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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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MerleFest 2018 continues tradition with acoustic kids showcases

From the good folks over at MerleFest:
MerleFest 2018, presented by Window World and slated for April 26 – 29, is pleased to announce the return of the Acoustic Kids Showcases to the 2018 festival.
The Acoustic Kids Showcases allow the next generation of pickers and singers to highlight their talents for music fans at the four-day festival. Musicians under the age of 17 are welcome to participate, and we will accept registration forms until the showcases are full or until one week before the festival, whichever comes first.
These showcases, which played to standing-room-only crowds last year, reflect an elevation and encouragement of young musicians that have been part of the festival from its early days. Hosted by performer and beloved MerleFest veteran Andy May, the showcases provide an opportunity for young musicians through age 16 to perform in a supportive environment on a festival stage.

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‘MerleFest On The Road’ featuring the Way Down Wanderers, The Barefoot Movement and Andy May offers a sneak peek of 2018 festival offerings

This just in from the good folks over at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina:
MerleFest, the popular music festival founded by the legendary Doc Watson and presented by Window World, offers music lovers a sneak peek of this spring’s festival when MerleFest On the Road tours throughout the Southeast during March. The tour will feature select artists that will perform at MerleFest 2018 or have performed previously at the festival: The Way Down Wanderers, The Barefoot Movement and Andy May.

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MerleFest announces new additions to 2018 lineup including Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Mandolin Orange and Brandy Clark

I’m so pleased to announce some of my personal favorites — Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn and Chapel Hill’s Mandolin Orange — have just been added to the MerleFest 2018 lineup, which just keeps getting better!
From the good folks over at MerleFest, this just in:
MerleFest, presented by Window World and slated for April 26 – 29, is proud to announce five additions to the 2018 lineup: The Mavericks, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Mandolin Orange, Alison Brown, and Brandy Clark. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest has already announced over 75 artists for 2018, including Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Elephant Revival, The Devil Makes Three, a Midnight Jam hosted by Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale, and many more. The rest of the distinguished lineup for MerleFest 2018 will roll out over the next few months.

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MerleFest announces impressive lineup of judges for 2018 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest including Rodney Crowell, Andrew Marlin and Johnny Williams

This just in from the good folks over at MerleFest:
WILKESBORO, N.C. (January 10, 2018) – MerleFest, presented by Window World and taking placeApril 26 – 29, 2018, has assembled a distinguished team of songwriters – Rodney Crowell, Andrew Marlin (of Mandolin Orange), and previous winner Johnny Williams (of Jeanette Williams Band) – to judge the on-site final round of this year’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.

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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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Give yourself the musical gift of a Chatham County Line Electric Holiday Tour show this weekend

If, like me, you missed a chance to catch Chatham County Line’s “electric” show, you’re in luck.

The Raleigh, North Carolina-based acoustic string ensemble played the set last year at MerleFest and the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s annual festival.

But they’re far from done.

These harmonic boys, whose music has been described as falling somewhere between Del McCoury and the Jayhawks, are back in Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and Saxapahaw, North Carolina, over the next three days.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss this show. Continue reading


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MerleFest announces artist additions to April 26-29, 2018, lineup

Greensboro, North Carolina, native and Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens is among the more than 75 artists scheduled to perform April 26-29 at MerleFest on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, festival organizers announced today.

Giddens, who is also a recent $625,000 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient and a welcome addition to the hit TV show, “Nashville,” is among four additional artists revealed by the festival along with Elephant Revival, Rodney Crowell and Shinyribs. Continue reading