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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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MerleFest, IBMA favorites Scythian return to Raleigh on Friday, Feb. 27

Raleigh, put on your dancing shoes because the boys of Scythian are coming back to town on Friday, Feb. 27.
They have rocked the dance tent at the annual International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) for years, kept First Night Raleigh attendees warm and festival goers on their feet as perennial favorites at MerleFest and Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, among many others.

These Celtic rockers will bring their all-ages, high-energy show to Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre on Friday, Feb. 27. Tickets can be purchased at this link. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Chapel Hill singer-songerwriter Jonathan Byrd will take the stage before Scythian. Byrd has been called “a folk singer with the heart of a rock ‘n’ roll band.” Byrd is a preacher’s son, a Gulf War veteran and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites. The Chicago Tribune called Byrd “one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years.”
Scythian features tunes with gypsy, Celtic, bluegrass and Americana influences just in time to provide an appropriate warm up for St. Patrick’s Day. The band’s entertaining stage presence, band camaraderie and audience interaction captivates from the first note. Powerful vocals, fiddle, guitar, accordion, upright bass, drums are just a taste of the myriad instruments the quartet brings to its raucous stage.


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MerleFest announces final lineup additions for 2020 festival 

This just in from the good folks over at MerleFest:

MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the next round of artist additions for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. Greensky Bluegrass, Mavis Staples, Paul Thorn, Cane Mill Road, Sweet Potato Pie, The Barefoot Movement, Nefesh Mountain, and Smitty and the Jumpstarters will be joining the annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Greensky Bluegrass: “There’s this great duality to our band,” reflects Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist vocalist and songwriter Paul Hoffman. “We’re existing in a few different places at once. We’re a bluegrass band and a rock band. We’re song-driven and interested in extended improvisation.” Formed in 2000 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass kicked off their career playing living rooms and open mic nights across the Midwest. By 2005, they were touring nationally, and by 2006, they were playing the first in a long series of appearances at the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Bandmates Hoffman, Bruzza, dobro player Anders Beck, banjoist Michael Arlen Bont, and upright bassist Mike Devol spent most of the following decade on the road, fine-tuning a live show modeled not after the toned-down production of traditional bluegrass music, but the full-on spectacle of rock. Greensky Bluegrass will perform Friday night on the Watson Stage. Continue reading


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MerleFest 2020 adds Melissa Etheridge, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Marcus King Band, and more

From the good folks at MerleFest:

MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the next round of artist additions for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. Melissa Etheridge, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Marcus King Band, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, and John Cowan will be joining the annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Today’s lineup announcement adds five great artists to MerleFest’s already stacked lineup: Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, John Prine, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Billy Strings, Jim Lauderdale, Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna the Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Colin Hay, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Kelsey Waldon, Gangstagrass, Robbie Fulks, Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill and the Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt, Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder, Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern.

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MerleFest announces 2020 festival lineup additions of John Prine, Colin Hay, Billy Strings, Kelsey Weldon and more

From the good folks over at MerleFest:
MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the next round of artist additions for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. John Prine, Billy Strings, Colin Hay, Kelsey Waldon, and Gangstagrass will be joining the annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Today’s lineup announcement adds five great artists to MerleFest’s already stacked lineup: Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Robbie Fulks, Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill & The Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt, Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder, Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern.

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Scythian makes debut at The Ramkat


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Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss among others return to MerleFest in 2020

From the good folks over at MerleFest:

Presented by Window World, MerleFest is proud to announce the initial lineup for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the four-day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, festival director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2020 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers, and we look forward to another successful festival in April.”

The complete lineup for MerleFest 2020 will be announced over the next few months. For more information, visit www.MerleFest.org.

Today’s lineup announcement includes Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Robbie Fulks, Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill & The Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt, Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder, Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern.

Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale today and may be purchased at http://www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 12 to February 16, 2020; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 17 to April 22. Remaining tickets will be sold at the gate during the festival.

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Violet Bell and Zoe & Cloyd to perform as part of Cary’s Marvelous Music Mainstage series on Friday, Nov. 8

Halloween may be over but fans of Americana music are in for a special treat as two talented duos — Violet Bell and Zoe & Cloyd — hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, at the Cary Arts Center.

I first had the pleasure of hearing Violet Bell perform its original Americana tunes woven from threads of folk, soul, bluegrass, psychedelic and classical music at Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival. On stage and in the studio, the energy and chemistry between Lizzy Ross and Omar Ruiz-Lopez is fiery, intimate and intuitive. Learn more at www.lizzy.net

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Zoe & Cloyd, who I first discovered at MerleFest, is made up of renowned fiddler and vocalist Natalya Zoe Weinstein and songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist John Cloyd Miller. Together, they delight audiences with soaring harmonies and heartfelt songwriting, seamlessly combining original folk, country, old-time and bluegrass with sincerity and zeal.

Zoe and Cloyd recently released their third album, “I Am Your Neighbor,” on Friday, Sept. 27, on Organic Records during the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) annual event in downtown Raleigh.

Learn more at www.zoeandcloyd.com

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Tickets start at $23 and can be purchased online at ETix.

For more information, call (919) 462-2055 or visit Marvelous Music Series.