musicreporterblog

Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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Year in Review: My favorite musical picks for 2017

While 2017 will be remembered for many things, it turned out to be a great year for new music. Artists including Steve Earle & the Dukes, Lee Ann Womack, Chris Stapleton, Rhiannon Giddeons and Jason Isbell turned out some amazing albums over the past 12 months, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

Instead, I am going to focus on my own purely subjective list that evolves mainly from music festivals I attended, interviews I conducted and stories I published online on this blog, HalfwaySouth.com or on HuffPost that features my favorite genres (primarily folk, Americana, country, rock) and up-and-coming artists that I hope you will take the time to listen to in the coming year and beyond.

And now, in no particular order, here’s my picks for the best listens of 2017. Happy listening! Continue reading

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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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Catch Nashville’s Forlorn Strangers at Appaloosa Roots Music Festival, IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass, Front Porch Fest

I had the pleasure of catching the Forlorn Strangers, a foot-stomping, Nashville-based string quintet, at the Lincoln Theatre in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, a few weeks ago when they opened for Celtic rockers Scythian at an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)  Wide Open Bluegrass preview show for its upcoming festival Sept. 29-30.

It also turned out to be a preview show for Scythian’s Appaloosa Roots Music Festival set for Sept. 1-3 in Front Royal, Virginia, at which both Scythian and Forlorn Strangers are set to perform. And Front Porch Fest fans will be happy to know they can catch Forlorn Strangers at the festival on Sept. 3 in Stuart, Virginia.

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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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ROMP Festival will celebrate the roots, branches of bluegrass on June 21-24, 2017

Founded in June 2004 by the International Bluegrass Music Museum, ROMP Festival has been celebrating the roots and branches of bluegrass ever since and this year is no exception.

Scheduled for June 21-24, 2017, in Owensboro, Kentucky, ROMP’s impressive lineup includes: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Punch Brothers, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass, Los Lobos, Rhiannon Giddens, Yonder Mountain String Band, Jerry Douglas Band, Peter Rowan, The SteelDrivers, Pokey LaFarge, Dailey & Vincent, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, We Banjo 3, Billy Strings, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Scythian, Becky Buller, Dustbowl Revival, Kelsey Waldon, The Wooks, Driftwood, Snyder Family Band, High Fidelity, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys and Hogslop String Band.

I am particularly excited to see Scythian, We Banjo 3, Rhiannon Giddens, The SteelDrivers and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band are on tap to be there. Would love to hear who you are interested in seeing and hearing at this festival that is sure to be a good time.

To purchase tickets visit: www.rompfest.com or call (270) 926-7891.


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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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