Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Alan Jackson & several Carolinians kick off Merlefest Thursday

Alan Jackson, the Duhks and NC's Carolina Chocolate Drops, Doc Watson's longtime musical partner Jack Lawrence, and Darin & Brooke Aldridge are among the acts that kick off Merlefest Thursday on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. Jackson, whose most recent release is "The Bluegrass Album," will be backed by a bevy of veteran pickers.

Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ricky Skaggs, and Holly Williams were added to a lineup that includes Dr. Ralph Stanley, Sam Bush, Steep Canyon Rangers, Scythian, Jim Lauderdale, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott, the Waybacks, Todd Snider, Tim O'Brien, Jim Avett, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Overmountain Men, the Kruger Brothers, Rory Block, the Claire Lynch Band, Dailey & Vincent with Jimmy Fortune, Red June, Shannon Whitworth, Junior Sisk, Roy Book Binder, Time Sawyer, WBT Briarhoppers, Richard Watson, and many others. The full lineup is here.

This year's Midnight Jam is hosted by Scythian and features Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line, Keller Williams, Peter Rowan, Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen, Steep Canyon Rangers, Della Mae, Moore Brothers, the Steel Wheels, Donna the Buffalo, I Draw Slow, the Waybacks, Pete and Joan Wernick, the Deadly Gentlemen, Jim Lauderdale, SC Broadcasters, Mandolin Orange, Mark Newton and Steve Thomas, Town Mountain, and Lynda and Pattie.

Other anticipated collaborations include Ricky Skaggs and Jim Lauderdale joining Dr. Ralph Stanley, who recently announced his retirement from the road. Saturday will be his final Merlefest set. Keller Williams with play with Larry and Jenny Keel Saturday and the Traveling McCourys, respectively.

Hosted by Pete Wernick, Banjo-rama features esteemed five-string pickers Alison Brown, Ron McCoury, Teerry Baucom, Mark Johnson, Jens Krugers, and others backed by the McCourys and Bryan Sutton. Of course there will no doubt be several unscheduled guest appearances, and jams throughout the long weekend.

Tickets for the four-day folk, world, bluegrass, roots, and Americana gathering are still available. The festival runs through Sunday. Click here for more information.