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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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New release by Annabelle’s Curse reflects our current reality

I don’t know about you, but I turn to art — music, literature, poetry — when I need to escape and my need for escapism is strong at the moment.

If there was ever a song that addresses what’s happening now — nearly 200,000 deaths as a result of the global pandemic and its subsequent destruction of the world economy — it’s a new tune by one of my favorite bands, Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia-based Annabelle’s Curse, staples at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, frequent performers at Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival and a runner-up at FloydFest’s On the Rise Competition, just to name a few.

The band is releasing “Bailout” today. In their words, the song has multiple meanings:  “It addresses the isolation, division and distraction of the current era through a metaphor of a sinking ship and a struggling relationship. It also has political statements laced throughout the final verses.”

The crazy thing about “Bailout” is that it was written long before any of us had heard of COVID-19, coronavirus, “social distancing” or the “new normal” — two phrases I personally hope will soon disappear from our collective vocabularies. 

I talked to Zack Edwards, one of the band’s co-founders, earlier this week and he said at the heart of this complex song, written by another band co-founder Tim Kilbourne, is the double entendre of “dealing with political bailouts as well as dealing with relationships and maintaining them despite going through troubles. We were talking about how weird it is that everyone is getting stimulus checks when the song is being released.”

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MerleFest, IBMA favorites Scythian return to Lincoln Theatre on Feb. 27

Raleigh, put on your dancing shoes because the boys of Scythian are coming back to town on Thursday, Feb. 27.
They have rocked the dance tent at the annual International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) for years, kept First Night Raleigh attendees warm and festival goers on their feet as perennial favorites at MerleFest and Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, among many others.
Named after Ukrainian nomads, Scythian (pronounced sith-ee-yin) plays immigrant rock with thunderous energy, blending Irish-Gypsy-American string-rock, clever storytelling, catchy songwriting and humor, beckoning crowds into a barn-dance rock concert experience.
These Celtic rockers will bring their all-ages, high-energy show back to Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre, 126 E. Cabarrus St. Tickets can be purchased at this link. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Chapel Hill singer-songerwriter Jonathan Byrd will take the stage before Scythian. Byrd has been called “a folk singer with the heart of a rock ‘n’ roll band.” Byrd is a preacher’s son, a Gulf War veteran and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites. The Chicago Tribune called Byrd “one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years.”

Scythian features tunes with gypsy, Celtic, bluegrass and Americana influences just in time to provide an appropriate warm up for St. Patrick’s Day. The band’s entertaining stage presence, band camaraderie and audience interaction captivates from the first note. Powerful vocals, fiddle, guitar, accordion, upright bass, drums are just a taste of the myriad instruments the quartet brings to its raucous stage causing iHeart Radio to state, “Scythian has reinvented folk rock in America.” And The Washington Post has called Scythian, “Washington D.C.’s most energetic and eclectic band.”


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Scythian makes debut at The Ramkat


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Listen Up: Annabelle’s Curse releases new video, heading back to studio

Annabelle’s Curse, one of my favorite music festival discoveries at FloydFest and Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, has released a new single/video, “You and Me Forever,” that was recorded during the 2018 Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion at Classic Recording Studio in the heart of the festival. They even invited some friends to stop by and record backing vocals. Continue reading


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17 reasons to attend the 2017 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion on Sept. 15-17

If you are a fan of roots, rock, country, bluegrass, blues, old-time, folk and Americana music, then you are already a fan of the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion held on State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia, that celebrates the twin cities’ history as the birthplace of country music. This year’s  17th annual three-day music cornucopia that features 100 live acts across 20 stages is set for Friday, Sept. 15, through Sunday, Sept. 17. 

Headliners include Dwight Yoakam, Judah & the Lion, Jerry Douglas Presents: Earls of Leicester, Son Volt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Deer Tick and The Infamous Stringdusters.
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Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival to announce 2017 lineup on May 4

The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) will present “The Big Lineup Reveal” for the 17th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival set for Sept. 15-17, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, at an invitation-only event. The festival is held at a variety of venues in downtown Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia.

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Don’t miss Annabelle’s Curse, Time Sawyer and The Pinkerton Raid on Saturday, Feb. 18, at The Garage in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

If you are a fan of alt-country-rock, two of my favorite groups are playing on Saturday, Feb. 18, at The Garage in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and trust me, you are not going to want to miss this show!

While the guys from the Elkin-based Time Sawyer are no strangers to Winston-Salem music fans, this is the first time Annabelle’s Curse  will perform live in the Camel City with The Pinkerton Raid so we want to make sure we give them a big welcome.

Doors open at 8 p.m. for the 9 p.m show located in downtown Winston-Salem at 110 West 7th St. This show is a steal with tickets starting at $7 in advance and $8 at the door. Purchase them here.

A folk, rock, songwriter group from Bristol, Virginia, Annabelle’s Curse was voted fan favorites at FloydFest a couple of years ago and are regulars at Bristol Rhythm and Roots  and Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, which is where I first heard them. Learn more about the group in some of The Huffington Post blog pieces I wrote here. Continue reading


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Annabelle’s Curse, Will Overman Band heading to Charlotte’s The Evening Muse on Saturday, Oct. 22

Two of Virginia’s hottest up-and-coming alt folk rock bands — Annabelle’s Curse and Will Overman Band — will light up the stage at Charlotte’s The Evening Muse  in NODA on Saturday, Oct. 22. Tickets for the late-night show that begins at 10:30 (Doors open at 10) are only $5. Trust me when I say you need to catch these bands at this price while you still can because you won’t be disappointed.

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