Friday, April 29, 2011

The Crooked Road Tour: Roots of Ameircan Music

Roots of American Music is a musical tour with a cast of 12 well known musicians that will visit 12 Crooked Road towns during May 10-22. Each date is listed within our events.The show tells that Southwestern Virginia was a mixing bowl where an American music was created from ingredients brought there from many places after 1720, but primarily from Ulster in Ireland, the Rhine Valley of Germany, and was mixed with English and African sounds brought to the mountains by settlers who came westward from the Tidewater.

While the music performed on the tour will be largely American, some of the musicians are not.  Cheick Hamala Diabete is a griot, a hereditary musician and historian, from Mali in West Africa.  He plays an instrument that developed into the American banjo.

Dr. Michael “Mick” Moloney is the Irish musician and musicologist who created the famed Greenfields of America shows that set off the international revival of Irish music and dance.

Joey Abarta is a brilliant young Irish musician who recently stood the world of Irish music on its head by winning the challenging world championship of uilleann bagpiping at the tender age of 22.

Nine of the most respected musicians from Southwest Virginia will show how historic music from The Crooked Road reaches around the world.

Dale Jett is a powerful singer from Scott County, and a third generation member of the famous Carter Family.

Wayne Henderson is a guitarist from tiny Rugby in Grayson County who tours internationally, and is the most respected acoustic guitar maker on earth.

Sammy Shelor is a nationally respected bandleader, singer, and banjoist from the Meadows of Dan in Patrick County.

Molly Slemp is a teenaged singing Phnom, a keeper of ancient ballads reared in the coalfields of Wise County.

Kirk Sutphin is a brilliant fiddler, old-time banjoist, and keeper of the Round Peak string band style that in recent decades has spread to the world from the Virginia-North Carolina border.

Burl Rhea is an underground coal miner from Russell County, a drop-thumb banjoist and singer in the take-no-prisoners Cumberland Mountain style.

Linda Lay is a singer who lifts audiences out of their seats with a spellbinding emotional depth.  A bassist with the precision of an atomic clock, she is Bristol-born, and a nationally respected performer.

Eddie Bond lives in the tiny New River village of Fries, but his mastery of the rich Round Peak string band style has created an audience for his music that stretches from New Zealand to the moors of Scotland.

Leigh Beamer has a way with instruments and a big voice.  She recently celebrated her fifteenth birthday by learning two great old songs from her native Wythe County.

The tour is an outgrowth of the permanent exhibit, Roots of American Music, opening at the Blue Ridge Music Center, Milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Galax, Virginia, on May 27.  The exhibit was created by historians and musicologists guided by the National Council for the Traditional Arts and Blue Ridge Traditional Arts of Galax.

In development for four years, Ralph Applebaum Associates of New York, designers of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., designed the exhibit.  The Blue Ridge Music Center complex is the largest physical expansion of the Parkway in 76 years.

The tour is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Heartwood, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and The Crooked Road.

For more information:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 Pulaski Theatre
14 West Main Street, Pulaski, VA
Show Time: 7:30PM Doors open 6:30PM
Tickets $12 in advance $15 at the door
Tickets available at Martins Pharmacy, Coffee Buy the Book, Pulaski Visitors Center and the Fine Arts Center or online at

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 Rex Theater
113 East Grayson Street, Galax, VA
Show Time: 7:30PM Doors open 6:30PM
Tickets $10
Tickets available at the Galax Visitors Center 110 East Grayson Street and Barrs Fiddle Shop in Galax

Thursday, May 12, 2011 Natural Tunnel State Park Amphitheater
Duffield, VA
Show Time: 6:30PM
Tickets $10 Sponsored by Scott County Chamber of Commerce

Friday, May 13, 2011 The Paramount Center for the Arts
518 State Street, Bristol, VA/TN
Show Time: 7:00PM Doors open 6:30PM
Tickets: $12 in advance and $15 at door
Tickets available at the Paramount Center for the Arts and online at

Saturday, May 14, 2011 The Jettie Baker Center
348 Main Street, Clintwood, VA
Show Time: 7:00PM Doors open at 6:30pm
Tickets: $10 call 276-926-8694

Sunday, May 15, 2011 Historic Star Theatre
Downtown Stuart, VA
Show Time: 3:00PM Doors open at 2:30PM
Tickets: $10
Tickets available at The Depot Emporium, or Star Theatre by calling 276-694-7064

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 6:00 – 8:00PM Roanoke Main Library
FREE Event courtesy of Roanoke Public Libraries
706 S. Jefferson Street
Roanoke, VA 24016
For Information call: 540-853-1057 or Email:
Reservations Not Required

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 Southwest Virginia Community College King Community Center
Rt. 19 (6 miles south of Claypool Hill, VA)
Showtime: 7:00PM Doors open at 6:00PM
Tickets: $10 at the door (Cash or Check only)
For more information call: 276-964-7619

Thursday, May 19, 2011 The Lincoln Theatre
Marion, Virginia
Showtime: 7:00PM Doors open at 6:30PM
Tickets $10
Tickets Available at the Lincoln Theatre box office (276) 783-6092 or online at

Friday, May 20, 2011 The Goodloe Center at Mountain Empire Community College
Big Stone Gap, VA
Show time: 7:00 pm Doors Open at 6:30 pm
Tickets $10
For advanced tickets Call 276-523-7489 or Email:

Saturday, May 21, 2011 The Floyd Country Store
Floyd, VA
Concert 7:30PM Workshop 3:45PM
Tickets: General Admission: $15 Students: $10

Sunday, May 22, 2011 Franklin County High School Auditorium
700 Tanyard Road
Rocky Mount, VA
Show time: 2:30PM Doors open at 1:30PM
Tickets: $10
Ticket Info & Reservations: 540-483-0904 or 540-483-5360Sunday, May 29, 2011 Blue Ridge Music Center
Milepost 213, Blue Ridge Parkway, Galax, VA
Show time: 3:00PM
For More Information call: 276-236-5390
This free concert made possible with support through the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. Your stewardship in action.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Politically Correctness Lands a British Singer in Jail

Here's a warning to all musicians performing in the birthplace of individual liberty - or at least the Magna Carta. If you cover Carl Douglass' "Kung Fu Fighting" in the United Kingdom, prepare to be arrested. The sensitivity police are on the prow.

A pub singer has been arrested on suspicion of racism for singing the classic chart hit Kung Fu Fighting.

The song, performed by Simon Ledger, 34, is said to have offended two Chinese people as they walked past the bar where he was singing.

The entertainer regularly performs the 1974 number one hit, originally by disco star Carl Douglas, at the Driftwood Beach Bar in Sandown, on the Isle of Wight.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We are Missing Merlefest 2011 - Are You?

For a variety of reasons, we will not be attending Merlefest this weekend - the first time in a number of years. It's extremely painful; no Doc Watson, Roy Book Binder, Sam Bush Band, Donna The Buffalo, Corey Harris and Phil Wiggins, The Infamous Stringdusters, Lyle Lovett, Scythian, Tony Rice Unit, The Waybacks, and many, many more artists. Plus we always toured a winery in the Yadken Valley.  We would be delighted to link or post pictures or wrap-ups from anyone who attends this year. Just post a comment here. Thanks.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Trying to Find Room on the iPod

We receive several CDs over any given month and keep receiving some really fascinating material. The latest round started with the California Guitar Trio - Andromeda. This is one entertaining release; I can't believe its the first time we've taken a listen since they have been performing together for 20 years. Part acoustic jazz, latin, classical - listen closely and no song sounds alike. And check out "Hazardous Z" and "Improv VIII".

Just in time for Spring Break, we received Jonathan Scales - Character Farm & Other Short Stories.Scales plays the steel pan - an instrument associated with Trinidad & Tobago, but this is nowhere near conventional Island music. I love this CD, particularly "The Trap" which includes fiddler  Casey Driessen. Other guest artists include Jeff Coffin, Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge. "Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers " is hypnotic while "Muddy Vishnu" gets rockin'. The title track is as close as you get to an Island sound - can't wait to listen on the beaches in south Florida with a bottle of rhum.

Speaking of Florida, the state is home to the brother and sister duo Jubal's Kin. Their self titled CD, Jubal's Kin, is a blend of old-timey music and folk - more reminiscent of the Crooked Road than the cattle pastures and swamps in Florida. Maybe because they cover A.P. Carter's "No Depression" or play so many general domain songs: "Raleigh & Spencer", "Cuckoo Bird", "Train on the Island / Hunting the Buffalo", "Red Rocking Chair", and "I Will Arise". Don't worry, there are originals, including "Will You Sing Dixie" - a haunting powerful song.  This is just their debut CD, we expect a lot more entertaining releases from this pair.

Given our Americana preferences, its not that surprising that Israel Nash Gripka - Barn Doors & Concrete Floors was our favorite of the bunch. It has everything: roots, gospel, soul, even some classic rock. Gripka is from the Ozarks but now resides in New York City. To capture a more authenticate sound, they recorded this CD in an old and dusty hay barn up in the Catskill Mountains. Basically each song is a winner - but "Drown", "Four Winds", and "Red Dress" are replayed quite often in our house. I can't wait until Gripka returns from a European tour - he deserves a road trip.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two Reverends For the Price of One - Reverend Peytons Big Damn Band & Reverend Horton Heat TOUR!!!

The long expected Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band & Reverend Horton Heat tour starts tomorrow: 25 shows in 30+ days. We will get some video of the Reverend Peyton from this tour, but check out the Reverend Horton Heat below. This will be an unforgettable jam session.

4/20 - St Louis, MO - Old Rock House
4/21 - St Louis, MO - Old Rock House
4/22 - Louisville, KY - Jim Porters
4/23 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall
4/24 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
4/26 - Dayton, OH - McGuffys House of Rock
4/27 - Pittsburgh, PA - Altar Bar
4/28 - Buffalo, NY - Tralf Music Hall
4/29 - Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace
4/30 - Montreal, QU - Le National
5/1 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
5/3 - Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall
5/4 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
5/5 - Uncasville, CT - Wolf Den (Mohegan Sun)
5/6 - Brooklyn, NY - Bell House
5/7 - Clifton Park, NY - Northern Lights
5/8 - New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
5/10 - Ithaca, NY - The Haunt
5/11 - Allentwon, PA - Crocodile Rock
5/12 - Lancaster, PA - Chameleon Club
5/13 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts
5/14 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
5/15 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live
5/17 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
5/18 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Intersection

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rocklahoma – Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Rock!

The 2011 daily performance lineup has been announced for Rocklahoma, the three-day camp and rock festival that will feature a mix of the best classic bands and today’s top active rock artists. America’s biggest Memorial Day Weekend party kicks off summer May 27-29 at “Catch the Fever” Festival Grounds in Pryor, OK.

The daily performance lineup for ROCKLAHOMA is as follows:

Friday, May 27
Whitesnake, Hinder, Skillet, Sick Puppies, All That Remains, My Darkest Days, Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, Texas Hippie Coalition, New Medicine, Bad Things, Wildstreet, Loveblast, D’Molls, Alias, Blue Tiger, Firststryke, Chuck Cooley and the Demon Hammers, Signum A.D., Silverstone, Return to Custody

Saturday, May 28
Staind, Sebastian Bach, Drowning Pool, Rev Theory, Cavo, Pop Evil, The Gracious Few, Hail the Villain, Taddy Porter, Electric Touch, Gypsy Pistoleros, Cutlass, Mock Star, Aura Surreal, Aska, Strikeforce, Siva Addiction, A Good Fight, Bait, Rocker Lips, Sweatin Bullets

Sunday, May 29
Mötley Crüe, Poison, Papa Roach, Seether, Black Label Society, Saving Abel, Escape The Fate, Crooked X, Art Of Dying, One Less Reason, Bad Things, The Glitter Boys, Black Tora, New Cool World, Pretty Little Suicide, Diemonds, Brandon Clark Band, David Castro Band, Desi and Cody

The official ROCKLAHOMA pre-party on Thursday, May 26 will feature performances from Fist of Rage, Tiranico, Aformatic, Floodlyne, Blackwood, and Stun.

New to ROCKLAHOMA 2011 is the AXiS Campground Stage. Since the camping experience is one of the most memorable parts of ROCKLAHOMA for many fans, event producers have added this special performance area to enhance the campground. Anyone holding festival and camping tickets will be able to experience the sounds of the country’s finest new rock bands performing on this stage, located next to the General Store in the main campgrounds. Camping tickets may be purchased by calling the ROCKLAHOMA Camping Office at (866) 310-2288, where fans can choose their exact campsite.

Single day tickets for ROCKLAHOMA go on-sale Friday, April 15 at 10am CST at all Ticketmaster outlets and at

Fans are encouraged to buy tickets early as prices will increase as of Friday, April 15 at 10am CST and again the week of the event. General Admission 3-day ticket prices are now available for only $119 plus service fees and VIP Reserved 3-day tickets, which include unlimited beverages and catered meals as well as access to the air conditioned VIP tent, are just $320 plus service fees. As of 10am CST April 15, prices will be $139 plus service fees for General Admission and $350 plus service fees for VIP Reserved.

Doors to the main ROCKLAHOMA festival area and stages will open at 3pm each day. Campgrounds will open on Sunday, May 22 and remain open until Tuesday, May 31.

ROCKLAHOMA is located just 45 minutes northeast of Tulsa, in Pryor, OK. The “Catch the Fever” Festival Grounds is a premier destination for a multi-day festival and includes onsite camping with access to restrooms and shower house, a general store for campers, VIP reserved seating, hospitality areas and much more.

Established in 2007 as a classic rock destination festival with the motto “life, liberty and the pursuit of rock,” ROCKLAHOMA was revamped for 2010 as organizers teamed with AEG Live to create an event encompassing a much broader mix of classic, current and up-and-coming rock artists. ROCKLAHOMA is proud to be presented by Bud Light.

Kristine Ashton-Magnuson
(818) 996-2496

Current Clients:
Avalanche Tour
Carolina Rebellion
Dolor Saga: Books I-V
Dropkick Murphys
LA Spring Fair (April 8-17)

Punk Rock Dad/Jim Lindberg
Revolver Golden Gods 2011 (consultant)

Rock On The Range 2011 (with MSO)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Live Music on the Virginia Wine Trail

This past Saturday we visited three Virginia wineries that host live music for a feature on Virginia Wine TV. We've been to wineries when they hosted live music before, but like many clubs, the music was an added attraction to a social engagement. Today we focused entirely on the music and really appreciated the talent of these musicians. The videos are available at the MyJoogTV YouTube channel and this week at MyJoogTV. The day started at Delaplane Cellars where Gary Smallwood was performing. Smallwood combines a clear acoustic picking with a soulful voice. After a few songs we had to move on, and the next stop was Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn, which had booked Mike Bowers. And Bowers was the biggest surprise. The background noise is atrocious, but listen to his voice in these videos. Unbelievable. And like Smallwood, Bowers regularly performs at several Virginia wineries. There is no excuse not seeing him. The final stop was at Quattro Goomba’s Winery where Andre Fox was playing the "party" room. Fox is more engaging with the audience and had groups of people dancing around the fermenting tanks. Besides being charismatic, Fox has another beautiful soulful voice, from Percy Sledge to Otis Redding. You get the idea. As you can hear, another reason to visit your local winery - support local music.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ian Anderson's Out Of This World Concert

When worldwide fame and notoriety have been achieved, taking your music into outer space is the only place left to go.

On April 12th Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson will be taking part in a duet with US astronaut Colonel Catherine Coleman to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin’s first manned space flight in 1961.

However, this duet is no ordinary collaboration. Whilst Anderson will be live on stage in Perm, Russia, Coleman will be in orbit in the International Space Station as she contributes to Ian’s truly out of this world concert.

Coleman’s part of the performance will be screened by video link to the audience in Perm from somewhere in the galaxy as part of this gravity defying gig.

The pair will be playing an excerpt from Bouree from Tull's STAND UP album.

Coleman has been practicing her Ian Anderson trade mark of playing the flute whilst standing (or in her case floating) on one leg. For 3 months, Anderson's flute accompanied Cady Coleman and her own flute in orbit allowing her to perfect her Anderson stance ahead of the duet.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rockin' Out at Wineries

As the weather warms, it's time for our annual sermon on hidden gems that host live music - our ever expanding collection of wineries. Farm wineries are unique in that they perform three different types of economic activity. They are agricultural entities, growing and harvesting grapes and other fruit. They engage in manufacturing by turning the juice from these fruit into wine and bottling the fermented beverage. And finally, farm wineries participate in the service economy, by hosting events in their tasting rooms in order to attract consumers. And it seems one of the most popular events is hosting live music.

The style and facilities differ among region and winery. Some may offer local musicians; other regional artists or national touring acts. Right here in Northern Virginia it seems that almost every winery in Loudoun County and along the Route 66 corridor provide regular live music. Last year we filmed our inaugural episode of MyJoogTV at the summer concert series at Tarara Vineyard & Winery and filmed more sessions at three other wineries that host local and regional acts: Adams County Winery, Black Ankle Vineyards, and Veritas Vineyards. But basically, for those living near Washington D.C. and Baltimore, there is a plethora of musical opportunities within a short drive in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

This phenomenon is not limited to the Mid-Atlantic. Wineries exist in every state of this country, and the same holds for live music hosted at these establishments. Some are full fledged concert halls such as Mountain Winery or Wente Vineyards in California. Others, such as Pend d'Oreille Winery, La Vina Winery, Schnebly Redland's Winery, and McLaughlin Vineyards may seem remote - but they provide plenty of music. And as expected, wineries near music meccas like Nashville and Austin, leverage those musical communities. Check out Arrington Vineyards, Pedernales Cellars, and Landon Winery as examples.

We and the wineries are constantly adding these events to the Wine-Compass and MyJoog event listings - with the later providing more information on the musicians. Regardless on how you find these events; go out and support local wine and local music. That's a great combination.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Smilefest Reunion 2011 Lineup - Its Official

We just came across this awesome festival scheduled for the first weekend in June - the Smilefest Reunion 2011 at the Jomeokee Campground in Pinnacle NC. Tickets are reasonable: wWeekend Pass (Adv 1): $100 for next 749 tickets or til April 30th; weekend Pass (Adv 2):$115 for next 250 tickets or til June 1st. And take a look at these artists:

Smilefest 2011 Performers

Railroad Earth

For more than 10 years, Railroad Earth has been a prominent figure in the American roots music scene. Their sound, which is something like an amalgam of Rock, Roots, Bluegrass and Celtic, leaves them near impossible to label. With a legion of loyal fans, Railroad Earth has been an undeniable force whose superb songwriting, singing and stage performances have kept them one of the most talked about bands on the festival circuit in years.

JJ Grey and Mofro

As many of you know, we've been trying for years to get JJ and Mofro out to Smilefest and we are extremely excited to have them this year. They will be performing on Saturday. Click artist name for more.

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe has been a long time favorite for Smilefest for many years. Who can forget the epic set in 2002 when he played til 3am. This years performance promises to be as special. Check out Karl on Saturday evening. Click on artist name for more.

Melvin Seals and JGB

What a blessing to have Melvin and JGB at Smilefest this year. Getting chills just writing it on the site. Going to be incredible Saturday night performance. Click on artist name for more info.

New Mastersounds

All the way from England, The New Mastersounds have become big favorites of mine and MRM's. If you have not seen them perform, they bring the old school funk. You can catch them on Friday night. Click on artist name for more info.

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge

What would Smilefest be without Larry and Jenny Keel on site. This year we'll be treated to Larry's band, Natural Bridge on Saturday AND a special sit in set with Danny Barnes on Sunday. Click on artist name for more info.

Pimps of Joytime

Back for an encore performance from last year, this was one of the most talked about bands at Smilefest Reunion 2010. Plan to get your dance shoes on with them Friday night this year.

John Browns Body

First timers at Smilefest, they promise to bring a positive, reggae vibe to the festival. Their performance is Friday. Click on artist name for more info.

Danny Barnes

Very excited to have Danny Barnes with us at Smilefest Reunion this year. His unique style is a joy to experience. Catch him Sunday with Larry Keel.


Sanders, Cardine and Pond was born out of Jay Sanders’ Mindtonic Music Series at the Rocket Club in Asheville. The three came together as a mutual admiration society in March of 2010 and the musical combination has blossomed into a powerful force. Equal parts Mahavishnu Orchestra and Strength In Numbers, the three musicians each bring compositions to the project that feature the strength of their individual talents.

Shane Pruitt Band

After the epic set last Sunday at Smilefest, with a special sit in from our own Benton Wharton, we had to bring these boys back. They will be performing on Saturday afternoon this year. Click artist name for more info.

Sol Driven Train

An amazing band that we are happy to have with us this year. Check them out on Saturday afternoon.

Ralph Roddenberry Band

This is Ralphs first trip to Smilefest but has been part of the extended family for years. You can catch him Saturday afternoon and for a late night picking session that night. Click on artist name for more info on Ralph.

Jackass Flats

After a great performance last year, we had to bring them back again. Come check them out on Friday. Click on artist name for more info.

Sanctum Sully

One of my new favorites, we are really looking forward to their performance this year. Check their set out on Saturday. Click on artist name for more info.

Nora Jane Struthers

Very excited to have found out about Nora Jane this and glad to have her on the line-up this year. Come check her out set Sunday morning. Click on artist name for more info.

Lizzy Ross Band

Performing on Saturday afternoon, Lizzy promises to bring a great female vibe to the stage.


Another new favorite from the Piedmont, this will be an amazing set Friday afternoon. Click on artist name for more info.

The Captain Midnight Band

Formed in New Orleans in 2002, The Captain Midnight Band stays true to the Crescent City's celebratory heritage, turning every show into a sweating, throbbing event, interspersed with humor and ear-candy jams.

Electric Soul Pandemic

Since Smilefest started in Grensboro, it felt only fitting to bring a Greensboro band to the Reunion. Their Friday set promises to please. Click on artist name for more info.

From A Seed

For about 5 years, From A Seed has been bringing the Lake Norman and
Charlotte area a great blend of original rock with covers thrown in
for flare. 8 people come together to create great rock and fill the
air with great sounds.The

Duk Tan

DUK TAN intentionally strives to make each performance different from the last, in both subject matter and musical content.

The Virginia Dare Devils

The creation of innovative and original music is an ever elusive goal in this day and age. The Virginia Dare Devils’ mission to do just that is most certainly well under way.

Big Something

The sound is BIG and clearly the work of some largely talented musicians, hence the name: BIG Something.

The Matt Nicholls Quartet

Based out of Nashiville, TN the Matt Nicholl's Quartet brings a mix of Blues, Rock & Country.

Tara Nevins & Jeb Puryear of Donna The Buffalo

Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear, of Donna the Buffalo, have crafted a
feel-good, groove-oriented, danceable and often socially conscious music for over twenty years...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Announces Finalists for 2011

Finalists have been selected for the 19h annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, hosted by MerleFest 2011. The festival is scheduled for April 28-May 1, on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Writers of the following twelve songs, selected from over 1,053 entries, will compete on the Austin Stage at MerleFest on Friday, April 29:

Tonya Lowman - "Heartwrenching Lovesick Memories" (Lenoir, N.C.)
David Grindstaff,
Benjamin Poteat and David Snider - "The Working Man" (Marion, N.C.)
Ashleigh Caudill - "Row By Row" (Asheville, N.C.)

Mickey Clark - "Bakersfield Wine" (Louiville, Ky.)
Lera Lynn - "Bobby, Baby" (Athens, Ga.)
Thom Case - "The Smart Thing" (Brentwood, Tenn.)

Johnny Tanner - "Wake Up John" (Florence, S.C.)
Tony Feathers - "On The Rock Where Moses Stood" (Gray, Tenn.)
Rachel Harrington - "He Started Building My Mansion In Heaven Today" (Seattle, Wash.)

Joseph LeMay - "River In My Heart" (Dyersburg, Tenn.)
The Honeycutters
(Amanda Anne Platt) - "Little Bird" (Asheville, N.C.)
Driftwood Fire (Charlotte D. Formichella and Lynn Scharf) - "The Salty Sea" (Ft. Collins, Colo.)

Each of the twelve finalists will enjoy admission and lodging for four nights at MerleFest, and will receive a mentoring session with Grammy®-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. In addition, the first place winners will receive a performance slot on the Cabin Stage on Friday of the festival.

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. 

This year’s on-site judges are Wyatt Durrett, Corb Lund and Molly Nagel. Durrette is a respected songwriter whose credits include “Chicken Fried,” the wildly successful number one hit by Grammy Award winning Zac Brown Band. Lund, Alberta’s acclaimed alternative country star, has been named Roots Artist of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association for the last five years running and was again nominated this year. Nagel is the newly-appointed general manager of the Asheville-based innovative marketing company Music Allies; previously she spent 12 years in publicity and artist development for venerated roots indie Sugar Hill Records.

The following were judges for the first round of competition during which the finalists were selected: Donica Christenson - Sugar Hill Records; Tim Dubois - ASCAP Nashville; Sara Johnson - creative director, Bug Music; Casey Kelly - songwriter/vice president, Songwriters Guild; Joe Limardi - program director, WSM; Shannon McCombs - producer/writer/host; Megan McNair - publicist/editor, Music City News Media; Nathan Nicholson - independent song plugger/publisher; Caine O'Rear - editor/co-publisher, American Songwriter Magazine; Victoria Shaw - singer/songwriter and producer; Joyce Symans - membership administrator, Americana Music Association; Joe West - songwriter/producer.    

Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the scholarship has awarded over $35,000 to 71 deserving students. The 2010-2011 Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship recipients are Mary R. Griffith and Thomas Noah Russell. 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.

About Chris Austin:
Chris Austin, from Boone, North Carolina, worked as a sideman for Ricky Skaggs for three years, singing and playing guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle. During that time he was discovered by executives at Warner Bros. Nashville, who offered him a recording contract. While releasing singles including “Blues Stay Away From Me,” “I Know There’s a Heart in There Somewhere” and “Out of Step,” Austin also developed his songwriting skills, as
evidenced in “Same Ol’ Love,” recorded by Skaggs in 1991. On March 16, 1991, Austin’s life was cut tragically short when the private plane carrying him and six other members of Reba McEntire’s band, as well as her tour manager, crashed in the mountains near San Diego. Pete Fisher, then of Warnersongs and currently general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, and Kari Estrin, then MerleFest consultant and Pickin’ for Merle video associate producer, initiated the songwriting contest to honor Austin’s memory.

# # #

MerleFest Media Contacts:

Judy McDonough, Publicist:  615-243-5994 or

Amber Herman, WCC Public Information and Relations Officer: 336-838-6292 or

Friday, April 1, 2011

Our April MyJoog Music Calendar

Send Event to Friends    The Clarks w/Memphis 59 - The State Theatre Falls Church, VA: Saturday, April 02, 2011
Send Event to Friends    An Evening With Willy Porter - Jammin' Java Vienna, VA: Saturday, April 02, 2011
Send Event to Friends    The Seldom Scene - BlackRock Center for the Arts Germantown, MD: Saturday, April 02, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Cravin’ Dogs 25th Anniversary Celebration The Michael Clem Trio - Wolf Trap - The Barns Vienna, VA: Saturday, April 02, 2011
Send Event to Friends    The Hillbilly Gypsies / The Virginia Ramblers - Lucketts Community Center Leesburg, VA: Saturday, April 02, 2011
Send Event to Friends    William Walter - Dogfish Head Alehouse Fairfax, VA: Saturday, April 02, 2011
Send Event to Friends    David Ryan Harris - Jammin' Java Vienna, VA: Monday, April 04, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Walter Trout & Jimmy Thackery - Rams Head Onstage Annapolis, MD: Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Send Event to Friends    William Fitzsimmons - Rams Head Onstage Annapolis, MD: Thursday, April 07, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Marcia Ball - Rams Head Onstage Annapolis, MD: Friday, April 08, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Marcia Ball - Rams Head Live Baltimore, MD: Friday, April 08, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Ha Ha Tonka, The Spring Standards, Via Audio - Red Palace Washington, DC: Friday, April 08, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Veronneau CD Release - Homegrown Coffeehouse Accokeek, MD: Saturday, April 09, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Toad the Wet Sprocket - Nightclub 9:30 Washington, DC: Saturday, April 09, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Arturo Sandoval - The Music Center at Strathmore North Bethesda, MD: Saturday, April 09, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Eric Brace & Peter Cooper - NightCat Easton, MD: Saturday, April 09, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Loudon Wainwright III - Rams Head Onstage Annapolis, MD: Saturday, April 09, 2011
Send Event to Friends    William Walter - Brion's Grille Fairfax, VA: Saturday, April 09, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Fitzmaurice and Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen - Rams Head Onstage Annapolis, MD: Sunday, April 10, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Old 97's w/ Teddy Thompson - Nightclub 9:30 Washington, DC: Sunday, April 10, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Buddy Guy w/Quinn Sullivan - The Birchmere Alexandria, VA: Sunday, April 10, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Taj Mahal Solo - Rams Head Onstage Annapolis, MD: Monday, April 11, 2011
Send Event to Friends    POKEY LAFARGE LISSY ROSEMONT CHARLIE PARR - IOTA Club Arlington, VA: Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Joe Pug - Black Cat Washington, DC: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Scythian - Rams Head Onstage Annapolis, MD: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Send Event to Friends    An Evening with Chatham County Line - Jammin' Java Vienna, VA: Thursday, April 14, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Second Annual DC Bluegrass Festival - Langley High School McLean, VA: Saturday, April 16, 2011
Send Event to Friends    RemingtonRyde / Bluestone - Lucketts Community Center Leesburg, VA: Saturday, April 16, 2011  
Send Event to Friends    Carrie Newcomer & Debi Smith - The Birchmere Alexandria, VA: Saturday, April 16, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights - DC9 Washington, DC: Sunday, April 17, 2011
Send Event to Friends    The Steel Wheels - Cafe Nola Frederick, MD: Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Coheed and Cambria - Rams Head Live Baltimore, MD: Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Ari Hest - Jammin' Java Vienna, VA: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Send Event to Friends    William Walter & Co. - Dogfish Head Alehouse Fairfax, VA: Thursday, April 21, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Stephen Kellogg with Special Guest Tift Merritt - The Solo and Down Low Tour - Jammin' Java Vienna, VA: Friday, April 22, 2011
Send Event to Friends    William Walter & Co. - Whitlow's On Wilson Arlington, VA: Saturday, April 23, 2011
Send Event to Friends    The Fitzmaurice Band / Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers - Lucketts Community Center Leesburg, VA: Saturday, April 23, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Shane Gamble CD Release - IOTA Club Arlington, VA: Saturday, April 23, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Hot Tuna - The Birchmere Alexandria, VA: Friday, April 29, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Graham Parker - Jammin' Java Vienna, VA: Friday, April 29, 2011
Send Event to Friends    Kim Richey - IOTA Club Arlington, VA: Saturday, April 30, 2011