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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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Women poised to dominate 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards

In 2017, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Hall of Fame. With the exception of women who were part of a band, and usually a family band, ie. the famous Carter Family, who were inducted in 2001, only one other woman — Louise Scruggs in 2010 — has received solo recognition by the hall of fame organizers since 1991. And this week, songwriter Dixie Hall will be inducted as the fourth.

Let’s face it. Bluegrass has been a good old boys genre since Bill Monroe picked up a mandolin, Louise’s husband Earl Scruggs met Lester Flatt and the Stanley Brothers became the Clinch Mountain Boys. But as Bob Dylan once wrote, “the times they are a changin.'”

Fast forward to 2016, when Sierra Hull and Becky Buller became the first women to win Instrumental Performers of the Year awards for mandolin and fiddle, respectively. Hull came out on top in the same category in 2017, and Molly Tuttle, who appears poised to be among the next female superstars of bluegrass, won Instrumental Performer of the Year for her guitar picking prowess — the first woman to ever top that particular chart. Continue reading


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Annual ‘Shout & Shine: A Celebration of Diversity in Bluegrass’ kicks off IBMA on Monday, Sept. 24, at N.C. History Museum

From the good folks over at The Press House:
The third annual “Shout & Shine: A Celebration of Diversity in Bluegrass” will honor the connection and cross-pollination between blues, bluegrass, and their offshoots and will take place on Monday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. at the North Carolina Museum of History Daniels Auditorium, at the very beginning of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass events in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

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IBMA announces lineup for free Wide Open Bluegrass Streetfest on Sept. 28-29, 2018, in downtown Raleigh, N.C.

8iuiyBluegrass fans listen up: The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass announced today an amazing lineup of more than 100 bands that will perform on seven stages set up throughout downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and inside the Raleigh Convention Center on Sept. 25-29 as part of Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest. Best of all for music lovers, all the performances are free!

There will also be a dance tent, local artisans, food trucks, youth performances, and the Master’s Workshop Stage inside Raleigh Convention Center.  And there’s always plenty of free jamming to stumble upon for your listening pleasure.

Among just a few of the acts I am looking forward to hearing are Cane Mill Road, Fireside Collective, Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Alison Brown Band, Hank, Pattie and the Current, the Kruger Brothers, Zoe & Cloyd, Town Mountain, Balsam Range, Front Country, Love Canon, ShadowGrass, Jim Lauderdale, Tim O’Brien, Dori Freeman and Flatt Lonesome.

Who are you looking most forward to seeing?

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Women of bluegrass dominate nominations for International Bluegrass Music Awards in Raleigh, N.C, on Sept. 27

After Molly Tuttle’s impressive win at the 2017 International Bluegrass Music (IBMA) Awards as the first female IBMA guitarist, Becky Buller leads the field for the  2018 International Bluegrass Music Awards with eight nominations followed by Tuttle’s six. Close behind with five nominations each are Special Consensus, and The Del McCoury Band/The Travelin’ McCourys, with strong showings by Rhonda Vincent, The Earls of Leicester, Balsam Range, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Results of the balloting will be revealed at the International Bluegrass Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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New Reveille set to release debut album, ‘The Keep,’ on Sept. 7

Jack the Radio fans, listen up:

The Americana band, New Reveille, which recently signed a label and management deal with Loud & Proud Records, will release “The Keep” on Sept. 7, 2018.  Nashville-based producer / engineer Ben Fowler (Rascal Flatts, Ruby Amanfu, Lucy Hale, Kip Moore), a Multi-Platinum, Grammy Award winning, ACM Engineer of the Year nominee, produced their debut release, according to a press release. Continue reading


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First Listen: The Price Sisters provide a fresh take on classic bluegrass


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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