The "New Queen of Bluegrass"? She and her band are certainly one of the most awarded bands in bluegrass, if not THE most. Just this past week, she picked up the coveted Entertainer of the Year Award from SPBGMA, and was inducted into their Preservation Hall of Greats, and The Rage won Instrumental Group of the Year. Also among the best in Country and in Gospel, she has just released a new album, and is in the midst of a tour that basically won't end until December.
Though they live in Marshall, NC, Dana & Susan Robinson probably spend more time in Scotland, Vermont, California, and elsewhere, sharing their music like the modern day folk troubadours that they are. "New songs of rural America and old-time mountain music" is how they describe what they do. Few folks are bigger fans of the late Pete Seeger; Dana wrote a wonderful review of Seeger's 90th birthday bash in 2009 here. They play Waynesville on Friday and Asheville on Sunday.
Joe Pug is one of those DIY, courageous without-a-net artists that we love: He dropped out of college, and quit his job as a carpenter, to pursue his music passion full-time. This included recording and printing up his first CD's and giving them away to anyone who wanted to share his music with their friends. "People requested 2 copies, 5 copies, 10 copies, 20 copies. We'd send them all.
She wowed us -- as well as NPR, Rolling Stone, Afropunk, and others -- last year with her terrific release Pushin' Against a Stone. "You Can't Be Told" and "Workin' Woman Blues" in particular got heavy airplay here. If you can't picture her sound yet, this Tennessee native fits somewhere between Dolly Parton and Billie Holiday, with a powerful electrified indie-blues groove. Tune in for Valerie June with Joe Kendrick this Tuesday.
With a powerful voice and a style that definitely channels that great Stax sound ("The Staples Singers meets AC/DC"?), Nikki Hill gets your attention, keeps it. Originally from Durham, NC, she now calls St. Louis home, but returns to her home state for a Studio B visit with her band, followed by a Friday night show in Charlotte and a Saturday night headlining slot at Tryon's "Chase Away the Blues" fundraiser.