Want to catch two of the hottest Americana/roots musical acts of 2017? For free? Head over from 6 to 9 p.m on Thursday, Sept. 14, to the American Tobacco Amphitheater on Durham, North Carolina’s American Tobacco Campus for WUNC’s latest installment of Back Porch Music.

Featuring wunderkind Billy Strings and Austin’s alt country rockers Whiskey Shivers, the show is free and open to the public. Parking is $6 per car and children, dogs and picnic baskets are welcome.

Sponsors include Mercedes-Benz of Durham, American Tobacco, WUNC Radio (91.5), Fox 50, Bull Durham Beer Company, DPAC, GoTriangle and WRAL’s Out and About.

I’ve had the pleasure of catching the incomparable Strings at Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival and I am looking forward to finally getting to watch Whiskey Shivers live.

Headliner — Billy Strings

According to the venue website, in 2017 Billy Strings was named as one of 10 New Country Artists you need to know by Rolling Stone Magazine.

Whether sharing stages with acoustic music royalty, crisscrossing the nation playing as a solo artist or performing high-energy, jaw-dropping sets at festivals, the reaction to Strings tends to come in two varieties: “Who is this guy?” and “That kid can play!”

While Strings’ profile as a guitarist and singer in the acoustic/bluegrass scene continues to grow, he has already earned some landmark achievements. He has performed with Del McCoury, David Grisman and Larry Keel. He’s landed coveted slots at festivals like Pickathon, and he’s shared bills with popular touring acts Yonder Mountain Stringband, Leftover Salmon and Cabinet. And the industry has taken notice: He just won IBMA 2016 Momentum Awards Instrumentalist of the Year (for guitar, banjo and mandolin) and was voted #1 in The Bluegrass Situation’s Top 16 of 16.

Opener — Whiskey Shivers

Musical honesty is what brought together the ragtag group of string players from small towns around the country to Austin, TX, where Whiskey Shivers was formed when stand-up bassist Andrew VanVoorhees answered a dubious Craigslist ad from a man named “Bob” looking to form a bluegrass band.

They infuse their songs with punk rock energy and a darkly comical light-heartedness, stretching the bluegrass genre to fit whatever they feel is right. For them, being happy is a conscious choice, and making fun of life’s struggles is part of their philosophy.

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