Partial Lineup Announced
Bristol, Tenn./Va. (December 13, 2019) – The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) announced this afternoon the first round of artists for the 20th Annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival. Event organizers revealed a partial lineup of 30 bands scheduled to perform at this year’s event. Among the headlining acts include a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, at least one country music legend, a break-through alternative rock band that cut their teeth on Bristol Rhythm only to return as headliners, and a bluegrass powerhouse that’s highly decorated with Grammys, IBMA and SPBMA wins. Only 30 bands were announced during the press conference, with the remaining headliners and artists being announced on February 14.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this coming year and our 20th anniversary,” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. “This is a huge milestone in the history of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and for Bristol.”
Among the lineup you’ll see some familiar and welcome faces we’ve grown to adore on those Bristol stages (and beyond) over the years. This is just one example of the “reunion” aspect of the event; seeing beloved festival “alumni” like Rhonda Vincent and Red Molly return to the home of the 1927 Bristol Sessions after a spell, along with other beloved artists, is a big part of the festival’s appeal.
“Jason Isbell is so revered for his songwriting,” said Ross. “And Tanya Tucker is country music royalty. This isn’t Jason’s first time in Bristol, but we felt it was time to bring him back. This is Tanya Tucker’s first appearance at the festival. This is perfect timing with the release of her new album and the opportunity to have another legendary country music act at Bristol Rhythm.”
Then there are the new bands with colorful names like Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers and Mo Lowda & The Humble that are considered “emerging” or “under the radar.” These are the sweetest discoveries at Bristol Rhythm and always worthy of a listen. Like Moon Taxi, Old Crow Medicine Show, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, or the Carolina Chocolate Drops, these are the acts that play Bristol in their formative years and may go on to really big things later in their careers. Having the ability to say “I saw/met them first in Bristol…” is a wildly satisfying bragging right.
Bristol Rhythm is also known for booking “musician’s musicians.” These are artists with a particular skill for crafting their art, the kind of musicians that other musicians respect or even idolize. East Kentucky native Ian Noe is primed for such adoration. With comparisons to his hero John Prine on NPR and accolades from Rolling Stone, the critics are predicting good things to come from this singer-songwriter.
Listed among Rolling Stone’s “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know,” Katie Pruitt doesn’t pull any lyrical punches. Her gutsy, velveteen vocal delivery unleashes fierce declarations of truth that beautifully peel away the layers surrounding even the most hardened of hearts.
Dublin, Ireland export I Draw Slow fuses Irish storytelling with American folk music to produce an impressively marketable sound. This internationally touring group has performed at Pickathon, RockyGrass, Merlefest, and Red Wing, among others, and is known for its ability to rouse audiences into a fever.
Morgan Wade’s another serious singer-songwriter who’s making big waves. This Floyd, Virginia native has been hailed as the “new wave of country rock’n’roll.” Full of grit, heartbreak, longing and audacity, this artist is on the path to career longevity.
Ramseur Records’ Sierra Ferrell is the West Virginia gem who wowed audiences at Americana Fest and, very recently, Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time. Touted as the female equivalent of Tyler Childers, Ferrell is on the “ones to watch” list, for sure.
Roanoke is, oddly enough, from Nashville—an Americana quintet earning critical acclaim for its palatable vocal harmonies and sweeping, cinematic instrumentation and another fresh act performing at Bristol Rhythm in 2020.
The opportune date change of NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway enables visitors to take part in 10 days of activities that include Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and championship races at the track. A Rhythm & Racing Super Ticket is now available at RhythmandRacing.com. The ticket includes each day of the festival and all three races at Bristol Motor Speedway. Rhythm & Racing dates are September 10-19, 2020.
Weekend passes to the 20th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival are on sale now for $90 plus tax and fees. This year the festival offers a simple payment plan giving guests the option of purchasing in three monthly installments. Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion will be held September 11-13, 2020 along State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee. For more information visit BristolRhythm2020.com.