Live Review: MerleFest 2018, Friday

One of the largest music festivals in the world, MerleFest, recently took place here in North Carolina…

MerleFest 2018 began on a rainy Thursday evening but Friday’s weather could not have been more perfect. A more festival feeling took over the grounds of Wilkes Community College as attendees filled their seats early in the day and were set up for the long haul. Performances taking place across 11 different stages at various times throughout the day helped to break up the crowd while the valley in front of the Watson Stage remained near capacity.

Artists were in and out of their various appearances as fans were entertained and individuals had more than a fair share of opportunities to see and hear whatever they wanted. Throughout the day, a few of the sets stood out above the rest as we made our way through what would unfortunately be our final day of the festival.

Brandy Clark

The Washington native singer/songwriter took to the Watson Stage on Friday afternoon a bit behind schedule but well worth the wait. Clark got the attention of everyone with her story telling capabilities and detailed lyrics behind many of her songs from her most recent album, “Big Day in a Small Town.”

Never one to mince words, Clark wowed those on hand with hits like, “Girl Next Door“, the title track “Big Day in a Small Town” and “Daughter” – a revenge song of which Clark is particularly proud. Looking around during her set, there were many on hand who were familiar with her work but it is also a safe assumption that Clark gained many new fans by putting together a well rehearsed set and connecting to the audience via her small town stories to which many on hand could relate.

Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer with Sam Gleaves

Earlier in the afternoon, the duo of Fink and Marxer with special guest Sam Gleaves entertained the main stage crowd from the front porch of the Cabin Stage. One of our favorite pre-festival interviews, Fink and Marxer are prevelant members in the folk music community having won multiple GRAMMY Awards while creating original music for fans of all ages.

Rosie and the Riveters

Making their North Carolina and MerleFest debut, Rosie and the Riveters brought their unapologetic approach to many of today’s controversial issues through song to the crowd – also from the Cabin Stage. The female trio recently released their second album, “Ms. Behave” and included the title track into their unfortunately brief 25-minute set.

Jamey Johnson

Country music icon Jamey Johnson concluded the main stage lineup to end night two of MerleFest. Johnson beckons the memory of many past entertainers who can captivate an audience with simply a guitar and his voice. There is no need for flashing lights, background tracks, computerized sounds or anything not man made live when Johnson is on stage.

The simplicity of his set, where Johnson shines as he doesn’t work from a list but instead plays anything he pleases, is anything but … while his entertainment value reaches peak perfection. Earlier in the afternoon, Johnson shared his thoughts on a number of subjects via an interview with many of the media members on hand.

When asked about his favorite writer, Johnson said, “Nobody turns a phrase like [Kris] Kristofferson.” The Texas legend who had graced the Watson Stage just one night prior. It was an epic ending to the second day of MerleFest here in North Carolina.

The weekend continued as many more artists and entertainers graced numerous stages throughout the complex over Saturday and Sunday. The MerleFest experience is unique in a variety of ways and should definitely be attended, regardless of the lineup – which is annually too good to pass up.

Taking place over the last weekend of April every year, go ahead and prepare for the thirty-second installment set to occur next year.

Live Review: MerleFest 2018, Thursday

One of the largest music festivals in the world, MerleFest, took place last weekend, here in North Carolina…

MerleFest may have gotten off to a rainy start but the lineup and performances happening on Thursday kept everyone entertained, warm and ready to party. The annual festival regularly draws crowds over 75,000 to the rural northwestern North Carolina town of Wilkesboro (population 3,554) and the city along with Wilkes Community College are both inviting hosts.

Beginning with parking and shuttle rides from off site locations, the volunteers manning lots and bus drivers greet every guest with a smile and warm welcome. Most in attendance and everyone working appeared to be in a great mood – music has that capability and live performances kicking off an epic weekend in the mountains for MerleFest was guaranteed not to disappoint.

Gates opened at 2:30pm on Thursday for Day 1 and the crowds pouring into the venue were greeted by the Kruger Brothers on the Watson Stage (main stage) with a set beginning just thirty minutes later. The international born brothers (Switzerland) settled in Wilkesboro and have become an iconic group within the folk genre.

One patron in attendance referred to MerleFest as the “Coachella” of Bluegrass but the lineup often features groups and performances from a variety of musical genres – though most do possess folk or bluegrass origins and tendencies.

The Thursday lineup took a turn south for Texas following the opening set of MerleFest as each of the next three performers hail from the Lone Star State. Shinyribs got things going, followed by Kris Kristofferson and Robert Earl Keen before another band with ties to the Texas music industry, The Mavericks, closed out opening day.


If you have never witnessed Shinyribs live, then make it a point to find them wherever they are and go see a show. Just the introduction alone before Kevin Russell comes sashaying onto the stage is worth any price of admission. Known for his flamboyant wardrobe selections, Russell greeted the MerleFest audience with a purple suit and bright pink tie.

While the rains began during their hour long set, it didn’t deter the crowd who was up and dancing along with every beat by the end. Russell, the combination of Shiny Soul Sisters with Tijuana Trainwreck Horns backed by the rest of the band form a funky-roots outfit that entertained with both originals and a few covers.

Kris Kristofferson

The iconic Kris Kristofferson made his MerleFest debut on Thursday night and fans in attendance seemed to genuinely appreciate the contributions to music made from such a legendary superstar.

Backed by The Strangers, Merle Haggard’s original band and son Ben, Kristofferson doled out 18 songs and an encore before calling it a night. A member of country supergroup, The Highwaymen, featuring Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, his original songs and those he wrote have been performed by numerous other artists since their inception.

Kristofferson gave way to Ben Haggard during his father’s “Okie from Muskogee,” much to the delight of the crowd. Ben is a rising star in his own right and playing alongside the storied Kristofferson will only serve to bolster his pedigree.

Kristofferson setlist:
-Shipwrecked in the 80’s
-That’s The Way Love Goes
-Darby’s Castle
-Me and Bobby McGee
-Here Comes That Rainbow
-Help Me Make It Through The Night
-Okie From Muskogee
-Casey’s Last Ride
-Loving Her Was Easier
-Just the Other Side of Nowhere
-Sing Me Back Home
-The Pilgrim
-Jesus Was A Capricorn
-Stay Here And Drink
-Sunday Morning Coming Down
-For The Good Times
-A Moment of Forever
-Why Me

-Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends

Robert Earl Keen

Fellow Texan, Robert Earl Keen was up next on the Watson Stage as both the rain and crowd excitement intensified. Keen managed to transform a valley full of festival goers into what felt like a small listening room with his stories and upbeat songs like, “Hot Corn, Cold Corn” and “Feelin’ Good Again”.

Keen also allowed bassist and songwriter, Bill Whitbeck a.k.a. “Rusty Pliers,” to assist the crowd in spelling New Braunfels, during a performance of “Copenhagen” that he promised a member of the media he would play during his set.

An impressive musical performance came to a rousing conclusion with Keen’s anthem, a finale of “The Road Goes On Forever” that had everyone in attendance up on their feet and in appreciation of both the musical talents of Keen and his band.

Robert Earl Keen setlist:
-Hot Corn
-Feelin’ Good Again
-Twisted Laurel
-If I Were King
-Man Behind Drums
-I Gotta Go

The Mavericks

Finally, the Latin influenced group of Tex-Mex and rockabilly song styles of The Mavericks brought the first night of MerleFest to a close on the main Watson Stage. While performances kept going into the night by other groups on other stages, of which MerleFest has 14, the main events were over.

Off to a rainy beginning, the performances by each of the artists on the main stage were well worth battling the elements and many in the crowd didn’t seem to mind. Preparations were made, tarps were ascended and ponchos were on hand as a majority of the crowd was ready for the MerleFest opening main stage lineup come rain, wind, hail or high water.

And it was well worth the sacrifice.

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch, April 27-29

MerleFest highlights the weekend in Wilkesboro but live music is happening throughout all of North Carolina…

The 31st annual MerleFest kicked off on Thursday night behind a spectacular lineup of artists, especially those from Texas. Shinyribs, Kris Kristofferson and Robert Earl Keen all graced the Watson stage in front of a crowd that wouldn’t be discouraged by a little rainfall.

Fortunately, the forecast for the remainder of the festival looks amazing as there are many other wonderful artists to see and hear all weekend long. If you can’t make it to Wilkesboro, then be on the lookout for another one of these events happening across the state this weekend!

FRIDAY – APRIL 27, 2018

MerleFest – See the full schedule and lineup of events for Day Two here.

Jamey Johnson – MerleFest
Rodney Crowell – MerleFest
Brandy Clark – MerleFest
Mandolin Orange – MerleFest

John Moreland – The Ramkat, Winston-Salem

“In churches learning how to hate yourself/Ain’t grace a wretched old thing” he sings, the song called “Ain’t We Gold.” Big Bad Luv is unmistakably a rock ‘n’ roll record. If, that is, one understands the term to include Ray Wylie Hubbard, John Hiatt, and Lucero. Or The Band, maybe. Insistent songs, coming from a voice as elegant as unfinished barn wood, songs which insist upon their words being heard.

Corey Hunt Band – Old Dallas Brewery, Dallas

“Hunt’s songwriting ranges from sincere romanticism to outlaw rebellion, and their do-it-yourself approach to booking, recording, and gigging has given them the freedom to explore and expand their music as they grow.  With room to grow and momentum on their side, their crowd-pleasing and relatable take on modern roots music is poised for bigger and better things every time they hit the stage or the studio.”

Todd Snider – Salvage Station, Asheville

Described as “one of the sharpest, funniest storytellers in rock” by Rolling Stone and “an exceptional songwriter” by NPR’s Fresh Air, Snider uses his narrative chops to keep the world of ‘Eastside Bulldog’ poignant, acerbic and hilarious.

Jonathan Parker – City Tap, Pittsboro

Independent and traditional country music. Rising local artist within the genre featuring original songs and a few classic covers from some of your favorite outlaws.


MerleFest – See the full schedule and lineup of events for Day Three here.

Moo and Brew Fest in Charlotte.
Charley Crockett – Moo and Brew Fest
Shovels and Rope – Moo and Brew Fest

Caitlyn Smith – Evening Muse, Charlotte

From small-town Minnesota to the stages of Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits festival, Caitlyn Smith is now living a dream she’s had from a very young age—and with the release of the mature, masterful Starfire, there’s no telling what happens from here.

The Black Lillies – Reeves Theatre, Elkin

With a new configuration, new songs and the same dedication to touring, the Lillies continue to sink their roots deep into the Americana landscape.

Corey Smith – The Orange Peel, Asheville

Now, however, Corey is focused squarely on the future. As the new album title suggests, he’s ready to make a determined grab at country’s brass ring while the gettin’ is good. And with Keith Stegall and Sugar Hill Records behind him, the gettin’ has never been better.

Todd Snider – Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte

A second opportunity this weekend!

SUNDAY – APRIL 29, 2018

MerleFest – See the full schedule and lineup of events for Day Four here.

Shovels and Rope – The Blind Tiger, Greensboro

Mandolin Orange – Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre, Wilmington

Look for us out on the road this weekend and enjoy the shows! Don’t forget, keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

MerleFest 2018: Kris Kristofferson

As MerleFest 2018 approaches, a highlight from one of the 100+ performing acts will be featured daily…

Kris Kristofferson has been making things happen his entire life. Born in Texas and raised in a military family, he was a Golden Gloves boxer who studied creative writing at Pomona College in California. The Phi Beta Kappa graduate earned a Rhodes scholarship to study literature at Oxford, where he boxed, played rugby and continued to write songs. After graduating from Oxford, Kristofferson served in the army as an Airborne Ranger helicopter pilot and achieved the rank of Captain. In 1965, Kristofferson turned down an assignment to teach at West Point and, inspired by songwriters like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, moved to Nashville to pursue his music.

After struggling in Music City for several years, Kristofferson achieved remarkable success as a country songwriter at the start of the 1970s. His songs “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and “For the Good Times,” all chart-topping hits, helped redefine country songwriting. By 1987, it was estimated that more than 450 artists had recorded Kristofferson’s compositions.

Heralded as an artist’s artist, the three-time GRAMMY winner has recorded 29 albums, including three with pals Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as part of the Highwaymen. Kristofferson has spent three decades performing concerts all over the world, in most recent years in a solo acoustic setting, which puts the focus on the songs. “There’s an honesty in the sparseness. It feels like direct communication to the listener,” he says. “I still have more fun when I’m with the band, but being alone is freer, somehow. It’s like being an old blues guy, just completely stripped away.”

In addition to many other awards, Kristofferson is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, winner of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriter Hall of Fame, and was honored with the American Veteran’s Association’s “Veteran of the Year Award” in 2002. For Kristofferson’s 70th birthday in 2006, his friends and admirers gifted him with a tribute CD, The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson. Stars including Willie Nelson, Russell Crowe, Emmylou Harris, Gretchen Wilson, Rosanne Cash, and Brian McKnight recorded 17 of Kristofferson’s compositions for the tribute. In 2007, Kristofferson was honored with the Johnny Cash Visionary Award from Country Music Television and in 2009 BMI lauded Kristofferson with the Icon Award. He received the Frances Preston Music Industry Award from the T.J. Martell Foundation in March, 2012. In 2014, Kristofferson was honored with a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and the PEN Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award.

Bio courtesy of

Make sure you’re there for Kris Kristofferson on Thursday afternoon (April 26) during Day One of MerleFest!

Thursday, 5:45pm-6:45pm (Watson Stage)

View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.

MerleFest 2018: Sam Bush

As MerleFest 2018 approaches, a highlight from one of the 100+ performing acts will be featured daily…

If joy were a person, he’d bring both peace and frenzy. He’d be full of music, light, and energy that soothes even as it stirs us up. Eyes closed, wire-rim glasses in place, mandolin pressed against his ribs, joy would be Sam Bush on a stage.

“I feel fortunate that when it’s time to play, no matter how I feel physically or mentally, once the downbeat starts, my mind goes to a place that’s all music,” says Bush. “The joy of the music comes to me and overtakes me sometimes––I just become part of the music.”

The Father of Newgrass and King of Telluride has long since established himself as roots royalty, revered for both his solo and sideman work, which includes time with Harris, Lyle Lovett, and Béla Fleck. But instead of kicking back and soaking up honors such as an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award and suite of Grammys and International Bluegrass Music Association trophies, Bush still strives relentlessly to create something new.

Raised on a farm just outside of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Bush grew up plowing tobacco fields in the Southern summer heat alongside his family. He started playing mandolin when he was 11 years old. “I believe growing up on a farm probably helped me channel my energy into learning music and being so interested in it,” Bush says. “Me and my sisters, we all loved it. I’ve often wondered if that’s because growing up on a farm, you couldn’t go ride your bike all over town and horse around like the other kids.”

For Bush, a lifetime of channeling his energy has led to stylistic innovations that have changed the course of bluegrass and roots music alike.

“When we play live on stage, if people can feel the joy we’re feeling, then we have succeeded,” Bush says. “That’s the goal to me of playing music: Did the audience feel something?”

Bio courtesy of

Come experience it for yourself, don’t miss Sam Bush on Saturday night (April 28) at MerleFest!

Saturday, 7:30pm-9:00pm (Watson Stage)

View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.

Shinyribs: Get Your Dose Today

Shinyribs is a band unlike any other with the cure you need, even if you didn’t know you did…

Shinyribs, a name synonymous with entertaining, high-energy, can’t miss performances. The ability to entertain through stage presence, voice, music and the sheer talent of everyone involved – audiences are always left wanting more after any of their shows. From the always fun and thoughtful introductions to a never know what you’re going to get show, Shinyribs has been wowing audiences throughout the land since 2007 and in their current form for the past few years.

Led by lead singer Kevin Russell, formerly of The Gourds, Shinyribs began as a side project before morphing into the awesome show they are today. Performing both their own original music and a number of covers, Shinyribs never fails to entertain and their reputation precedes them.

Our first experience with Shinyribs was a 12:20am (start time) show on Day 1 of Mile 0 Fest and Russell was electric. Backed by the Tijuana TrainWreck Horns and Shiny Soul Sisters, Russell wore an eye catching outfit and danced the night away while jamming to the tunes and appearing to enjoy every last second of his set.

So too did the crowd who treated the late night set as a warm up for their main stage performance. Donning a bright yellow suit, Russell took the stage for a few songs before leaping from the riser and initiating a conga line throughout the festival grounds.

Whether you are familiar with the sounds of Shinyribs or not, one thing is guaranteed. You will be entertained. Always worth the price of admission, Russell and his crew never disappoint and he’s brining the cure to whatever ails you at MerleFest this year.

Their latest album, “I Got Your Medicine,” was released in 2016 and couldn’t have come equipped with a better title. Even if you’re oblivious to the gaping hole in your musical spectrum, Shinyribs will fill it with one live performance.

The combination of country, folk, bluegrass, funk, rap and any other genre you can think of creates a sweet elixer of enjoyment that you won’t soon forget.

Don’t miss Shinyribs on day one (April 26) as they kick off MerleFest here in North Carolina!

Thursday, 4:15pm-5:15pm (Watson Stage)

View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.

MerleFest 2018: The Mavericks

As MerleFest 2018 approaches, a highlight from one of the 100+ performing acts will be featured daily…

The Mavericks were founded more than 25 years ago by Malo and Deakin as a standout alternative band in a Miami rock scene dominated by hair metal and punk. Improbably, they were noticed by super-producer Tony Brown in Nashville, and when they got signed to innovative MCA Records, they upended expectations in country music. Their blend of Cuban grooves and Bakersfield-inspired twang netted them several CMA and ACM Awards plus a Grammy in 1995. They charted numerous singles and albums while earning accolades as one of the finest live bands in the business. There was some time off and re-jiggering of personnel, but they came back strong with 2013’s In Time and 2015’s Mono, albums that provided abundant material for a refreshed and unmatched stage show.

“We’ve traveled a lot in the last four years. And we’ve come back from a hiatus of nine years to find a brand new purpose — not just to go out and play for tickets and do the oldies,” says Eddie Perez. “Not many bands get to come back from that long to have another moment like this. So I believe it to be quite special.”

Bio courtesy of

Don’t miss The Mavericks on night one (April 26) as they close out the Watson stage performances to open MerleFest!

Thursday, 9:00pm-10:15pm (Watson Stage)

View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.

MerleFest 2018: Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers

As MerleFest 2018 approaches, a highlight from one of the 100+ performing acts will be featured daily…

Steep Canyon Rangers have been expanding the parameters of bluegrass since coming together in 2000. Since then, the genre-defying band has developed a remarkable catalogue of original music – predominantly co-written by Sharp and bassist Charles R. Humphrey III – that links them to the past while at the same time, demonstrates their ambitious intent to bring string-based music into contemporary relevance.

With that goal in mind, Steep Canyon Rangers have in recent years begun collaborating with some of Americana’s most distinctive producers, working with top studio hands like Larry Campbell (2013’s TELL THE ONES I LOVE) and Jerry Douglas (2015’s RADIO) to take newfangled routes in crafting their ever-evolving approach. OUT IN THE OPEN sees the band teaming up with Joe Henry, an accomplished singer-songwriter as well as a 3x GRAMMY® Award-winning producer (Solomon Burke, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Carolina Chocolate Drops) with a particular affinity for American roots music.

Steep Canyon Rangers attempted to fast finish a number of additional songs but Henry wisely advised them to call it a wrap: OUT IN THE OPEN was complete. With that, the band returned to the endless highway they call home for near 150 nights a year. Indeed, Steep Canyon Rangers are easily among the hardest working bands in any genre, anywhere, pulling double duty on their own and as collaborators with Steve Martin. Since teaming with the legendary actor-comedian-writer-banjo player in 2009, SCR has produced not one but two unique bodies of work, dual catalogues in constant development – along with their own works, the band has teamed with Martin for 2011’s GRAMMY® Award-nominated RARE BIRD ALERT and 2017’s THE LONG-AWAITED ALBUM, while also backing Martin’s own partnership with Edie Brickell on both 2013’s LOVE HAS COME FOR YOU and the sold out tour that followed (captured for posterity on 2014’s STEVE MARTIN AND THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS FEATURING EDIE BRICKELL – LIVE CD/DVD).

In addition to the highly anticipated release of OUT IN THE OPEN, 2018 will also see Steep Canyon Rangers uniting with their local Asheville Symphony for a series of unprecedented live performances and the recording of yet another new album, once again pushing their increasingly distinctive music into unexpected terrain.

OUT IN THE OPEN is an undeniable milestone on Steep Canyon Rangers’ ongoing creative journey, its spirited, eclectic approach recasting the myriad sounds of string-based American music in their own unique image. As they fast approach their second decade, Steep Canyon Rangers are still moving forward, as ever searching for new horizons and musical vistas.

Bio courtesy of

See the Steep Canyon Rangers with special guest Steve Martin close down the weekend on Sunday (April 29) at MerleFest!

Sunday, 4:00pm-5:30pm (Watson Stage)

View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.

MerleFest 2018: Rhiannon Giddens

As MerleFest 2018 approaches, a highlight from one of the 100+ performing acts will be featured daily…

It was toward the end of the T Bone Burnett–curated September 2013 Another Day, Another Time concert at New York City’s Town Hall—a celebration of the early ’60s folk revival that had inspired the Joel and Ethan Coen film Inside Llewyn Davis—when singer Rhiannon Giddens indisputably stole the show. Performing Odetta’s “Water Boy” with, as the New York Times put it, “the fervor of a spiritual, the yips of a folk holler, and the sultry insinuation of the blues,” Giddens brought the star-studded audience to its feet. She was the talk of the lobby during intermission as those attendees unfamiliar with her Grammy Award–winning work as a member of African-American folk interpreters Carolina Chocolate Drops wondered who exactly Rhiannon Giddens was, with her elegant bearing, prodigious voice, and fierce spirit.

On her Nonesuch solo debut Tomorrow Is My Turn, Giddens and Burnett revisit “Water Boy,” its Odetta-arranged work-song rhythm serving as both provocation and a statement of power. Giddens delivers an equally thunderous rendition, one made all the more striking when placed between a gentle, ruminative interpretation of Dolly Parton’s “Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind” and a version of Hank Cochran’s “She’s Got You,” popularized by Patsy Cline, that Giddens imbues with “an old-timey R&B vibe,” abetted by Carolina Chocolate Drops band-mate Hubby Jenkins. The breadth of musical vision on Tomorrow Is My Turn fulfills the promise of that brief but stunning star turn at Town Hall. The album incorporates gospel, jazz, blues, and country, plus a hint of proto-rock and roll, and Giddens displays an emotional range to match her dazzling vocal prowess throughout.

The songs here, says Giddens, “are all facets of the human condition.” Taken together, they answer the question Twyla Tharp posed at the beginning of Giddens’ solo adventure. Tomorrow Is My Turn is a composite portrait of “Ruby,” of America, and of Giddens herself, whose turn is clearly right now.

Bio courtesy of

Make certain you’re on hand for Rhiannon Giddens set on Saturday (April 28) at MerleFest this year!

Saturday, 5:00pm-5:45pm (Watson Stage)

View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.

MerleFest 2018: Jamey Johnson

As MerleFest 2018 approaches, a highlight from one of the 100+ performing acts will be featured daily…

The Washington Post considers him to be “one of the greatest country singers of our time.”

Since Johnson doesn’t create a set list, no two shows are the same, so the once-in-a-lifetime concerts will be unforgettable. “I don’t know what I’m going to do until I am standing there doing it,” he says. “That is a freedom I have enjoyed ever since I began doing this, the ability to try something new.

For the last decade, Johnson has earned critical and commercial success for his traditional country sound. His 2008 album, That Lonesome Song, was certified platinum for 1 million in sales, and his 2010 double album, The Guitar Song, received a gold certification. He has been nominated for 11 Grammys.

In addition, he is only one of a few writers in history to win two Song of the Year Trophies–for “Give It Away” and “In Color—from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. He has received tremendous praise from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal and other publications.

In 2012, he released the Grammy-nominated Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran. In 2014, he created his own label, Big Gassed Records, to release his own songs and albums as well as the music of other artists.

Tour information provided courtesy of

If you’ve never witnessed a Jamey Johnson set live then do not miss Friday (April 27) night’s MerleFest finale. If you have, then you already know to be there.

Friday, 9:45pm-11:00pm (Watson Stage)

View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.