MerleFest, the popular American roots music festival founded by influential musician Doc Watson will offer music fans a sneak peek of this spring’s festival with MerleFest on the Road. The festival will present various artists on tour throughout the Southeastern United Sytates during March. The tour will present select artists that will perform at MerleFest 2017 or have performed previously at the festival: Mark Bumgarner, Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys, and Locust Honey.
MerleFest 2017 will take place from April 27-30 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
Thursday, February 23 – Floyd Country Store, Floyd, Virginia.
Friday, February 24 – Gaston County Museum, Dallas, North Carolina
Saturday, February 25 – Willingham Theater, Yadkinville, North Carolina
Sunday, February 26 – Hendershot’s Coffee Bar, Athens, Georgia
Thursday, March 2 – Isis Music Hall, Asheville, North Carolina
Friday, March 3 – Down Home, Johnson City, Tennessee.
Saturday, March 4 – Van Dyke Performance Space, Greensboro, North Carolina
Sunday, March 5 – Motorco, Durham, North Carolina
The great American roots music festival MerleFest has announced six more acts to the 2017 lineup: The Avett Brothers, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, Chatham County Line Electric Holiday, Mandolin Orange, Steep Canyon Rangers and Sierra Hull. MerleFest is presented by Window World and scheduled for April 27-30, 2017.
This year will be the 30th celebration of this influential music festival that attracts over 75,000 participants every year. MerleFest has already announced over 75 artists for 2017, including Zac Brown Band with a very special acoustic set, Del McCoury Band, Jim Lauderdale, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Mountain Heart and many more. The rest of the lineup for MerleFest 2017 will be revealed over the next few months.
Tickets for MerleFest 2017 are on sale now and may be purchased at MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857.
Yesterday evening, bluegrass and American roots music festival MerleFest announced the winners of the 2016 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Writers of the following 12 songs were selected from 744 entries and competed on the Austin Stage at MerleFest on Friday, April 29.
MerleFest 2016 winners:
1st Place – Aaron Bibelhauser (Louisville, Ky.) – “Blue Collar Dreams”
2nd Place – Courtney Rorrer (Madison, N.C.) and Asa Gravley (Beckley, West Va.) – “Midnight Tears”
3rd Place – Cindy Giejda (Farmingdale, N.J.) – “Jail Break”
1st Place – Marcy Each (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) – “On the Cross Built for Me”
2nd Place – Austin Stanley (Nashville, Tenn.) – “The Face of God”
3rd Place – Corey Smith and Allen Smith (Fayetteville, N.C.) – “The Road”
1st Place – Buddy Guido (Mohawk, N.Y.), Paul Kelly (Santa Fe, N.M.) and Willie Scheollkopf (Buffalo, N.Y.) – “This Livin’ May Be Killing Me”
2nd Place – Sarah Morris (Shoreview, Minn.) – “I Go Back”
3rd Place – Meris Gantt of Handlebar Betty (Blowing Rock, N.C) – “House of Cards”
1st Place – Sarah Sample (Sheridan, Wyo.) – “A Heart That Falls Apart”
1st Place – Adam Bonomo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – “Redshifted”
2nd Place – David Morris (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Chris Dockins (Burke, Va.) – “Weeds”
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale served as volunteer contest chairperson. The on-site judges for the final round were critically acclaimed bluegrass multi-instrumentalist Milan Miller; 2013 CASC winner and founding member of acclaimed Americana trio Red June John Cloyd Miller: and singer-songwriter Sarah Potenza, best known for her recent success on NBC’s “The Voice” and second place win in the 2014 CASC. All finalists took part in a songwriting mentoring session with Jim Lauderdale and the on-site judges.
The first place winners in each category received $600 cash from MerleFest, performed on the Cabin Stage on Friday night to rave reviews and were even joined at one point by superstar bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland as a special surprise.
The first round of the CASC competition takes place in Nashville, Tennessee and is narrowed down to 12 finalists representing four categories: bluegrass, country, general and gospel/inspirational.
Judging is based on a song’s originality, lyrics, melody and overall commercial potential. The contest is open to those whose primary source of income (50 percent or more) is not derived from songwriting or publishing.
The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is a unique opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of this year’s volunteer contest chairperson Jim Lauderdale. Judging is based on a song’s originality, lyrics, melody and overall commercial potential.
Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest help support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the scholarship has awarded over $38,000 to 81 deserving students. Previous winners of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest include Gillian Welch, Tift Merritt, Michael Reno Harrell, Adrienne Young, Martha Scanlan, David Via and Johnny Williams.
MerleFest, the well-liked music festival founded by the legendary Doc Watson, will present a preview of this spring’s festival when MerleFest on the Road tours throughout the Southeastern United States during March. The tour will feature first-rate artists scheduled to perform at MerleFest 2016: Tellico, High Plains Jamboree and Zoe & Cloyd.
“The MerleFest on the Road performers provide a sampling of bluegrass and old-time artists scheduled to perform at MerleFest 2016,” said Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager. “It is important to remember that MerleFest cannot be defined by just one genre such as bluegrass or old-time. Doc Watson created the genre moniker of traditional-plus, ‘meaning the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play. Since the beginning, the people of the college and I have agreed that the music of MerleFest is ‘traditional plus’.’”
Tellico is based in in Asheville, North Carolina’s thriving roots music scene. The band is rooted in bluegrass but with an unbridled organic “Appalachiacana” sound, combining some of the finest voices, songs and instrumental prowess in western North Carolina and beyond. MerleFest fans know most of the band members from Dehlia Low. www.tellicoband.com
High Plains Jamboree is making its own jukebox memories, playing decades old favorites and original songs. With roots in Northern bluegrass and Southern troubadour country, these four veteran Austin, Texas, musicians bring a well-defined Texas flavor to this new string band’s writing and singing. www.highplainsjamboree.com
Zoe & Cloyd, a husband-wife duo from Asheville, combine a foundation in traditional bluegrass and old-time Appalachian music with a modern sensibility. They are known for their haunting mountain voices, instrumental prowess and songwriting. They have been making music together for ten years, including with MerleFest favorite Red June. www.zoeandcloyd.com
MerleFest 2016 will take place from April 28 to May 1 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, where the MerleFest on the Road artists will be joined by John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, The Wood Brothers, The Steep Canyon Rangers and many others.
Thursday, March 3 – Isis Music Hall – Asheville, North Carolina
Friday, March 4, 2016 – Harvester Performance Center – Rocky Mount, Virginia*
Saturday, March 5 – Willingham Theater – Yadkinville, North Carolina
Sunday, March 6 – The Willow Tree – Johnson City, Tennessee*
Wednesday, March 9 – “Tennessee Shines” at Boyd’s Jig and Reel – Knoxville, Tennessee*
Thursday, March 10 –The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art presented by the Blue Ridge Music Center – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Friday, March 11 – Gaston County Museum – Dallas, North Carolina
Saturday, March 12 – Triad Acoustic Stage at the Carolina Theater – Greensboro, North Carolina
Sunday, March 13 – The Evening Muse -| Charlotte, North Carolina*
(*Tellico and High Plains Jamboree only.)
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