Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

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Balsam Range, First Ladies of Bluegrass on a roll at 2018 IBMA Awards

If bluegrass music was a sport, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s annual awards night would be considered the industry’s All-Star game.

Held Thursday, Sept. 27, as part of IBMA’s 2018 annual weeklong business conference and Wide Open Bluegrass, the party celebrating the best in individual and band achievement for the year was hosted by Hot Rize, the first group to ever win the coveted entertainer of the year award. Continue reading

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Kristin Scott Benson of The Grascals only second woman to win Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass

Award-winning banjoist Kristin Scott Benson of The Grascals has won yet another award and this one comes with $50,000 and a piece of original artwork by Eric Fischl!

Benson is the 2018 recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, Mountain Home Music Company announced on Monday, Sept. 24, which coincided with the kick off of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual Business Conference and World of Bluegrass event in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Continue reading

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Women poised to dominate 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards

In 2017, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Hall of Fame. With the exception of women who were part of a band, and usually a family band, ie. the famous Carter Family, who were inducted in 2001, only one other woman — Louise Scruggs in 2010 — has received solo recognition by the hall of fame organizers since 1991. And this week, songwriter Dixie Hall will be inducted as the fourth.

Let’s face it. Bluegrass has been a good old boys genre since Bill Monroe picked up a mandolin, Louise’s husband Earl Scruggs met Lester Flatt and the Stanley Brothers became the Clinch Mountain Boys. But as Bob Dylan once wrote, “the times they are a changin.'”

Fast forward to 2016, when Sierra Hull and Becky Buller became the first women to win Instrumental Performers of the Year awards for mandolin and fiddle, respectively. Hull came out on top in the same category in 2017, and Molly Tuttle, who appears poised to be among the next female superstars of bluegrass, won Instrumental Performer of the Year for her guitar picking prowess — the first woman to ever top that particular chart. Continue reading

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The Kruger Brothers’ Carolina in the Fall 2018 announces expanded lineup

It’s looking like a beautiful weekend for The Kruger Brothers’ festival, Carolina in the Fall, featuring a fabulous lineup of some of my personal favorites — Jim Lauderdale, Front Country, Humming House, The Kruger Brothers, The Steel Wheels, Fireside Collective, Hank, Pattie and the Current and Will Easter — so make sure you get on out there and check it out!


This just in from the good folks over at Carolina in the Fall Music and Food Festival:

The fourth annual Carolina in the Fall Music and Food Festival set for Sept. 21-22, 2018, in downtown Wilkesboro, North Carolina, has expanded its powerful lineup of entertainment to include The Secret SistersJim LauderdaleFront Country and Humming House, among others. These artists will join festival hosts The Kruger Brothers and The Steel WheelsThe RooseveltsFireside CollectiveThe ContendersSnyder Family BandThe Arcadian WildNikki Talley and more than 100 other musicians, chefs, vintners and craft beer brewers from the region.

The complete lineup is available online at

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OCMS’s Ketch Secor will debut children’s book, ‘Lorraine: The Girl Who Sang the Storm Away,’ on Oct. 2, 2018

You may recognize Ketch Secor as the frontman and founding member of Grand Ole Opry and festival-favorite Old Crow Medicine Show. But did you know that the Grammy-award winner is also an author?

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The Shindig returns to Clayton, N.C., on Nov. 3 featuring Scythian, Yarn

The Shindig, “Music For Your Beers,” returns Nov. 3, 2018, to Clayton, North Carolina. This event always features a great musical lineup and this year is no exception.

More than 25 craft beers will be available along with nine bands, including Scythian, Yarn, Jon Stickley Trio, Fireside Collective, Dangermuffin, and Forlorn Strangers, on two stages.

General admission is free and taster tickets to get beer samples in the VIP tent are available at

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8th annual Apex Music Festival Redo set for Saturday, Oct. 27, to feature The Gravy Boys, Shawn Mullins, Lauren Nicole

The 2018 Apex Music Festival Redo is rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, starting at 2 p.m. All tickets purchased for the original date will be honored on the new date.

From the good folks at the festival: “Hurricane Florence caused us to reschedule the Apex Music Festival to Oct 27, 2018. The weather will be cooler, the music just as fantastic, with Food Trucks, Craft Beer, Wine, Vendors and Street Art. Come join us for the 2018 Apex Music Festival Redo!”

Now in its eighth year, the Apex Music Festival attracts thousands of fans to historic Downtown Apex, North Carolina, to enjoy live music, street vendors, food trucks, beer and wine and an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants.

Two outdoor stages and one indoor theater will host a variety of acts from local, regional and national performers from many musical genres, including Rock, Folk, R&B, Country, Pop and Americana and more. Local food trucks will feature unique food choices in addition to the several indoor offerings from local restaurants and taverns near the festival grounds. There will be a variety of beer stations offering a mix of craft beers from local breweries. Proceeds from the festival will go to Guardian Angel Thrift to assist them in their mission to support Alzheimer’s research.


The eighth annual Apex Music Festival is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in downtown Apex, North Carolina. Featured acts include The Gravy Boys, Lauren Nicole, Beth Wood, Shawn Mullins, and many more.

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Fourth Groove in the Garden in downtown Raleigh, N.C., to feature Lydia Loveless, New Reveille on Sept. 22, 2018

The fourth annual Groove in the Garden music and arts festival returns on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, to the Stephenson Amphitheater and Rose Garden, 301 Pogue St., in downtown Raleigh.
The 2018 Groove in the Garden lineup includes: Lydia Loveless, Loamlands, Pie Face Girls, Kate Rhudy, ZenSoFly, Tres Chicas, New Reveille, Reese McHenry, Blue Cactus, Emily Musolino, Kamara Thomas and Luxe Posh.
According to organizers, “The annual music and arts festival shines the spotlight on the incredible talent we have in North Carolina.”
Gates open at 1:30 p.m. music starts at 2:15. Tickets are $10 advance and $15 at the gate.

In addition to live music, local food trucks, vendors and more will all be on hand.  Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Suitable for all ages.

Find more information here: