Pre-Festival Shows Give Fans a Sneak Peak of MerleFest 2018
MerleFest, the popular music festival founded by the legendary Doc Watson and presented by Window World, offers music lovers a sneak peek of this spring’s festival when MerleFest On the Road tours throughout the Southeast during March. The tour will feature select artists that will perform at MerleFest 2018 or have performed previously at the festival: The Way Down Wanderers, The Barefoot Movement and Andy May.
February 22 – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern Cafe and Music Hall
February 23 – Bristol, VA – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum
February 24 – Greensboro, NC – Van Dyke Performance Space
February 25 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle
February 27 – Nashville, TN – Station Inn
February 28 – Duluth, GA – Red Clay Music Foundry
March 1 – West Jefferson, NC – Ashe Civic Center
March 2 – Dallas, NC – Gaston County Museum of Art & History
March 3 – Yadkinville, NC – The Willingham Theater
March 4 – Aberdeen, NC – The Poplar Knight Spot
“The MerleFest On the Road performers provide a sampling of the music that is a mainstay at MerleFest,” said Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager. “A diverse ‘traditional plus’ lineup is a big part of the festival. However, it is important to remember that MerleFest cannot be defined by just one genre. Doc Watson created the genre moniker of ‘traditional plus,’ meaning ‘the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play. Since the beginning, the people of the college and I have agreed that the music of MerleFest is ‘traditional plus’.’”
Johnson added, “We are delighted to showcase some of the finest artists from MerleFest lineups. MerleFest regulars tell us that they can hardly wait for every April to arrive, and now they don’t have to! We believe that the fans who catch a MerleFest On the Road show will be more enthusiastic than ever for the festival in April.”
The Way Down Wanderers — Equal parts fast-paced and soulful, 5-piece modern-folk Americana act, The Way Down Wanderers, draw listeners in with energy, originality and soulful generosity. Playing, performing and writing together for just 4 short years, the Wanderers have built an enthusiastic and fast-growing following. Youthful and professionally trained, these young men captivate audiences with soaring instrumentals, foot stomping sing-alongs and a lively stage show and have created a buzz for themselves with their unplugged, off-stage encores. The band’s debut, self-titled album, produced by Mike Marsh of the Avett Brothers and recorded at Sonic Ranch in El Paso TX, is now available wherever music is sold. Front-men and founders, Austin and Collin, met in their hometown of Peoria, IL when they joined the same folk band and embarked on their first tour at the ages of 14 and 18 years old. The two became fast friends and soon began writing music together, ultimately forming The Way Down Wanderers when Collin was 16 and Austin, 20 years old.
The Barefoot Movement — Memorable melodies, lush harmonies, and exciting instrumentation: the music of Nashville, TN’s The Barefoot Movement is made up of all of these things and more. With one shoe-less foot firmly planted in the world of roots music, while the other wanders anywhere from the styles of pop to rock to R&B, their genre busting sound may be hard to define, but it is clearly infectious to anyone who hears it. Centered around the soaring vocals and songwriting of lead singer and fiddler Noah Wall, the band has been touring since 2009, and their most recent release was produced by Chuck Plotkin (Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan) and Hank Linderman (Eagles, America). Heralded by CMT Edge as “one of the most promising bands on the bluegrass scene,” the music remains as down to earth as their intention for members of their audience: sit back, relax, take your shoes off, and stay a while. With crowds teeming with enthusiasm at every performance, and new fans joining the fold across the nation, word is surely spreading and the message is clear: barefoot is better. Won’t you join the movement?
Andy May — Veteran singer/songwriter, mandolinist, and champion guitar picker, Andy May, infuses his songwriting and shows with his trademark creativity, humor, and consummate musicianship. He draws from a deep well of traditional American music and his writing taps into styles from blues to Bluegrass, old-time country to contemporary folk, traditional reels to roots-rock. Andy’s 2016 album, Room for Roots, played nationwide on independent Americana and Country Music radio, with multiple original songs charting. His song, Woman in the Wings, was on Roots Music Report’s top Americana Country Songs chart for both 2016 and 2017. The album itself made their Top Americana Country Album Chart for both years, as well. In a half-century of performing — from iconic venues such as Carnegie Hall and The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to festivals, colleges, clubs, and listening rooms across the nation and abroad — Andy has played his music for generations of fans. This is his 18th MerleFest.
MerleFest 2018 will take place from April 26 – 29 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C., where the MerleFest on the Road artists will be joined by Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Elephant Revival, The Devil Makes Three, and a Midnight Jam hosted by Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale, among many others. The MerleFest website (www.merlefest.org) provides additional information about the festival, including the full released lineup, artists details, and the opportunity to purchase tickets.
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.
Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with a total of over 14 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR partner, and its window products have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for 10 consecutive years. Additionally, through its charitable foundation Window World Cares, the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which honored the foundation with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, Window World Cares has raised over $7 million for St. Jude. Window World Inc. also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a non-profit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. For more information, visit www.WindowWorld.comor call 1-800 NEXT WINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter.