Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion - Celebrating the Birthplace of Country Music

This weekend I'll be in front of some stage; whether standing, sitting, or dancing; whether outside, inside a tent, or in a pool hall. All the time enjoying the incredible array of musicians that the organizers of the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion assemble each year.  For the past four years, this has been a family tradition, navigating the six hours of Route 81 visiting local wineries, viewing the schedule and complaining about conflicts, and then disembarking at the Birthplace of Country Music:
Nashville may be country music’s capitol, but Bristol is the birthplace. It was on State Street in 1927 that talent scout Ralph Peer made the very first country music recordings with The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Stoneman, and others, for the Victor Talking Machine Company. The recordings known as The Bristol Sessions are recognized internationally as the “Big Bang” of country music.

As much as I anticipate the our annual ritual and agonized over schedules, I wondered (1) how some of this year's performers view the festival and (2) whether they might provide some insight on whom we should watch perform.

Frank Solivan
(1) The musical heritage of Bristol is pretty amazing. It was a melting pot of musical influences. "The first family of country music" was from that area. The Carter family that is. I feel pretty honored to be able to perform in the area where country music and it's off-shoots started.

(2) I definitely want to hear Lucinda Williams! Also want to check out Deer Tick. It'd be great to see The Masters of Bluegrass... [J.D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks, Del McCoury, Jerry McCoury, and Bobby Osborne] what a heavy combo of legends!

The Black Lillies
(1) Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion is exactly what it claims to be. A reunion, a homecoming, a celebration, and a world class music festival. It's an opportunity for fans and musicians to meet once a year on the grounds of the Birthplace of Country music and celebrate what we all cherish and hold in common, a love and respect for the roots of country music. As a country music artist, playing in Bristol ranks right up there with playing The Opry, The Ryman, Tootsies, and all the other sacred country music sites.

(2) The Bristol lineup is always stellar. I have a long list of artists to see this year. In no particular order This Mountain,Folk Soul Revival, Erick Baker, If Birds Could Fly, Uncle Lucius, Chatham County Line, Pokey LaFarge, Paul Thorn, Defibulators, Shovels and Rope, Della Mae, JD McPherson, Dave Eggar, Hayes Carll....aaannnnd....that's about all!

Jenni Lyn Gardner of Della Mae
(1) We are honored to be asked back to play and be part of history in the making that takes place every year at the RRR. The rich musical heritage that was born and still do this day takes place in Bristol in unmatched and we go there hoping to be inspired and inspire others with our music.

(2) Oh there are so many other bands I'm going to try and see perform this year. Shovels and Rope, The Masters of Bluegrass, Chatham County Line, The Black Lillies, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen... There are seriously too many to name.

Paul Thorn
(1) The list of talented artists that came from Bristol is astonishing. The Carter Family, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Jimmy Rogers are all household names. They all left behind great bodies of work that would make any town proud. I am so happy that I will get to perform at this great festival that honors them.

(2) When you are a performer you rarely get to see the other acts. It's always ''set up tear down, set up tear down, set up tear down............"

Daniel Rodriguez of Elephant Revival
(1) This festival is certainly an important festival given the musical heritage, and given that its a blast to be at.  To be walking the border of Tennessee and Virginia with great music and vendors on both sides is a great scenario amidst life.  Important enough for us to return consecutive years!!

(2) Last year I walked around without any expectations of who to listen too.  It was kind of nice to not know many of the bands there, and to just stop where the music pulls you in.  That's the beauty of Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion

Enter the Haggis

1) Editor's note: This will be the band's first foray into the Bristol area, so they will be learning about it's rich musical heritage along with us.

2) There are a few acts we're excited about. Hey Rosetta is at the top of the list - they're a Canadian band and they're incredible. Getting to see them up close on a festival stage is going to be a real thrill for us!
Elephant Revival is another act we've heard great things about but never seen. We'll be sharing a stage with them, so that should be fun. Some friends of ours will be joining us at the festival as well: The Steel Wheels, Burning Bridget Cleary and Scythian are all great bands we've played with numerous times, and they'll all put on great shows.

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