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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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YEP ROC 20: Storied record label celebrates 20th anniversary with three nights of music in North Carolina on Oct. 19-21

From the good folks over at Yep Roc Records: 
The artist-driven label that proudly refuses to be labeled, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with Yep Roc 20, a three-night concert blowout to be held October 19, 20 and 21, in Carrboro, North Carolina, and its new hometown of Hillsborough, North Carolina.

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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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Yonder Mountain String Band’s 16th Annual Northwest String Summit adds to already impressive lineup

From the good folks over at Northwest String Summit:

Portland, ORThursday, March 23, 2017 The 16th Annual Northwest String Summit (NWSS) presents an array of today’s top live music acts for a blow-out return to Horning’s Hideout (North Plains, OR) from July 13 – 16, 2017. Located just 20 miles outside of Portland, OR, Horning’s Hideout stands as one of the most scenic festival sites in the country; NWSS is the only music offering this year taking place at Horning’s Hideout. A family-friendly and locally sourced festival, NWSS caps its capacity at 5,000 attendees to ensure an intimate experience for all festivalgoers at an incredible ticket price.

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MerleFest announces initial lineup for 30th celebration in April 2017

The following announcement is from the good folks at MerleFest, which is slated for April 27-30, 2017. Early bird tickets are on sale now here. I am particularly excited to see Mountain Heart, Front Country, Chatham County Line, Scythian and Swift Creek in the lineup. Here’s hoping subsequent lineup announcements include Mipso, Flatt Lonesome, Will Overman Band, Dead Horses, Mandolin Orange, Zoe and Cloyd, Dori Freeman, The Church Sisters, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Sarah Siskind, Sierra Hull, Yarn, American Aquarium, Mike Farris, Rhonda Vincent, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Annabelle’s Curse, Town Mountain, Little Hill Trio, The Genuine, The Honeycutters, The Steel Wheels, Elephant Revival, Balsam Range, Mason Via, The Judy Chops, Swampcandy, Chamomile and Whiskey and Billy Strings, among others.

From the release: “2017 will be a celebration of 30 years of MerleFest! The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The star-packed lineup for MerleFest 2017 will be announced over the next few months; today MerleFest made its first announcement for the 2017 lineup, including Zac Brown Band with a very special acoustic set, Del McCoury Band, Jim Lauderdale, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Mountain Heart and many more.”

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On Huffington Post: Exclusive premiere of Chatham County Line’s video ‘All That’s Left’

Read the following post on The Huffington Post here.

I first had the pleasure of hearing Chatham County Line play live at MerleFest a few years ago and then again in the summer of 2015 at The Steel Wheel’s Red Wing Roots Music Festival. What initially drew me to this Raleigh, North Carolina-based quartet is that in addition to the unique mix of bluegrass, folk and Americana tunes they harmonize so beautifully on is the fact that they typically crowd around a single, large, silver radio microphone. And that’s not the band’s only nod to the past. Much like Jerry Douglas’s Earls of Leicester, they perform in old-timey tailored suits, harkening back to the Golden Age of the Grand Ole Opry.

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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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