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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Ring in the new year on a live musical note

Still looking for ideas to close out 2017 and welcome the new year? There are myriad live music options at venues in and around North Carolina’s Triangle and beyond. The following list is in alphabetical order and in no way comprehensive so please feel free to share other options. Happy New Year!

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Blue Ridge Music Center presents Old Crow Medicine Show, Mipso and Amythyst Kiah on Sunday, Aug. 27

Known for its ability to draw amazing Americana artists including the Steep Canyon Rangers, Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, The Steel Wheels, Marty Raybon and The Lee Boys, the Blue Ridge Music Center has outdone itself by offering one of its most impressive lineups to date on Sunday, Aug. 27, as part of its annual outdoor summer music series.
Old Crow Medicine Show, Mipso and Amythyst Kiah are set to play beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Center, which is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 213 nestled between the southwest Virginia towns of Galax and Fancy Gap. Tickets are $38 for adults and $22 for children.

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Experience Freedom at FloydFest 17 July 26-30

One of my favorite summer music festivals is FloydFest and this year’s lineup is one of its most eclectic ever assembled for this multi-day world music festival, FloydFest 17 — FREEDOM. Continue reading


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FloydFest 2017 tickets increase July 1

FloydFest 17 — experience FREEDOM, July 26-30, 2017!  is the latest annual offering from the Southeast’s premier summer outdoor music festival at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside Floyd, Virginia.

Tickets are available now at www.floydfest.com for five days of music, magic and mountains, featuring outdoor adventure, vibrant and varied vendors, quality brews and chews, healing arts, workshops and whimsy, children’s activities, art installations and a lineup featuring more than 100 artists on nine+ stages. That said, why pay more than you have to? Ticket prices increase at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017. Buying now saves you $25 per ticket over gate prices on a 5-Day GA ticket. Buy NOW! (Some ticket types are almost sold out!)

This year’s event lineup includes Michael Franti and Spearhead, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Railroad Earth, Shovels and Rope, White Denim, Turkuaz, Fruition, Nicola Cruz, The Steel Wheels, HONEYHONEY, BIG Something, Shook Twins, Baskery, Zach Deputy, The Lil Smokies, Rebekah Todd and The Odyssey, Jack Broadbent, Urban Soil, Honey Island Swamp Band, The Mantras, Edward David Anderson, Dead 27s, DAVY KNOWLES, McLovins, Hayley Jane and the Primates, The Drunken Hearts, Kansas Bible Company, Trae Pierce & the T-Stones, Liver Down the River and Broccoli Samurai.

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30 reasons to attend MerleFest’s 30th anniversary of making music, memories

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.

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The Steel Wheels to release newest album, ‘Wild As We Came Here,’ at MerleFest 2017

For The Steel Wheels, playing at MerleFest for the fourth time might just be a charm.

That’s because this four-piece Virginia-based string band is releasing its newest album, “Wild As We Came Here,” exclusively at the 30th anniversary of the Americana festival honoring the late, great Doc Watson, and his son Merle. The album will be officially released on May 5.

“There is no place better than MerleFest to release a brand-new album,” says Trent Wagler, who plays guitar and banjo in the band and writes most of its material. “It’s great to release a record in the spring time. It makes a lot of sense … you get something out right at the beginning of the touring year.”

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