A festival that started small at Wilkes Community College in North Carolina has become one of the most enthusiastically supported roots music events in the U.S.  Merlefest began in 1988 as an event to support the college and memorialize Eddy Merle Watson, the son of Doc Watson, who had died in a tractor accident on the family farm.  As Doc put it at the time, “When Merle and I started out we called our music ‘traditional plus', meaning the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play. Since the beginning, the people of the college and I have agreed that the music of MerleFest is ‘traditional plus'.”
Merlefest is celebrating 30 years, benefitting education at Wilkes Community College and bringing roots musicians from around the world to northwest North Carolina.  This week we talk with publicist Devon Leger about the 2017 lineup, including a stop for The Transatlantic Sessions hosted by bluegrass great Jerry Douglas and Shetland Islands fiddler Aly Bain.  We hear music from some of the artists on this year's stages. Also on the show, some solid Virginia bluegrass bands, and a selection of old time music and new recordings. 


  1. Burn The Barn
    Big Country Bluegrass
    Let Them Know I'm From Virginia
  2. Let "Em Know I'm From Virginia
    Big Country Bluegrass
    Let Them Know I'm From Virginia
  3. Beulah Land
    Adam McPeak & Mountain Thunder
    The Last Dirt Road
  4. Rock Bottom
    Lonesome River Band
    Bridging The Tradition
  5. The Wandering Boy
    The Carter Family
    Anchored In Love
  6. The Homestead On The Farm
    Flatt & Scruggs
    Songs Of The Famous Carter Family
  7. Alexander's Run
    Blue Highway
    Original Traditional
  8. Down The Road
    Doc & Merle Watson
    Home Sweet Home
  9. Devon Leger interview
    ATBR interview
  10. Chicken Fried
    Zac Brown Band
    The Foundation
  11. O'Farrell's Farewell To Limerick
    Aly Bain & Donal Lunny
    Transatlantic Sessions Season 4
  12. The Glad Eye-The Journeyman-The Wayward Son
    John Doyle
    Wayward Son
  13. Righten That Wrong
    Locust Honey String Band
    Never Let Me Cross Your Mind
  14. When The Whiskey's Gone
    Locust Honey String Band
    Never Let Me Cross Your Mind
  15. Never Been Alive
    Avett Brothers
    Magpie And The Dandelion
  16. Break 2 - Stony Fork
    New North Carolina Ramblers
    Four And A Half
  17. Climbing The Golden Stairs
    Bucking Mules
    Smoke Behind The Clouds
  18. The Soldier And The Lady
    Bucking Mules
    Smoke Behind The Clouds
  19. Lightnin' Wells
    Waiting For The Evening Mail
    O Lightnin', Where Art Thou?

    Trouble Light
    Amanda Lynn Stubley
  20. I've Got A Mule To Ride
    Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
    Great High Mountain

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