musicreporterblog

Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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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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30 reasons to attend MerleFest’s 30th anniversary of making music, memories

MerleFest, one of the top Americana roots festivals, is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music and four days of making memories, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles known as “traditional plus.” The festival, presented by Window World, is celebrating its 30th anniversary April 27-30, 2017, at in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Founded in 1988 by the late, great Doc Watson in memory of his son Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College. Tickets are available here.

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42nd Telluride Bluegrass Festival initial lineup includes historic collaboration of Cooder, White and Skaggs and new faces among usual suspects

I’m using my least favorite day of the year, Winter Solstice, to tell you about a show you don’t want to miss on my favorite day of the year, Summer Solstice: the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. This festival holds a special place in my heart. It is the first bluegrass festival I ever attended. One of my best friends and fellow music lover, Lynn Holt, introduced me to the magic of the box canyon that is topped by the twin Bridal Veil Falls and a river running through its lush valley. If Kevin Costner’s dad in “Field of Dreams” showed up there, he would ask if it was heaven. You seriously have to see it to understand how amazing it is. Continue reading


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Marshall Tucker, Belá Fleck, Del McCoury, Hot Rize and Sam Bush are among initial lineup for MerleFest 2015

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: When all the area music festivals start to announce their initial lineups for next year. Kicking off announcement season is appropriately MerleFest, since it’s also the festival that kicks off the live, outdoor music festival season in the Piedmont. Following is the official press release announcement from MerleFest. Enjoy!

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Sam Bush to perform at The Harvester on Thursday, Oct. 30

If you’re a bluegrass or Americana music fan, you know that the “The Bush League” doesn’t have anything to do with baseball. Instead that is the moniker intrepid fans of Sam Bush proudly wear.   Continue reading