, the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, which funds scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

About Window World
Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with a total of over 13 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR partner, and its window products have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for nine consecutive years. Additionally, through its charitable foundation Window World Cares, the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where it was named New Corporate Partner of the Year in 2010. Since its inception in 2008, the foundation has raised over $7 million for St. Jude. Window World Inc. also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a non-profit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. For more information, visit or call 1-800 NEXT WINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter.

One thought on “MerleFest adds Leftover Salmon, Tift Merritt, Jorma Kaukonen, Donna the Buffalo and John Driskell Hopkins Band

  1. Hello, my name is Nate Harris and I’ll be performing this year at MerleFest’s Band Competition. I invite you to come by the Plaza Stage at 11:45 to catch my band’s set. We are performing as Nate Harris and the Spice Creek Ramblers, although I also perform under Nate Harris, Nate Harris Band, and just plain old Spice Creek Ramblers. Please check out some of my music here:

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