Merlefest hits the road with a concert series called Merlefest on the Road Tour that starts in Asheville on Thursday at Isis Music Hall in West Asheville. The idea is to build a little buzz and interest leading up to the big event, Merlefest, held each year at the end of April up in Wilkesboro. If you’ve never been, you need to go. This year’s line-up looks particularly incredible.

The series includes musicians that will be a part of this year’s festival, including Tellico, Zoe and Cloyd (nee Red June) of Asheville, and the Austin-based band High Plains Jamboree. Should be fun. Here’s the full press release:

MerleFest, the popular Americana music festival founded by the legendary Doc Watson, will give music lovers in the VA-TN-NC tri-state region a sneak peak of this spring’s festival with MerleFest on the Road, an ensemble show of bands in its 2016 lineup. Steve Johnson, Artist Relations Director of MerleFest, said “We are delighted to present some of the finest artists who will join us for this year’s festival. So many MerleFest regulars can hardly wait for every April to arrive – and now they don’t have to! We believe that the fans who come out to MerleFest on the Road will be more enthusiastic than ever for the festival.”

These bands will perform at MerleFest on the Road:

Tellico is firmly planted in Asheville NC’s thriving roots music scene. The band is well schooled in bluegrass but with an unbridled organic “Appalachiacana” sound, combining some of the finest voices, songs and instrumental prowess in western North Carolina and beyond. MerleFest fans know most of the band members from Dehlia Low. www.tellicoband.com

High Plains Jamboree is making their own jukebox memories, playing decades old favorites and songs they wrote. With roots in northern bluegrass and southern troubadour country, these four veteran Austin, TX musicians bring to this new string band a distinct Texas flavor to their writing and singing. www.highplainsjamboree.com

Zoe & Cloyd is a husband-wife duo from Asheville that combines a foundation in traditional bluegrass and old-time Appalachian music with a modern sensibility. They are known for their haunting mountain voices, instrumental prowess and songwriting. They have been making music together for ten years, including with MerleFest favorite Red June. www.zoeandcloyd.com.

The schedule of performances is as follows (an “*” incicates Tellico and High Plains Jamboree only. All other shows will also have Zoe & Cloyd):

-Mar 3 (Thurs) Isis Restaurant and Music Hall, Asheville NC
-Mar 4 (Fri) Harvester Performance Center, Rocky Mount VA *
-Mar 5 (Sat) Willingham Theater, Yadkinville NC
-Mar 6 (Sun) The Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room, Johnson City TN *
-Mar 9 (Wed) TN Shines at Boyd’s Jig & Reel, Knoxville TN *
-Mar 10 (Thurs) The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem NC
-Mar 11 (Fri) Gaston County Museum, Dallas NC
-Mar 12 (Sat) The Crown at the Carolina Theatre of Greensboro, NC
-Mar 13 (Sun) The Evening Muse, Charlotte NC *

Check band and venue websites for detailed show and ticket information.

This year’s edition of MerleFest will take place from April 28 to May 1 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC where MerleFest on the Road artists will be joined by John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Steep Canyon Rangers and many others. Further information about the festival is at www.merlefest.org.

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