Carolina in the Fall audience at night

May 31, 2017

WILKESBORO, NC (June 1, 2017) Carolina in the Fall Music and Food Festival presented by Wilkes Communications, Inc. announces the addition of Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder and many other artists to its’ festival lineup. They will join Festival Host’s The Kruger Brothers, The Kontras Quartet, The Black Lillies, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, The Snyder Family Band, Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, Shadowgrass, Fireside Collective and Salt and Light, the Moore Family Band and many others for the 3rd Annual presentation of Carolina in the Fall in downtown Wilkesboro.

“With the addition of Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Carolina in the Fall is continuing to fulfill its’ mission of bringing the best of the music of the region to Wilkesboro. From gospel to bluegrass to roots music, Ricky will deliver his own special sound to the stages of Carolina in the Fall” says festival director Michelle Isom.

Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder

Fifteen-time GRAMMY® Award-winner Ricky Skaggs’ career is easily among the most significant in recent country music history. If Skaggs’ burgeoning trophy case full of awards wasn’t already enough evidence of that fact, consider that legendary guitarist Chet Atkins once credited Skaggs with “single-handedly saving country music.” His life’s path has taken him to various musical genres, from where it all began in bluegrass music, to striking out on new musical journeys, while still leaving his musical roots intact.

Born July 18, 1954 in Cordell, Kentucky, Skaggs showed signs of future stardom at an early age, playing mandolin on stage with bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe at 6 and appearing on TV with Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs at 7. He emerged as a professional bluegrass musician in 1971, when he and his friend Keith Whitley were invited to join the legendary Ralph Stanley’s band the Clinch Mountain Boys.

Skaggs then went on to record and perform with progressive bluegrass acts like the Country Gentlemen and J.D. Crowe & the New South, whose self-titled 1975 Rounder Records debut album was instantly recognized as a landmark bluegrass achievement. He then led Boone Creek, which also featured Dobro ace and fellow New South alumnus Jerry Douglas.

But Skaggs turned to the more mainstream country music genre in the late ‘70s when he joined Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band, replacing Rodney Crowell. He became a recording artist in his own right in 1981 when his Epic label debut album Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine topped the country charts and yielded a pair of #1 hits. Overall, his productive stay at Epic Records would result in a total of 12 #1 hits. Additionally, he garnered eight Country Music Association Awards--including the coveted Entertainer of the Year trophy in 1985.

Skaggs, of course, fit right in with young “new-traditionalist” ‘80s artists like Randy Travis, and helped rejuvenate the country music genre after the worn-out “Urban Cowboy” period. But, Skaggs put his own stamp on the country format by infusing his bluegrass and traditional country music roots into the contemporary Nashville sound. Skaggs’ 1997 album Bluegrass Rules!, released on his newly-formed Skaggs Family Records label, marked a triumphant return to bluegrass—which he’s solidified ever since with a series of GRAMMY® Award winning albums, recorded with his amazing bluegrass band, Kentucky Thunder (8-time winners of the IBMA ‘Instrumental Group of the Year’). Skaggs’ label has also served as a home for similar bluegrass and roots music-oriented artists including Cherryholmes and The Whites. Ricky struck his first chords on a mandolin over 50 years ago, and he continues to do his part to lead the recent roots revival in music. Clearly his passion for it puts him in the position to bring his lively, distinctively American form of music out of isolation and into the ears and hearts of audiences across the country and around the world. Ricky Skaggs is always forging ahead with cross-cultural, genre-bending musical ideas and inspirations.

Ricky counts the current configuration of Kentucky Thunder among the best group of musicians he has ever worked with. "This group of guys meets my approval every night," Ricky says. "Each and every one of the pickers in Kentucky Thunder totally amazes me in every show...and that, to me, outweighs any award we could ever win." The all-star lineup of Kentucky Thunder includes Paul Brewster (tenor vocals, rhythm guitar), Scott Mulvahill (bass, bass vocals), Russ Carson (banjo), Jake Workman (lead guitar), Mike Barnett (fiddle) and Dennis Parker (baritone vocals, guitar).

Additional Artists

In addition to Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Carolina in the Fall announces the addition of many other artists. The list includes Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, The Hunts, Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive, The Bankesters, Newberry and Verch, The Coteries, Wayne Henderson and Friends, The Trailblazers, Time Sawyer, The Arcadian Wild, Shay Martin Lovette, Rocky Point Band, Uncle Joe and the Shady Rest, The Non-Prophets, Bob and Roberta Kogut, Foothill Cloggers and the High Country Cloggers.

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

Having played over 2000 concerts in seven countries, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors bring a war chest full of songs that have been featured in some 50 TV shows including How I Met Your Mother, Parenthood, Criminal Minds, Nashville and many others.

Equal parts folksinger, roots-rocker, country crooner, and pop-hook provider, Holcomb blurs the lines between genres on his newest release. Souvenir is his band's most expansive album to date, dishing up everything from the West Coast country-rock of "California" to the front-porch folk of "Mama Sunshine, Daddy's Rain." The rootsy songs are more rustic than ever before, laced with harmonica, upright bass, and banjo, while the rockers are downright electrifying, from the searing guitar solo that carves a lightning-shaped streak through "Sometimes" to the emotionally-charged duet with Holcomb's wife, Ellie Holcomb, on "Black and Blue." It's a proper "band album", stacked with songwriting contributions from longtime members Rich Brinsfield and Nathan Dugger.

The Hunts

The Hunts are an indie-folk band from the southlands of Chesapeake, Virginia. These seven brothers and sisters have a passion for creating compelling music. They have collaborated one another’s gifts of writing, composing and musicianship to deliver just that. Stringed instruments, surrounded by enchanting harmonies and thrilling rhythms harken to an organic yet transcending sound. When not touring alone, The Hunts have opened for such bands as The Fray and OAR.

About Carolina in The Fall

The Third Annual Carolina in the Fall Music and Food Festival is held in the newly renovated Wilkesboro Historic Downtown District on September 22nd and 23rd. Gates will open for the festival each day at 10 A.M. with music beginning at noon on Friday and 11 A.M. on Saturday and will continue until 10 P.M. in the evening. Each evening of the festival, VIP ticket holders will be treated to the Carolina Jam™ at the Yadkin Valley Event Center at the Wilkesboro Holiday Inn Express. This once in a lifetime band jam experience is scheduled to begin each evening at 11:00.

Two day festival passes are $55.00 and two day VIP passes are $100.00. Single day passes are available for $30.00. Tickets are limited and are available online at Carolina in the Fall is a production of Heart of Folk, LLC and is presented by Wilkes Communications, Inc. and River Street Productions.

About Wilkes Communications and River Street Productions

Wilkes Communications is a local communications provider and co-op that has served the Wilkes County area for over 65 years. They provide top of the line communication and security services along with the latest in technological advancements. Wilkes Communications number one goal is to improve the lives of their members and the communities that they serve. As an extension of Wilkes Communications, RiverStreet Productions is a full-service video production studio that offers a wide range of services and has experience with multiple organizations throughout North Carolina. The RiverStreet Productions’ team is dedicated to bringing their client’s vision to life and delivering exactly what is desired. There is no project too big or too small. They encourage you to visit their websites for more information about the services that they can provide. and