Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

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New ways to ring in the new year in North Carolina, Virginia

On New Year’s Eve, more than a million people will gather in New York City’s Times Square to watch a crystal ball drop and more than 100,000 people are expected to gather in Nashville’s Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park to watch the musical note drop. But if big crowds aren’t your idea of a party, here’s some musical alternatives to ring in the new year:

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Del McCoury Band to play Mount Airy’s historic Earle Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 17

Fans of MerleFest and other bluegrass festivals are no strangers to the talents of the Del McCoury Band. They are also in for a holiday treat this weekend where they can catch the band performing  at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Historic Earle Theatre, 142 N. Main St., Mount Airy.

Del McCoury sings lead vocals and plays guitar along with his two sons —  Rob McCoury, Ronnie McCoury, who play mandolin and banjo. Other band members include Alan Bartman and Jason Carter.

Elected into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2011, Del McCoury is also the recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are $25, $50, $60 and $65. For more information, call (336) 786-7998 or visit .

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FloydFest 17 announces 17 additions to lineup for July 26-30, 2017

FloydFest fans listen up: Festival organizers have announced 17 new artist additions to the FloydFest 17~Freedom lineup. Check out the new and previously announced artist list below. For the uninitiated, FloydFest is a five-day celebration of music and art nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia at Milepost 170.5 off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Find tickets at

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Arlington’s the FORUM Cultural Series to feature the Accidentals and Adam & I on Thursday, Nov. 17

The FORUM is a public space in Arlington, Virginia, dedicated to promoting culture that highlights the good, the true and the beautiful. A public outreach of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, the FORUM Cultural Series features concerts, dances, films, lectures and exhibitions.

While most FORUM events are Friday evenings, beginning with a happy hour at 7 p.m. followed by a program starting at 8 or 8:30, this week’s concert featuring The Accidentals with Adam &  is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17. Food is also available.

THE ACCIDENTALS w/ Adam & I – November 17 (Thursday show)

Tickets: $10 Advance | $15 At Door | $20 Reserved Mezzanine

“They’re the best folk/jazz/bluegrass/classical/alternative band out there today.” ~ Jonathan Frahm, Yahoo! Voices

I had the good fortune to attend a Season 1 FORUM event in June featuring Celtic rockers and MerleFest favorites Scythian with openers the Duskwhales. It was reminiscent of the street festivals the Catholic churches sponsored in downtown Chicago neighborhoods that I loved to stumble upon when I lived in the area. The energy at the FORUM show was palpable and by the end of the evening I found myself sharing the experience with a group of new friends rather than the strangers I began the night with.

“While the cultural series includes film, lecture and dance nights, the monthly concerts are the backbone of the series and include some of the best up and coming musical talent, including Appaloosa festival headliners like The Accidentals, Humming House, and of course, Scythian,” says Terrence McKeegan, director of the FORUM Arlington.

Season 2 of the FORUM Cultural Series kicked off in September with a concert by Marie Miller, another Appaloosa Fest headliner, and Scott Mulvahill, bassist for Ricky Skaggs, opening.

“FORUM really strives to engage the wider community while being based in the heart of one of the youngest neighborhoods in the country,” McKeegan says. “I’ve been told that our parish has the youngest average parishioner age in the country at 31 years.”

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Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell to perform in Winston-Salem on Friday, Nov. 11

If you’re a Rolling Stones fan, listen up: Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the group, is coming to Winston-Salem on Friday, Nov. 11. You can catch him beginning at 8 p.m. at the city’s newest venue, The Barn at Reynolda Village, 2201 Reynolda Road. Advance tickets are $25, $30 at the door. Click here for more details.

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UPDATE: Bailey Blues and Bluegrass free music festival featuring Mike Farris on Friday, Oct. 7, is still on despite rain


THIS JUST IN: “The Bailey Blues and Bluegrass event is still on for this evening at 6 Friday, Oct. 7. Hoping for a light mist or drizzle and making the best of the situation. Bring your favorite rain coat, umbrella and boots to be on the safe side.”

The Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, Virginia, celebrates and preserves a long history of Blue Ridge Mountain Music that was brought over to America from Europe and West Africa.

The legacy continues with Bailey Blues & Bluegrass, a free music festival brought to you by Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in partnership with the Blue Ridge Music Center. The festival makes it fall 2016 debut at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, at Bailey Park in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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