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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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HoustonFest 2018 features Del McCoury Band, Flatt Lonesome, The Church Sisters on June 8-9 in Galax, Virginia

HoustonFest 2018, a celebration of song and service, will feature the Del McCoury Band, The Travelin’ McCourys, Flatt Lonesome, The Church Sisters, Blue Highway and many more on June 8-9 at Felts Park in Galax, Virginia. Advance tickets are an extremely reasonable $20 a day or $40 for both days and are on sale at www.houstonfestgalax.com.  Continue reading


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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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Second annual Balsam Range Art of Music Festival set for Dec. 1-2 at Lake Junaluska

Fans of Balsam Range, listen up:

The 2017 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Album of the Year winners for “Mountain Voodoo” on Mountain Home Records have announced the second annual Balsam Range Art of Music Festival will be held on Dec. 1-2, 2017, on the grounds of the beautiful Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Haywood County, North Carolina.   Continue reading


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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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HoustonFest 2017 set for June 9-10 in Galax, Virginia

HoustonFest celebrates the life of young banjo picker, Houston Caldwell (more info here) with two days of stellar bluegrass, oldtime and country music artists. Held annually the second weekend in June, the 2017 festival is set for June 9-10 at Felts Park, 601 South Main St., in Galax, Virginia. The gates open at 10 a.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday.

This year’s impressive lineup includes the Earls of Leicester with Jerry Douglas, John Berry, Flatt Lonesome, the Church Sisters, Emi Sunshine, Shadowgrass and the Snyder Family Band, among many others

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