musicreporterblog

Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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Balsam Range, First Ladies of Bluegrass on a roll at 2018 IBMA Awards

If bluegrass music was a sport, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s annual awards night would be considered the industry’s All-Star game.

Held Thursday, Sept. 27, as part of IBMA’s 2018 annual weeklong business conference and Wide Open Bluegrass, the party celebrating the best in individual and band achievement for the year was hosted by Hot Rize, the first group to ever win the coveted entertainer of the year award. Continue reading


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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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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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Sam Bush Band, Hank and Pattie Duo rock Cat’s Cradle

Sam Bush loves North Carolina. And gauging from the roar of the appreciative crowd of some 200 souls gathered at the Cat’s Cradle live music venue in downtown Carrboro on Saturday night, North Carolina loves Sam Bush and company, and in this particular instance, the Sam Bush Band.

“It don’t get no better than to play in North Carolina,” Bush said from the stage.

His fans agree. “As always, Sam and band were amazing,” commented Rick Henderson of Raleigh. “No two shows are the same, but they’re all terrific.” Continue reading


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Scythian, David Childers to play benefit for Water For People at Lincoln Theatre in downtown Raleigh on Aug. 4

Celtic rock band Scythian and folk singer-songwriter David Childers have announced they will perform on Saturday, Aug. 4, in downtown Raleigh’s the Lincoln Theatre at a benefit concert for Water For People.
Doors for this all-ages show will open at 5 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $50.
Water for People is a non-profit dedicated to providing water and wastewater education, training, and service in an effort to protect public health and the environment.

“We are always excited to come back to North Carolina and Raleigh in particular hold a lot of great memories for us with IMBA and the First Night Raleigh show we’ve played,” explains one of Scythian’s frontmen Danylo Fedoryka (vocals, guitar, accordion).

“To link a return show to a great cause makes it twice and meaningful for us and we hope that people will come out and support a great cause.”

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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