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Watson, The Steel Wheels join MerleFest

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 – Willie Watson and The Steel Wheels joined the 2015 MerleFest lineup, it was announced today.

The Steel Wheels, a quartet of Americana folk musicians based in Virginia, will host the Midnight Jam during MerleFest, which is April 23-26 in Wilkesboro, N.C.

MerleFest is known for its mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and other style.

Watson was an original member of Old Crow Medicine Show. Watson recorded and toured with the group for over a decade before leaving to go solo in 2011. He released his debut solo album, "Folk Singer, Vol. 1," produced by David Rawlings, early in 2014 on Rawlings' and associate producer Gillian Welch's Acony Records.

The Steel Wheels cluster tightly around a single microphone to adorn Trent Wagler's tenor with four-part harmonies complemented by Eric Brubaker's fiddle, Brian Dickel's upright bass and Jay Lapp on the mandolin and guitars. This will be the third MerleFest appearance for the Steel Wheels.

The Midnight Jam is the Saturday after-hours hootenanny that has produced artistic collaborations and special jams.

Steve Johnson, artist relations manager for MerleFest, said, "The MerleFest Midnight Jam is the place to be for great late night music at the festival. We are incredibly excited to have The Steel Wheels and The Bluegrass Situation co-hosting the event. Additionally we expect a great lineup of music for the Midnight Jam, which will include artists like Willie Watson, Scythian and New Country Rehab, and we definitely expect some of the MerleFest fan favorites like Jim Lauderdale, Peter Rowan and many others to make an appearance as well."

CD reviews for Willie Watson

Folksinger, Vol. 2 CD review - Folksinger, Vol. 2
Offering up an entire album of traditional folk songs is nothing new, of course. Once Dylan and Springsteen tapped into that template, the standard was set for the future. Still, given Watson's pedigree - first as an original member of Old Crow Medicine Show and later as a hired hand and integral part of the Dave Rawlings Machine -- he has an appropriate resume that allows him to nicely fit into the role of perpetual troubadour. Likewise, with one volume of journeyman ballads behind him, a »»»
Folk Singer Vol. 1 CD review - Folk Singer Vol. 1
When we last heard much from Willie Watson, he was a member of Old Crow Medicine Show. But Watson left in 2011 to blaze his own musical path. Sort of. What Watson, who displays his acoustic guitar and banjo skills throughout, does is cover 10 folk songs with some on the ultra obscure side. While many of the songs have been recorded by the likes of Waylon Jennings, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, they are not on the tips of everyone's tongues. Watson, who has an imposing vocal »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers – When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience – Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
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