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Jocelyn Murphy

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Assistant What's Up! Editor
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ON THE COVER: Music Is Magic

Festival elevates aspirations in second year

In 2017, a new music festival brought songwriters and music executives from around the world -- plus some 2,800 fans -- to Bentonville to celebrate the art of songwriting and support the I'll Fly Away Foundation. Coming into its second year, the festival's approach has shifted just slightly, says organizer Betsy Brumley.

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Valerie Hubbard Damon

The more you give, the more you have

When the Mugga Killa Whomps steal tiny light beings from Willobee Land in Valerie Hubbard Damon's book Willo Mancifoot and the Mugga Killa Whomps, they are established as the misunderstood antagonists of the whimsical children's book. Our dragonfly hero Willo Mancifoot uses his compassion and his relationship with nature to help the MKWs rather than condemning them, demonstrating the theme of the book: "The more you give, the more you have."

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'Beautifully' Enduring

King the songwriter you didn’t know you knew

Falling in love at 16 and getting married too young, going through a divorce, having children and having what you thought was going to happen not work out -- Carole King's story is about so much more than her music.

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Charming Chemistry

Musicians find magic in on- and off-stage harmony

When a musician has solo and group credits on her resume, it seems to be the norm that she achieved some level of success as part of a group and eventually broke off to pursue a solo career. That is (sort of) the case with two members (Sara Watkins, Aoife O'Donovan) of folk trio I'm With Her. The third member, Sarah Jarosz, took the more unusual path from solo (Grammy Award winning) artist to joining a trio. Now, just shy of four years after the first time the threesome came together for an impromptu performance in Colorado, they've seen the name of their band co-opted by a presidential campaign, released their debut album and embarked on a world tour.

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ON THE COVER: Take note

Country rocker, AMP lineup both defy expectations

Talking to Brantley Gilbert on the phone is like calling up any one of your down-home buddies -- he's friendly, casual, charming. His easy warmth and laid-back disposition are abundant, even though he's busy completing his "honey do list" while home in Georgia for only a few days. He talks about his wife and his new son, and you can hear the pride through the phone.

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Engage, Educate, Encourage

Performance artists invert viewers’ expectations

In its third year, Inverse Performance Art Festival continues its mission of fostering a community of support and understanding around artists and the performance genre. Fifty local, national and international artists will implement their thought-provoking, contemporary, engaging works from Fayetteville to Bentonville April 12-15 -- a different city for each day. Because of the variable nature of the form, and to avoid limiting it through definition and explanation, a few participating artists shared their insights with What's Up! so that readers might gain a better understanding of their motivations in their work and their hopes for the festival.

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Y'all Come Back Now

Comics continue in Southern vein

The liberal rednecks are back at it again in Northwest Arkansas as they bring their comedy tour, "wellRED: From Dixie With Love" to the Walton Arts Center on April 14. Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester gave three sold-out performances at Meteor Guitar Gallery in Bentonville this time last year (plus one at the end of 2016) following the release of their best-selling book "Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin Dixie Outta the Dark." Now they're at a bigger venue with "roughly 80 percent new material," Crowder estimates, and the same love for the South. (Along with plenty of satire thrown in, he promises.)

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Let Your Voice Be Heard

A cappella competition bigger, better than ever

The aca-awesome Walton Arts Center-produced VoiceJam A Cappella Festival returns to Fayetteville for its fourth consecutive year. The festival will see groups from across the nation take to the Baum Walker stage in competition and will give local and visiting musicians the opportunity to enhance their skills through workshops. It will again host the "father of contemporary a cappella" and producer of NBC's "The Sing-Off," Deke Sharon. Just before their arrival in Fayetteville, What's Up! heard from a few of the competitors:

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Shining Support

Community raises up local musicians with new festival

When Ryan Woodland got his start in the Northwest Arkansas music scene some two and a half years ago, he found other artists in the area struggling to support their art in the same way he was. A disparity exists, Woodland realized, between artists' worth and the price of their creativity. Less than six months after gauging community interest on a project to support and benefit local musicians, the Limelight Music Festival comes to fruition April 7 with eight musicians taking the stage and myriad vendors, sponsors and community businesses contributing to the inaugural event.

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Yarrow Seeks To Heal, Unite With Music

Ask Peter Yarrow what he wishes more people would ask but rarely do, and his answer is prompt and certain:

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Latest photos

Trumpet/sousaphone player Jon Lampley demonstrates his animated stage presence at the Walmart AMP in...

Trumpet/sousaphone player Jon Lampley demonstrates his animated stage presence at the Walmart AMP in May while performing with Ohi...

Published: October 13, 2017

Trumpet/sousaphone player Jon Lampley demonstrates his animated stage presence at the Walmart AMP in...

Trumpet/sousaphone player Jon Lampley demonstrates his animated stage presence at the Walmart AMP in May while performing with Ohi...

Published: October 13, 2017

Trumpet/sousaphone player Jon Lampley demonstrates his animated stage presence at the Walmart AMP in...

Trumpet/sousaphone player Jon Lampley demonstrates his animated stage presence at the Walmart AMP in May while performing with Ohi...

Published: October 13, 2017

NWA Democrat-Gazette/JOCELYN MURPHY
Day 1 of the 2017 Roots Festival began at Crystal Bridges Museu...

NWA Democrat-Gazette/JOCELYN MURPHY Day 1 of the 2017 Roots Festival began at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonvil...

Published: August 25, 2017

Winners Jodie Franklin (left) for small business, Julie Joyce, winner of the High Hoof award, and Tr...

Winners Jodie Franklin (left) for small business, Julie Joyce, winner of the High Hoof award, and Tracey Brown for large business ...

Published: April 2, 2017

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