Merlefest

An image of Doc & Merle Watson
Jim McGuire

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This week, Chatham County Line's Dave Wilson tells us why he loves 'Southbound' by Doc & Merle Watson.

Jim Avett
Crackerfarm (Mike Beyer)

  For Jim Avett, music is just as much a part of life as eating and sleeping. The son of a minister and a pianist, Jim grew up singing in the church choir and playing several musical instruments. 

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn
MerleFest

The beat of hundreds stomping their feet to the southern sounds of MerleFest returns this weekend. The annual festival starts this Thursday in Wilkesboro and brings three days and four nights of folk and bluegrass music back to the foothills of North Carolina.

 

David Holt took this photo of Doc Watson's final Merlefest performance in 2012. Watson died a month later.
David Holt

If you’re searching for the who’s who among bluegrass, Americana, folk, and traditional country musicians, MerleFest is a good place to start. The annual four-day festival kicks off today in Wilkesboro, just as it has every April for the past 25 years. Headlining artists include The Avett Brothers, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Jerry Douglas, Steep Canyon Rangers, Matraca Berg, and others. But this year for the first time, the festival will lack a performance from its founder, Doc Watson, who died May 29, 2012.