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
If you don’t have a coveted ticket to the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) World of Bluegrass’s incredible lineup on the Wide Open Main Stage this year, don’t despair. There is more than enough free music to take in on Friday and Saturday as more than 100 bands perform on seven stages along Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. A number of the free acts are also playing on the main stage including Molly Tuttle, Tim O’Brien and The Kruger Brothers, just to name a few.
Performers include a broad mix of local, national and international talent. The dance tent will feature clogging performances, participatory square dances, and late-night open dancing Friday and Saturday nights. And don’t miss the Youth Music Stage – situated on the outdoor plaza at the Convention Center. Artist lineup is subject to change without notice. Continue reading
The festival continues its tradition of celebrating the heritage of western North Carolina through music, food and beverages. More than 100 musicians, chefs, vintners and craft beer brewers from the region will gather on Main Street in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, to engage audiences with the best of their craft, according to a release.
“We made a big change last year, the festival grounds were open to the public with no admission charge,” explains Dale Isom, festival organizer. “Folks enjoyed the food trucks and shopped at the vendor mall without having to purchase a wristband. This was a big success as many folks came down just to enjoy the food and the festival environment. We will continue this again this year and invite folks to come down and enjoy the street festival portion of Carolina in the Fall. Those wishing to take in the music will have to purchase a wristband to enter the music venues.”
Wilkes County’s own The Kruger Brothers will welcome some of North Carolina’s best folk/ roots music bands. They will be joined by some of the nation’s best bands from other regions that tip their hats to the rich musical history of Wilkes, the Heart of American Folk Music™. In addition to The Kruger Brothers, the festival line-up includes Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, The Black Lillies, The Hunts, Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, the Snyder Family Band, Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, and many others. Continue reading
The Kruger Brothers are headlining the annual Wayne Henderson Music Festival & Guitar Competition set for noon on Saturday, June 17, at Grayson Highlands State Park. Tickets are $20 plus parking fee. Kids 12 and younger are free with a paying adult. Continue reading
The Kruger Brothers trio are releasing a remarkable new project, “The Roan Mountain Suite,” on April 28 as part of MerleFest’s 30th anniversary celebration that runs through April 30. This weekend also marks the trio’s 20th anniversary at the Americana music festival held on the grounds of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
MerleFest, one of the top Americana roots festivals, is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music and four days of making memories, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles known as “traditional plus.” The festival, presented by Window World, is celebrating its 30th anniversary April 27-30, 2017, at in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Founded in 1988 by the late, great Doc Watson in memory of his son Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College. Tickets are available here.