Sean McConnell in Carrboro and Charlotte

Sean McConnell has two dates in NC this week.

Proficient songwriter and talented musician Sean McConnell is making a brief run through North Carolina to kick off the weekend. Two dates, Thursday (3/7) and Friday (3/8) in Carrboro and Charlotte – respectively, allow for almost anyone in the state to make a show.

Randy Rogers, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Meatloaf, Christina Aguilera, Wade Bowen and many others have performed his songs as McConnell got his musical start at a young age. Growing up in Massachusetts as the son of two singers, a move to Georgia sparked an interest in his own endeavors. At 15 years old he put out his first album and since McConnell has produced a dozen more, including “Secondhand Smoke”, his latest release.

Only out since early February, the album has drawn acclaim from a variety of different outlets. No Depression (The Journal of Roots Music) offered the following commentary about McConnell’s latest masterpiece.

With a voice that’s quiet, yet powerful, McConnell creates a well-rounded album that tackles complex subject matter with intellect and empathy. Between his striking voice and ability to captivate one’s vision with his lyrics, McConnell creates an imaginative world while taking a deeper look at the one we live in.

Come witness his incredible song writing and talented playing first-hand, either at Cat’s Cradle (Carrboro) or The Evening Muse (Charlotte). Tickets and details available below.

March 7 – Cat’s Cradle (Carrboro), Doors 7pm – Click HERE for Tix

March 8 – The Evening Muse (Charlotte), Doors 7pm – Click HERE for Tix

*Caleb Elliott supporting both shows

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers set multiple NC dates

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers have four upcoming shows across NC

Sarah Shook wasn’t born in North Carolina but after moving to the state at 19 years old, has spent the majority of her adult life here. The lead singer has been on a musical journey since beginning her first band back in 2010, Sarah Shook and the Devil.

After disbanding, Sarah Shook and the Dirty Hands formed but was relatively short lived in 2013, before the now surging, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers came into being late that same year.

The group put out their first record, “Sidelong”, in October of 2015 and after signing with Bloodshot Records, a re-release orchestrated in early 2017 put Shook and her band into the spotlight for new country and Americana artists to watch.

Over the past year, Shook has been touring all over the world in addition to releasing her sophomore album, “Years”. The album has been widely accepted as Shook has been praised for her hard work and ability to speak her mind through engaging lyrics (and in the real world) without hesitation. Never in fear of potential repercussions, Shook stays true to herself and continues to move forward. It is this resiliency that has catapulted Shook and her band into the spotlight.

A continuation of the momentum Shook and her band have been building, “Years” served to solidify her position in the independent music scene, earning Album of the Year from Saving Country Music for being “the greatest, most important release in all of country music, mainstream or independent, traditional or contemporary, from an artist who is young or old, man or woman, or along any other particular gradient one can choose to assign, in all of 2018.”

Less than three years ago Rolling Stone named Shook as one of ten artists that fans needed to know, offering the following comments in an attempt to describe her and the band.

Her sound is a sneering fusion of punk-rock autonomy and say-it-like-it-is country from the classic era, paired with a timeless vocal warble and tons of attitude. Honest to a fault and as foul-mouthed as a drunken sailor, she’s a nonconforming spitfire who’s proud of not fitting in with mainstream country music. Nor does Shook hold back when writing about whiskey and hard living, screwing up and failed romance (with guys and girls) — whether in her songs or her combative social-media posts.

Needed to know then but well known now and all without ever changing her approach. Amid a slew of newly released tour dates, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers have four upcoming shows across North Carolina.

NORTH CAROLINA UPCOMING TOUR DATES

March 7 – Asheville at The Grey Eagle (Tix Available Here)

April 4 – Greensboro at The Blind Tiger (Tix Available Here)
April 26 – Charlotte at Tuck Fest, US National Whitewater Center (Free Admission)
April 27 – Carrboro at Cat’s Cradle (Tix Available Here)

First Listen: ‘San Isidro’ by Whiskey Foxtrot

EXCLUSIVE: Listen to ‘San Isidro’ by Whiskey Foxtrot today.

Back in early January, Whiskey Foxtrot, an emerging North Carolina band, released their first ever single, ‘The Broken End’ following it up with ‘Turn Off the Headlights,’ two weeks later. Both songs provided a slight glimpse into the group’s sound and talented lineup that many have witnessed first-hand at shows across the southeast over the past couple years. Recently announcing a commitment to their debut studio album, Whiskey Foxtrot has a third single, ‘San Isidro’ available everywhere on March 2 (Saturday). Prior to its official release, RedDirtNC caught up with the group for an exclusive first listen available here.

Slightly different from each of the first two releases, this track carries more of a ballad feel, walking a line many prominent bands such as Blackberry Smoke and Whiskey Myers toe with their music. Capable of sets that both excite a crowd and involve some story-telling, listening room allure, the diversity Whiskey Foxtrot displays is quite impressive – especially for a band who is just now compiling their first ever album.

A melody with the focus on memories and what could have been, the tale draws you in even as Sam Foster and Seth Williams plead, “don’t let it pull me in.” Also prevalent is the handiwork of band mate Terry VunCannon on the lap steel, in addition to both Earthtones Recording and Alien Beans Studio who completed the engineering and mastering, respectively.

The momentum building behind this group is obvious. Recently returning from a brief tour of Florida with stops in Georgia, Whiskey Foxtrot also announced a crowdsourcing campaign through Indiegogo to assist with funding their debut record. According to Foster, “it’s going to be an excellent demonstration of what exactly we’re capable of as a unit, and reflective of the time we’ve spent woodshedding songs together, as well as sharpening our playing skills as a whole.” Already halfway to their goal with over a month remaining, you too can have a role in the development process with a donation of any size. Some incredible incentives are also being offered for your consideration – view and donate here.

As each new song continues to be released it’s quickly becoming apparent that while Whiskey Foxtrot has taken their time to enter the studio, the backgrounds and previous solo albums released from Foster and Williams have provided a solid foundation for their future.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

3/1 – Winston-Salem, NC (Breaktime Billiards) – 9pm
3/2 – Winston-Salem, NC (Bull’s Tavern) – 10pm
3/8 – Youngsville, NC (Wine and Beer 101) – 6pm
3/9 – Greenville, NC (Buccaneer Music Hall) – 10:30pm
3/16 – Greensboro, NC (Preyer Brewing) – 8pm
3/22 – Greensboro, NC (Sawmill II) – 8pm
3/23 – Asheboro, NC (Lucky’s Burger N Tap) – 9pm
3/28 – Raleigh, NC (The Pour House) – 8pm
3/29 – Kernersville, NC (Breathe Cocktail Lounge) – 9pm
3/30 – Greensboro, NC (The Crown at Carolina Theatre) – 7pm

Find more at WhiskeyFoxTrotMusic.com

Koe Wetzel Makes Midweek Stop in Charlotte

East Texas native Koe Wetzel set to play Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte this Wednesday.

Originally scheduled for the newly renovated Amos’ Southend in Charlotte, construction delays have forced a change of venue for the upcoming Koe Wetzel concert. After moving last week’s Read Southall Band and Kody West bill into the restaurant portion of Amos’, a larger room was needed for this Wednesday (2/13) and what is expected to be one of the best shows in Charlotte this year.

Back in November, Wetzel was scheduled for his first North Carolina appearance ahead of Muscadine Bloodline at Coyote Joe’s but a personal matter kept him from making the trip. Wetzel and his band did make their debut during a Raleigh stop, one week later, and another warm welcome is anticipated when he hits the stage on Wednesday night.

Blending his own Texas style with a rocking back drop, Wetzel has been enjoying a rise in recognition and acceptance since the 2016 release of “Noise Complaint”. Though some consider him to be a polarizing figure, his steady rise to the top continues as he looks to expand his reach with multiple tour dates throughout the southeast, including North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana.

North Carolina’s own Tyler Hatley will kick things off on the 103.7 Super Stage in what is being billed as a ‘Singles Party,’ ahead of Valentine’s Day by the venue. Original purchased tickets will be honored and upgraded to VIP Pit Passes, which are also available at the door for $15 each. Ladies get in free and all other tickets are $6 for general admission.

Doors open at 7:00pm ET.

American Aquarium Roadtrip to Raleigh V: Preview

City of Oaks plays host to annual pilgrimage for fans of American Aquarium this weekend.

Fans of the North Carolina based American Aquarium have become familiar with the late January trip to the state’s capital and annual roadtrip orchestrated by front man B.J. Barham. Inviting talented artists from other parts of the country, to those right here in our backyard, Barham meticulously pieces together a solid lineup for the ‘Roadtrip to Raleigh’, now in its fifth year.

Initially gaining notoriety around the Carolinas with a tireless touring schedule, Barham is always working hard to connect with his fans and it is this persistence that expanded their fan base and led to national tours with sell outs in tow. From humble beginnings the band now regularly visits Texas and has repeatedly played festivals like Music Fest in Steamboat (Colorado) and Medicine Stone (Oklahoma), in addition to traveling across the pond for European tours over the past few years – but none compare to seeing Barham perform on his home turf.

In years past, fans have traveled from all over the United States and even the world to experience these unique back-to-back American Aquarium performances, those of others on each bill and to take in the sights often referred to by Barham in his lyrics. Once in Raleigh you can, hear “the church bells ringing down at old St. Mary’s” and experience “landlocked nights down at Slim’s” all on your own.

As always, Barham has mapped out the cities finest restaurants, coffee shops and other entertaining establishments (available here) and this year there’s even a special beer. Released in collaboration with Trophy Brewing aptly named ‘Tough Folks’ available at The Lincoln Theatre, Poole’s Downtown Diner, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey and Fox Liquor Bar.

The full 2019 lineup includes, Courtney Marie Andrews and Brent Cobb on Friday night with Phil Cook and SUSTO scheduled to perform Saturday – all ahead of American Aquarium who closes the show both nights.

Courtney Marie Andrews (Friday 1/25)

Brent Cobb (Friday 1/25)

Phil Cook (Saturday 1/26)

SUSTO (Saturday 1/26)

American Aquarium (Friday 1/25 and Saturday 1/26)

Out Today: Whiskey Foxtrot’s ‘Turn Off the Headlights’

Available everywhere you listen, NC’s Whiskey Foxtrot releases second single!

Independent musicians Seth Williams and Sam Foster joined together in 2017 to create Whiskey Foxtrot, a band that has risen steadily in recognition throughout North Carolina and all across the southeast. Hailing from the Piedmont Triad city of Winston-Salem, the duo added Brad Cardille (bass), Terry VunCannon (lap steel) and Steven Worley (drums) when recording and performing as a full band.

Working again with producer Corey Hunt at Uwharrie Mountain Sound, the band released their second single, ‘Turn Off the Headlights’ – available today everywhere you listen to music.

Another upbeat, southern rock feel backs the tale of a good time in contrast to their first single, ‘The Broken End’. Instead of focusing on the finality and brokenness of a failed encounter, the latest song hits on the sparks that ignite a relationship. Written by Seth Williams, it is evident the combination of styles and ideas fit nicely together with Foster and the rest of the band, to create a conglomerate of blues and classic country – all with just the right amount of rock and roll.

Crowds react differently to lyrics, but as this song is played live we can see it generating some audience participation. “Turn up the radio” followed by everyone in unison “and turn off the headlights!” Two weeks ago, the first release from Whiskey Foxtrot set the table and this second track only serves to further ignite interest for even more music from this group later in the year.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

1/25 – Youngsville, NC (Wine and Beer 101) – 6pm
1/26 – Lewisville, NC (Westbend Winery and Brewery) – 2pm

2/1 – Winston-Salem, NC (The Ramkat) – 7pm
2/2 – Lewisville, NC (Westbend Winery and Brewery) – 2pm
2/6 – Roanoke, VA (Martin’s Downtown) – 9pm
2/8 – Winston-Salem, NC (Earl’s) – 10pm
2/22 – Micanopy, FL (The Depot and Speakeasy Room) – 7:30pm
2/23 – Wimauma, FL (Southern Rock and BBQ Festival) – 11am

3/1 – Winston-Salem, NC (Breaktime Billiards) – 9pm
3/2 – Winston-Salem, NC (Bull’s Tavern) – 10pm
3/8 – Youngsville, NC (Wine and Beer 101) – 6pm
3/9 – Greenville, NC (Buccaneer Music Hall) – 10:30pm
3/16 – Greensboro, NC (Preyer Brewing) – 8pm
3/22 – Greensboro, NC (Sawmill II) – 8pm
3/23 – Asheboro, NC (Lucky’s Burger N Tap) – 9pm
3/29 – Kernersville, NC (Breathe Cocktail Lounge) – 9pm
3/30 – Greensboro, NC (The Crown at Carolina Theatre) – 7pm

Find more at whiskeyfoxtrotmusic.com

Out Today: Whiskey Foxtrot’s ‘The Broken End’

Available everywhere you listen, NC’s own Whiskey Foxtrot released their very first single today!

Formed in 2017 when solo acts Seth Williams and Sam Foster joined forces to create Whiskey Foxtrot, the band has enjoyed a steady rise in recognition across the southeast and especially in their home state – North Carolina. Hailing from Winston-Salem, the duo added Brad Cardille (bass), Terry VunCannon (lap steel) and Steven Worley (drums) to perform as a full band.

Working at Uwharrie Mountain Sound with fellow musician and producer Corey Hunt, the band released their first of two upcoming singles, ‘The Broken End’ – available everywhere you listen to music today.

An upbeat backing helps mask the the pain of a broken relationship as the band draws on influences from southern rock group Blackberry Smoke and North Carolina’s own American Aquarium, among others. A high bar has been set with their first release but if it’s any indication of what’s to come – and it should be – then everyone should have some new music to add into their rotation with another single scheduled for release in just two more weeks (January 24).

A resounding, “I took it for what it was worth when you gave me your word, that you had love to give – all I got was hurt,” echos the sentiment throughout but listeners won’t be able to ignore the toe-tapping rhythm. Creating a unique mix, this first taste of what Whiskey Foxtrot has to offer has us excited for more.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

1/10 – Asheboro, NC (Sunset Theatre) – 7pm
1/12 – Winston-Salem, NC (Bull’s Tavern) – 9pm
1/18 – Greensboro, NC (Sawmill II) – 8pm
1/25 – Youngsville, NC (Wine and Beer 101) – 6pm
1/26 – Lewisville, NC (Westbend Winery and Brewery) – 2pm

2/1 – King, NC (Castle’s Deli) – 7pm
2/2 – Lewisville, NC (Westbend Winery and Brewery) – 2pm
2/6 – Roanoke, VA (Martin’s Downtown) – 9pm
2/8 – Winston-Salem, NC (Earl’s) – 10pm
2/22 – Micanopy, FL (The Depot and Speakeasy Room) – 7:30p
2/23 – Wimauma, FL (Southern Rock and BBQ Festival) – 11am

Find more at whiskeyfoxtrotmusic.com

RedDirtNC Songs of the Year, 2018

Following are the RedDirtNC selections for top songs of the year in 2018.

Almost every song on each of the previously named top albums of the year was great and warranted consideration for this list. For that reason, the top songs of the year have been divided into two different categories – a pick from each album of the year and nine other songs that made an impact over the past 12 months.

In order by release date, one song from each top album that stood out and nine more that impressed throughout the year.


Steak Night at the Prairie Rose, Mike and the Moonpies
Released February 2
From ‘Steak Night at the Prairie Rose’ available here


What It’s Like to Fly Alone (Hawk Song), Courtney Patton
Released February 16
From ‘What It’s Like to Fly Alone’ available here


Wild Heart Gypsy, Corey Hunt Band
Released March 6
From ‘North of Low Water’ available here


May Your Kindness Remain, Courtney Marie Andrews
Released March 23
From ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ available here


Space Cowboy, Kacey Musgraves
Released March 30
From ‘Golden Hour’ available here


New Ways to Fail, Sarah Shook
Released April 6
From ‘Years’ available here


Summer’s End, John Prine
Released April 13
From ‘Tree of Forgiveness’ available here


I Wanna Cry, Charley Crockett
Released April 20
From ‘Lonesome As A Shadow’ available here


Ain’t A Road Too Long, Brent Cobb
Released May 11
From ‘Providence Canyon’ available here


I Don’t Deserve You, Jason Boland and Sunny Sweeney
Released May 18
From ‘Hard Times Are Relative’ available here


Tough Folks, American Aquarium
Released June 1
From ‘Things Change’ available here


Big Last Name, Cody Jinks
Released July 27
From ‘Lifers’ available here


Goner, William Clark Green
Released August 10
From ‘Hebert Island’ available here


Fast Horses and Good Hideouts, Shooter Jennings
Released August 10
From ‘Shooter’ available here


Earthquake, The Black Lillies
Released September 28
From ‘Stranger To Me’ available here


She Don’t Love Me, Adam Hood and Brent Cobb
Released October 12
From ‘Somewhere In Between’ available here


Oklahoma Stars, Jamie Lin Wilson
Released October 26
From ‘Jumping Over Rocks’ available here


Got My Name Changed Back, Pistol Annies
Released November 2
From ‘Interstate Gospel’ available here

First Listen: Pistol Hill’s ‘Brand New Bottle of Whiskey’

EXCLUSIVE: Hear North Carolina singer-songwriter Pistol Hill’s latest single here first.

In late April, rising artist Pistol Hill released the first of a few brand new singles, “Different You” and nearly a month later, “Worth a Damn,” the latter in collaboration with Justin Clyde Williams. The two songs were a predecessor to Hill’s first partial recording and now an extended release is set to debut as Part II on November 18. Prior to becoming available for everyone, the North Carolina native allowed RedDirtNC a first listen to his latest, “Brand New Bottle of Whiskey.”

Noticeable from the beginning are influences from some of his favorite artists, Merle Haggard and George Jones. A specific lyrical style is present in the song-writing as the music itself straddles a line between new and old, but his voice carries the song – as it should. A story tellers dream, the words point toward an appreciation for the literal whiskey in addition to a parallel of an actual relationship gone awry.

Hill exclaims, “If you only knew how happy I’ve been. I got a brand new bottle of whiskey, you should see the way it treats me.” His lyrics connect with the listener and it feels as if he’s telling the heartfelt tale for the first time as you hear the thoughtful explanation.

Gut wrenching, you can only hope for the best to all those involved as each word traps the listener into being concerned for the narrator but wondering what the bigger story holds. Often the case in real life, there are always going to be multiple sides to every broken relationship and depending on where you land, the interpretations will be different.

Such is the beauty with music and any other art form. The subject matter and impact are always open to a variety of different feelings and there is never a wrong answer but this one will have you raising a glass to those from the past with a wry smile. The good news – you can’t go wrong by adding Pistol Hill and “Brand New Bottle of Whiskey” into your regular playlist rotation.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

11/15 – Greenville, SC (Brewery 85) – 6pm
11/16 – Carrboro, NC (2nd Wind) – 10pm
11/17 – Charlotte, NC (Puckett’s Farm Equipment) – 7pm
11/23 – Shelby, NC (The Don Gibson Theatre) – 6pm*
11/24 – Raleigh, NC (Berkeley Cafe) – 8:30pm
11/28 – Folly Beach, SC (Surf Bar) – 10pm
11/29 – Shallotte, NC (The Soundhouse) – 8pm
11/30 – Wilmington, NC (Flytrap Brewing) – 8pm

12/1 – McClellanville, SC (The Bent Rod) – 6pm
12/4 – New Smyrna Beach, FL (Norwood’s Treehouse Bar) – 7pm
12/8 – Sunset Beach, FL (Ka’Tiki) – 1pm
12/9 – St. Augustine, FL (A1A Ale House) – 5pm
12/11 – Birmingham, AL (The Nick) – 8pm
12/15 – Oxford, MS (The Levee) – 8pm**
12/16 – Clarksdale, MS (Levon’s) – 3:30pm
12/20 – Simpsonville, SC (Sweet Sippin) – 7pm
12/21 – Spindale, NC (Barley’s) – 8pm
12/22 – Pendleton, SC (Hogtails) – 9pm
12/28 – Savannah, GA (Driftaway Cafe) – 6pm
12/29 – Charlotte, NC (Puckett’s Farm Equipment) – 7pm***

1/4 – Wilmington, NC (Goat and Compass) – 9pm
1/5 – Mebane, NC (Trackside Bottle Co.) – 7pm

*Supporting Edwin McCain
**Supporting Austin Lee
***Supporting Ward Davis

Find more at PistolHillMusic.com

Turnpike Troubadours Cancel Remaining Tour Dates

The Turnpike Troubadours have canceled upcoming tour dates until December.

Cancellations continue to haunt one of the biggest and best bands in this music scene as the Turnpike Troubadours announced another round of dates that have been nixed from their current touring schedule. For the second time in just a few months, the Turnpike Troubadours will again be taking a lengthy hiatus for undisclosed reasons after recently making a triumphant return at Medicine Stone, a festival they co-host with Jason Boland in late September, after the first such round of missed events.

Opening for Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town as part of the “Bandwagon Tour”, the Turnpike Troubadours first canceled their final scheduled appearances on August 23 and 24 stating emergency personal issues. These dates were followed by an official statement from the band following more cancellations citing “family and medical issues” as reasons behind their absence and the use of a few off weeks to “regroup and resolve everything.”

One month later the band performed on Saturday night at Medicine Stone after their show was postponed because of heavy rain Friday. For the first time in festival history, both the Turnpike Troubadours and Jason Boland played on the same night and for those in attendance it was an epic occurrence that provided hope the band had healed from any medical concerns and resolved any problems among the group.

Everything appeared to be back on track until a recent delayed cancellation took place in Bossier City, Louisiana on October 26. The band, after appearing set up and ready to perform, never took the stage as neither Stoney Larue, scheduled to appear first, or the Turnpike Troubadours played after the venue was opened to patrons.

The following night (October 27) in Corpus Christi, Texas was also carried out without the band although Randy Rogers and Flatland Cavalry did perform, with Steven James and the Jaded, who were a late addition to the set.

Now, more cancellations including a November 9 date in Charlotte, North Carolina and an even more significant unknown about what the future has in store for the Turnpike Troubadours. With everything up in the air, hopes are this group works through their ongoing issues and makes another significant, healthy, and much anticipated return soon.