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
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
If you haven’t heard the music of Molly Tuttle, rest assured, after this week you will.
The newest artist to sign on to the Compass Records roster, she’s the first woman in the 27-year history of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards to be nominated for Guitar Player of the Year, the only instrumental category that had not yet nominated a woman. She’s also nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year. The 2017 Awards Show will be held Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Memorial Hall. Continue reading
If you don’t have a coveted ticket to the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) World of Bluegrass’s incredible lineup on the Wide Open Main Stage this year, don’t despair. There is more than enough free music to take in on Friday and Saturday as more than 100 bands perform on seven stages along Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. A number of the free acts are also playing on the main stage including Molly Tuttle, Tim O’Brien and The Kruger Brothers, just to name a few.
Performers include a broad mix of local, national and international talent. The dance tent will feature clogging performances, participatory square dances, and late-night open dancing Friday and Saturday nights. And don’t miss the Youth Music Stage – situated on the outdoor plaza at the Convention Center. Artist lineup is subject to change without notice. Continue reading
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.