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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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Scythian among artists to release new albums at MerleFest 2018

If MerleFest has a house band, it’s Scythian.

The band, which blasts folk mixed with Celtic rock and Irish ballads, is composed of a group of siblings with Ukrainian roots — plus friends who create the group’s unique energy.

Scythian is a staple as headliners at Irish/Celtic music festivals across the country, as well festivals on the Americana/bluegrass circuit. Based in the Washington, D.C.-area, the band has performed at MerleFest for more than a decade.

The band kind of entered MerleFest through a side door.

Doc Watson discovered them busking in front of the gates and invited them in — much to the delight of their ever-growing fan base.

Scythian’s music is different, definitely. But what really sets the members of Scythian apart as people and musicians is their love and concern for others, especially the youngest and most vulnerable in our society.

This band of brothers (and sisters) is releasing its second children’s album, “Cake for Dinner 2: Twinkie Twins,” at the 31st annual MerleFest,April 26-29 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, about an hour northwest of Charlotte and west of the Triad.

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Early bird ticket discounts available for MerleFest 2018 through Wednesday, April 25

From the good folks over at MerleFest:
With just one week until MerleFest 2018, the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, is buzzing with activity. The festival, presented by Window World, kicks off next Thursday, April 26, at 2:30 p.m., and runs through Sunday, April 29; an estimated 75,000-plus participants will gather at this year’s annual homecoming of musicians and music lovers to celebrate the world renowned MerleFest.

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Annual Spring Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance celebrates its ‘Sweet Sixteen’ on May 3-6

It’s Shakori Season again and the Spring Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance‎ is set for Thursday, May 3, through Sunday, May 6, 2018, in bucolic Chatham County, North Carolina — just down the road from Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, Burlington and Greensboro. The 16th anniversary of this annual event is more like a taking a cruise than attending a festival, organizers say.

“If you really want to get away and not just escape in the music, you can not only relax but learn something new, like how to make cider,” says David Dean, director of media and PR for the festival. “It’s a very diverse palette: educating your mind, healing your body and moving your soul.”

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2018 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest finalists to perform at MerleFest on Friday, April 27

From the good folks over at MerleFest:
The prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest has announced the 2018 finalists that will perform at MerleFest. The final round of the competition will take place Friday, April 27; first place winners will receive $600 cash and a Friday night performance slot on the Cabin Stage. Now in its 26th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. MerleFest, presented by Window World, spans from April 26-29 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, at Wilkes Community College.

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Ten fresh faces you won’t want to miss at MerleFest 2018

For years I have discovered some of my favorite artists — Scythian, Mandolin Orange, Front Country, Tift Merritt, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Rhiannon Giddens, just to mention a few — at MerleFest. And this year it appears the good folks at MerleFest has upped the ante on finding some new favorites with its announcement of “10 Fresh Faces to Catch at MerleFest:”

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2018 MerleFest Band Competition to feature Brynmor, The Midatlantic among others

I am so excited to announce the 2018 MerleFest Band Competition will feature two of my personal favorites, Brynmor and The Midatlantic. The annual band competition features talented bands from across the country that perform for 15 minutes each.

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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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