A Hot Summer Night in the City of Bristol at August’s Farm and Fun Time - The Birthplace of Country Music
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A Hot Summer Night in the City of Bristol at August’s Farm and Fun Time

August’s Farm and Fun Time showcased some of the best in contemporary bluegrass! Thanks to our sponsor Eastman Credit Union, Radio Bristol was able to bring Farm and Fun Time to not only those in the audience or tuned in to WBCM-LP, but to viewers far and wide via Facebook Live. Be sure to like WBCM – Radio Bristol on Facebook to tune in every month!

Host band Bill and the Belles started the show on this summer evening with the sunny Roger Miller classic, “Walking in the Sunshine.” Following their always fun and lighthearted performance, things got corny – cream corny that is! – as Charles Parker shared an old family recipe for cream corn for Farm and Fun Time’s “Heirloom Recipe.” A champion of local Southwest Virginia food and the chef at Abingdon’s Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace, Parker learned to love local produce and utilize it in his dishes from his grandma. An important part of Appalachian foodways is canning, and Parker recalls preparing cream corn to can. In honor of the labor that goes into this recipe, Bill and the Belles sang a new song: “The Corn Shuckin’ Song.”

Left: Bill and the Belles -- Andrew Small on bass, Kalie Yeagle on fiddle, Kris Truelsen on guitar, and Helena Hunt on banjo -- gather round the mic. Right: Charlie Parker telling the story of his family's cream corn recipe with the audience.
Bill and the Belles welcomed the Farm and Fun Time crowd with a sunny tune, while Charles Parker’s cream corn recipe got people’s mouths watering! © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

Our evening’s first musical guest was Irene Kelley. With a songwriting career that spans the past three decades, she’s had songs recorded by Alan Jackson, Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, and a score of other Nashville stars. However, Irene has maintained a strong following in her own right, and for August’s Farm and Fun Time, she performed songs off her recent project, Benny’s TV Repair. Singing about trains and home and even paying homage to Native Americans, Kelley’s strong songwriting captivated our audience, and her capable band brought these timeless stories to life.

Left: Close up of Irene Kelley singing with her eyes closed and playing the guitar at the mic. Center: Irene Kelley with the bass player in the background and the mandolin player to her side. Right: Irene Kelley's banjo player in a red shirt.
Irene Kelley and her band performed songs filled with storytelling and nostalgia from her recent album. © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

This month’s “Radio Bristol Farm Report” showcased Chuckey, Tennessee’s own Greene Hemp Company. Our visit to the Ole Appalachian Hemp Farm was an informative experience where we learned about this sustainable and versatile product! Here’s a video from our visit:

For the Farm and Fun Time team and our live and on-air audiences, it was a great pleasure to have the Lonesome River Band, one of the longest running and most influential bluegrass bands on the scene today. Founded 37 years ago, Lonesome River Band has been bringing a fresh take on the traditions of bluegrass music with their distinct drive and high-energy performances. Performing a mix of original songs and classics, the Southwest Virginia- based group brought down the house with soulful singings and hard-driving playing. In the 1940s, the bluegrass bands that performed on WCYB’s original Farm and Fun Time were pushing the boundaries of what was then simply country music. With Lonesome River Band as a group that has perpetuated the innovation of those groups, it was a full circle moment to have them on the stage for our continuation of the WCYB show’s legacy.

Left: Close up of the banjo and guitar players singing and playing at the mic; Top right: The full band on the Farm and Fun Time stage; Middle right: Close up of the bass player; Bottom right: Close up of the fiddle player.
The musicians from the Lonesome River Band brought a great mix of bluegrass tunes to the Farm and Fun Time audience. © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

Thanks to everyone who came and helped make August’s Farm and Fun Time another successful evening of fun and music! September’s show will be part of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, so stayed tuned for a special announcement. Tickets are on sale for October’s Farm and Fun Time featuring Chatham County Line, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, and host band Bill and the Belles. We hope to see you there!

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