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Molly Tuttle, Dewey & Leslie Brown and the Carolina Gentlemen to perform at N.C. Folk Festival
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Molly Tuttle, Dewey & Leslie Brown and the Carolina Gentlemen to perform at N.C. Folk Festival

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GREENSBORO — Bluegrass/Americana singer, guitarist and banjo player Molly Tuttle will be among those performing at the N.C. Folk Festival from Sept. 10 through 12 in center city.

Festival organizers announced Tuttle and four other performers on Thursday for the free annual multicultural outdoor event.

They will play bluegrass, Americana, New Orleans funk and hip-hop, western swing and East African retro-pop.

The festival expects to announce 20 to 30 more performers over the next couple of weeks, said Carolyn Bucknall, its marketing and communications associate.

The award-winning Tuttle will be one of the headliners, and one of the most well-known performers at this year's festival, Bucknall said. 

She will come from Nashville to replace the previously-announced Del McCoury Band, who canceled because of a scheduling conflict, festival organizers said.

They are working to reschedule the Del McCoury Band for the 2022 lineup.

Others in the first round of performers announced are Shamarr Allen, the Hot Club of Cowtown, Alsarah & The Nubatones, and Dewey & Leslie Brown and the Carolina Gentlemen.

The Browns are bluegrass performers from Burlington. They own The Liberty Showcase Theater, a performing arts venue that brings in country acts. 

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the festival to go virtual.

"We are excited to welcome these talented artists to Greensboro to mark the NC Folk Festival’s return to a live, in-person celebration of folk and global roots music,” Amy Grossmann, festival president and chief executive officer, said in the announcement.

The N.C. Folk Festival spun out of the National Folk Festival’s three-year residency in the city from 2015 to 2017.

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Co-produced with city government, it typically fills downtown streets with live music on multiple stages representing an array of cultural traditions, food, arts and crafts on the weekend after Labor Day. 

Here's a look at the acts announced Thursday (and find out more at 

● Molly Tuttle (bluegrass/Americana). Since moving to Nashville in 2015, this native Californian won “Instrumentalist of the Year” at the 2018 Americana Music Awards.

She won Folk Alliance International’s honor for Song of the Year for “You Didn’t Call My Name,” and took home consecutive trophies for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year, the first woman in the history of the IBMA to win that honor.

● Dewey & Leslie Brown and the Carolina Gentlemen (N.C. bluegrass). The Burlington couple brings together the sounds of the late bluegrass singers Ralph Stanley mixed with Hazel Dickens.

Dewey Brown played fiddle as a Clinch Mountain Boy for Stanley for 11 years, until Stanley died in 2016. Leslie Brown's upbringing in the Appalachian Mountains of Vansant, Va., has played a significant role in her songwriting, dancing and singing.

They run two festivals, the bluegrass gathering "Deweyfest" and "Gospelfest" in Burlington. They are releasing a new CD called "Jealousy" with their band, The Carolina Gentlemen. 

● Shamarr Allen (New Orleans funk and hip hop). Hailing from the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, Allen has influences in jazz, hip-hop, rock, funk rhythms, blues and country. He is the lead vocalist and trumpeter of his band “Shamarr Allen & The Underdawgs.” Allen has collaborated with renowned artists such as Willie Nelson, Patti LaBelle, Galactic, Harry Connick Jr. and Lenny Kravitz. Allen also is a music composer, writer and producer. 

The presentation of Allen is funded, in part, by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council.

● Hot Club of Cowtown (Western swing). Started in the late 1990s, the Austin, Texas, band remains “conscious always that above all else, the music is for dancing and an old-fashioned good time,” The New York Times said.

American Songwriter observed that “the excellent three players of this band could be doing anything but have chosen to honor the greats of jazz and swing with their sound.”

● Alsarah & The Nubatones ( East-African retro-pop). Alsarah is a singer, songwriter and bandleader born in Khartoum, Sudan, who now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Alsarah & the Nubatones were born out of dinner conversations between Alsarah and Rami El-Aasser about Nubian "songs of return," modern migration patterns and the cultural exchanges between Sudan and Egypt. The group also includes Armenian-American oud player, Haig Manoukian and bass player Mawuena Kodjovi. 

Contact Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane at 336-373-5204 and follow @dawndkaneNR on Twitter.


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