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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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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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Yarn, Will Overman Band to perform Cinco de Mayo show at The Blind Tiger

I discovered two of my favorite bands — Yarn and Will Overman Band — at the annual Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival just outside Martinsville, Virginia. Rooster Walk 9 is set for May 25-28, 2017. Yarn, a perennial favorite will be there, but unfortunately, Will Overman Band will not. Rooster Walk needs to work on that for RW10.

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The Kruger Brothers trio to release ‘The Roan Mountain Suite’ at MerleFest 2017

The Kruger Brothers trio are releasing a remarkable new project, “The Roan Mountain Suite,” on April 28 as part of MerleFest’s 30th anniversary celebration that runs through April 30. This weekend also marks the trio’s 20th anniversary at the Americana music festival held on the grounds of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

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30 reasons to attend MerleFest’s 30th anniversary of making music, memories

MerleFest, one of the top Americana roots festivals, is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music and four days of making memories, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles known as “traditional plus.” The festival, presented by Window World, is celebrating its 30th anniversary April 27-30, 2017, at in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Founded in 1988 by the late, great Doc Watson in memory of his son Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College. Tickets are available here.

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The Steel Wheels to release newest album, ‘Wild As We Came Here,’ at MerleFest 2017

For The Steel Wheels, playing at MerleFest for the fourth time might just be a charm.

That’s because this four-piece Virginia-based string band is releasing its newest album, “Wild As We Came Here,” exclusively at the 30th anniversary of the Americana festival honoring the late, great Doc Watson, and his son Merle. The album will be officially released on May 5.

“There is no place better than MerleFest to release a brand-new album,” says Trent Wagler, who plays guitar and banjo in the band and writes most of its material. “It’s great to release a record in the spring time. It makes a lot of sense … you get something out right at the beginning of the touring year.”

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