Red Dirt NC: Weekend watch, March 16-18

A relatively slow holiday weekend should make deciding on a show easier, especially for the western part of the state…

The past few weekends have created multiple opportunities for seeing live music within this genre. In fact, shortly after Cody Johnson played Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte, he became the first unsigned artist to sell out the Houston Rodeo and by all accounts put on an amazing show.

The morale of this story is to take advantage when ANY of the Texas country or Red Dirt artists venture outside of their normal touring circuit. Not only to see those that hail from both Oklahoma and Texas, but to also appreciate the artists here who have been and are breaking into the scene.

This weekend provides an opportunity to see two different acts on opposite ends of the spectrum but who are still representing a commitment to their craft with a profound ability to entertain. Each has their own characteristics and with St. Patrick’s Day looming on Saturday, can assist in your celebration with the addition of live music.

FRIDAY – MARCH 16, 2018

James Scott Bullard – Shooter’s Lounge, Hickory

After a brief stint in rehab several years ago, James Scott Bullard declared himself substance-free, yet it took him longer to accept responsibility for the rest of his life’s decisions.  That process led to fan-favorite lovelorn songs from his previous albums.  Full Tilt Boogie jumps forward to where Bullard is now, owning his bad choices and sometimes reveling in them, while not giving up vices altogether, as his string of exes will attest.  Bullard’s honesty about his flaws endears him to his fans, who find broken pieces of themselves in the lyrics. 


Pickxen – Oskar Blues Brewery, Brevard

Saint Paddy’s Day fun with Pickxen!  While we may not be able to utilize the outdoor patio bar, the Tasty Weasel taproom is open daily with free tours of the brewery. The Oskar Blues CHUBwagon food truck serves up CHUBurgers and tacos to quench your hunger. Five nights a week, local and regional bands make your ear holes happy. Pisgah National Forest is a 10 minute bike ride away, so go git rad and meet back at the brewery for a pint.

Nathan Kornegay – Goldsboro Brew Works, Goldsboro

“Singer/Songwriter based in Raleigh. Influenced by great songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Jason Isbell, and Ryan Adams.”

You won’t go wrong with any choice this weekend and for a large number of people in the western half of the state, you’ll be close to something both nights. Get out, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy your weekend by supporting live music!

Take advantage and keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

Margo Price: Pushing the Limit

The extremely talented singer and songwriter Margo Price is pushing the limits with her second album, “All American Made”…

Margo Price broke onto the scene after a tireless effort of playing gigs throughout the United States when her first record, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter,” was released nearly two years ago. She continues to display staying power with her second record, “All American Made,” which came out last October. A long time in the making, Price sacrificed considerably in an effort to continue pursuing her dreams and making music alongside husband, guitarist and fellow songwriter Jeremy Ivey.

The two seen highs and lows, suffered and struggled but all the while continued their commitment to making music and putting out songs that are often without catchy choruses but instead tell a story and send a message.

Price makes it work with her persona, despite drawing criticism from some who have negative comments for the rising star about listening to songs around bars, drinking, hard times and other “outlaw” topics with her artistic style and blunt truthfulness which should be appreciated by all.

Her latest album is a political statement put to use in an environment when some are shying away from expressing their opinions. Price meets the issues head on and doesn’t apologize for her stance but instead makes it a point to reveal her feelings in such an art form.

In a recent television appearance on Conan, Price performed a song from her new album titled, “Pay Gap” focusing on the financial state of inequality between males and females. She also invited the all-female rendition of Las Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas to perform with her and noted the lyrical mastery behind story telling and point making.

No matter your religion, no matter your race
No matter your orientation
No matter your creed and no matter your taste
No matter your denomination
We are all the same in the eyes of God
But in the eyes of rich white men
No more than a maid to be owned like a dog
A second-class citizen

Unapologetically, Price is pushing the limits and continuing to draw crowds of supporters who both appreciate her sincere musical talent and message. You can see her during two upcoming North Carolina dates, on May 15 at Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte or the Haw River Ballroom on May 16 in Saxapahaw.

Live Review: Flatland Cavalry, Shane Smith and the Saints in Charlotte

For a moment on Saturday night, the Queen City experienced a heavy dose of Texas music…

Initially seeing that Flatland Cavalry with Shane Smith and the Saints would be making two stops in Charlotte was exciting but to be absolutely honest, we hadn’t listened to either nearly enough for an immediate ticket purchase. We were wrong.

After thinking back to seeing Flatland Cavalry on the front cover of The Music Fest Magazine for the Winter 2017/2018 edition, we knew they were an up and coming band with big things ahead. Having attended Mile 0 Fest, we spotted many Shane Smith and the Saints t-shirts even though they hadn’t been booked for the four day marathon. Both groups were on the radar but still hadn’t registered completely, although we (thankfully) decided to attend.

Puckett’s Farm Equipment is a small corner store that has been transformed into a live music venue perfect for fans who understand what they’re getting into and are there to experience good music in a unique environment. The sold out crowd on Saturday night knew both bands and for those that didn’t they won’t soon forget either. We binged on music from both groups in order to prepare and immediately became excited at the prospects of getting to see each in such a small space. Having witnessed The Turnpike Troubadours play a set here in June 2013, it felt as if both groups are on a similar trajectory.

Flatland Cavalry opened the night and front man Cleto Cordero immediately engaged the audience with his lyrics while fiddle player Laura Jane Houle kept pace alongside him. The group’s musical expertise aside, they have also managed to transform many of their songs into response style sing-a-longs, including “A Life Where We Work Out” off their latest album, released nearly two years ago.

Flatland Cavalry

CHARLOTTE – Flatland Cavalry performs at Puckett’s Farm Equipment on March 10, 2018

Although it wasn’t the same without female vocals added from fellow artist Kaitlin Butts, Cordero still nailed it before adding that it is, in fact, not about gym memberships.

Shane Smith and the Saints were up next and just seconds into their set it was evident this group has a unique sound all their own. The harmonies are so on point it is almost uncanny and their lengthy, carrying fiddle tunes provided by Bennett Brown initially brought back memories from “The Last of the Mohicans,” a Daniel Day-Lewis film, directed by Michael Mann which was filmed in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

The French and Indian War tale syncs nicely with their sound, especially given their second album, “Geronimo” carried the title given Smith’s fascination with the character and dual meaning of taking a leap of faith by producing songs and music unique to your own group and going against the grain.

Shane Smith and the Saints

CHARLOTTE – Shane Smith and the Saints perform with Flatland Cavalry on March 10, 2018 at Puckett’s Farm Equipment

Behind Smith, lead guitarist Tim Allen is extremely talented mixing in with bassist Chase Satterwhite, as all are kept in time with the base drum kicking Zach Stover in the back. The four-man ensemble kept the crowd entertained and wanting more once their set neared completion.

Smith addressed the crowd with time to play one more song and was met with a boisterous chant from the audience on hand. “Dance the Night Away” was repeated in succession four or five times before Smith, who may have actually been planning to play something else, thankfully succumbed to the will of those on hand.

An electric performance to end the set and leave those exiting with the tune lingering in the their heads before inviting Flatland Cavalry back on stage to conclude with what is quickly becoming an anticipated grand finale.

After catching video online of Cordero playing a kazoo during a show previously on the tour, we were hoping it would make an appearance when they arrived in North Carolina and both groups didn’t disappoint. Sharing the stage and instruments, the two bands left an impression on those in attendance at Puckett’s before exchanging a few pleasantries with fans and displaying a genuine appreciation for those in attendance.

Both Texas based bands were met with a sell out crowd for their first of two stops in North Carolina and will hopefully be returning soon. When they do, we’ll be among the first to grab some tickets.

Red Dirt NC Winners Announced

Our first giveaway has concluded with six winners across three social media platforms…

In our continued effort to spread the love for Red Dirt and Americana music across the state of North Carolina and our region, we decided to orchestrate the very first RedDirtNC promotion by involving you – the fans!

By simply following our accounts and then either commenting, tagging, or retweeting, you were entered into a random drawing for one of our brand new stickers. These will soon be available for purchase but we wanted to get a few out to our first supporters immediately.

In just one week we had over 100 people eligible to win so we utilized a random name selector, found online, and entered everyone into the system via how they chose to participate. Whether by using Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, entrants were submitted within their respective categories and the fun began.

At the push of a button winners were chosen by the computer and then notified from our accounts. Congratulations to each of the following for winning our very first, but definitely not our last, promotion for some free merchandise.

INSTAGRAM: Alisia G. (GA) and David B. (NC)

FACEBOOK: Alyssa B. (NC) and Jeff D. (NC)

TWITTER: Anna T. (NC) and Seth S. (NC)

Stay tuned to all of our social media platforms for more giveaways, concert announcements, artists interviews and more. We hope to catch you at a show or hear from you about what artists you want covered in our #MusicMonday features very soon.

Until then, keep spreading the love one song at a time…

The Black Lillies: Ready to Bloom

The Black Lillies are ready to bloom with a new lineup and album on the horizon…

A mix between the blurred lines of red dirt, folk, blues, and Americana music is where The Black Lillies are planted with their unique sound and lyrical storytelling. Founder and lead singer Cruz Contreras has been the engine behind this group since their formation but now shares songwriting with current band members after a significant lineup shift in 2016.

The current four piece group of Contreras, Bowman Townsend, Sam Quinn and Dustin Schaefer continue to impress and may currently be putting together the best album to date for this band. The Black Lillies are nearing a decade on the road with their fifth album currently in production and are continually putting on entertaining performances night after night.

Playing festivals from Bonnaroo, Mile 0 and Merlefest to everything in between, the group has gathered a significant fan base with their amazing harmonies and patented sound. The Black Lillies have also played The Grand Ole Opry dozens of times, becoming one of the very first independent groups to fulfill that honor.

The band just wrapped their second session at Echo Mountain Studios here in Asheville, North Carolina where they continued work on the latest album. Once completed it will be the first project from The Black Lillies to be entirely formed from the work of its members. No guest appearances and no outside input other than from producer Jamie Candiloro.

Specifically selected for his style of production, Candiloro has a track record in music that speaks for itself. Having produced or engineered for Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, The Eagles, R.E.M. and Courtney Love to name a few, the process was difficult but ultimately it was determined that Candiloro would be tagged as the producer.

Cruz and the band are walking everyone through the entire process over at Pledge Music, where fans can contribute to bringing The Black Lillies fifth album to fruition. In addition to getting a behind the scenes look at how a record goes from an idea, to lyrics, then songs, actual music, live performances and studio changes – fans can also select to receive some awesome merchandise or experiences based on their level of giving.

Some items, such as the whiskey tumblers, are already sold out completely but everything from a digital download of the new record to being a roadie or having your own private show remains available.

The Black Lillies, Contreras, and all members of this group have always put their fans front and center and it shows in their support. Already at nearly 30-percent funded after just a little over one week, the newest album is gaining significant momentum.

Scheduled to be released in the fall of 2018, The Black Lillies are currently riding that wave through hard work, dedication to their craft and a continued appreciation for those that are listening.

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch

From Asheville to Jacksonville, there is no excuse to miss a Red Dirt show in NC this weekend…

Beginning on Thursday and through the weekend there are a number of opportunities to support live music throughout the state. While we are hopeful that a post of this variety is something that can be repeated on a weekly basis, we know the battle will be an uphill climb. As stated, it is our goal to spread the love for Red Dirt and Americana music across North Carolina and if you are a fan, get out to one of these events and take your friends.

Literally almost everyone in the entire state will be a two-hour maximum drive from some incredible music over the next few days. Take note, make plans and go enjoy a show!


Eli Young Band – The Tarheel in Jacksonville

“The ELI YOUNG BAND has always been unique in modern Country music – a true band of brothers who play their own instruments, write their own songs and cling fast to their Texas roots. They’d even go so far as to call themselves “misfits,” but with their fourth major label album, FINGERPRINTS (The Valory Music Co.), they’re finally embracing what makes them different once and for all.”

FRIDAY – MARCH 2, 2018

Cody Johnson – Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte

“Johnson delivers it all with an uncanny confidence. His smoky baritone and ultra-Southern enunciation gives him a voice as uniquely identifiable as country kingpins Jason Aldean or Tim McGraw. And he uses it to convey a Texas-proud swagger, a real-man charm and an unwavering honesty about who he is, where he comes from and where he hopes to go.”

Corb Lund – Ambrose West in Asheville

“The acclaimed singer-songwriter has been praised by Rolling Stone Country , NPR, and the Washington Post, among others, and his music has been featured on the Netflix show The Ranch. The Washington Post has called him, ‘a revelation, laconic and scary smart, with a devil’s eye for details’ while Rolling Stone named Lund among ‘the 10 new Country Artists you need to know.'”

Nathan Kornegay – Slim’s Downton in Raleigh

“Singer/Songwriter based in Raleigh. Influenced by great songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Jason Isbell, and Ryan Adams.”

Corey Hunt Band – Cone Denim in Greensboro

“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.”

Eli Young Band – Cone Denim in Greensboro

A second opportunity this weekend!


Pistol Hill & Justin Clyde Williams – Puckett’s Farm Equipment in Charlotte

Independent and traditional country music. Emerging local artists in the genre featuring both original songs and covers from some of your favorite individuals and bands.

Corey Hunt Band – 105 Worth Street in Asheboro

A second opportunity this weekend and a hometown show!

Just a few more work days (maybe less) separate you from the weekend and one of these incredible shows. Make plans now and don’t miss out on a rare weekend filled with quality music.

Until next time, keep spreading the appreciation of these sounds and artists, one song at a time…

American Aquarium: Rebooted and Ready to Rock

North Carolina’s own American Aquarium is the feature band of our first Music Monday…

American Aquarium was an easy choice for our first Music Monday feature being that the lead singer now calls our state capital home and has always been a proponent of the long leaf pine and his North Carolina roots. Originally flanked by a few North Carolinians in the band, the group has recently undergone a significant lineup shift but continues to press forward, gaining new fans and influencing others with their music on a consistent basis.

Having followed this group for over ten years we have been witness to both highs and lows along their musical journey but one constant remains – an unwavering commitment to the fans. After seeing B.J. Barham open with his band for another act and having their songs stuck in your head the following day, as opposed to the act you originally were there to see, it became quickly apparent that American Aquarium was worthy of following.

They initially gained notoriety around the Carolinas with a tireless touring schedule playing hole in the wall bars and restaurants from Blowing Rock to Statesville, the capital city of Raleigh and even homecoming shows pre-Thanksgiving in Reidsville. No matter the audience size or familiarity, Barham was going 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, has repeatedly played festivals like Steamboat and Medicine Stone, in addition to traveling across the pond for European tours over the past few years. Despite a rigorous tour schedule American Aquarium has also cranked out numerous albums which transcend the timeline and appeal to the current state of Barham and his feelings.

Burn. Flicker. Die. was originally intended to be the final album from the group but instead propelled them to even greater heights. Well received by both fans and critics, the album did just the opposite and allowed Barham and his band to continue touring and making a living but it came at a cost. A few years later the entire lineup would announce a shift in focus after their third “Roadtrip to Raleigh” with year four completed under Barham and an entirely new lineup behind him.

The band released another album, “Wolves” and the next is set to be released later this year and may be the best yet. “Things Change” encompasses the influences surrounding Barham and his band in addition to the personal aspects in his own life. Since Wolves, Barham has gotten sober, married and is soon expecting his first child, a daughter.

While no future tour dates are available on their website, a first in over a decade, to doubt that Barham will not be able to manage both touring and being a father is to underestimate the commitment he has to the music and his craft.

Taking a much needed and well deserved break for the first time that anyone can remember, expect Barham and his revamped band to come back stronger and better than ever. The impact on this genre of music has been made and people from around the country are taking notice.

American Aquarium is destined for great things behind Barham and their latest break will only leave fans wanting more. “Things Change” in every aspect of life, but the ability to adapt and forge a way has been a staple of Barham and his music. Telling personal tales that anyone can relate to and striking a chord among his followers, although changes are in store the foundation remains.

American Aquarium isn’t going anywhere and we can’t wait until they return full force behind a new album, lineup and reinvigorated lead singer.

North Carolina Red Dirt shows

Another new feature has been added on our website to showcase local shows for bands and artists of Red Dirt and Americana music…

As we continue on our mission to spread the love of Red Dirt and Americana music throughout North Carolina, highlighting both local and visiting talent supplying these particular types of sounds is key. For this reason, a new feature has been added to the site listing all upcoming shows from various artists throughout the state.

From an unknown rising star playing at your local watering hole to country legends and those who will soon find themselves standing among them at PNC Music Pavilion, Walnut Creek Amphitheater and everywhere in between (there are a number of great venues in all areas of the state) we hope to shed a light on those performing every night of the week.

Despite our best efforts, this list is not comprehensive and will continue to fall short without your assistance. If you know of a show or artist performing in North Carolina that falls somewhere in the realm of real country music then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or through social media so that it may be added. It is our goal to provide the knowledge of live North Carolina listening opportunities in a timely manner, giving everyone an opportunity to attend.

Murphy to Manteo can be driven in roughly nine hours, so no matter where you are in the state chances are you’ll be close to a live show at one point or another. Check the site and make plans to go hear someone you love or even find something new.

Your support of live music is much appreciated and helps to ensure the continuation of such acts and events into the future. The power of music is unmatched, lyrics and sounds can remind you of a person, place, or thing and transport you to a different time – a particular memory – or just help you forget about the realities of the day to day, if even for just a moment.

Continue spreading the love, one song at a time…

One week from today, #MusicMonday debuts

A new special feature for RedDirtNC begins one week from today…

Beginning a week from today we will feature a band or artist with a specific article devoted to their music. In an attempt to spread the love of Red Dirt and Americana music, this newly derived experience will not be limited to local musicians only but is expected to feature its fair share. The #MusicMonday series begins on February 26, 2018 and will continue weekly over the next year.

As mentioned, groups and individuals from anywhere in the world are eligible and we would love to hear who you are listening to as well. Moving forward, feel free to share recommendations for those artists we should cover and hopefully all of your suggestions will be highlighted at some point in the future of this series.

While new music is always a plus, shining a light on the abundance of good music already available is also our goal. Expect to see a mix of North Carolina homegrown sounds, music from neighboring states and an impressive helping of individuals from Texas and Oklahoma.

After our announcement earlier today, we’ve already received excellent suggestions for our first feature next week, but would still appreciate hearing who you would like to see as our initial individual or band spotlighted. Hopefully, this new series will assist in our mission to continually spread the love for Red Dirt and Americana music across the great state of North Carolina.

Feel free to share your thoughts here, contact us via email at or hit us up on social media through Facebook or Twitter to shine a light on the artists you want featured. Thank you again for your initial suggestions and contributions in helping us to reach our goal as we look forward to spreading the love one song at a time.

Local NC listening options for Red Dirt music

Immediate solutions to continually spinning the radio dial in search of good Red Dirt music…

If you live in North Carolina, or anywhere on the east coast, finding today’s best Red Dirt country music can be a bit of a challenge. Despite countless radio stations and satellite radio, no stations have been solely devoted to the music coming out of Texas, Oklahoma and other states – North Carolina included – to highlight the artists who can still sell out a venue without the push of a major record label.

These artists are some of the hardest working individuals and bands in the industry. Playing dates that fill up a majority of their calendar, criss-crossing America in an attempt to support themselves and spreading the love of their music. Individuals on the east coast and especially in North Carolina can have a hard time finding a forum from which to hear their music.

These outlets will immediately remedy this situation and provide an awesome listening experience for anyone who tunes in to their broadcast.