Bristol, Tenn.-Va. (October 28, 2021) – WBCM Radio Bristol‘s Farm and Fun Time live variety show, presented by the Birthplace of Country Music, celebrates 75 years with a special edition of the program on Thursday, November 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Farm and Fun Time first aired on WCYB radio back in November of 1946 from the former General Shelby Hotel in Downtown Bristol. WCYB was considered a hot spot for the contemporary hillbilly sound that would later become known as bluegrass. Farm and Fun Time helped launch the careers of bluegrass artists like The Stanley Brothers, Jim & Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman, and Curly King & The Tennessee Hilltoppers. It was also an important outlet for Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, who moved to Bristol for a time after leaving Bill Monroe’s band.
“This month’s show will not only stand out with the usual array of diverse talent, but is also significant to Farm and Fun Time history,” said WBCM Radio Bristol producer and program host Kris Truelsen. “The original Farm and Fun Time began airing on WCYB radio in Downtown Bristol 75 years ago this month. We have some special things planned to help commemorate the 75th anniversary of Farm and Fun Time and we hope everyone will join us!”
John R. Miller is a true hyphenate artist: singer-songwriter and picker. Every song on his thrilling debut solo album Depriciated is lush, with intricate wordplay and haunting imagery, and backed by a band that is on fire. One of his biggest long-time fans is roots music favorite Tyler Childers, who says he’s “a well-traveled wordsmith mapping out the world he’s seen, three chords at a time.” Miller is somehow able to transport us to a shadowy honky tonk and get existential all in the same line with his tightly-written compositions. Miller’s own guitar playing is on fine display along with vocals that evoke the white waters of the Potomac River rumbling below the high ridges of his native Shenandoah Valley.
Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine declares Zoe & Cloyd a “musical collaboration that demands to be heard.” Hailing from opposite ends of the Appalachian mountains, Zoe & Cloyd is comprised of Natalya Zoe Weinstein, a renowned fiddler and vocalist, and award-winning multi-instrumentalist and vocalist John Cloyd Miller. The duo’s sound is as diverse as their upbringing. Coming from a lineage of klezmer and jazz musicians, Natalia trained classically in her home state of Massachusetts before moving south in 2004. John, a twelfth generation North Carolinian and grandson of pioneering bluegrass fiddler Jim Shumate, is a first place winner of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest as well as an Artist Fellowship recipient for songwriting from the North Carolina Arts Council. Long-time fixtures of the Asheville, North Carolina scene, Zoe & Cloyd recently appeared in Season 5 of the nationally syndicated PBS show David Holt’s State of Music, and their fourth studio album, Rebuild, was just released on Organic Records. Zoe & Cloyd are sure to delight audiences of all ages with soaring harmonies and heartfelt songwriting, seamlessly combining original bluegrass, klezmer, old-time and folk with sincerity and zeal.
A celebration of Appalachian music and culture, Farm and Fun Time is hosted by WBCM Radio Bristol producer Kris Truelsen and his house band Bill and the Belles, who lead the program with jovial segues and homespun humor, weaving musical performances, an Heirloom Recipe segment, and the monthly Farm Report into a colorful quilt of Appalachian song and stories the entire family will enjoy.
Based in Johnson City, Tennessee, Bill and the Belles is known for combining a stringband format with their signature harmonies, candid songwriting, and pop sensibilities. Composed of Truelsen on guitar, fiddler Kalia Yeagle, banjo/banjo-uke player Aidan Van Suetendael, and bassist Andrew Small, the group has a knack for saying sad things with a bit of an ironic smirk and revels in the in-between. Deeply engaged with the stringband tradition and eager to stretch those influences to a contemporary setting, the band’s latest album Happy Again is full of life, humor, and tongue-in-cheek explorations of love and loss.
Tickets to be part of the live audience for Farm and Fun Time are on sale now for $35. Ticket buyers are required the show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours or proof of vaccination for entry. Farm and Fun Time will stream live on Radio Bristol’s Facebook page for free and is also available for listening on the air at WBCM Radio Bristol 100.1 FM in the Bristol area and through the station’s free mobile app.
Farm and Fun Time is now syndicated on Blue Ridge PBS, East Tennessee PBS, and PBS North Carolina. For tickets and more information about Radio Bristol programming, visit ListenRadioBristol.org.