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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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IBMA announces lineup for free Wide Open Bluegrass Streetfest on Sept. 28-29, 2018, in downtown Raleigh, N.C.

8iuiyBluegrass fans listen up: The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass announced today an amazing lineup of more than 100 bands that will perform on seven stages set up throughout downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and inside the Raleigh Convention Center on Sept. 25-29 as part of Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest. Best of all for music lovers, all the performances are free!

There will also be a dance tent, local artisans, food trucks, youth performances, and the Master’s Workshop Stage inside Raleigh Convention Center.  And there’s always plenty of free jamming to stumble upon for your listening pleasure.

Among just a few of the acts I am looking forward to hearing are Cane Mill Road, Fireside Collective, Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Alison Brown Band, Hank, Pattie and the Current, the Kruger Brothers, Zoe & Cloyd, Town Mountain, Balsam Range, Front Country, Love Canon, ShadowGrass, Jim Lauderdale, Tim O’Brien, Dori Freeman and Flatt Lonesome.

Who are you looking most forward to seeing?

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Women of bluegrass dominate nominations for International Bluegrass Music Awards in Raleigh, N.C, on Sept. 27

After Molly Tuttle’s impressive win at the 2017 International Bluegrass Music (IBMA) Awards as the first female IBMA guitarist, Becky Buller leads the field for the  2018 International Bluegrass Music Awards with eight nominations followed by Tuttle’s six. Close behind with five nominations each are Special Consensus, and The Del McCoury Band/The Travelin’ McCourys, with strong showings by Rhonda Vincent, The Earls of Leicester, Balsam Range, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Results of the balloting will be revealed at the International Bluegrass Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Listen Up: Live music opportunities abound for Memorial Day 2018

There are numerous live music festivals and venues throughout North Carolina, Virginia and beyond on tap to help you celebrate the official kickoff of summer over the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. Following are a few highlights. If I’ve missed one, let me know! Continue reading


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The Cleverlys sign with same label as Balsam Range, Lonesome River Band and Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver

If you were fortunate enough to catch The Cleverlys, a five-member trio known for its unique musical stylings, at MerleFest 2018, then you most likely know why the good folks over at  Mountain Home Music Co.  have decided the to make them the latest group to sign with the award-winning label. Continue reading


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8th Annual Chantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ Festival to feature Balsam Range, Seldom Scene and Love Canon, among many others May 25-27 in Floyd, VA

I’ve never made it up to the annual Chantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ Festival in Floyd, Virginia, in part because it is over Memorial Day Weekend, when I can usually be found at another southwest Virginia music festival, Rooster Walk, which is just down the winding road at Pop’s Farm in Axton,Virginia.

Chantilly’s lineup for its eighth annual event set for May 25-27, 2018, however, may be the just the charm needed to get me up there this year. Continue reading


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Scythian among artists to release new albums at MerleFest 2018

If MerleFest has a house band, it’s Scythian.

The band, which blasts folk mixed with Celtic rock and Irish ballads, is composed of a group of siblings with Ukrainian roots — plus friends who create the group’s unique energy.

Scythian is a staple as headliners at Irish/Celtic music festivals across the country, as well festivals on the Americana/bluegrass circuit. Based in the Washington, D.C.-area, the band has performed at MerleFest for more than a decade.

The band kind of entered MerleFest through a side door.

Doc Watson discovered them busking in front of the gates and invited them in — much to the delight of their ever-growing fan base.

Scythian’s music is different, definitely. But what really sets the members of Scythian apart as people and musicians is their love and concern for others, especially the youngest and most vulnerable in our society.

This band of brothers (and sisters) is releasing its second children’s album, “Cake for Dinner 2: Twinkie Twins,” at the 31st annual MerleFest,April 26-29 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, about an hour northwest of Charlotte and west of the Triad.

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