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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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Zoe & Cloyd to release second album, ‘Eyes Brand New,’ on April 7, tour dates announced for March, April

Listen up: Fans of the former Americana trio Red June will be happy to hear Zoe & Cloyd, the Appalachian roots husband and wife duo that made up two-thirds of that group, have a second full-length album, “Eyes Brand New,” coming out April 7.

I have had the opportunity to hear Zoe & Cloyd perform at MerleFest as well as at SECCA in as part of “MerleFest on the Road.” I was particularly impressed by the fiddle stylings of Weinstein and the guitar and banjo talents of Miller as well as their gorgeous harmonies. Their traditional approach to their music take you back to an earlier era. If you like Mandolin Orange, you’ll like Zoe & Cloyd.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Natalya Zoe Weinstein and John Cloyd Miller — who have been making music together in various arrangements since first meeting in 2005 — recorded the new album at Sound Temple Studios with fellow musician and engineer Chris Rosser.

The CD Release Show will be at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at The Grey Eagle in Asheville. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. A schedule of the duo’s March and April dates preceding the release show follow.

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On Huffington Post: Help choose which Virginia bands will perform at LOCKN’ 2017

This story can also be found on The Huffington Post here.

A friend asked me recently what my secret is to discovering some of the great new music out there. My answer was easy and immediate: Music festivals. The key to discovering new music is to search out the bands that you have never heard or heard of, those tiny names at the bottom of the poster.

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MerleFest’s 2017 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest closes on Feb. 1

Just a reminder to all the songwriters out there, the deadline to enter MerleFest‘s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is Feb. 1, 2017. This contest has helped launched the careers of Gillian Welch, Abigail Washburn and Mipso’s Joseph Terrell, who just happens to be a judge this year.

Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form or by mailing entries to MerleFest/CASC, PO Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC 28697. Submissions require a $30 fee per entry. To read more about the contest history, rules and prizes, visit http://merlefest.org/casc#tab-1.
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Chapel Hill’s Mipso brings unique string band stylings to Rives Theatre on Friday, Nov. 18

If you haven’t had the chance to hear Mipso, the unique string band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, perform live, you’re in luck. You can catch them beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, at the historic Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville, Virginia. Season passes are accepted, otherwise tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Tickets available locally at Daily Grind, Woodall’s Music and online here.

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On Huffington Post: MerleFest Band Competition features possible future festival headliners

The following piece also ran on The Huffington Post here.

Headliners such as John Prine, Jason Isbell and John Oates have drawn nearly 80,000 Americana music fans annually to the hills of MerleFest on the campus of Wilkes Community College each April for the past 28 years. But it is the young musicians trying to make their mark who can provide some of the freshest and transcendent moments at this festival founded by the legendary Doc Watson, who called it “traditional-plus” music.

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Madison, N.C.’s Courtney Rorrer named finalist in MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest

For the second year in a row, someone with ties to Rockingham County, North Carolina, is a finalist in MerleFest‘s famed Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.

Courtney Rorrer of Madison and Asa Gravley of Beckley, West Virginia,  are finalists in the bluegrass category for their tune,  “Midnight Tears,” and will perform Friday, April 29. Last year, Carri Smithey (now of Burlington, N.C., but used to live in Madison), Josh Coe (Saxapahaw, N.C.), Ryan Burgess (Burlington, N.C.) and Keith Ingalls (Burlington, N.C.)  were finalists in the country category of the contest for their song “No More.” Continue reading