MerleFest Announces Melissa Etheridge and More for 2020 Festival

MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the
next round of artist additions for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26.
Melissa Etheridge, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The
Marcus King Band, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, and John Cowan
will be joining the annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus
of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of
the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Today’s lineup announcement adds five great artists to
MerleFest’s already stacked lineup: Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss,
John Prine, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Billy Strings, Jim Lauderdale,
Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna the Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the
Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Colin Hay, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett,
Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Kelsey Waldon, Gangstagrass, Robbie Fulks,
Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill
and the Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che
Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt,
Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive
Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little
Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys,
Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan
Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder,
Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne
Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern. 

Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge: Melissa Etheridge stormed onto the
American rock scene in 1988 with the release of her critically acclaimed
self-titled debut album, which led to an appearance on the 1989 Grammy awards
show. For several years, her popularity grew around such memorable originals as
“Bring Me Some Water,” “No Souvenirs,” and “Ain’t It
Heavy,” for which she won a Grammy in 1992. Etheridge hit her commercial
and artistic stride with her fourth album, Yes I Am (1993). The
collection featured the massive hits, “I’m the Only One” and
“Come to My Window,” a searing song of longing that brought Etheridge
her second Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Performance. In 1995, Etheridge
issued her highest-charting album, Your Little Secret, which was
distinguished by the hit single, “I Want to Come Over.” Her
astounding success that year led to Etheridge receiving the Songwriter of the
Year honor at the ASCAP Pop Awards in 1996. Known for her confessional
lyrics and raspy, smoky vocals, Etheridge has remained one of America’s favorite
female singer-songwriters for more than two decades.

Known for her confessional lyrics and raspy, smoky vocals,
Etheridge has remained one of America’s favorite female singer-songwriters for
more than two decades. In February 2007, Melissa Etheridge celebrated a career
milestone with a victory in the “Best Song” category at the Academy Awards for
“I Need to Wake Up,” written for the Al Gore documentary on global warming, An
Inconvenient Truth. As a performer and songwriter, Etheridge has shown
herself to be an artist who has never allowed “inconvenient truths” to keep her
down. Earlier in her recording career, Etheridge acknowledged her sexual
orientation when it was considered less than prudent to do so. In October 2004,
Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer, a health battle that, with her
typical tenacity, she won. Despite losing her hair from chemotherapy, Etheridge
appeared on the 2005 Grammy telecast to sing “Piece of My Heart” in tribute to
Janis Joplin. By doing so she gave hope to many women afflicted with the

On October 7, 2016, Melissa Etheridge released Memphis Rock
& Soul, her first album since 2014’s critically lauded This Is M.E.
Recorded at Royal Studios in Memphis, the album received stellar reviews from
the likes of Entertainment Weekly, Parade, Rolling Stone, American Songwriter
and more. She followed that up with the release of The Medicine Show in
April, 2019. For The Medicine Show, Melissa reunited with celebrated
producer John Shanks and sounds as rousing as ever, bringing a new level of
artistry to her 15th studio recording. The Medicine Show deals with
universal themes of renewal, reconciliation, reckoning, compassion and, most
profoundly, healing. Melissa Etheridge will perform Saturday evening. 

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real: For ten years
running, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real — bassist Corey McCormick,
drummer Anthony LoGerfo, percussionist Tato Melgar, and multi-instrumentalist
Logan Metz— have been crossing the globe, playing thousands of shows as one of
the most talented, in-demand rock and roll ensembles working today. In song
after song, on stage after stage, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have
sharpened the edges of their singular sound, straddling rock and roll, country,
soul, folk and R&B.

An emergent and vital force in American music, their latest
album, the critically-acclaimed (Turn Off The News (Build A Garden), was
released in June 2019, and planted itself at #1 on the Americana album chart
for 10 consecutive weeks.

In the past year alone, the quickly rising quintet have been
wowing audiences and gaining fans with their headlining tour and blistering
television performances, and have turned in star-making sets at major festivals
including Stagecoach, Newport Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz Fest and dozens
of shows as part of Willie’s traveling Outlaw Music Festival. Lukas Nelson
& Promise of the Real will perform Thursday evening. 

The Marcus King Band: Songwriter. Guitarist. Singer.
Bandleader. At only 23 years of age, Marcus King has been writing songs and
performing onstage for half his lifetime delivering a blistering fried brand of
Americana and blues inspired by rock n’ roll. All five members of the band –
drummer Jack Ryan, bass player Stephen Campbell, trumpeter/trombonist Justin
Johnson and sax player/steel guitar player Dean Mitchell create a blistering
yet soulful unit that has honed their synergy through endless touring. King is
a Blue Ridge Mountain boy born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. A
fourth-generation musician, he traces his lineage back to his fiddle playing
great grandfather. While his grandfather was a fiddler and guitarist, his dad,
Marvin King is a singer/guitarist who has toured nationally since the ’70s with
various artists as well as his own group Marvin King and Blue Revival. Marcus
King doesn’t strive for authenticity he never had to; it’s busting out of his
DNA in every note he plays and every word he sings. The Marcus King Band
will perform Friday evening.

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram: Once a generation, a blues artist
comes along who not only reminds mainstream audiences how deeply satisfying and
emotionally moving the best blues music can be but shakes the genre to its
core. With both eyes on the future and the blues in his blood, 20-year-old
guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Christone “Kingfish” Ingram took the music
world by storm. Sprung from the same earth as so many of the Delta blues
masters, Kingfish comes bursting out of Clarksdale, Mississippi, just ten miles
from the legendary crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. A student of the Delta’s
musical history, he is acutely aware of the musicians and the music that
emerged from his corner of the world. Kingfish has shared stages with
Buddy Guy, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Robert Randolph, Guitar Shorty, Eric Gales,
and many others. He has performed at festivals around the country, including
stops at the Chicago Blues Festival, the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis,
the Bonita Blues Festival in Florida and at San Francisco’s famed Biscuits
& Blues. He’s also performed in Europe multiple times. In addition to
making music and touring the world, Kingfish donates his time and talent to two
causes important to him. Through his work with various local Blues in the
Schools programs, he visits with students around the country while he’s on
tour. He’s also an official ambassador for United by Music North America, a
program helping people with developmental challenges, such as autism, to
express themselves through music. “Treat everybody right and anybody can do
anything,” says Kingfish. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram will perform

John Cowan: John Cowan, also known as the Voice of Newgrass, has been singing
his heart out for thirty-five years now, and his soaring vocals have only
improved with time. A true innovator, John applies his powerful pipes to genres
from country, bluegrass, and gospel to soul, jazz, and rock-and-roll – often
within the space of a single concert. His ability to move fluidly through
multiple styles, and carry mesmerized audiences on the journey with him, has
set him apart as one of the most loved and admired vocal artists of his
generation, not just by fans and critics but among fellow musicians as well.

With his distinctive, rock-tinged tenor vocal and heart-thumping
electric bass, John, along with fellow New Grass Revival band mates Sam Bush,
Courtney Johnson, and Curtis Burch, and later Bela Fleck and Pat Flynn,
introduced a new generation of music fans to an explosive, experimental and
ultimately, eponymous brand of bluegrass. The “newgrass” sound spawned popular
jam bands such as Leftover Salmon and Yonder Mountain String Band in addition
to shaping the sensibilities of country megastars Garth Brooks, the Dixie
Chicks, the Zac Brown Band, and Darius Rucker.

After New Grass Revival disbanded in 1990, John went on to record
a series of critically acclaimed solo albums including Soul’d Out (Sugar
Hill, 1986), the self-titled John Cowan (Sugar Hill, 2000), Always
Take Me Back (Sugar Hill, 2002), New Tattoo (Pinecastle, 2006), 8,745
Feet, Live at Telluride (2005, re-released by E-1 Entertainment, 2009), Comfort
& Joy (E-1 Entertainment, 2009), The Massenburg Sessions (E-1
Entertainment, 2010) and Sixty (Compass, 2014). For the past 10 years,
John has been a touring member of The Doobie Brothers. John Cowan will
perform Friday. 

Tickets for next year’s festival are on sale now and may be
purchased at 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 until February 16, 2020; Early Bird Tier 2
tickets from February 17 to April 22. The remaining tickets will be sold at the
gate during the festival.

MerleFest would also like to remind potential participants that
the entry period for 2020’s Chris Austin
Songwriting Contest is still open. Now
in its 28th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have
their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry
professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson,
Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Aspiring songwriters may
submit entries to the contest using the online entry form at or by mailing
entries to MerleFest/CASC, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697. Entries
received during January will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must
be written in English and no instrumental entries will be accepted. The
deadline to enter is February 1, 2020. 

About MerleFest: 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 is the primary fundraiser
for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects, and other
educational needs.

About Window World®: Window World®, headquartered in North
Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior
remodeling company, with more than 200 locally-owned franchises
nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding,
doors and other exterior products, with over 17 million windows sold to date.
Window World is an ENERGY STAR® partner and its windows, vinyl siding and
Therma-Tru doors have all earned the Good Housekeeping Seal. In 2019, Window
World was ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Window and Patio Door
Retailers, 5 out of 7 Years” by J.D. Power. Through its charitable foundation, Window World Cares®, Window World and
its franchisees provide funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®,
which honored the company with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since
its inception in 2008, the foundation has raised over $10.75 million for St.
Jude. Window World also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a nonprofit
organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and
their families. As a member of that network, Window World’s corporate jet has
provided transportation for over 115 missions, transporting 140 veterans and
logging over 420 hours in the air. For more information, visit or call 1-800
NEXTWINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and
more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter. Window World received
the highest score among Retailers in the J.D. Power 2019 Window & Patio
Door Satisfaction Study of customers’ satisfaction with their windows and/or
patio doors purchase. Visit for more information. 

Article Courtesy of Country Music News Blog

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