Wynonna & The Big Noise and St. Paul & the Broken Bones are slated to headline the 19th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival in historic downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia this September.
â€œWynonna Judd is one of the most recognizable and celebrated figures in country music today,â€ said Leah Ross, executive director of the Birthplace of Country Music, parent organization of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Radio Bristol. â€œItâ€™s a credit to our great music heritage that an artist of her caliber wants to perform in Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music.â€
In addition to numerous Grammy nominations, Judd has earned Female Vocalist of the Year from the Academy of Country Music and was presented with a star on the Music City Walk of Fame. She is also a humanitarian and has helped raise money and awareness for a large number of organizations across the country. In 2005 she received the USOâ€™s Merit Award for service to the United States Armed Forces upon raising more than $90 million for victims of natural disasters along the Gulf Coast by teaming up with Habitat for Humanity to record the song â€œHeart of Americaâ€ with Michael McDonald and Eric Benet.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones return to the lineup after a brief hiatus during which the band toured across the globe, headlined major festivals and shows at the Ryman, opened dates for The Rolling Stones, and appeared on numerous late night talk shows. The band has now released its third studio album and continues to push boundaries in the realm of roots, soul and R&B.
â€œThe first time St. Paul & the Broken Bones performed in Bristol was in 2014 at Border Bash,â€ said Ross. â€œThey came back and played the festival that year and the following year. Our music committee has a knack for catching stars on the rise, and weâ€™re so excited to be part of this bandâ€™s evolution and success. Fans have been asking for the band to return to Bristol for some time; this is a great homecoming.â€
More than 120 artists perform at Bristol Rhythm on 20 stages surrounding State Street, including Patty Griffin, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Sam Bush Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, Elizabeth Cook, Darrell Scott, Lucy Dacus, The Lil Smokies, Mike Farris, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, The Gibson Brothers, Jim Lauderdale, Dustbowl Revival, Sister Sadie, The New Respects, Carson Peters & Iron Mountain, J. P. Harris and many, many more.
â€œOur music committee is particularly adept at finding those edgier artists who may be under the radar now, but could come back as a headliner someday,â€ Ross commented. â€œThese are the acts so many people get so excited about.â€
Ross is referring to a slew of new bands booked at the festival this year, including CAAMP, The Dip, The Happy Fits, The Fritz, Juice, Matt Maeson, Ruston Kelly and Daniel Norgren.
â€œBristol Rhythm is a proud supporter of our regionâ€™s music and the artists who create it,â€ added Ross. â€œWe have incredible talent here, and many, many touring musicians that perform across the country and overseas. Itâ€™s imperative to us that our festival be a platform to elevate and showcase them as well.â€
Amythyst Kiah, a former student of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies program, is a leading example of local success stories. The self-professed â€œSouthern Gothicâ€ singer-songwriter is known to open tours for Rhiannon Giddens and The Indigo Girls, tours major festivals in Scotland and the U.K., and recently signed on with management team Ramseur Records. Her recent collaboration with Rhiannon Giddens, Alli Russell, and Leyla McCalla on the album â€œSongs of Our Native Daughtersâ€ for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is gathering whispers of Grammy contention.
Singer-songwriter Ed Snodderly, founder of renowned Johnson City listening room The Down Home, performs regularly in Nashville and is a faculty member of ETSUâ€™s Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies teaching dobro, guitar and songwriting. His songs have been recorded by Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Missy Raines and John Cowan, and a verse to his song â€œThe Diamond Streamâ€ is inscribed upon the wall of the Country Music Hall of Fameâ€™s Hall of Honor. Snodderly also made an appearance in the film â€œO Brother Where Art Thouâ€ as the fiddling village idiot.
Radio Bristolâ€™s Farm and Fun Time live variety show house band, Bill & the Belles, released the bandâ€™s fourth album â€œDreamSongs, Etc.â€ last year to critical acclaim, which led them to the bandâ€™s first European tour. Bill & the Belles have been featured in Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, The Bluegrass Situation, and Bluegrass Today, and have performed at a number of prestigious events including Rockygrass, IBMA World of Bluegrass, and Wintergrass Music Festival. Bristol Rhythm hosts a very special Farm and Fun Time from the festival again this year, guest performers to be announced.
The grandson of A. P. and Sara Carter, Dale Jett is a festival mainstay and continues the family tradition of mountain songs with his trio Hello, Stranger. The group has performed at The Grand Ole Opry, on Mountain Stage and The Marty Stuart Show. Acoustic Syndicate, The Black Lillies, Beth Snapp, Folk Soul Revival, Annabelleâ€™s Curse, Annie Robinette, J. P. Parsons, Momma Molasses and 49 Winchester are but a few of the elite regional acts included in the Bristol Rhythm lineup.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion also features its annual free Childrenâ€™s Day event, a 5k Road Race, Bluegrass Jam Camp, Yoga in Cumberland Park, and Guided Jams during this yearâ€™s event.
Dates for the 19th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival are scheduled for Sept. 20-22. Visit www.BristolRhythm.com for more information.