* With the start of a new year, two local music organizations have named new officers. After serving three years as president of the Charlotte Folk Society, Karen Singleton has passed the gavel onto Allen Cooke. Cooke will be supported by Vice President Carol Raedy, Secretary Karen Alexander and Treasurer Dale Grote . The CFS will be celebrating their 20th anniversary this year as well.
Jay Daniel has been selected as the new president for the Charlotte Blues Society, replacing longtime prez Michael Simonetti, who will now serve as an advisor for the group. Daniel will be supported by Vice President Jim Jervis, Secretary Jeri Thompson, Treasurer Cynthia Chandler and Editor (of the group's monthly newsletter) Larry Lipscombe.
* Chris Peigler of My So-Called Band and the recently formed Suicide Watch Records has announced that the label will be presenting a series of upcoming shows. Peigler says the shows won't be limited to the bands featured on the label's compilation (Bomb Threat) because he'd really like to put bands together that might not normally play on the same bill. "We're trying to get away from some of the cliquish nature of music scenes by bringing different groups of music fans and bands together for the same show," he stated. "The punk scene is just as fragmented as any form of mainstream music, and we don't think that should be the case."
The first show is scheduled for Saturday, January 26, at Tremont Music Hall. Alli With An I, My Personal Hero, Choke Their Rivers With Our Dead and Army of Ponch are scheduled to perform. For more details on the show, call the club at (704) 343-9494.
* The new Hipshack will make their debut Thursday, January 31, at Tutto Mondo. The new line-up features Scott McCloud (sax and keys), Al Sergel (drums), Brett Banks (bass) and Dustin Hofsess (guitar). McCloud says the band has a totally new and original sound. For more info, check out www.hipshack.com.
* Semi-Pro recently launched a new website at www.semi-pro.org.
* Due to an already high demand for tickets, the Visulite Theatre is offering its members advance tickets for the North Mississippi Allstars/Widespread Panic side project show (dubbed the "Smiling Assassin Tour") scheduled for Wednesday, February 20. Tickets for the show cost $15. The band features Luther and Cody Dickinson of NMAS, JoJo (John Hermann) of WP and C-Dawg (Paul "Crumpy" Edwards) of Bloodkin. For tickets, call 704-358-9200 (listen for the appropriate mailbox) or visit www.etix.com.
* The Stragglers are hosting a benefit concert and "Roots Music Revue" to benefit the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, a nonprofit organization that's opening an office in Charlotte. Michael Reno Harrell, David Childers, Lenny Federal and Willy Evans are also scheduled to perform. The show will be held Saturday, January 26, at the Bayou Kitchen's Gris-Gris Room. Five bucks is the minimum suggested donation. For more info, call 704-332-3319.
And Jo Lee Blond has organized a benefit show to help raise money for the Rachel Garcia Band, who had some of their equipment stolen along with their band trailer. In addition to the host band, Dead City Radio, Cherry Bomb, Karma and the Wax Gurus will perform on Saturday, January 26, at the Rhinoceros Club. Cover is $8 for members/$12 nonmembers. For more info, call 704-944-3638.
* Machine 7, Closure and Patheon recently completed projects at Catalyst Recording with engineer/producer Rob Tavaglione. Walter C. Hines III assisted on most of the material. Sckapegoat and Alex Mauldin are currently in production at the studio.
* The annual Atlantis Music Conference has started accepting artist submissions for the 2002 showcase scheduled to take place July 31 through August 3 in Atlanta. The final deadline for applying is April 15, but if your application is postmarked by April 1, you'll get a price break. For an entry application or for more details, call (770) 499-8600 or go to www.atlantismusic.com.
* Entries for the MerleFest 2002 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest are currently being accepted. Jim Lauderdale is serving as Honorary Chairperson for the contest again this year. Three finalists from each of the four categories (Bluegrass, Country, Gospel and General) will be selected to perform in the finals that will take place during MerleFest (being held April 25-28 in Wilkesboro). Deadline is March 18. For entry info, call (800) 799-3838 or go to www.merlefest.org.
Three instrument contests will also be held during the first two days of the festival. The Doc Watson Guitar Championship, Merle Watson Bluegrass Banjo Championship and the MerleFest Mandolin Contest will be open to the first 20 registrants on site. For more details, use the contact info from above.
* The 12th annual Budweiser Lowcountry Blues Bash will be held in Charleston, SC, February 8-17. The festival features over 60 shows from over 30 acts in 15 different venues over a 10-day period. It's "pay-as-you-go" with many shows free and others with cover charges ranging from $5-$25. Robert Lockwood Jr., Phillip Walker, Drink Small, Mem Shannon & The Membership and Honeyboy Edwards are among the acts scheduled to perform. For more details, call the festival hotline at (843) 937-6000, ext. 4447, or go to www.bluesbash.com. *