2021 Blue Ox Music Festival Announces the Daily Artist Lineup.

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Feb 052021
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Shakey Graves, Sam Bush Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Charlie Parr, Molly Tuttle, Lissie, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades plus 2 nights of Pert Near Sandstone, are among the artists to perform at the 7th annual Blue Ox Music Festival.
The 2021 Blue Ox Music Festival will take place on August 19-21, 2021 at The Pines Music Park – formally known as Whispering Pines Campgrounds.
Tickets are on-sale now at BlueOxMusicFestival.com
3-day and 2-day tickets on-sale! 

You can purchase your order in-full or split it into 4 payments using EZ Pay.

*One day admissions will only become available on a later date based on event capacity.

*All ages welcome. Children 13 and under are free with paid admission.

Blue Ox Music Festival welcomes back the annual summer pilgrimage of Bluegrass, Americana, and Roots artists, and their devoted music festival fans; returning to the tall pines and hardwoods of northern Wisconsin. Moving into a new year Whispering Pines Campground has been re-branded as The Pines Music Park, reflecting a re-newed focus as a music venue that will host a variety of concerts throughout the summer. With the same team in place, artists and
attendees can expect the same level of passionate commitment to the music and camping experience that has earned loyalty and a reputation for quality over the past seven years.

This year, Blue Ox honors a fine lineup of performances by heavy hitters – Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Shakey Graves, Sam Bush Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Charlie Parr, Molly Tuttle, Lissie, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Charley Crockett, The Lil Smokies, Kitchen Dwellers, Henhouse Prowlers with Tony Trischka, Lillie Mae, Them Coulee Boys, Sunny War, Julian Davis & The Situation, Nora Brown, Jon Stickley Trio, Arkansauce, Armchair Boogie, Kind Country, One Way Traffic, Short Round String Band, Feed The Dog, Intuitive Compass, Barbaro, and The High 48s.

With Pert Near Sandstone hosting the Blue Ox Music Festival for the seventh year, in addition to performing for two nights.

The return of the full Blue Ox Music Festival in 2021 will be one of historical celebration after a year of uncertainity and waiting, which has all but shuttered the live music industry. Artists, management, crews and venues alike, have all been affected by the COVID pandemic. Yet resilience, creativity and hope, have held the torch high as we discovered ways to stay united through live streaming performance concerts, and an abundance of exciting new music and collaboration.

Since its premiere in the summer of 2015, Blue Ox Music Festival has consistently brought together a lineup of top level regional and national acts that have set the stage and standard of artists for the true music festival fan’s experience for years to come. With the vision of an intimate music and camping experience focused on Bluegrass, Americana Roots genres – the 3-day festival creates a unique experience with an impressive lineup of notable artists, in a familial and beautiful outdoor venue setting.

New this year, in addition to the traditional Blue Ox late night sets – The Backwoods Stage will feature regional and emerging artists from 11:30AM to 6:30PM on Friday, August 20 and Saturday, August 21. Performances for the 2021 Blue Ox Music Festival Backwoods Stage include – Miles Over Mountains, Good Morning Bedlam, The Thirsty River, Dig Deep, Never Come Down, Pit Wagon, Katey Bellville, Gabe Barnett, and Doug Otto and The Getaways.

This past year in 2020, Blue Ox Music Festival, and the Campout in the Pines summer series were dedicated to step forward bringing the artists and music fans unique experiences to watch live performance safely. The socially conscious solidarity of the shows and live streams kept many loyal fans sane and connected to each other.

The music lives on in the loyal hearts of festival fans, and Blue Ox feels optimistic that it will be safe to come together with our festival family again in August; always following safety and health guidelines that are approved by the regional health authorities and well organized for all attendees of the festival.

The 2021 Blue Ox Music Festival will be a limited capacity event, and due to rollovers from 2020, tickets are currently 50% sold out. Fans are encouraged to buy their tickets soon in order to take advantage of the best prices available to date. Please join Blue Ox Music Festival on August 19, 20, 21, 2021 – for three days of phenomenal music and camping in a family friendly, intimate atmosphere.

Fans can stay tuned for updates about the 2021 Blue Ox Music Festival and The Pines Music Park, by subscribing to the newsletters at www.blueoxmusicfestival.com and www.pinesmusicpark.com.

Blue Ox and The Pines Music Park looks forward to the new year of music and live performance!

As artists and ambassadors for the festival – members of Pert Near Sandstone, Nate Sipe and Justin Bruhn, produce and host the popular, Road to Blue Ox Podcast. In each episode, Bruhn and Sipe interview performing artists on the lineup, as well as highlighting key information and updates about the festival.

Nate and Justin are currently in the studio working on the 2021 season of the Road to Blue Ox Podcast. The new episodes will include music premieres and exclusive interviews, news about the Blue Ox Music Festival, and some other surprises along the way. Tune in for new Road to Blue Ox Podcast episodes on Apple iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher and Pocket Casts. Follow along on Spotify and be notified as soon as a new episode is released. Stay tuned for upcoming monthly installments of the Road to Blue Ox Podcast, featuring Bluegrass, Americana, and Roots, legends as well as new artists on the scene.


Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno Announce New Album

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Feb 052021

Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno Announce New Album

Coming March 12, 2021 on Free Dirt Records

Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno’s self-titled record is old-soul roots music to its core. Though both just out of college, the duo’s musical talents extend far beyond their years. Produced by GRAMMY-winning Cajun roots heavyweight Joel Savoy at his Louisiana studio, Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno (coming March 12, 2021 on Free Dirt Records) is not some soulless collection of songs imitating previous masters of American music. Rather, the pair has responded to one of the darkest eras in American history with an album of stunning breadth and originality. With mass protests, fires raging near their current home in the Pacific Northwest, and no prospect of touring anytime soon, it’s an aptly biting, bittersweet group of songs for an uncertain time. Yet, Leva and Calcagno balance this with a sense of optimism—a notion that at our most vulnerable we might emerge better humans because of it all, perhaps beginning with our own intimate relationships. The eleven tracks elegantly reprise the deep threads of old-time and classic country present throughout Leva’s debut album—she did grow up in rural Appalachia outside Lexington, Virginia, the daughter of celebrated old-time musicians, after all. However, the pair fluidly meld this traditional backbone with fresh iconic melodies, expanded production, and the tightly wound vocal harmonies of indie folk. It’s an artistic statement made from this moment but built to last.

I’m not going to lie folks, DO NOT be amazed if this one does not end up on my TOP 50 at the end of the year here. WOW. This album touches on so many different types of arrangements, that I’m still not close to being done to listening to this one yet folks.

It has warm fiddle tones and equally warm and soft steel guitar laced songs filled with their signature harmony, that make their music stand out above everyone else. I’ll be updating this article very soon.

Track Listing:

  1. Will You
  2. Leaving On Our Minds
  3. Hallowed Hearts
  4. On The Line
  5. Red hen
  6. Biding All My Time
  7. Love And Chains
  8. On Account Of You
  9. My Teardrops Say
  10. You Don’t See Me
  11. Good And Gone



Paige King Johnson Wins In Three Categories At The Carolina Country Music Awards

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Feb 052021

2021 is going to bring us a TON of great music from all areas and genres. One of the more mainstream acts that is on my radar is Miss Paige King Johnson. She only has a few singles out now, but I’m sure her full length album is soon coming.

Upon hearing her songs you can easily ascertain that she has a hunger for a more traditional sound here, and took a refreshing direction in a sea of crap on the radio. Much like gals like Miss Ashley McBryde, she brings a HUGE traditional flavor to the mainstream audiences.

We’re going to be watching for her to release more music, and be on that as soonas we hear from her people.

Awarded 2020 Female Vocalist of the Year, Country Emerging New Artist and Country Tour of the Year
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville-based singer/songwriter Paige King Johnson wins big at the 2020 Carolina Country Music Awards, being named Female Vocalist of the Year, Country Emerging New Artist and Country Tour of the Year with Faith Bardill. Clearly a force to be reckoned with, Johnson continues to deliver music to fans worthy of praises. Continuing the success of her current single “Just Like You,” with accompanying music video, co-directed by Pam Tillis and producer Josh Sikkema and debuted on CMT, Johnson has been climbing the Music Row chart and added to country radio across the United States. “Just Like You” was Johnson’s first release with the distinguished PCG Artist Development Records based out of Nashville, Tennessee, and is available to download or stream on all digital platforms.

Watch the music video on YouTube.

“I’ve been part of the Carolina Country Music Association for 3 years, and to be able to say that I am now among all the other insanely talented musicians who have received a Carolina Country Music Award is so special,” says Johnson. “I didn’t start playing music to get awards like these, but it’s always such an honor. I write and play music every day hoping that it can mean something to just one person & these awards are just sweet reminders that what I’m doing is making a difference.”

Aside from working hard to deliver the “Just Like You” music video to fans, Johnson released a Christmas cover of “Santa Train”, which was premiered acoustically by Country Rebel. With a rare work ethic and a humble heart, there is no project too big for Johnson to tackle! Stream the “Just Like You” music video on YouTube and follow Johnson on her social channels linked below to keep up with future projects and exciting announcements.

About Paige King Johnson:
Born in a quiet North Carolina town just 22 miles south of Raleigh, as a young 9-year-old girl, Paige King Johnson spent her summers under the crepe myrtles imitating the styles of Loretta, Patsy, Waylon, and Merle. Having a grandpa as her biggest fan also meant receiving the gift of her first guitar – a baby Taylor – and enrolling in lessons. After her grandpa passed, the bright-eyed dreamer carried on his memory by taking her newfound discovery to local fairs, festivals, and any other stage she was allowed to stand on. As she grew older, Johnson added “opening act” to her resume, supporting chart-topping artists like Scotty McCreery, Neal McCoy, Luke Pell, and James Otto. And with high school graduation came the realization that this was more than a hobby. The Angier native traded in horse pastures and back roads for the bright lights of Music City in 2015. Upon starting school at Belmont University for Music Business, Johnson honed in on the magic that had heavily influenced her as a child: the art of storytelling through songwriting.

The famous Bluebird Café was just one of many writers’ circuits around Nashville that provided a safe space for Johnson to meet other writers, try out new tunes, and get feedback. In return, Johnson began captivating audiences with her down-home stage presence, cut straight to the bone stories and raw country voice, reminiscent of the classic country era. In the last four years, Johnson has traveled back and forth between Nashville and the Carolinas, playing shows like the North Carolina State Fair and running her dinner theater, Country on the Outskirts of Town, that she founded in high school. Johnson’s quarterly show provides an atmosphere for locals to enjoy Southern cooking, fellowship with friends, and the sounds of classic and current country music with some gospel thrown in. A three-time Carolina Music Awards Nominee for Best Country Female Artist, Johnson’s devoted homegrown fan base continues to expand farther than just her backyard.

Albums I Missed In 2020: William Elliott Whitmore.

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Feb 052021

William Elliott Whitmore I’m With You

The foot-stompin’ Iowa singer/songwriter/banjoist/guitarist/folk hero/punk rock preacher’s brilliant new album I’m With You, his first collection of original material in five years, is out now on digital, CD, and vinyl LP (including limited edition marbled grass green). Get it HERE.

I have been an avid fan of this man’s music since the 2009 “Animals In The Dark” album, and it is one of the 50 albums that culminated my LOVE and PASSION for Roots Music, (or whatever you call underground music ). As I was going through my divorce, I found solace in music that came in many forms.

I found it mostly on MySpace and Bandcamp. I finally got to see him at Muddy Roots one year, and was just mesmerized by his emotions up there. I could not take my eyes off his movements, as he sat there and plugged away at his songs.

One of the songs that spoke to me the most here was “Solar Flare” WOW. At my age of 52 I have lost all of my childhood friends to death. We partied pretty hard, and I lost one to suicide, and three to car accidents. Funerals are hard on us all, and this song makes you stop and appreciate EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of life. You aren’t guaranteed one more second on Earth, and I’m VERY satisfied with my life here.

The songs on this album were masterfully crafted by a man I consider to be a Legend of Roots Music. The ONLY complaint I have is the album is only 9 songs long , and a short 33 minutes long. I waited 2 years for new music from him, and although this album was well worth my wait..I crave more.

Some of the song subjects were all over the grid, and didn’t exactly compliment one another, but THAT IS NOT ALWAYS BAD. Especially with this man and his music. “Black Iowa Dirt” was a good song, and was the closing song on the album.



Mary Sarah’s Bridges Gets A Reissue.

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Feb 052021
Mary Sarah - 'Bridges'
Album Features Duets With Legends On Their Iconic Hits, Including
Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Tanya Tucker, Vince Gill, Lynn Anderson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Neil Sedaka, Big & Rich and Freddy Powers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mary Sarah’s ‘Bridges‘ will be reissued by Time Life on November 20, a powerful reminder that great country music and great country artists always stand the test of time, bringing joy to the generations who grew up with them and to those who have just discovered them for the very first time. Recorded 10 years ago when Mary Sarah was just 15, the album features duets with beloved country music legends including Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Tanya Tucker, Vince Gill, Lynn Anderson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Neil Sedaka, Big & Rich, and Freddy Powers.

“Music brings people together, and the concept of this album was to do exactly that by building a bridge across the generation gap,” Mary Sarah explains. “These incredible artists have paved the path for artists like myself. People who are my age and younger might recognize some of the songs but don’t really know the person or the journey behind them. I wanted to show younger generations how these icons opened doors for so many artists.”

Mary Sarah is uniquely positioned to do this, with help from a dedicated fan base amassed during her performances as a contestant on ‘The Voice’ and her performances with the wildly popular Kidz Bop music series. Recorded when she was just 15 years old, the album literally and figuratively reflects the multi-generational appeal of the songs.

“It’s crazy now to look back and think that I made the record when I was 15 years old, in the studio with Dolly and everyone,” she reflects. “At that time, in all honesty, I don’t think I understood the magnitude of what was happening but now being 25 years old and looking back, I marvel at how we did this and am humbled by how was I the lucky one to be the artist to help build the bridge.”

Mary Sarah and Friends: BRIDGES Track Listing:
1. Jolene with Dolly Parton
2. Crazy with Willie Nelson
3. Heartaches by the Number with Ray Price
4. The Fightin’ Side of Me with Merle Haggard
5. Texas (When I Die) with Tanya Tucker
6. Go Rest High on That Mountain with Vince Gill
7. Rose Garden with Lynne Anderson
8. Dream On with The Oak Ridge Boys
9. What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life with Ronnie Milsap
10. Where the Boys Are with Neil Sedaka
11. My Great Escape with Big & Rich
12. All I Want to Do Is Sing My Song with Freddy Powers
13. I’m Sorry

This album is a very solid project I have always really liked, the songs were all picked very well. I didn’t really care for the music arrangement on the song “Crazy”, but vocally I thought it was good.

I was really happy when they announced they were going to re issue this album that brings back so many wonderful stars we have now lost like Mr. Ray Price and Mr. Freddy Powers. Now, that is a name that is VASTLY overlooked by SO MANY. But without people like Mr. Freddy Powers, Country Music wouldn’t have some of the classics from Mr. Merle Haggard and more.

I have always been an ardent student of many of the names and places I find in my research of the genre. Mr. Freddy Powers got together with Mr. Paul Buskirk, whom together both were partially responsible for launching Mr. Willie Nelson’s signature sound and tones on iconic albums like “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”.

More importantly though, he was responsible for contributing to the 5 decade catalog of Mr. Merle Haggard. The sales from that album spawned the idea for Mr. Merle to call him to work on songs for the album “It’s All In The Game” and more.