musicreporterblog

Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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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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MerleFest announces artist additions to April 26-29, 2018, lineup

Greensboro, North Carolina, native and Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens is among the more than 75 artists scheduled to perform April 26-29 at MerleFest on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, festival organizers announced today.

Giddens, who is also a recent $625,000 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient and a welcome addition to the hit TV show, “Nashville,” is among four additional artists revealed by the festival along with Elephant Revival, Rodney Crowell and Shinyribs. Continue reading


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Second annual Balsam Range Art of Music Festival set for Dec. 1-2 at Lake Junaluska

Fans of Balsam Range, listen up:

The 2017 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Album of the Year winners for “Mountain Voodoo” on Mountain Home Records have announced the second annual Balsam Range Art of Music Festival will be held on Dec. 1-2, 2017, on the grounds of the beautiful Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Haywood County, North Carolina.   Continue reading


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2017 Wide Open Bluegrass features Steep Canyon Rangers, Steve Martin, The Infamous Stringdusters and many more

If bluegrass music has a Super Bowl, it’s the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) World of Bluegrass week — the world’s largest urban bluegrass festival. The festival kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 26, with the Bluegrass Ramble and wraps up Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, with Wide Open Bluegrass 2017 presented by PNC at the Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

In between is a business conference featuring Greensboro’s own Rhiannon Giddens as the keynote speaker and exhibits at the Raleigh Convention Center, as well as the 28th Annual IBMA Awards Show hosted by Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn — acclaimed artists in their respective careers and GRAMMY winners in their duo work — Thursday night at the Duke Performing Arts Center.

No self-respecting North Carolina event is complete without barbecue. The North Carolina Pork Council will once again host the 2017 Whole Hog Barbecue Championship as part of Wide Open Bluegrass. The best whole hog barbecue chefs in North Carolina square off to become state champion. After the judges have had their say, the mouth-watering barbecue will be chopped and sold in sandwiches Saturday to festival attendees.

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