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Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass


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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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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,


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Must-see fresh faces at MerleFest 2017, band competition returns

From the good folks at MerleFest:

WILKESBORO, N.C. (March 14, 2017) – For 30 years, MerleFest, presented by Window World, has been known for discovering new talent in American roots music. From Old Crow Medicine Show to Gillian Welch, the Avett Brothers to Tift Merritt, many artists’ careers blossom after their breakout performances at MerleFest, where outstanding talent enthralls the festival’s many music enthusiasts. This year’s celebration, slated for April 27-30, will introduce what Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager, calls “must-see talent discoveries” made during his travels around the globe this past year. Johnson has identified 10 of these artists who will perform at MerleFest 2017.

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HoustonFest 2017 set for June 9-10 in Galax, Virginia

HoustonFest celebrates the life of young banjo picker, Houston Caldwell (more info here) with two days of stellar bluegrass, oldtime and country music artists. Held annually the second weekend in June, the 2017 festival is set for June 9-10 at Felts Park, 601 South Main St., in Galax, Virginia. The gates open at 10 a.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday.

This year’s impressive lineup includes the Earls of Leicester with Jerry Douglas, John Berry, Flatt Lonesome, the Church Sisters, Emi Sunshine, Shadowgrass and the Snyder Family Band, among many others

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Mt. Airy’s historic Earle Theatre concert series ‘Blue Ridge and Beyond’ to feature Mark O’Connor, Del McCoury, Jerry Douglas, Balsam Range

Mark O’Connor and the O’Connor Band will start off the “Blue Ridge and Beyond” series on Nov. 19 at the Historic Earle Theatre in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

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