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Prine, Rawlings Machine, SCR highlight MerleFest 2016

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 – John Prine, Dave Rawlings Machine and Steep Canyon Rangers were among the initial acts announced to play MerleFest next year.

Coming April 28-May 1, 2016, the festival will be held at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C. The sounds at MerleFest incorporate traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles that the late Doc Watson referred to as "traditional plus."

Other acts include The Wood Brothers, Dobro ace and Allison Krauss and Earls of Leicester band member Jerry Douglas, Scythian, Ukrainian heritage with Celtic and bluegrass traditions, The Kruger, Donna the Buffalo, Becky Buller, who won three IBMA awards in September.

Other acts coming to MerleFest are: Annie Moses Band, Ash Breeze, Jim Avett, Banknotes, The Barefoot Movement, Billy Strings and Don Julin, Roy Book Binder, Blue Mafia, Laura Boosinger, The Bros. Landreth, The Brothers Comatose, Mark Bumgarner,Carbon Leaf, Carol Rifkin with John Fowler and Jeanette Queen, Clyde's on Fire, The Commons, Commonwealth Bluegrass Band, The Contenders (Josh Day & Jay Nash), Kristy Cox, Sherman Lee Dillon, EmiSunshine, Fireside Collective, Foghorn Stringband, Grace & Tony, Britt Gully, Wayne Henderson, High Plains Jamboree, Bob Hill, Sierra Hull, In With The Old, The InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Tom Feldmann, Fruteland Jackson, Jeff Little Trio, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Jeni & Billy, Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Kacy & Clayton, Karl Shifflett & Big Country Show, Jack Lawrence, Wanamaker Lewis, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, Liz Frame and The Kickers, The Local Boys, Bonnie Logan, Lou Reid & Carolina, Love Canon, Bill Mathis, Andy May, David and Valerie Mayfield, Penny and Sparrow, Sarah Potenza, Salvador, Shinyribs,The Slocan Ramblers, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Steve and Ruth Smith, Joe Smothers, South Carolina Broadcasters, Sparky & Rhonda Rucker, String Madness with Mitch Greenhill, Susie Glaze & the Hilonesome Band, Bryan Sutton, Sutton, Holt and Coleman, Tellico, The Buck Stops Here, Mark Tobolosky, Happy Traum, April Verch, Liz Vice, Seth Walker, The Waybacks, We Banjo 3, Charles Welch, Pete & Joan Wernick, Westwend, The Whiskey Gentry, Uncle Ted White, Shannon Whitworth, Will Overman Band, The Williams Brothers, Wood & Wire, and Zoe & Cloyd.

"We keep Doc Watson's 'Traditional Plus' spirit alive each year at MerleFest by inviting artists that will showcase a wide variety of music from multiple genres. With artists and bands like John Prine, Dave Rawlings Machine, The Wood Brothers, Scythian, Jerry Douglas and Steep Canyon Rangers, it will be a weekend packed with great music," said Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager. "As in years past, the lineup will continue to develop in the coming months. MerleFest fans have grown accustomed to the special moments that MerleFest plans each year. And the possibility for spontaneous special moments is highly likely given the combination of artists that are known to pull together onstage jams at MerleFest."

"It's always a thrill for us to announce the performers at MerleFest each year because we take pride in always presenting a lineup that is dynamic and diverse," said Ted Hagaman, festival director. "It's the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the four days of the festival that, in turn, creates another important element of MerleFest's success: people truly feel that the festival is a great value. So many music fans and families return year after year, making MerleFest a regular spring tradition. We will always work to make that tradition continue."

Tickets for MerleFest 2016 are on sale at or by calling 1-800-343-7857. A three-tiered pricing structure will be offered. The Early Bird Tier 1 ticket discount is available starting through Feb. 15, 2016. An Early Bird Tier 2 ticket discount will run from Feb. 16, 2016, through April 27, 2016. The third price tier will be gate pricing.

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For Better, Or Worse CD review - For Better, Or Worse
With "For Better or Worse," John Prine follows up his "In Spite of Ourselves" album with more male/female duets. And this one is a true A-list effort, as it finds Prine trading lines with the likes of Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and Alison Krauss. Once again, though, Iris DeMent steals the show with the angry and sarcastic "Who's Gonna Take the Garbage Out," the same way she did with the prior album's title cut. She's a worthy sparring partner, »»»
In Person & On Stage CD review - In Person & On Stage
John Prine holds a well-deserved spot in the songwriters' pantheon. So, it's always a bit disappointing when a new Prine release isn't stocked with new Prine songs. After producing 7 albums between 1971-1980, he has only made a handful of albums of originals since then, although he has done a couple covers projects, the "Souvenirs" re-recordings album, a Christmas disc and now his third live album. That said, there are bountiful joys in listening to Prine performing »»»
Fair and Square CD review - Fair and Square
John Prine's first album of new original songs in nine years has a mostly folk sound, full of acoustic guitars with the occasional accordion and harmonica thrown in. "Morning Train" is a sultry song with an organ, low steel guitar, and fantastic background vocals from Mindy Smith. Overall, the songs are good, but not great - many of the lyrics are mundane, although there are some creative highlights. "She Is My Everything," a sweet love featuring the line, "If I get lost you can always find her »»»
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: Cantrell continues to satisfy – Laura Cantrell may never be a country star. Not at this stage of her career when she's 50, touring here and there and releasing new music every few years or so. But five albums in, Cantrell continues as a warm, enjoyable and worthy purveyor of her brand of country. That would mean going towards a more traditional side, not rushing the songs... »»»
Concert Review: Not only is Turner traditional, he's popular – Every time Josh Turner reached for some of those wonderful subterranean low notes, which he often pulled out during his enjoyable night show, it was like a superhero applying a superpower. He didn't need this extra advantage to please his audience; he has so many quality songs stockpiled in his catalogue already doing the job.... »»»
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