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Date: September 16, 2017
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: The Paramount, 518 State Street, Bristol, TN
Tickets: Must purchase a Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Weekend Pass or Saturday pass for entry
Radio Bristol’s Farm & Fun Time hosts a special Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion edition featuring Jerry Douglas Presents The Earls of Leicester and The Cactus Blossom, live from the beautifully restored Paramount Theater!
Farm & Fun Time, the historic Radio Program broadcasting from Downtown Bristol, was a staple to listeners across the Southeast during the 1940s and 1950s on the former WCYB Radio. Radio Bristol breathes new life into the classic program with a fun, energetic show broadcasting live from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and features music by house band Bill & the Belles. Hosted by Radio Bristol producer and house band-leader Kris Truelsen, Farm & Fun Time is an event the whole family can enjoy live, in the studio or when gathered around their radios.
About the Cactus Blossoms
With their 2016 Red House debut, You’re Dreaming, The Cactus Blossoms appeared seemingly from nowhere, garnering comparisons to classic sibling duos. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkhum found themselves drawn to classic folk and country music, honing their songwriting skills with weekly gigs at former country 1940s honky tonk – and now music club – The Turf Club in St. Paul, Minnesota. With the kind of blood harmonies that make your scalp tingle, the brothers made the genre their own and started working originals into their weekly sets of classics; people couldn’t tell the difference.
A chance gig opening for J. D. McPherson brought him on board as a fan – and he is now the producer behind You’re Dreaming. Though they came from a musical family, they didn’t inherit their deep understanding of early American music naturally. By tracing their heroes’ footsteps back to the roots, they came into their style in a very genuine way. By absorbing these musical discoveries, a natural alchemy took place and what transpired is the tasteful rejuvenation and transformation of a retro sound by a modern duo.
With press ranging from Rolling Stone‘s “Artist to Watch,” NPR’s Heavy Rotation, NPR’s All Things Considered, Folk Alley, Noisey, Garden & Gun, CMT, A Prairie Home Companion, and much more, the brothers have brought a breath of fresh air and vitality to the roots music scene.
The Earls of Leicester have discovered a kind of magic that, when harnessed, allows moments once relegated to memories to roar back to life. Old sounds rattle loose chains of space and time that have kept us from forgotten joys and who we once were. Suddenly, as we listen to and watch the Earls pick, saw, and croon, instead of contemplating once upon a time, we are living it.
“Many audience members have come up to me after a show and said, ‘I thought that sound was gone,’” says Dobro master Jerry Douglas, the group’s founder. “And that’s just how it struck me when the band rehearsed the first time. I hadn’t heard that sound since Flatt and Scruggs – experienced that meeting in the air of those notes in that particular way. It’s an emotional experience.”
With their second album, Rattle & Roar (Rounder Records), the Earls have conjured up a fresh batch of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs songs, delivered with the Earls’ now signature blend of homage, virtuosity, and perspective. The inimitable Douglas remains the band’s producer and hypnotic Dobroist; blue-ribbon songwriter, singer, and producer Shawn Camp still soars on lead vocals and guitar; revered multi-instrumentalist and sideman Jeff White now deftly handles high harmony and mandolin; ace Nashville banjoist Charlie Cushman tackles banjo and guitars; top-flight musician Johnny Warren cuts in radiantly on fiddle; and the esteemed Barry Bales, a longtime band mate of Douglas in Alison Krauss and Union Station, holds magnificently steady on vocals and bass. “It’s like the band was predestined to come together,” says Camp. “We all love it. From the very first note of our show, I look around and everybody’s got a smile on their face. There’s just something about the music that makes you feel good.”
The band released its eponymous debut in 2014 to immediate acclaim, including the 2015 Grammy for Bluegrass Album of the Year and sweeping wins at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards. It became overwhelmingly clear that 21st-century listeners couldn’t get enough of the Earls’ recreations of songs sown by a pioneering duo more than half a century ago.
About Bill and the Belles
What began as a project to explore the space created between hillbilly and urban, between vaudeville and down home, has arrived somewhere entirely new. Bill and the Belles offers a contemporary reimagining of a bygone era, breathing new life into the sounds of early country music. At the foothills of the Blue Ridge and the forefront of old-time music, Bill and the Belles continue to further the music traditions of their region. From sentimental Southern ballads to the popular songs of Tin Pan Alley to regional fiddle breakdowns, a Bill and the Belles show is a celebration of the diversity country music once represented.
Bill and the Belles play alongside America’s top roots music artists as the house band for the historic radio program Farm and Fun Time, presented by Radio Bristol and the Birthplace of Country Music. Lifelong musicians Kris Truelsen, Grace Van’t Hof, Kalia Yeagle, and Karl Zerfas bring to the stage an uplifting show unlike any other, full of humor, high spirits, and all-around revelry. It’s clear this group shares a rare musical connection and deep love for the music, and their excitement is contagious.