Preview: American Roots Music & Arts Festival

By Elizabeth Thomas 

October 14, 2015

North Carolina’s capitol will play host to a slew of the music industry’s most talented artists this weekend at the American Roots Music & Arts Festival at Walnut Creek Amphitheater.
Locally-grown Eric Church is double-headlining the festival both Saturday and Sunday night. Hailing from Granite Falls in Cleveland County, the Appalachian State grad has won awards from every major country music entity and has been nominated for both Grammy and Billboard Awards. The singer-songwriter will definitely be a huge draw for fans of country rock.
When Willie Nelson is on the lineup, he, without a doubt, is an act you cannot miss. However, Nelson’s camp announced Wednesday that the country music legend has postponed several dates this week due to an illness, but as of now, his Sunday performance is still listed on his official website. Fingers crossed!

Beyond the two arguably most famous acts of the show, here’s our list of sets that’d be a mistake to miss, and there’s a little something for everyone:

Railroad Earth – Saturday — 1 p.m.

Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth Charlotte, NC 2015 photo by Nathan Leslie

Having made a stop in Charlotte back in August with Warren Haynes on their Ashes and Dust Tour, New Jersey’s Railroad Earth is back in the Tarheel State to jam—literally. Railroad Earth is the epitome of a jam band. The instruments played collectively by its six members reads like a laundry list. You’re guaranteed to see some tie-dye t-shirts and smell a whiff a marijuana in this crowd, but make no mistake: these guys are high energy and put on a hell of a show.

Tedeschi Trucks Band – Saturday – 4:50 p.m.

Photo by Jim Dimitroff

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi separately are incredibly talented musicians. But together, they are a powerhouse. Trucks, who was the youngest person to make Rolling Stone’s “100 best guitarists” list at only age 16, has played alongside the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. Now Trucks may have met his match with his wife; Tedeschi has been nominated for multiple Grammys and has a distinctive voice and a mega presence. Combined, Tedeschi and Trucks and their full band bring the rock and croon the blues like absolute superstars.

The Roots – Saturday – 6:25 p.m.

You’ve probably seen them on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; they’ve rocked fun covers of pop songs with classroom instruments and have free styled with Justin Bieber. A cross between jazz and hip hop, The Roots are one of a kind. They’ve even been called “hip hop’s first legitimate band”. Truth be told: these guys are true talents and are undeniably soulful. This is a set that’ll be filled with rhythmic merriment.

Grace Potter – Sunday – 2:15 p.m.

FloydFest 2015 photo by Drea Atkins

Grace Potter is a Rock and Roll goddess who absolutely kills it on stage. Playing everything from the guitar to the organ to the tambourine, Potter is guaranteed to warm it up Sunday afternoon with her high-energy performance. She’s also known, and quite adept, at bringing the house down, too. Potter and hubby drummer Matt Burr have done fun improvs during this tour, a call and response of sorts, that’s a real treat for the audience.

Warren Haynes – Sunday – 5:20 p.m.

Photo by Nathan Leslie

Another North Carolina native will grace the stage this weekend: Asheville’s Warren Haynes. Best known as the Allman Brothers’ longtime lead guitarist, Haynes will effortlessly lead you down his rabbit hole of seemingly endless but unparalleled guitar solos. With a resume that includes The Dead, Gov’t Mule, David Allen Coe and Dave Matthews Band, you can expect a high energy, improvisational set that can never be duplicated.



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