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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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Year in Review: My favorite musical picks for 2017

While 2017 will be remembered for many things, it turned out to be a great year for new music. Artists including Steve Earle & the Dukes, Lee Ann Womack, Chris Stapleton, Rhiannon Giddeons and Jason Isbell turned out some amazing albums over the past 12 months, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

Instead, I am going to focus on my own purely subjective list that evolves mainly from music festivals I attended, interviews I conducted and stories I published online on this blog, HalfwaySouth.com or on HuffPost that features my favorite genres (primarily folk, Americana, country, rock) and up-and-coming artists that I hope you will take the time to listen to in the coming year and beyond.

And now, in no particular order, here’s my picks for the best listens of 2017. Happy listening! Continue reading


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First Listen: Couldn’t Be Happiers debut EP on Saturday, Dec. 23, at Granite Falls Brewing Co.

The promising duo,  “Couldn’t Be Happiers,” is releasing its debut EP at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23, at Granite Falls Brewing Co. in Granite Falls, North Carolina (map).

But you can get an exclusive first listen of this fresh, new music, “Let’s Not Bury the Obvious,” here:

The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based duo, “Couldn’t Be Happiers.”  is made up of Jodi Hildebran (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Jordan Crosby Lee (vocals, guitar). They remind me of all the best things about classic country music.

“Right now, since we are such a young band, we put together the best representation of ourselves we could in three songs,” Lee explains. “We’re songwriters first. Live performers a close second and recording artists third. That will come.”

The Couldn’t Be Happiers plan on selling hard-copy and digital EPs for $5 “just to recuperate cost, including studio time,” Lee adds. “It will also be on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. We’re basically giving it away to gain exposure and book more live shows.”

You can learn more about the duo here.

 


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Taylor Swift vs. Ed Sheeran: Models for releasing new music continue to evolve

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Music artists are faced with a conundrum today that is worthy of a song. And it’s not just music artists. Ask anyone who is trying to promote a book or any other form of artistry. Do you give your artistic works away to gain exposure? Or do you try to get fans to pay for your hard-earned efforts, instead?

For example, many musicians these days are giving away new tunes on Amazon Prime, Apple Music, SoundCloud and Spotify, just to name a few, in order to try to build a following in the hopes that the masses will then seek out live shows. Continue reading