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MerleFest to Visit Birthplace of Country Music Museum

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Birthplace of Country Music MuseumBristol, TN/VA -- MerleFest, the popular music festival founded by the legendary Doc Watson and presented by Window World, offers music lovers a sneak peek of this spring's festival when MerleFest on the Road tours throughout the Southeast. The tour will make a stop at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Friday, February 23, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Performers on the lineup include two acts that have appeared at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion: The Way Down Wanderers and The Barefoot Movement. Singer-songwriter and guitar champion Andy May will also perform. The Bristol stop will be part of the Birthplace of Country Music's 1927 Society Concert Series.

"The MerleFest on the Road performers provide a sampling of the music that is a mainstay at MerleFest," said Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager. "A diverse 'traditional plus' lineup is a big part of the festival. However, it is important to remember that MerleFest cannot be defined by just one genre. Doc Watson created the genre moniker of '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.'"

Tickets to the 1927 Society Concert: MerleFest on the Road are on sale now; a pre-sale was offered to 1927 Society members. The intimate concert experience will be held in the Performance Theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum with heavy hors d'oeuvres and adult beverages included in the ticket price of $85 (taxes and fees included). The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

"We have a great relationship with MerleFest and real appreciation for their work," said Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music, the nonprofit parent organization of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and Radio Bristol. "We were very excited that they want to bring MerleFest on the Road to Bristol and, in particular, to the museum. This is a must-see event!"

The Way Down Wanderers, equal parts fast-paced and soulful, are a 5-piece modern folk Americana act that draws listeners in with their energy and originality. Youthful and professionally trained, the band captivates audiences with soaring instrumentals, foot stomping sing-alongs, and a lively stage show.

The Barefoot Movement's sound is made up of memorble melodies, lush harmonies, and exciting instrumentation with one foot firmly planted in the world of roots music while the other wanders from pop to rock to R & B. Though difficult to define, CMT Edge heralded the band as "one of the most promising bands on the bluegrass scene."

Veteran singer-songwriter and champion guitarist Andy May infuses his songwriting and shows with his trademark creativity, humor, and consummate musicianship. Described as a "troubador of life," May's music embraces styles from blues to bluegrass, classic country to contemporary folk, rock-a-billy to roots.

MerleFest will take place April 26—29 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilksboro, North Carolina where MerleFest on the Road artists will be joined by Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Elephant Revival, and more. For more information about MerleFest and MerleFest on the Road visit To purchase tickets to the 1927 Society Concert: MerleFest on the Road at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and to learn more about becoming a 1927 Society member visit

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, 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 at Wilkes Community College.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, explores the history of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting impact on our music heritage. From the Bristol Sessions and beyond, our region continues to influence music around the world.

The 24,000 square foot museum is located at 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way (corner of Moore & Cumberland Streets) in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia. Through multiple theater experiences, film and sound, and interactive, technology-infused displays—along with a variety of educational programs, music programs, and community events—the exciting story of this music and its far-reaching influence comes alive. Rotating exhibitions from guest curators and other institutions, including the Smithsonian, will be featured throughout the year in the Special Exhibits Gallery. The museum is also home to an extensive digital archive.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and most major holidays; call ahead for clarification at 423-573-1927. Admission is $13.65 for adults, $11.55 for seniors, students, military, children ages 6—17, and groups of 20 or more. Children 5 and under are free. Admission prices include Virginia admission tax.

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