Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

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Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss among others return to MerleFest in 2020

From the good folks over at MerleFest:

Presented by Window World, MerleFest is proud to announce the initial lineup for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. 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.

“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the four-day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, festival director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2020 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers, and we look forward to another successful festival in April.”

The complete lineup for MerleFest 2020 will be announced over the next few months. For more information, visit

Today’s lineup announcement includes Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Robbie Fulks, Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill & The Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt, Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder, Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern.

Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale today and may be purchased at or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 12 to February 16, 2020; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 17 to April 22. Remaining tickets will be sold at the gate during the festival.

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5 reasons to attend The Shindig 2019

If you’ve had trouble finding the schedule for The Shindig 2019 “Music For Your Beers” that kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2,  in downtown Clayton, North Carolina, it’s below and you’re welcome.

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Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance features Galactic, Donna the Buffalo, Roosevelt Collier, Tan and Sober Gentlemen, Shiloh Hill and many more Oct. 3-6

PITTSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA — The 16th Annual Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance is set for Oct. 3–6 on an idyllic 72 acres in bucolic Chatham County, less than an hour’s drive from Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.

More than 50 performers, including Galactic, Donna the Buffalo, Roosevelt Collier, Tan and Sober Gentlemen and Shiloh Hill, will appear on four stages over four days. Other activities include yoga, dance and sustainability workshops.

The festival site has been described as a “music lovers’ paradise” and offers affordable tent, vehicle and RV camping options. Four-day and single-day tickets are on sale now and children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Learn more at

The nonprofit festival benefits the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center. The Arts Center provides free, or greatly reduced, music and arts programming to Chatham, Orange and Durham counties.

The following ticket outlets will have four-day tickets:
Circle City Books (Pittsboro)
The Regulator Bookshop (Durham)
Townsend Bertram & Co (Carrboro)
Schoolkids Records (Raleigh & Chapel Hill)
Redix Store (Wilmington & Wrightsville Beach)
REI Co-op (Raleigh, Cary, Durham)


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Inaugural Earl Scruggs Music Festival set for Sept. 4-5, 2020 in Mill Spring, N.C.

RALEIGH — One of Grammy award-winning Dobro player Jerry Douglas’ earliest memories is hearing Earl Scruggs play banjo on the radio in his childhood Cleveland home.
“I doubt I would be a musician now if it hadn’t been for that sound,” Douglas told a group gathered at the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) annual conference and music festival in the Raleigh Convention Center on Friday, Sept. 27, for the announcement of the inaugural Earl Scruggs Music Festival set for Sept. 4-5, 2020, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina.

Douglas continued, “Little did I know that later in life he would be my friend.A s far as I’m concerned this festival named in his honor is far overdue. But I also believe that’s the way Earl would want it to be. We can only hope that we can make him proud in how we perceive his legacy to the world.”

Douglas, who started his group the Earls of Leicester as a tribute to Scruggs, will act as musician in resident for the festival.

Scruggs, who has deep ties to North Carolina, popularized a three-finger banjo picking style that became a defining characteristic of bluegrass music.
The two-day event that will feature music from bluegrass, folk, blues, roots and Americana styles to celebrate Scruggs is a collaboration between the Earl Scruggs Center located in Shelby and WNCW radio station located on the campus of Isothermal Community College. The festival will benefit both the radio station and the college.
In addition to Douglas, the initial lineup includes Marty Stuart, Alison Brown, Dom Flemons, Radney Foster, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, The Barefoot Movement and Unspoken Tradition. Both Foster and Unspoken Tradition performed as part of the announcement that was made by festival director Steve Johnson, formerly of MerleFest.

Few other artists in American history have had such an impact as Scruggs, according to a festival press release. His work in 1946/47 with Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys and later with Flatt and Scruggs helped create an entire genre of music. His banjo playing was so fresh and different for the time that it was christened the “Scruggs style” of banjo and is still the most prominent banjo performance style in the world.

“Earl was my uncle, so I knew him a long time,” says JT Scruggs, a board member of the Earl Scruggs Center. “The first Earl Scruggs Music Festival presents an opportunity to bring exposure and new visitors to the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, North Carolina. The proceeds from the festival will also help to keep the center in good financial shape. The festival will bring great music and many different groups to the region. And I hope that people will hear things about Earl that they may have never heard before as all the artists share their personal stories. I know that Earl would be proud of what we are doing and that we are remembering him through the festival.”

Noah Wall of The Barefoot Movement grew up in North Carolina.

“I feel so lucky to have that in common with legends like Earl Scruggs,” he said. “He was such a trailblazer, not just a pioneer of bluegrass, but he also pushed the boundaries of traditional music. I don’t think he set out to be different for the sake of standing out, I think he did it for sake of the music itself. He just sought after good music, music that moved him, and that is so inspiring to me.”

In October, two new acts — Acoustic Syndicate and Blue Highway– were announced. More artists, both national and North Carolina-based, will be added over the coming months. The festival will feature more than 20 artists and three stages in a beautiful setting at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, according to organizers. Camping, lodging, restaurants and other amenities will be available onsite.
For tickets and more information, visit and

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MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest accepting entries for 2020 festival beginning Oct. 1

WILKESBORO, NORTH CAROLINA — MerleFest, presented by Window World, will begin accepting entries for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC) on Wednesday, Oct. 1, according to a press release.

CASC is one of the most acclaimed songwriting contests in roots and Americana music and has a reputation for launching careers as well as drawing attention to important new talent. The contest is split into four genre-based categories including bluegrass, general, gospel, and country. First through third place winners will be chosen in each category at MerleFest 2020, set to take place on April 23 – 26, 2020.

MerleFest is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. First-tier tickets for MerleFest 2020 will go on sale on Nov. 12, with Tier 2 pricing beginning Feb. 17, 2020, and Tier 3 pricing beginning April 23, 2020.

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Kruger Brothers’ Carolina in the Fall festival hits its stride in year five

The Kruger Brothers own homegrown music festival, Carolina in the Fall Music & Food Festival, has been on the rise ever since it received IBMA’s Momentum Award and this year is no exception.

In addition to the Kruger Brothers, festival goers will have the chance to hear Balsam Range; Chatham County Line; The Black Lillies; EmiSunshine; Hawktail; Trout Steak Revival; Scott Mulvahill; Cicada Rhythm; The Contenders; The Honey Dewdrops; Baucom & Jones; Williamson Branch; Hank, Pattie & The Current; Zoe & Cloyd; Red Wine; Newberry & Verch; Presley Barker; Lateral Blue; Nikki Talley; Thurler-Mosimann Project; Carly Bannister, S. Grant Parker and Jac Thompson; The Burnett Sisters; Cane Mill Road; Back Porch Bluegrass Band; Shay Martin Lovette; Alex Key & The Locksmiths; and Bob and Roberta Kogut.

Check out the official press release below and learn more at

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Appaloosa Roots Music Festival announces final lineup for fifth anniversary

The final lineup for Scythian’s Appaloosa Roots Music Festival 2019 is here and includes headliners Steep Canyon Rangers, the Dustbowl Revival, Yarn, Humming House, Fireside Collective and many more.

“We’re thrilled to release our full slate of amazing artists for our big fifth anniversary, with 33 bands over three days,” the band wrote in an email.


VIP Packages and Family Packages are available. And this year, the festival has added a full day of music on Friday.

Book tickets and accommodations at