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The Reunion: 2011

Mountain Roots Management is proud to bring another Smilefest Reunion to the musical family of Smilefest supporters past and present. The 2011 event promises to be something special!  Smilefest Reunion 2011 is scheduled to take place June 3-5, 2011 at Jomeokee Campground in Pinnacle, NC.

This private, invitation only event offers 2 stages, acoustic late night jams, VIP packages, RV and Vehicle Camping passes, and capped ticket sales at 1499 patrons. Smilefest Reunion 2011 promises to be a treat to all the Smile Folk that attend, guaranteeing an intimate experience between patrons, artists and festival.  Nestled below Pilot Mountain, the 100 acre plot has plenty of covered and open camping, rolling hills, scenic mountains and a near perfect amphitheatre which hosts the side-by-side stages.

Photo by John D Kurc



Smilefest is very excited to announce their 2nd and final round of Artist Additions to the Smilefest Reunion 2011. With so much amazing music rooted in the history of this event, a lot of hard work has gone into bringing the utmost in talent old and new.
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Smilefest is very excited to have added to our Sunday closing a special duo set from Jeb and Tara (of Donna and the Buffalo). Others performing over the weekend include: Railroad Earth, JJ Grey and Mofro, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Danny Barnes and more!
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Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear, of Donna the Buffalo, have crafted a feel-good, groove-oriented, danceable and often socially conscious music all began over twenty years ago with roots in old time fiddle music that has evolved into a soulful electric Americana mix infused with elements of cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country. As a band, Donna the Buffalo is known for touring the country while remaining fiercely independent as one of the industry’s most diverse roots-music bands and Encore states they have “earned a reputation as one of the most respected, eclectic and hardest-working acts today.”
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The dynamic songwriting tandem of Americana Roots vocalists Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins have penned over 150 songs in their collaboration with DTB and have many more in the making. Their set at Smilefest is a special duo set which is always enjoyable for their fans to hear their favorite DtB songs in stripped down arrangements.
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This May, Nevins is also releasing a 2nd solo album Wood and Stone which showcases her ever-evolving repertoire as she journeys both back to her own “roots” and head-long into new territory. The album was produced by Larry Campbell with guests including Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, Teresa Williams and more and will be put out through Sugar Hill Records. In 2008, Puryear released a solo album, Hopes and Dreams, through GrassRoots Festival Records. Donna the Buffalo’s 2008 release Silverlined, on Sugar Hill Records, rose to #8 on the Americana Music Chart and the full band is in studio this spring working on their next album with John Keane in Athens, GA.
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Other Smilefest Artist Additions include:
BIG DADDY BLUEGRASS BAND, RALPH RODDENBERRY (Late Night Pickin’ Set), BIG SOMETHING, BOBBY MILLER and the VIRGINIA DAREDEVILS (Late Night Pickin’ Set), DUK TAN, FROM A SEED, and MATT NICHOLS
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For the full Smilefest Reunion 2011 Artist Lineup, go to http://www.smilefest.com/all-artists

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Acoustic Syndicate


The Lincoln Theater ~ Raleigh, NC
Friday, November 26th, 2010
 

&

The Orange Peel ~ Asheville, NC
Saturday, November 27th, 2010


Acoustic Syndicate is:
Steve McMurry: Acoustic guitars, mandolin, vocals.
Bryon McMurry: Banjos, electric guitar, vocals.
Fitz McMurry: Drums, vocals.
Jay Sanders: Acoustic upright bass, electric bass.
Billy Cardine: Acoustic and electric dobros.
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Acoustic Syndicate was born in December, 1977 when Joe and Fitzhugh McMurry, a couple of brothers from Cleveland County, NC got together and decided to get their kids bluegrass instruments for Christmas that year. The kids were brothers Fitz Jr. and Bryon McMurry, and their cousin Steve McMurry. Fitzie, as he was known back then, got a Gibson Hummingbird guitar. Bryon got an Eagle banjo and Steve got a fiddle from Sears & Roebuck. All were excited and happy. The trio was nicknamed the “The Maple Creek Three” by Fitzhugh Sr. They learned a few songs, mostly church songs from the Methodist hymnal, and threw in a couple of country and bluegrass numbers and before long they were playing whenever they could…mostly serving at the pleasure of the parents at family gatherings and church functions. Joe and Fitzhugh, taking great delight in the results of their scheme, had unwittingly laid the foundation of what was to become Acoustic Syndicate. The boys spent the remainder of their childhood and adolescence singing, playing, living and working together on the family farm in Cleveland County.

After high school the trio drifted on separate paths for a while…moving off to college, taking jobs, getting married and so on. But the boys would always make time to get together and go see some good, live music…anything from bluegrass to punk rock. One could find them at a reggae festival on Lake Norman as easily as you could see them at the Milestone in Charlotte to see the Bad Brains, or in DC at a Grateful Dead show. In 1992 the three landed back in Cleveland County, quite by coincidence, and started playing again. In 1993 the trio added Doug Rogers to the group on upright bass. The band played their first gig as The Mint Jubilee Blues at the suggestion of a friend. After some debate on the topic, the band decided on “Acoustic Syndicate” over dinner at the old El Cancun Mexican restaurant in Shelby, NC in October of that year. Bryon actually came up with the name.

Photo by Bright Life Photography

The Band started out pretty much as any other, playing at parties, bars and alike. In 1994 the band caught the attention of Steve Metcalf of the world famous Green Acres Music Hall, in Bostic, NC. He featured them at “The Acres” on a couple of big bills like David Grisman and Bela Fleck. In 1997, the Syndicate added Nashville bassist, Jay Sanders, formerly of the Snake Oil Medicine Show to their line up to complete the Syndicate core. The rest is a matter of record. From there, with the help and connections of Steve Metcalf and the booking of Hugh Southard at Blue Mountain Artists, the band went on to tour the country extensively for the next eight years, completing six recording projects, two of them for Sugar Hill Records.

In 2001 they added long time friend and collaborator, Jeremy Saunders on saxophones. With their distinct brand of folk rock, bluegrass and reggae, coupled with their romper room, ultra high-energy, live performances they went on to be regulars at the biggest music festivals in the country, playing Bonnaroo, Farm Aid, High Sierra Music Festival, Telluride Music Festival, Merle Fest, Magnolia Fest and many more. The band played most of the A list rooms in the country and continued to tour and record until 2005.

The collapse of the record industry along with growing family needs at home forced the band to either commit to a long term tour schedule, or stop playing. The band decided to call it quits at Smilefest in May of 2005. The decision to disband would not stand. After only a two year break, the people called for the music to continue, and at the frequent and steadfast urging of Blue Mountain Artists, the Syndicate decided to play again.
From the very beginning the band resolved to play honest, good music with emphasis on musicianship and vocal harmonies. The mission was to provide good music to the masses as an alternative to the cookie cutter, self-centered industry standards of the day. Their body of original material always conveyed a positive message of coexistence, peace, conservation, sustainability and happiness. They opted to leave the sappy love songs to those who take no exception to wasting the precious time and minds of the body politic.

Acoustic Syndicate plays on with its message of peace, earth, unity and family. The Syndicate will enter the studio this winter to begin work on their 7th recording. They can be found out and about in the South East touring with their new music and their newest addition to the group, dobro player Billy Cardine.

Biography: Lyle Cordova.

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I am super excited about the upcoming Smilefest Reunion in Pinnacle, NC. Not only is one of my all-time favorite festivals getting ressurected this spring, my favorite bands are playing, and all my friends will be there; but it is also my birthday weekend!

Come on out and help me celebrate!!!


Here is a message from the Smilefest Staff:

“We are extremely excited to be announce the return of one of our favorite NC festivals, Smilefest 2010! After taking a 3 year hiatus, one of the best  festivals in the southeast is back…with a twist. Smilefest is a PRIVATE, INVITATION ONLY event this year. ALL TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE!

Because you are friends with Erin and Dreamspider Publicity, we would like to extend a special invitation to you to join us at Smilefest 2010. Come and help celebrate Erin’s birthday weekend. If you purchase your tickets before 4/23/10 you will be entered to win a special VIP package which will include a meet and greet, autograph session with Michael Franti.

When: May 21-23, 2010

Where: Jomeokee Campground in Pinnacle NC

Event Website: www.smilefest.com

How to get tickets: Go to the website and click on ticket link. Password to purchase ticket is “vassar”. OR send an email to smileagain4@gmail.com and request an invitation to Smilefest. Be sure to mention that you were invited by us.

Confirmed Artists: Michael Franti and Spearhead, Keller Williams and The Keels,  Acoustic Syndicate, Pimps of Joytime, Cornmeal, MaGraw Gap, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Shane Pruitt and many more. Check the website for a list of all artists.

Hope to see you all at Smilefest in May!

A great video from the vault: Acoustic Syndicate from Smilefest 2004:

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Acoustic Syndicate, one of “North Carolina’s best kept secrets” is returning this holiday season for their very special traditional after Thanksgiving show at the Orange Peel on Saturday November 28th.

ASyndicateByBrightLifePhotography

Photo By Bright Life Photography

Known for its high-energy, positive sound, Acoustic Syndicate delivers a genre-defying performance, masterfully blending its eclectic influences with trademark finesse that only 17 years of cohesive teamwork can bring.

Acoustic Syndicate is the product of Cleveland County’s McMurry clan. Guitarist Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry is joined by his cousins, Bryon McMurry on banjo and Fitz McMurry on drums. The three McMurrys also bring a trademark vocal trio that only a lifetime of singing together can deliver.

Joining the McMurrys in 1998 on bass, Jay Sanders has become part of the family. A long time resident of Asheville, NC, his seamless blending of musical genres and driving style brought a completion to the band’s sound that continues to characterize and define. When not with Acoustic Syndicate, Jay can now be seen playing with Donna The Buffalo or his own group, The E.Normus Trio.

Formed in 1992, Acoustic Syndicate has had a long and storied career. They spent well over a dozen years on the road, playing at the original Bonnaroo, MerleFest, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Memphis in May and many many other clubs, festivals and events.

The band had the distinct honor of being invited to perform as a part of FarmAid in 2001, a significant occasion in respect to their family’s agrarian history. The McMurry family are farmers, and continue to cultivate the same land their family has for generations.

In 2005, the band decided to hang up the towel for a little while. They put their touring career on hold with a legendary five hour performance at SmileFest. In a recent interview with Frank Ruggiero from the Mountain Times in Boone, NC, Steve McMurry said “With the music industry in dire straits, the band would have had to commit to another five years of heavy touring to sustain itself. None of us really could see being gone from our families and people for that long a period of time… We had a great run of it, and thought we’d just call it quits and be regular people for a while.”

But the band’s audience felt otherwise. “People wouldn’t let us quit playing,” McMurry said. “They’d keep calling and calling, so after a couple years we decided we’d get together and see if we still knew how to play.” The results speak for themselves, and McMurry said the band is now performing without the pressures touring so often brings, and rather playing for the fun of it.

Final Song from the legendary SmileFest “last show”:

In 2009, Acoustic Syndicate was honored by being voted the 6th top artist of the last 20 years by the listeners of Western North Carolina’s WNCW radio station.

Their discography includes six official releases including two for Sugar Hill Records. Their 2004 effort “Terra Firma” was voted the number one album of the year by the listeners of WNCW, and 2005’s “Long Way Round” placed number seven. But it is not going to end there. Acoustic Syndicate plans on cutting a new record. The band will visit the studio this winter to craft an album of all-new material.

When Ruggiero asked about the music of Acoustic Syndicate, Steve McMurry replied “It’s high energy with a definite rock ’n’ roll vibe, but acoustic.”

“I don’t like getting pigeonholed, because we do so many things – bluegrass, soul, funk – whatever feels good,” McMurry said. “And the music we write is not typical of what you hear on the radio, either. We try to stay away from that mainstream cookie-cutter variety, and, honestly, I think people appreciate us doing that. I think there needs to be an alternative.”

Acoustic Syndicate’s all about making sure it’s an honest alternative, a sound that’s 100 percent its own, but steeped in a rich musical history each band member appreciates. McMurry said the band’s influences span the musical gamut, including the Grateful Dead, Little Feat, The Police, The Who, Peter Gabriel, Steely Dan, John Hartford and Bill Frisell.

“I know all this stuff seems weird to be lumping in on top of a bluegrass ensemble, but it works – this is the stuff we grew up listening to,” he said. “Some of the class rock ’n’ roll is there, but also the more traditional music. We grew up singing in a church, and mountain music, ballads that our parents and grandparents taught us … that comes out in there, especially with the harmonies we put together. It’s a veritable melting pot of different influences.”

McMurry’s quick to assert, though, that the music’s never been about the band, but rather for the audience.

“The material we’ve written has consistently had a positive message to it, and very little of it is centered toward the individual,” he said. “We try to send a good message in a very joyful manner, a very pleasant, uplifting manner. People recognize that, and I think that’s why they like it. It’s not about any one of us in the group; it’s about the relationship in the group and the people who listen to our music, and we’re just going to try to keep that conversation going.”

“The dynamics come from 12 years of traveling on the road together,” McMurry said. “We’ve been playing together long enough now to pretty much know what everyone else is doing. It’s more of a reflex action now than anything else. We love to get together and play together, so we’ve been very fortunate in that regard.”

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SHOW DETAILS:

Saturday November 28th
The Orange Peel

Ages 18+,
Doors 8pm, show 9pm
$15 adv/ $17 d.o.s
828-225-5851
101 Biltmore Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
http://www.theorangepeel.net

www.acousticsyndicate.com

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“Too bad most contemporary pop music doesn’t have the organic elegance of Acoustic Syndicate.” -Vintage Guitar

“North Carolina’s best kept secret” -Star Maker Machine

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