musicreporterblog

Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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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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Nine reasons not to miss Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival over Memorial Day Weekend

Rooster Walk 9 Music and Arts Festival, set for May 25-28 near Martinsville, Virginia, is a week away, the weather forecast is offering blue skies and temps in the 70s and I’d like to suggest you forego that annual Memorial Day trip to the beach with the masses. Instead head to the verdant foothills of southwest Virginia to relax and take advantage of some amazing musical and outdoor offerings. Continue reading


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Jarekus Singleton Band, Turkey Feather Get Together to perform at Rives Theatre on Friday, May 12

Jarekus Singleton Band will return to the historic Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville, Virginia, at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 12, 2017.  Turkey Feather Get Together is set to open.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Season Passes gladly accepted.


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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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Exclusive: Annabelle’s Curse leaves no ‘Doubt’ with new video release

Annabelle’s Curse is one of the best bands you probably haven’t heard. I am happy to predict that’s about to change with the release of the Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia-based alt-folk band’s newest album, “Beyond the Station.”

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RW9 band schedule released, ticket prices increase May 1

The ninth iteration of Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival will be held over Memorial Day weekend, May 25 – 28, 2017, at the idyllic Pop’s Farm, overlooking a lake in the countryside of Martinsville, Virginia. Rooster Walk was named one of the Top 5 Music Festivals in Virginia by the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2016 and it’s one of my personal favorites.

Greensky Bluegrass will headline Rooster Walk 9 with a two-hour set on Saturday night. The Wailers (Reunited!), Anders OsborneAnderson EastMandolin OrangeThe MotetPimps of Joytime, the Marcus King Band and many more will perform over the four-day festival.
The hourly stage schedules for RW9 are set. Check out the Band Schedule Page to see exactly when each of your favorite bands will perform. 

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This is no April Fool’s: Billy Strings to bring his unique talents to the Rives Theatre on Saturday, April 1

If you haven’t heard Billy Strings perform, you haven’t been to a recent Americana music festival. This uber talented 24-year-old tore up stages last year at Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion and Appaloosa Roots Music Festival, just to name a few.

Strings became a sensation in his home state while still in his teens. “He has an almost supernatural ability on guitar, banjo and mandolin that has set the region’s bluegrass and folk scene on fire,” according to a profile published in 2012 in Northern Express, a Michigan arts weekly.

He eventually moved to Nashville to further his career. Strings released a self-titled, six-song EP in 2016, which contains an eclectic and foot-stomping mix of originals and traditional songs such as “Black Mountain Rag,” also covered by Doc Watson.

Strings, né William Apostol, will demonstrate his unique brand of bluegrass at The Rives Theatre on Saturday, April 1, in uptown Martinsville, Virginia, at a Rooster Walk 9 preview show. ShadowGrass, a group of young musicians from Western North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia , will open.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 day of show. Season passes are accepted. Tickets available online HERE and available locally at Daily Grind and Rising Sun Breads in Martinsville. Music starts 8:30 p.m. with Strings taking the stage around 9:15 p.m. NCAA basketball fans take note: The Rives will also be showing the UNC/Oregon Final Four game on the upper theatre’s movie screen beginning around 8:50.

You can also catch Strings at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 31, at the Duke Energy Center in Raleigh, North Carolina,