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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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The Rives Theatre kicks off new year with Chamber Night featuring The Trogone Band

The good folks at the annual Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival are sponsoring the first show of 2018 on Saturday, Jan. 13, at the historic Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville, Virginia. Continue reading


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MerleFest announces impressive lineup of judges for 2018 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest including Rodney Crowell, Andrew Marlin and Johnny Williams

This just in from the good folks over at MerleFest:
WILKESBORO, N.C. (January 10, 2018) – MerleFest, presented by Window World and taking placeApril 26 – 29, 2018, has assembled a distinguished team of songwriters – Rodney Crowell, Andrew Marlin (of Mandolin Orange), and previous winner Johnny Williams (of Jeanette Williams Band) – to judge the on-site final round of this year’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.

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Northwest String Summit celebrates 17th anniversary July 19 – 22, 2018, at Horning’s Hideout near Portland, Oregon

From the good folks at the Northwest String Summit:

PORTLAND, OREGON — The 17th Annual Northwest String Summit (String Summit) is one of the top boutique live music experiences in the country and presents an array of today’s leaders in the Americana, Bluegrass, Indy Rock, and Jam genres. It all happens at the iconic Horning’s Hideout (North Plains, OR) from July 19 – 22, 2018. Located just 20 miles outside of Portland, Oregon, Horning’s Hideout, a private family-owned reserve of old-growth trees, wild peacocks, ponds, and campsites, stands as one of the most scenic festival sites in the country. A family friendly and locally sourced festival, String Summit caps its capacity at 5,000 attendees to ensure an intimate experience for all festivalgoers at an incredible ticket price. Continue reading


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Year in Review: My favorite musical picks for 2017

While 2017 will be remembered for many things, it turned out to be a great year for new music. Artists including Steve Earle & the Dukes, Lee Ann Womack, Chris Stapleton, Rhiannon Giddeons and Jason Isbell turned out some amazing albums over the past 12 months, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

Instead, I am going to focus on my own purely subjective list that evolves mainly from music festivals I attended, interviews I conducted and stories I published online on this blog, HalfwaySouth.com or on HuffPost that features my favorite genres (primarily folk, Americana, country, rock) and up-and-coming artists that I hope you will take the time to listen to in the coming year and beyond.

And now, in no particular order, here’s my picks for the best listens of 2017. Happy listening! Continue reading


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Ring in the new year on a live musical note

Still looking for ideas to close out 2017 and welcome the new year? There are myriad live music options at venues in and around North Carolina’s Triangle and beyond. The following list is in alphabetical order and in no way comprehensive so please feel free to share other options. Happy New Year!

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First Listen: Couldn’t Be Happiers debut EP on Saturday, Dec. 23, at Granite Falls Brewing Co.

The promising duo,  “Couldn’t Be Happiers,” is releasing its debut EP at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23, at Granite Falls Brewing Co. in Granite Falls, North Carolina (map).

But you can get an exclusive first listen of this fresh, new music, “Let’s Not Bury the Obvious,” here:

The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based duo, “Couldn’t Be Happiers.”  is made up of Jodi Hildebran (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Jordan Crosby Lee (vocals, guitar). They remind me of all the best things about classic country music.

“Right now, since we are such a young band, we put together the best representation of ourselves we could in three songs,” Lee explains. “We’re songwriters first. Live performers a close second and recording artists third. That will come.”

The Couldn’t Be Happiers plan on selling hard-copy and digital EPs for $5 “just to recuperate cost, including studio time,” Lee adds. “It will also be on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. We’re basically giving it away to gain exposure and book more live shows.”

You can learn more about the duo here.