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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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Entries for MerleFest’s annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest accepted beginning Oct. 1

To borrow a line from the late, great George Jones, imagine a world without the amazing and refreshing musical stylings of Gillian Welch, Tiff Merritt, Mipso’s Joseph Terrell or Melody Walker of Front Country fame.
If it wasn’t for MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC), we may have never been exposed to these, and many more, talented artists.
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MerleFest sponsors showcase as part of Bluegrass Ramble at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass on Sept. 26-28

From the good folks at MerleFest:

MerleFest, one of the premier music festivals in the country, will sponsor a diverse collection of artists showcasing their music as part of the Bluegrass Ramble during this year’s International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) World of Bluegrass. Showcases will take place Sept. 26 – 28 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Continue reading


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Wild Ponies get back to their roots with ‘Galax’

What happens when you throw a group of Nashville and Galax, Virginia, musicians who have never played together in a barn behind a farmhouse nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains? Musical magic.

That’s exactly what happened a year ago this month when the Wild Ponies – otherwise known as Doug and Telisha Williams – decided to get back to their musical and geographic roots.

“I had spent a lot time playing on my grandfather’s farm and it’s just a beautiful place to spend some time,” Doug said in a recent phone interview. “We wanted to play with people who played with my grandfather and then get some people from Nashville to play as well. It just felt like something we needed to do.” Continue reading


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Lucinda Williams to perform at Millennium Center as part of SECCA’s popular Crossroads series on Friday, Aug. 11

UPDATE: The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) announces a venue change for the Crossroads #019 @ SECCA concert featuring Lucinda Williams on Friday, August 11, 2017. Due to inclement weather forecast, the concert will now be indoors at the Millennium Center downtown Winston-Salem, located at 101 West 5th St., Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Doors at the Millennium Center will open at 5 p.m. and music will begin at 7. Food trucks will be on site and a cash bar will be available inside the venue. No coolers, chairs/blankets, outside food or drinks, or pets are allowed at the venue. There are also several dining options in the downtown Winston-Salem area.

Free street parking is available after 6 p.m. and paid parking garages are throughout the downtown area. For more information including a detailed map of parking options, please visit the Millennium Center.

The Millennium Center venue provides unreserved seating and standing room areas. Seats are provided on a first come, first served basis.

“We regret having to move the concert from outside on the SECCA grounds, but weather forecasts are predicting thunderstorms and lightning for Friday, which would make doing the show outside difficult and potentially unsafe.” said Andy Tennille, curator of the Crossroads @ SECCA concert series and a member of the SECCA Foundation board. “We appreciate the support of our sponsors, vendors and audience in this decision and thank Greg Carlyle and his team at the Millennium Center for their help.”

For more detailed information about the change of venue, please visit www.secca.org
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Scythian, Forlorn Strangers to give Wide Open Bluegrass preview at Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh on Saturday, July 15

If you can hardly wait for Sept. 26-30 and the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) World of Bluegrass Festival and PNC’s Wide Open Bluegrass, the weekend festival on Sept. 29-30 in downtown Raleigh that takes place during the IBMA event, you’re in luck.

You can catch two of the Wide Open Bluegrass acts — MerleFest favorite Celtic roots rockers Scythian and Nashville’s Forlorn Strangers — at a “Save the Date” party beginning at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh. This all-ages show will also serve as a CD Release Party for Scythian’s newest album, “Dance All Night.”

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Mandolin Orange kicks off festival season with returns to MerleFest, Rooster Walk 9

Ever wondered where the funny, punny name Mandolin Orange — one of today’s premiere American roots bands — has its origins?

“We were driving back from our first gig opening for Kickin Grass, a band from Raleigh, and we thought what a cool name and that we needed a name,” remembers Emily Frantz (violin/guitar/vocals), who makes up half of this uber talented duo who still call Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home.

Andrew Marlin (mandolin/guitar/vocals), who loves puns and word play, had this little round and orange mandolin at the time, said half-joking how about Mandolin Orange? And it stuck.”

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Eddie From Ohio, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen to headline Scythian’s Appaloosa Roots Music Festival on Sept. 1-3, 2017

Eddie From Ohio and Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen will headline the third Appaloosa Roots Music Festival, hosted by MerleFest fan favorite Scythian, on Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 1-3, 2017, in Front Royal, Virginia.

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