Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

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New release by Annabelle’s Curse reflects our current reality

I don’t know about you, but I turn to art — music, literature, poetry — when I need to escape and my need for escapism is strong at the moment.

If there was ever a song that addresses what’s happening now — nearly 200,000 deaths as a result of the global pandemic and its subsequent destruction of the world economy — it’s a new tune by one of my favorite bands, Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia-based Annabelle’s Curse, staples at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, frequent performers at Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival and a runner-up at FloydFest’s On the Rise Competition, just to name a few.

The band is releasing “Bailout” today. In their words, the song has multiple meanings:  “It addresses the isolation, division and distraction of the current era through a metaphor of a sinking ship and a struggling relationship. It also has political statements laced throughout the final verses.”

The crazy thing about “Bailout” is that it was written long before any of us had heard of COVID-19, coronavirus, “social distancing” or the “new normal” — two phrases I personally hope will soon disappear from our collective vocabularies. 

I talked to Zack Edwards, one of the band’s co-founders, earlier this week and he said at the heart of this complex song, written by another band co-founder Tim Kilbourne, is the double entendre of “dealing with political bailouts as well as dealing with relationships and maintaining them despite going through troubles. We were talking about how weird it is that everyone is getting stimulus checks when the song is being released.”

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Rooster Walk 12 announces festival is still on for May 21-24 for now

After the sad announcement earlier today that MerleFest 2020 is cancelled, this happy news is just in from the good folks over at the Rooster Walk 12 Music & Arts Festival set for May 21-24, 2020, at Pop’s Farm, located between Martinsville and Danville, Virginia:

“The Rooster Walk Family has been closely monitoring news and government reports concerning the Coronavirus disease. We have been in close communication with Virginia Department of Health officials, and will continue to hold an open dialogue with them in the coming days and weeks.

With Rooster Walk still more than two months away, there’s no need to make an immediate, final decision on the fate of this year’s festival. As such, we are currently proceeding with our plans and hope to host Rooster Walk 12 at Pop’s Farm from May 21-24, 2020. However, we are going to postpone our final band announcement, which was previously scheduled to be released on March 18th. If the festival goes on as scheduled, we will implement expanded safety measures on-site, as suggested by state and federal health organizations, such as extra hand washing & hand sanitizing stations, and extra staffers to sanitize public areas during the festival (tables, door handles, etc.). In addition, we will encourage anyone who is sick, or feels that they may be getting sick, to stay home and not attend the event.

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Yarn, Josh Shilling and Lizzy Ross to headline annual Arts at the Rives opening party on Jan. 25

Despite the total and tragic loss of the historic Rives Theatre in a fire in February 2019, the show must go on and the Arts at the Rives opening party concert promises to be as entertaining as ever!

This show will take place at Forest Park Country Club in Martinsville, Virginia. For $125 per ticket, you will receive entry to this show, which includes open bar (beer, wine, liquor) and catered dinner, as well as a Season Pass to the 2020 Rives On The Road concert series. The concert series will feature at least 4 more shows over the course of 2020. The revenue generated by Season Pass sales helps us offer world-class programming throughout the 2020 year. There is no better way you can support live music in MHC than attending this show!

Party-only tickets are available now for $75. These tickets include the concert, open bar and catered dinner at the show.

Dinner menu: Salad, lasagna (meat and veggie options), grilled chicken breast, red potatoes, green beans, corn, rolls, two deserts.

Roots rockers Yarn will join forces with piano ace Josh Shilling and vocalist extraordinaire Lizzy Ross (Violet Bell), as well as a full horn section, to recreate the music of Van Morrison. This same set was a huge hit at the 11th annual Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival in May 2019.

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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


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


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

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

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5 reasons to attend The Shindig 2019

If you’ve had trouble finding the schedule for The Shindig 2019 “Music For Your Beers” that kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2,  in downtown Clayton, North Carolina, it’s below and you’re welcome.
Photo of the members of The Steel Wheels posing in a record store

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The Steel Wheels head to Rooster Walk 11, The Rooster’s Wife for the holiday weekend

The Steel Wheels are having a double rooster of a holiday weekend.

First up, they are set to perform on Saturday at the 11th annual Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival in Axton, Virginia. And on Sunday the string band from Virginia is heading to The Rooster’s Wife to perform in Aberdeen, North Carolina.

It’s the first time the band will perform at either venue, according to Trent Wagler, the band’s founder and frontman, who plays guitar and banjo. Continue reading

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Listen Up: Annabelle’s Curse releases new video, heading back to studio

Annabelle’s Curse, one of my favorite music festival discoveries at FloydFest and Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, has released a new single/video, “You and Me Forever,” that was recorded during the 2018 Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion at Classic Recording Studio in the heart of the festival. They even invited some friends to stop by and record backing vocals. Continue reading