Music

MerleFest adds six more artists to lineup

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The Avett Brothers

MerleFest, presented by Window World and slated for April 27-30, 2017, is proud to announce six more additions to the 2017 lineup: The Avett Brothers, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, Chatham County Line Electric Holiday, Mandolin Orange, Steep Canyon Rangers and Sierra Hull. This year will be the 30th celebration of this homecoming of roots music artists and fans that draws over 75,000 participants every year. MerleFest has already announced over 75 artists for 2017, including Zac Brown Band with a very special acoustic set, Del McCoury Band, Jim Lauderdale, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Mountain Heart and many more.

The Avett Brothers – The Avett Brothers made mainstream waves with their 2009 major label debut, “I and Love and You,” landing at No. 16 on the Billboard Top 200, garnering critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, Paste, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Time. In 2012, “The Carpenter” hit No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200, drawing praise from People, USA Today and American Songwriter. The group appeared on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! twice in a few months’ time.

“True Sadness” achieves The Avett Brothers’ highest career debut to date and dominates multiple charts. The Rick Rubin-produced album hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Albums Chart, No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums Chart, No. 1 on the Digital Albums Chart and No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200. The Americana Music Association named it the No. 1 Most Played Album of 2016. The Avett Brothers will perform on opening night of MerleFest and again on Saturday.

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy – To fans of fiddle music, Natalie MacMaster needs no introduction. Over a recording career now spanning 25 years, this Order of Canada recipient has released 11 albums that have notched sales of over 200,000 copies. She has won two JUNO and 11 East Coast Music Awards and been nominated for a Grammy; is in great demand as a charismatic performer; and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Yo-Yo Ma (on the Grammy-winning album “Songs of Joy & Peace”), Alison Krauss, Jesse Cook, and Béla Fleck.

Her husband, Donnell Leahy, is no stranger to the awards podium himself. He is the oldest brother of the internationally acclaimed family musical group Leahy, winners of three JUNO Awards. Widely recognized as one of the best Celtic fiddlers in the world, his high-energy playing style also makes him a highly popular performer.

Steep Canyon Rangers – The Steep Canyon Rangers add an authentic and distinct sound in North Carolina’s array of native musical talent, including Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, James Taylor, John Coltrane, Randy Travis and The Avett Brothers. A bluegrass band at their core, the Steep Canyon Rangers effortlessly walk the line between festival favorite and sophisticated string orchestra. They are as danceable as the most progressive, party-oriented string band and equally comfortable translating their songs for accompaniment by a full symphony. It’s that mix of serious chops and good-natured fun that earned the Steep Canyon Rangers the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2013 and that drew celebrated comedian/banjoist Steve Martin to them when he needed a backing band.

Mandolin Orange – Mandolin Orange has steadily picked up speed and fans since releasing “This Side of Jordan,” the band’s 2013 breakthrough debut on Yep Roc Records, last year’s follow up “Such Jubilee” and its new album, “Blindfaller.” Released September 30, “Blindfaller” made Rolling Stone’s 40 Best Country Albums of 2016, debuted No. 3 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart and was featured on NPR’s “Heavy Rotation,” among others.

Sierra Hull – Singer, mandolinist and former child prodigy Sierra Hull signed with Rounder at age 13 and distinguished herself by becoming the first bluegrass musician to receive a Presidential Scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. The International Bluegrass Music Association named Sierra the 2016 Mandolin Player of the Year, the first woman in the show’s history to take home this honor. Now a seasoned touring musician nearing her mid-20s, Sierra Hull has delivered her most inspired, accomplished and mature recorded work to date – no small feat. She released Grammy-nominated “Weighted Mind,” her first new album in five years, in 2016.

Chatham County Line Electric Holiday – For over a decade of Decembers, the single-mic-surrounding, all-acoustic Chatham County Line has hosted a special Electric Holiday Tour where the band eschews its acoustic mantle and embraces the advent of electricity. With the addition of drummer Evans Nicholson and electric bass player Jay Brown, CCL’s Greg Readling gets to moonlight on pedal steel and piano, and Dave Wilson and John Teer get to scratch their electric guitar itch. Banjo maestro Chandler Holt might even sing a song or two. The band will put new energy behind some CCL classics as well as scratch the dust off of a few AM Goldies.

Tickets for MerleFest 2017 are on sale now and may be purchased at MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857.

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