Keeping with a longstanding tradition of MerleFest’s all-hands-on-deck late night jam, MerleFest, presented by Window World, is happy to announce their 2021 installment of the after-hours jamboree: Gulf Breeze: Songs Of The Third Coast. Co-presented by Music City Roots and hosted by the eclectic and enthralling Shinyribs, this year’s late night jam will focus on music from the broadly varied traditions along our countries third coast. Jim Lauderdale, Hogslop String Band, Brittney Spencer, The Cleverlys, Donna the Buffalo, Peter Rowan, Los Texmaniacs, and Cordovas are slated to join Shinyribs for this momentous event. Tickets for the Gulf Breeze: Songs Of The Third Coast are available now at merlefest.org. Tickets are still available for MerleFest 2021 which will take place September 16-19 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
“The Gulf Coast region is and continues to be a driver of American culture. When one considers the collective musical history measured from the tip of Florida’s Keys to the tip of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley – with Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana in between – the very notion fills one with awe,” says Shinyribs’ front-man Kevin Russell. “Jazz, Blues, Rock ‘n Roll, Country, Southern Rock, Soul, R&B, Swamp Pop, Reggae, Tex-Mex, Zydeco, Cajun, Swing, Gospel, Bluegrass, Rap, Hip-Hop, Psychedelia, Conjunto, Tejano, Cumbia, Cuban, Bahamian, and all manner of hybrids made from those sub-tropical, humid, salty elements form an undeniable cultural Fertile Crescent that informs and inspires our American song bag to this day. I’ve long tried to pay tribute to this vast repertoire of Americana. MerleFest’s Late Night Jam is the perfect place to do it. I can hardly wait to experience the pastiche of grooves that will be emanating from MerleFest that night.”
With the late night jam as well as the entire festival, MerleFest will continue to prioritize the safety of its artists, attendees, staff, vendors, and volunteers. The festival will adhere to safety protocols set by local and state governments for a safe live music environment. Stay tuned to merlefest.org for safety protocol updates.
The finalists of 2021’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest have been announced. Finalists have been invited to the final round of the competition, which takes place Friday, September 17, during MerleFest. First-place winners will receive $1,000 cash and a performance slot at MerleFest. This year’s panel of music industry professional judges includes Dolph Ramseur, Amythyst Kiah, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, and The Milk Carton Kids. CASC is one of the most acclaimed songwriting contests in roots and Americana music and has a reputation for launching careers as well as drawing attention to important new talent. A full list of finalists can be found below.
Jeff McClellan (Kingsport, Tenn.), Scott Patrick (Christiansburg, Va.) – “One Black Rock At A Time”
Gregory Poulos (Northville, Mich.) – “Sunny Days (Are Comin’ Once Again)”
Andrew Small (Floyd, Va.) – “Yesterday’s Blues”
Carly Burruss (Atlanta, Ga.), Mike McFadden (Nashville, Tenn.), Scott Terry (New York, N.Y.) – “Wheel of Fortune”
Calista Garcia (Arlington, Va.) – “Nobody Digs a Wallflower”
Ian Meadows (Higganum, Conn.), Dustin Meadows (Old Saybrook, Conn.) – “Trouble”
Brieana Capone (Asheville, N.C.) – “Rainbow Stained”
Shay Martin Lovette (Boone, N.C.) – “For Rose Marie”
David Morris (Benton, Penn.), Amanda Fields (Madison, Tenn.), Dawn Kenney (Waltham, Mass.) – “If I’m Gonna Be Lonely”
Louisa Branscomb (Asheville, N.C.), Dale Ann Bradley (Middlesboro, Ky.) – “I’ll Take Love”
Daniel Davis (Bristol, Va.) – “Dear Lord”
Cathy Fink (Silver Spring, Md.) – “Hold Each Other Up”
MerleFest first-timers: MerleFest would also like to extend a warm welcome to more first-time performers. Shovels & Rope, Margo Price, LeAnn Rimes, Brittney Spencer, Yasmin Williams, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Oliver Hazard, Sam Williams, Cordovas, Piedmont Bluz, Rev. Robert Jones, Robbie Fulks, Sweet Potato Pie, and Bill & The Belles join the list of previously announced first-timers at this year’s festival.
MerleFest 2021 is presented by Window World. MerleFest is grateful to over 100 sponsors and advertisers for their support in making the event possible, including Come Hear NC, Pepsi, WXII 12, Carolina West Wireless, Wake Forest Baptist Health Wilkes Medical Center, Vannoy Construction, Skyline National Bank, The Law Offices of Timothy D. Welborn, ECMD, Inc., John M. Belk Endowment, Raymer Oil Company, Geico, Tyson, Explore Boone, US Army ROTC, Burger King, Winston-Salem Journal, YES! Weekly, WSMW 98.7 Simon, G&B Energy, The John Boy and Billy Big Show, WAME Real Country 92.9 FM / 550 AM, Curtis Media Group, WOXL 98.1 The River, WBRF Classic Country 98.1, Knee-Deep in Bluegrass, WPAQ 740 AM, WNCW 88.7, RaysWeather.com, WKSF 99.9 Kiss Country, Foothills Digest, WCGX 96.5 FM / 1360 AM The Cat, WSYD 105.1 FM / 1300 AM, and Piedmont Folkways Radio Show. A complete listing of all MerleFest sponsors and additional information about all aspects of the festival can be found at merlefest.org/sponsors.
About Late Night C0-Host Music City Roots: Founded in October of 2009, Music City Roots is a weekly live musical variety radio show created to shine a light on the variety and diversity of roots and Americana music from and passing through Nashville, TN. Roots has hosted Grammy-winning artists like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, and Emmylou Harris as well as iconic American acts like The Doobie Brothers and features a weekly emerging artist as well. A community of fans, bands, and brands, Music City Roots hearkens back to the golden age of live radio via traditional and contemporary platforms of discovery: radio, television, and streaming both live and on-demand. Its American Public Television series has reached up to 80% of the nation. The show was housed at the Loveless Cafe Barn from 2009 to 2014 and the Factory in Franklin from 2014 to the end of 2017. Since then, the Music City Roots team has been working on the new forever home to the weekly variety show, The Roots Barn. The Roots Barn will be home to Music City Roots and a Diverse Tapestry of Musical Culture and Heritage. The Roots Barn, a new, state-of-the-art music and events venue, is well under construction and set to open a new era of culture and community in the Spring of 2022, coming to dynamic Madison, TN.