From the good folks over at MerleFest:
WILKESBORO, N.C. (March 21, 2017) – America’s top roots music festival MerleFest, presented by Window World and slated for April 27-30, 2017, is pleased to announce the return of two well-known, innovative Saturday night events for late night festival revelers.
The Midnight Jam is one of MerleFest’s most cherished traditions. A host band and a slew of powerful guest artists delight festivalgoers into the early morning hours with unique musical collaborations that create unforgettable MerleFest Moments. It is also the festival’s one-of-a-kind event where fans have come to expect the unexpected.
For MerleFest 2017, North Carolina’s own Mipso will host the Midnight Jam, bringing its progressive bluegrass roots and indie-Americana sound back to MerleFest. The Midnight Jam is presented by renowned roots music website The Bluegrass Situation and will take place at the Walker Center starting at midnight; a separate ticket is required and available for purchase by four-day, three-day and Saturday ticket holders. Other artists confirmed to play the Midnight Jam this year include Jim Lauderdale, Donna the Buffalo, Peter Rowan, Bryan Sutton, 10 String Symphony, Sierra Hull, Celia Woodsmith (Della Mae), Front Country and more!
“Many years ago, Tony Rice and a few others came up with the concept and started the Midnight Jam,” remembers Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager. “From there the Midnight Jam has become a highlight of the MerleFest weekend, bringing together unique configurations and surprising ensembles of musicians gathered at the festival. You never know who may walk out from behind the curtain to take the stage on Saturday night in the Walker Center! For 2017, we are extremely excited to have a MerleFest favorite, Mipso, serving as the host band.”
Another much-loved, late-night tradition at MerleFest is the lively and loud Saturday Night Dance, which takes place right before the Midnight Jam on the Dance Stage. Nashville-based, roots-pop band Front Country will host the dance. With its brand-new album, “Other Love Songs,” already garnering critical praise, Front Country is poised to break out nationally. The band’s high-energy blend of soaring vocals and groundbreaking bluegrass-inspired picking will be hard to resist on the dance floor. This year at MerleFest will be especially meaningful for lead singer Melody Walker; she returns as a performer after winning MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in 2013 for her song “Black Grace.”
Chapel Hill’s indie-Americana quartet Mipso – Jacob Sharp (mandolin, vocals), Wood Robinson (bass, vocals), Joseph Terrell (guitar, vocals) and Libby Rodenbough (fiddle, vocals) – is influenced by the contradiction of its progressive home and the surrounding rural southern landscapes. Currently celebrating the release of its fourth album, “Coming Down the Mountain” (April 7, 2017), Mipso ventures further than ever from its string band pedigree to discover a broader Americana where classic folk-rock and modern alt-country sounds mingle easily with Appalachian tradition. Adding pedal steel, drums, banjo and keyboards to the intimate four-part harmonies and powerful acoustic meld, Mipso’s music is lush and forward moving, with lyrics that sear and salve in turn. Hailed as “hewing surprisingly close to gospel and folk while still sounding modern and secular” (Acoustic Guitar) and recently recognized by Rolling Stone as a favorite 2016 festival performance, Mipso brings a distinctly unique sound – full of wistful beauty, hopeful undercurrents and panoramic soundscapes.
Mipso’s third album release, 2015’s “Old Time Reverie” (2015), shot up the Billboard charts, landing at No. 1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart and in the Top 25 of the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. The album was named among the Best Records of the Year by The Guardian for the band’s “aptitude for stunning harmonies” and for its “lush and moving songs.” Mipso’s earlier albums were “long, long, gone” (2012) and “Dark Holler Pop” (2013).
Don’t ask members of Front Country what kind of music they play. Just listen. What started as a group of friends playing bluegrass in San Francisco’s Mission District has morphed into a touring powerhouse of song and sound, transcending their humble string band roots. Front Country’s dynamic instrumental textures take flight with grace and gravitas while rooted in the relentlessly soulful vocals of lead singer/songwriter Melody Walker. Along with mandolinist Adam Roszkiewicz, guitarist Jacob Groopman, violinist Leif Karlstrom and bassist Jeremy Darrow, this quintet has been called passionately intoxicating and orchestral, and Melody’s bluesy vocals have been described as rafter-shaking.
Mobile App Ready for Download
MerleFest has unveiled the 2017 MerleFest mobile app, now available for download. The MerleFest mobile app is offered at no charge to users and features the MerleFest lineup and stage schedules, artist biographies, map, announcements, social media links and more. The app allows users to plan for their entire MerleFest experience. Users who currently have the MerleFest mobile app will receive a prompt on their phones to download the 2017 version of the app. The app is compatible with Android and iOS platforms. A bonus for MerleFest fans: once downloaded, the app will be fully functional without having connection to phone service.
Tickets for MerleFest 2017 are on sale now and may be purchased at MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. An advance ticket discount runs through April 26, 2017. Gate pricing begins on the first day of the festival.
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, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.