Merlefest Day 2 Featured A Diverse Musical Lineup

Merlefest Day 2 Featured A Diverse Musical Lineup

Jamey Johnson [Photo Credit: Ryan Case]

Merlefest is in full swing right now on the campus of Wilkes Community College. This year features a really cool lineup of talented musicians including Jamey Johnson, Rodney Crowell, Brandy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, Steve Martin and many more. Here is the lowdown on what happened at the music festival on Friday. I will be there on Sunday so be sure to follow along on my social media channels!

Merlefest Day 2 Featured A Diverse Musical Lineup

MerleFest continued its 31st annual homecoming of musicians and music fans with an all-star lineup Friday, April 27th. The festival takes place among the rolling hills of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and featured a powerful MerleFest debut from Jamey Johnson, as well as veterans Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Mandolin Orange, Balsam Range with Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble, Brandy Clark and Rodney Crowell. Other Friday highlights included The East Pointers, Scythian, The Devil Makes Three, Cicada Rhythm, The Way Down Wanderers, Lindsay Lou, The Barefoot Movement, Rosie & the Riveters, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer with special guest Sam Gleaves.

Merlefest Day 2 Featured A Diverse Musical Lineup

Brandy Clark [Photo Credit: Jim Gavenus]

During the day’s press conferences, attendees and media were treated to two intimate q+a sessions. The 5 p.m. panel included Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Mandolin Orange, and Savannah Smith, hosted by Carol Rifkin. The 7 p.m. press conference was a one-on-one conversation between Jamey Johnson and Rifkin; Johnson heaped praise on ‘his favorite songwriter’ Kris Kristofferson, who made his MerleFest debut last night. Johnson fielded questions with candor, saying the awards he has earned, “are just trophies in a box in my house,” yet expressed how humbled he was by the compliment of another one of his heroes, Willie Nelson, who publicly said Johnson should be the next member of The Highwaymen.

Also on Friday, the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest winners were announced. The following were chosen from 1,020 submissions:

Bluegrass
1st Place – Vickie Austin (Fall Branch, Tenn.) – “Can’t Hold on to Much”
2nd Place – James Woolsey (Petersburg, Ind.) – “Lights of Home”
3rd Place – Frank D. Ray (Hillsboro, Mo.) – “False Hearted Love”

Gospel/Inspirational
1st Place – Beth Lee (Black Mountain, N.C.) – “Sacred Song”
2nd Place – Bob Hight (Greensboro, N.C.) – “Heaven Will Be Mine”
3rd Place – Andy Owens (Boone, N.C.) – “The Truth of Love”

Country
1st Place – Amanda Fields (Nashville, Tenn.), Tom Buller (Nashville, Tenn.) – “Whiskey Ain’t Got Nothing on You”
2nd Place – Marie Bradshaw (Centerville, Utah.), Daniel Young (North Salt Lake, Utah.), Kiki Jane Sieger (North Salt Lake, Utah.) – “These Walls (May Never Come Down)”
3rd Place – Cliff Westfall (Highland Park, N.J.) – “More and More”

General
1st Place – Cliff Ritchey (Markleville, Ind.) – “Honey Baby”
2nd Place – Bryan Elijah Smith (Dayton, Va,)– “Nothing Left”
3rd Place – Zander Michigan (Clawson, Mich.) – “Born Again”

The on-site judges for this year’s competition included Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale, Andrew Marlin (of Mandolin Orange), andJohnny Williams of the Jeanette Williams Band, a previous CASC winner.

Click here for a full list of Friday’s performances.

About MerleFest

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.

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.

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