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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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Steep Canyon Rangers, the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters return to Blue Ridge Music Center on Saturday, June 14

From the good folks over at the Blue Ridge Music Center, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Galax, Virgnia:
The Steep Canyon Rangers are perennial favorites at the Blue Ridge Music Center and fans look forward to their annual show. Playing together since 2000, the the group has developed a sound all their own. Combining original songs, traditional tunes, and a whole lot of fun in their shows, they received IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year Award in 2011 as well as a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2013. Their dynamic live performances include a great deal of humor and playfulness.  With tight harmonies and instrumental dexterity, the band plays bluegrass and beyond, incorporating elements of folk, country, Americana and pop music to create a unique take on their “traditional plus” sound. As they approach their second decade, the Steep Canyon Rangers are still moving forward, searching for new horizons and musical vistas.
With their hard-driving old-time rhythm, the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters are a favorite among flatfoot dancers and mountain fiddle music fans. The group takes its name from the original Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, a popular Galax string band during the 1930s that was a frequent winner in the early years of the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention.

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Listen Up: Live music opportunities abound for Memorial Day 2018

There are numerous live music festivals and venues throughout North Carolina, Virginia and beyond on tap to help you celebrate the official kickoff of summer over the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. Following are a few highlights. If I’ve missed one, let me know! Continue reading


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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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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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Steep Canyon Rangers with Steve Martin, Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, Jerry Douglas and We Banjo 3 added to MerleFest 2018 lineup

From the good folks over at MerleFest:
WILKESBORO, NORTH CAROLINA – MerleFest, presented by Window World and slated for April 26 – 29, is proud to announce new additions to the 2018 lineup including Steep Canyon Rangers and Friends with special guest Steve Martin, Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller and the North Mississippi Allstars, Jerry Douglas and Tommy Emmanuel, The Jerry Douglas Band with special guest John Medeski, Si Kahn & Joe Jencks, We Banjo 3, and The Cleverlys. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
MerleFest has already announced more than 90 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 deadline and last day for purchasing Early Bird Tier 1 tickets is Feb. 18.

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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


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2017 Wide Open Bluegrass features Steep Canyon Rangers, Steve Martin, The Infamous Stringdusters and many more

If bluegrass music has a Super Bowl, it’s the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) World of Bluegrass week — the world’s largest urban bluegrass festival. The festival kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 26, with the Bluegrass Ramble and wraps up Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, with Wide Open Bluegrass 2017 presented by PNC at the Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

In between is a business conference featuring Greensboro’s own Rhiannon Giddens as the keynote speaker and exhibits at the Raleigh Convention Center, as well as the 28th Annual IBMA Awards Show hosted by Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn — acclaimed artists in their respective careers and GRAMMY winners in their duo work — Thursday night at the Duke Performing Arts Center.

No self-respecting North Carolina event is complete without barbecue. The North Carolina Pork Council will once again host the 2017 Whole Hog Barbecue Championship as part of Wide Open Bluegrass. The best whole hog barbecue chefs in North Carolina square off to become state champion. After the judges have had their say, the mouth-watering barbecue will be chopped and sold in sandwiches Saturday to festival attendees.

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