A bit of Merlefest comes to Black Mountain


So you weren’t able to go to Merlefest this year? Fear not - a bit of Merlefest is coming to you.

On Sunday, May 1, White Horse Black Mountain 1 will host three bands featured during the storied Wilksboro festival - Canadian bluegrass quartet the Slocan Ramblers, Michigan Americana band Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys and Asheville’s own Tellico.

Hearing the Slocan Ramblers’ Southern-drenched bluegrass, you’d never guess they hail from Toronto’s hip West End. The Ramblers have made bluegrass traditions their own, but like many young bands in the fast-evolving bluegrass world they have combined respect for roots with innovation. Their sound features intricate arrangements and crystal-clear picking that sounds fresh on time-tested standards and original songs. The Ramblers developed their approach in response to demanding Toronto audiences.

“They dig a lot of energy in their music, a rowdy bar vibe. They’re hard to win over,” mandolinist Adrian Gross said.

Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys got their name at a Michigan bluegrass festival from a veteran player who remarked “It’s good to see you flatbellys out here pickin’ with us greybeards.” The members found each other while jamming at open mic and festivals. Now playing major festivals in the U.S. and abroad, they were named by National Public Radio as one of the 12 best live appearances of the 2015 Mountain Stage broadcast season.

Singer/guitarist Lindsay Lou is a vocalist who can handle any style that comes her way. The Flatbelly boys (Joshua Rilko, P.J. George and Mark Lavengood), all multi-instrumentalists, can match her song for song and tune for tune. They’ve been touring behind their latest album, “Iona.”

The musicians in the May 1 lineup aren’t all from above the Mason-Dixon line. Asheville-based Tellico describes its sound as “Appalachiacana.” The band writes songs that have deep roots in the region but address modern themes. Tellico is built around the singing and songwriting of Anya Hinkle and Stig Stiglets (both formerly of Dehlia Low).

Merlefest to you

Who: Slocan Ramblers, Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, Tellico

When: 7 p.m. May 1

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $12 advance, $15 door