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Travelin' Band 

The Avetts rock the Big Apple and more local music news

The Avett Brothers have a ton of cool things going on these days. Just recently, while touring New York City, John Popper of Blues Traveler joined the band on stage. Popper played harmonica with them for a couple of songs. Earlier this month the Avetts traveled to Louisville, KY, to perform at the International Bluegrass Musicians Association Fan Fest. On Saturday, November 22, they'll be back in town for a show at Neighborhood Theatre. The show will be recorded for a live CD, which will probably be released in late 2004. Their latest record, A Carolina Jubilee has also received national reviews in Harp and Paste. The Avetts have also been selected to play MerleFest 2004 (scheduled for April 29-May 2).

And speaking of MerleFest, tickets for the annual event in Wilkesboro, NC, will go on sale Tuesday, November 11, at 2pm. Those joining Doc Watson and Merle's son Richard Watson for the 2004 show include Rosanne Cash, the Derailers, Donna the Buffalo, Bela Fleck & Edgar Meyer, Vince Gill, the Gourds, David Grisman Quintet, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Hot Tuna, Nickel Creek, Earl Scruggs with Family & Friends, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, and Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison. For a list of additional performers and more info on tickets, go to www.merlefest.org.

Local photographer and booking agent Dave Long (come to think of it, he's played in a few bands, too) is currently undergoing radiation treatments for cancer and some of his fellow musician friends are hosting a benefit to help out with his medical expenses. The show is scheduled for Sunday, October 19, at the Double Door Inn. So far the line-up includes The Stragglers, David Childers, Shelia Carlisle, Part Time Blues Band, Willy Evans, Lenny Federal, Country Bill McDonald and Michael Reno Harrell. Doors open at 6pm and a $10 donation will be accepted at the door. Chief organizer Woody Mitchell of the Stragglers says, "Dave's given a lot to the musical community over the years and I'd like to see him get something back." ...ditto from the folks at CL, so mark your calendar!

Borders Books and Music at Stonecrest will be hosting a monthly songwriter showcase beginning Saturday, October 25. Each event will feature live performances by select songwriters, chosen by the Charlotte chapter of the Nashville Songwriter's Association International (NSAI). Showcases will be held the third Saturday of each month and will begin at 3pm. The first showcase will feature Rudy Currence, Rick Spreitzer and Allan Kaplan. For more details, contact Brian Hartzog at Indie Boy Music, 704 953-7358 or email brian@brianhartzog.com. Hartzog is also one of three local songwriters who were recently selected to participate in Barbara Cloyd's September songwriting workshop that took place in Bristol, Tennessee. Don Petty, Seth Bolton and Hartzog were among 20 songwriters chosen by Cloyd, who is the main booking agent at Nashville's famous Bluebird Cafe. Hartzog said the weekend was very intense but he enjoyed having the opportunity to meet other songwriters from around the country. For more info about Barbara Cloyd's upcoming songwriting workshops, check out www.barbaracloyd.com.

The producers of the statewide talent search and public television series Carolina Calling have announced dates and locations for their upcoming auditions. Twenty-four performers will be selected for each of the four audition sites, and six winners will be chosen per site. Each winner selected will appear on Carolina Calling. Local auditions are being held on Saturday, October 11, at 1pm in Rowe Recital Hall at UNC-Charlotte. The deadline to submit an application has passed but the public is invited to attend free of charge. Other audition sites include Boone (Oct 17), Raleigh (Oct 24) and Greenville (Nov 15). An audition application must be submitted in advance. For deadline info on the remaining audition dates and for an official entry application, go to www.smithcreates.com.

Poprocket has some good news and sad news to share. First the good news: recently their song "Feels Like It's Over" from their first EP Some Songs hit number 57 (out of 7,978) in the "Alternative" section at Garageband.com. As for the sad news: Their last show at Fat City was the last with bassist Jenny Plyler as a full-time member of the band. Singer Jay Garrigan says Jenny will play with the band as her schedule allows but since they do have plans to tour more often Jenny suggested they find someone who could meet their touring demands better. The band's website, www.poprocketband.com, has also recently undergone a major overhaul.

The Exceptional Children's Assistance Center (ECAC) will celebrate its twentieth anniversary with a benefit show featuring the Waybacks, Al Petteway & Amy White and Jim Hurst & Misty Raines. The show is Saturday, October 11, in Duke Performance Hall at Davidson College. Tickets cost $25 and $35. Since its formation, the ECAC has grown from an all volunteer parent organization to a full service parent training center for families of children with and without disabilities. For more info on the concert or the organization, go to www.ecac- parentcenter.org.

After nearly eight years, Raleigh- based Weekend Excursion have decided to call it quits. The band's performance on Friday, October 10, at Amos' Southend will likely be their final appearance in Charlotte. During their career, the group released four studio albums and one live recording. The band also spent this past summer overseas touring various American military bases. Redeye Distribution co-owner, Tor Hanson, who the band was signed with, says they were certainly one of the hardest working acts around and one of the best selling independent rock acts in the Southeast.

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