Friday, April 29, 2016

Sofar Sounds RDU Provides a Unique Experience

Sofar Sounds is an organization that operates around the world gathering music artists and fans by providing intimate shows with local musicians.  This group has recently started offering such shows in the Raleigh/Durham area.

Part of the beauty of the Sofar Sounds RDU experience is that no two shows are the same.  They are presented in secret locations throughout the area ranging from apartments, houses, and local businesses.  Most recently, Sofar Sounds RDU held a showcase at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh's Warehouse District.

With various colorful art selections covering the walls and sculptures hanging from the ceilings, approximately 30 seats were placed before a small stage.  Sofar Sounds RDU organizer, Jason Elliott welcomed the guests who were anticipating the reveal of the secret artists.

Folk singer and song writer Al Riggs was the first to take the stage, who shared new songs such as "Blue Morning" and "Pagoda."  Following his set came City Below, a folk-pop artist that shared tunes from her new EP, The Sleeping Beast.  Rounding out the night, were two Wilmington natives, Justin Lacy and Sarah Royal who together are known as Slow Dance, an acoustic punk band.

There are a number of ways to get involved with Sofar Sounds RDU and we've got you covered on the many ways to do so.  First of all, you should head over to their website at in order to sign up for May's performance, which is scheduled for May 27.  You'll want to do this quickly as Sofar Sounds operates in spaces with limited capacity to ensure an intimate setting.   If you are chosen to attend, you'll receive an email stating the location and specific instructions.

Everyone that is chosen to attend an event is provided a +1 and the cost of admission is pay as you choose.  In addition to attending shows, Sofar Sounds is made possible through the help and support of the community.  This requires venue spaces, performing artists, hosts for each performance, and even photography for all Sofar Sounds events.

If you're interested in being a part of a future Sofar event, be sure to check out the "Get Involved" link on the website.  Sofar Sounds RDU is especially interested in finding hosts in Durham for upcoming events.  Check out the Sofar Sounds RDU website to experience music in a fresh new way.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hopscotch Reveals Lineup Announcement Date

The lineup for Hopscotch 2016 will be announced Monday, May 9.
Wristband pre-sale has concluded. 
  • Memorial Auditorium will feature shows for the first time since 2013.
  • Nash Hall will be included for the first time ever. 
  • VIP and 3-Day Wristbands on sale Thursday, May 12 at 10 am
To sign up for your on sale reminder, click here. Stay tuned for updates and details! 

MerleFest 2016 Spotlight: Steep Canyon Rangers

It's finally that time of year: MerleFest week. The fest that was started in 1988 focuses on "music, moments, and memories" created through the best folk, Americana, and Bluegrass music around. Returning this year for a performance on the Watson Stage are the Steep Canyon Rangers.  

Grammy and IBMA award winners, Steep Canyon Rangers will share their pickin' skills on Thursday at 7:15.  The group has been jammin' together for a dozen years now, gracing the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Cat's Cradle and the Orange Peel. They have also had the fortune of being joined by musician and comedian Steve Martin on numerous occasions. The Steep Canyon Rangers will also be signing autographs on Thursday from 6-6:30 at the Autograph Booth.

Steep Canyon Rangers have recently released their new studio album, RADIO, produced by Dobro virtuoso Jerry Douglas. The new album follows the "free wheeling and high-energy approach of their previous album, Tell the Ones I Love." Their lively records translate to energetic and interactive shows, combining the older traditions with modern appeal.

MerleFest is held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC.  Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased on their website. Visit for a day or stay for the weekend, but don't miss this foot-stompin' event.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

MerleFest 2016 Is Almost Here

With only one week until the start of MerleFest 2016, presented by Window World, the town of Wilkesboro, N.C. is buzzing with activity. Starting next Thursday, April 28, at 2:30 p.m., and running through Sunday, May 1, approximately 75,000 participants will gather at this annual homecoming of musicians and music lovers at Wilkes Community College for the nation’s largest celebration of American roots music.

With over 100 artists on 13 stages throughout the college, participants at MerleFest know to expect the unexpected. Late night jam sessions, band competitions, special guests onstage, impromptu dance parties and one-time-only musical collaborations are all a part of the fabric of MerleFest – and a testament to the enduring vision of Doc Watson and the Watson family. A key part of this vision is Doc’s idea of “traditional plus” music. Taking traditional Appalachian music as the base, “traditional plus” incorporates the many forms of American music that came from Appalachian roots and expanding to include blues, country, Americana, rock and bluegrass. Today this “traditional plus” spirit means that Americana star Jason Isbell will rub shoulders with young bluegrass visionary Sierra Hull or John Oates of famed rock duo Hall & Oates can jam with “newgrass” pioneer Sam Bush. As the nation’s largest roots and Americana festival, MerleFest has room for all those who treasure the American traditions.

“In addition to the spectrum of genres offered at MerleFest, this year’s lineup speaks to the quality of music offered at the festival,” said Steve Johnson, artist relations manager for MerleFest. “On our stages we’ll have many Grammy Award-winners or multi-Grammy Award-winners, Americana Music Award winners, Country Music Association winners, and International Bluegrass Music Association Award (IBMA) winners, among many other local, regional, songwriting and instrument awards. I know that awards are only one way of recognizing outstanding talent, but these associations and their members invest a lot in considering artists to select the best of the best each year.”

Grammy Award Winners
Jason Isbell, John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jerry Douglas, Jim Lauderdale, Tim O’Brien and Steep Canyon Rangers

Americana Music Association Winners
Jason Isbell, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jerry Douglas, and Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, who also won the AMA Lifetime Achievement Award

Country Music Association Award Winners
Gillian Welch, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jerry Douglas, John Prine, and Sam Bush

IBMA Award Winner
Steep Canyon Rangers, Jerry Douglas, Amanda Smith, Becky Buller, Junior Sisk, Tim O’Brien, Karl Shiflett, Bryan Sutton, Alison Brown, Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Scott Vestal, Kenny Smith

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
John Oates

Like many performers at MerleFest, Dan Fedoryka, a founding member of the MerleFest fan favorite band Scythian, knows that performing at this festival is a chance to pay homage to the greats who came before. "We play festivals all over the country ranging from Celtic to roots festivals, and I can say that MerleFest holds a special place in our hearts,” Fedoryka said. “It’s here that our eyes were opened to the living tradition in music: we got to actually meet the greats that up until then had been beyond reach, almost mythical. There are many things that give you a sense of accomplishment in a musical career, but to meet the greats, to shake the hands of Doc Watson, Levon Helm and others is something that stays with you and makes a difference in how you move forward as a musician. This respect for tradition is palpable and seeps into the audience. After eight years at MerleFest, we can say that we feel like family with the attendees and have seen many children grow up before our eyes, a truly unique environment that just can't be found anywhere else."

The complete lineup and stage schedules are posted at and available on the MerleFest mobile app; festival updates are delivered via Twitter (@MerleFest) and Facebook. Use hashtag #MerleFest to connect with other festivalgoers on social media, and be sure to take a picture with Flattop, MerleFest’s raccoon mascot.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fresh Mix - Moogfest 2016 Artists

It's Friday, music freaks! Let's celebrate the weekend with this hot mix of Moogfest artists including Grimes, ODESZA, Miike Snow, and GZA.

Moogfest 2016 is fast approaching on May 19 and ending on the 22nd.  They had some big announcements this week with the release of  daily schedules and single-day tickets.  Head over to the Moogfest website for full details and to purchase your tickets.  Still on the fence?  Take a listen to Urban Outfitters' Moogfest Mix and try to resist seeing these talented artists live.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Moogfest 2016 Unveils Full Schedule and Day Passes

Moogfest 2016 today unveiled the full schedule for the expansive four-day festival. Exploring the future of technology, art, and music, the festival includes more than 300 musical performances, daytime workshops, conversations, masterclasses, film screenings, live scores, durational sound installations, and multiple interactive art experiences.

The full schedule can be found online at:
*Please note, the full schedule can be viewed on Sched, however, registration and adding sessions to your personal schedule won't be available until sign up opens in the coming weeks.

Day Passes Announced!
A limited number of Single Day Passes will go on sale Friday, April 15 starting at 12pm EST
Passes for Thursday, Friday or Saturday are $129
Passes for Sunday are $69

Moogfest celebrates the legacy of Bob Moog, a visionary engineer who pioneered the analog synthesizer and other technology tools used by artists like Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and Kraftwerk. This year’s program will feature over 250 innovators in music, art, and technology -- from Gary Numan (3 nights), GZA (2 nights), Grimes and Laurie Anderson, to virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier and transhumanist visionary Dr. Martine Rothblatt. For the first time, Moogfest takes place in Durham, North Carolina, a fast-growing capital of technology, culture and entrepreneurship.

From Thursday, May 19 - Sunday, May 22, Moogfest unfolds in venues throughout downtown Durham in spaces that range from intimate galleries to grand theaters. Special care has been taken to pair nighttime performances with spaces that have unique acoustics and style.   For a full list of details, head on over to the Moogfest website

Friday, April 8, 2016

First Listen: Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop's 'Love Letter for Fire'

You can now hear Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop’s Love Letter for Fire, their forthcoming duets record, in it’s entirety via NPR Music’s “First Listen”.

NPR Music says of the album, “Love Letter for Fire was, at least in part, inspired by the pair's desire to make songs that function as conversations rather than soliloquies, and their work backs that up...With the help of producer Tucker Martine and a smart, subtle band, the two achieve a fine balance — of songwriting sensibilities, of time in the spotlight — in the service of songs that feel at once fresh and timeless (see “First Listen” April 7th-15th).”

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop’s 2016 headlining tour schedule in support of Love Letter for Fire has been extended through September. This includes a North American trek with support from Marlon Williams (May 17th-June 11th) and a European run (August 28th-September 11th). Sam and Jesca will also appear at End of the Road Festival weekender September 2nd-4th. Please find a current list of tour dates below.

Love Letter for Fire will be available on CD / LP / DL / CASS worldwide April 15th through Sub Pop/Black Crickett Recording Co. The thirteen-track album was produced, recorded and mixed by Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse, Decemberists, Neko Case) at Flora Recording & Playback in Portland, and mastered by Richard Dodd in Nashville.

Love Letter for Fire features Beam and Hoop on vocals and guitar along with Robert Burger (keys), Eyvind Kang (violin, viola), Glenn Kotche (drums, percussion), Sebastian Steinberg (bass) and Edward Rankin-Parker (cello).

Sam and Jesca recently released a short film on the making of Love Letter for Fire. The two discuss the process of how their collaborative album came to fruition and how two people not in love wrote an entire album of love songs. The clip also features exclusive performances of the two in a stripped down and intimate setting.

Love Letter for Fire is now available for preorder at Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Bandcamp. LP preorders through will receive the limited Loser edition on Smoke-colored vinyl (while supplies last). 

Sadly, their tour won't roll through North Carolina, but great music is always worth a road trip.  However, you can catch Sam Beam as Iron & Wine on August 13 at the North Carolina Art Museum. 

Tour Dates
May 17 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark*
May 18 - Toronto, ON - The Danforth Music Hall*
May 20 - New York, NY - The Town Hall*
May 21 - Washington, DC - The Lincoln Theatre*
May 22 - Boston, MA - The Wilbur Theatre*
May 24 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer*
May 26 - Atlanta, GA - The Buckhead Theatre*
May 27 - New Orleans, LA - The Civic Theatre*
May 28 - Dallas, TX - The Kessler Theater*
May 30 - Tucson, AZ - The Rialto Theatre*
May 31 - Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda Theatre*
Jun. 02 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall*
Jun. 03 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater*
Jun. 04 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theatre*
Jun. 05 - Boise, ID - The Egyptian Theatre*
Jun. 07 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater*
Jun. 08 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown*
Jun. 09 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater*
Jun. 10 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall Ballroom*
Jun. 11 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall*
Aug. 28 - Edinburgh, UK - Edinburgh International Festival
Aug. 29 - Bangor, UK - Marine Court
Aug. 30 - Dublin, Ireland - Olympia Theatre
Aug 31 - Manchester, UK - Royal Northern College of Music
Sep. 01 - London, UK - Union Chapel
Sep. 02-04 - Salisbury, Larmer Tree Gardens, UK - End of the Road Festival
Sep. 07 - Berlin, DE - Passionskirche
Sep. 08 - Cologne, DE - Kulturkirche
Sep. 09 - Brussels, BE - Botanique-Orangerie
Sep. 10 - Groningen, NL - Take Root Festival
Sep. 11 - Amsterdam, NL - De Duif
* w/ Marlon Williams

MerleFest's Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Finalists Announced

The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, hosted by MerleFest, announces finalists for the 2016 contest. MerleFest 2016, presented by Window World, takes place from April 28-May 1, on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C.

Writers of the following 12 songs, selected from over 744 entries, will compete on the Austin Stage in Alumni Hall at MerleFest on Friday, April 29:

Cindy Giejda (Farmingdale, N.J.) – “Jail Break”
Courtney Rorrer (Madison, N.C.) and Asa Gravley (Beckley, West Va.) – “Midnight Tears”
Aaron Bibelhauser (Louisville, Ky.) – “Blue Collar Dreams”

Austin Stanley (Nashville, Tenn.) – “The Face of God”
Marcy Each (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) – “On the Cross Built for Me”
Corey Smith and Allen Smith (Fayetteville, N.C.) – “The Road”

Sarah Morris (Shoreview, Minn.) – “I Go Back”
Meris Gantt of Handlebar Betty (Blowing Rock, N.C) – “House of Cards”
Buddy Guido (Mohawk, N.Y.), Paul Kelly (Santa Fe, N.M.) and Willie Scheollkopf (Buffalo, N.Y.) – “This Livin’ May Be Killing Me”

David Morris (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Chris Dockins (Burke, Va.) – “Weeds”
Sarah Sample (Sheridan, Wyo.) – “A Heart That Falls Apart”
Adam Bonomo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – “Redshifted”

Now in its 24th year, the contest is an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. The first place winners will receive $600 cash from MerleFest and a performance slot on the Cabin Stage on Friday night. All finalists will get to take part in a songwriting mentoring session with Jim Lauderdale and the on-site judges for the final round of this year’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Those judges are 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.

The first round of the CASC competition takes place in Nashville, Tenn., and is narrowed down to 12 finalists representing four categories: bluegrass, country, general and gospel/inspirational. The first-round judges were Australian country and bluegrass musician/songwriter Kristy Cox; alt-country singer/songwriter Michaela Ann; songwriter/string music and classic country artist Caleb Klauder; Americana songwriter/performer/publisher Brink Brinkman; Joe Lurgio,  Bluegrass Underground/Tenbooks Media; Ashlee-Jean Trott of Music City Roots; and Whitney Holmes of the Americana Music Association.

Judging is based on a song¹s 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.

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 $34,600 to 84 deserving students.

For more details about the contest, visit

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Imagine Music Festival Drops Phase 1 Lineup

Already earning considerable buzz after adding camping to its offerings in 2016, Imagine is continuing the momentum with what promises to be the best lineup yet, including:  Benny Benassi; Borgore; Dillon Francis; Excision; Nero; Showtek; Zeds Dead; 3LAU, 12th Planet; AK1200; Aphrodite; Beats Antique; Black Tiger Sex Machine; Bleep Bloop; The Bloody Beetroots (SBCR DJ set); Borgeous; Break Science; Buku; Caspa B2B Rusko; CAZZETTE; Champagne Drip; Corin Roddick of Purity Ring DJ set; Cosmic Gate; Delta Heavy; Dirtyphonics; Dirty South; Doctor P; Drumsound & Baseline Smith; EDX; Eoto; Funtcase B2B Cookie Monsta; G Jones; Grantheft; Herobust; Ill Gates vs KJ Sawka; Liquid Stranger; Lotus; Michel Minert & The Pretty Fantastics; Moon Hooch; Opiou; Pantyraid; Pendulum DJ set & Verse; Phutureprimitive; The Polish Ambassador; Space Jesus and Terravita. Additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks.
“We were really happy with the lineup from last year, but the first phase of 2016 has us over the moon," says Iris Presents founders Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand. “We constantly challenge ourselves to bring something even better, and this year's challenge was well worth it. "
As one of the country’s last remaining independent festivals, Imagine is an all-encompassing, 360-degree sensory experience that blends music, circus troupes, performers, dancers, art, workshops, classes and more. The festival will continue to build on its immersive aquatic fairytale with an abundance of performers, live acts, unique atmospheres, vendors and The Imaginarium’s variety of sacred teachings, ceremonies, and transformational workshops. Welcoming close to 26,000 attendees in 2015 from across the country, Imagine is poised to join the ranks of some of EDM’s biggest and best, which will be further underscored when the venue is released in the coming weeks.

Tickets are available now starting at $169 for a 3-day pass. VIP passes, with front row pit access, elevated viewing area, VIP (no line) access, air conditioned chill lounge, bottle service, cocktail service, complimentary champagne toasts, private security, clean trailer bathrooms with running water and air conditioning, giveaways, meet and greets, and more are available starting at $299 for a 3-day pass. Camping passes are now available to purchase as an add-on to the festival tickets, with prices starting at $69. Four camping packages available including GA Camping, VIP Camping, GA RV Camping and VIP RV Camping.  Tickets are available online at www.imaginefestival.comImagine Music Festival is an 18 and over event.
Imagine Music Festival is produced by Iris Presents. Visit for the most up-to-date information. Stay connected on Twitter at and on Facebook at