MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce new artist additions to the lineup for MerleFest 2018, which will be held April 26 - 29, 2018: Elephant Revival, Rhiannon Giddens, Rodney Crowell, and Shinyribs. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The newest additions to the lineup join over 75 artists that have already been announced, including Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, The Devil Makes Three, Balsam Range and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble, Mission Temple Fireworks Revival featuring Paul Thorn & Band, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and the McCrary Sisters, a Midnight Jam hosted by Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale, and many more.
Elephant Revival – Elephant Revival is a unique collection of multi-instrumentalists blending elements of gypsy, Celtic, Americana, and folk. Brought together by a unified sense of purpose, Elephant Revival communicates the importance of harmony among all living things and uses music to unite us in ways that no other medium can. Elephant Revival is scheduled to play the Hillside Stage on Friday.
Rhiannon Giddens – Singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens is the co-founder of the GRAMMY award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, playing banjo and fiddle. Giddens’ 2014 Grammy nominated solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, blends gospel, jazz, blues, and country, and showcases her dazzling vocal prowess. Giddens follow-up album Freedom Highway, largely comprised of original songs, was released to widespread critical acclaim in February. She performed at the Obama White House and duets with country star Eric Church on his powerful anti-racism hit "Kill a Word." Last year she received the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Singer of the Year and the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo and in 2017 won the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” award. In 2018, Giddens will be the guest curator for the Cambridge Folk Festival. Giddens also has a recurring role on the recently revived television drama Nashville. Rhiannon Giddens is scheduled to play Saturday on the Watson Stage.
Rodney Crowell – Rodney Crowell is a multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter who has written or recorded 15 #1 songs on the Country music charts. He has also won six Americana Music Awards, including the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting, and he is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by country legends (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, George Strait), to current country chart toppers (Tim McGraw, Keith Urban) to blues icons (Etta James), and rock and roll legends (Van Morrison, Bob Seger). Crowell’s latest album, Close Ties, was released in March 2017 on New West Records to critical acclaim. Rodney Crowell is scheduled to play the Cabin Stage on Friday.
Shinyribs – SHINYRIBS is the continuation of Kevin Russell’s musical journey that began in Beaumont, TX when, at 14, he found his father’s guitar under his bed, along with a sewing machine, a billy club and a box of comic books. Luckily he chose the guitar. Following his family’s oil boom and bust migratory path he landed in Shreveport, LA where he formed his first band. Picket Line Coyotes were a Husker Du meets Elvis Costello hybrid that lived and died between the “Arklatexabamassippi” borders much like their unfortunate animal namesake. That’s what took him to Austin where The Gourds were born from those Coyote ashes. That storied band of pumpkins came to an end after 18 years of good times and hard travelin’. From that point on Russell, has been riding high on the Shinyribs river of country-soul, swamp-funk and tickle. A Shinyribs show is an exaltation of spirit. It’s a hip shaking, belly laughing, soul-singing, song-slinging, down-home house party. Shinyribs is scheduled to play the Watson Stage on Thursday.
“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4 day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2018 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers and we look forward to another successful festival in April.” The 2018 current lineup may be viewed at MerleFest.org/lineup.
Tickets for next year’s festival may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 14 to February 18, 2018; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 19 to April 25. Tickets will be sold using Tier 3 pricing at the gate during the festival.
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of "traditional plus" music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.