February’s Farm and Fun Time Comes Full Circle with Flash and Flatpicking! - The Birthplace of Country Music
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February’s Farm and Fun Time Comes Full Circle with Flash and Flatpicking!

From high energy bluegrass showmanship to down home guitar pickin’, February’s Farm and Fun Time was a huge hit! Thanks to our sponsor Eastman Credit Union, Radio Bristol was able to bring Farm and Fun Time not only to 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 kicked the show off with their signature sound that has become an eagerly awaited fixture of Farm and Fun Time. Tonight’s selections included a wonderful rendition of an obscure tune called “Wait For Me” from the almost forgotten duo Harold and Hazel. This month, instead of our usual “Heirloom Recipe” segment, Birthplace of Country Music Museum Head Curator René Rodgers told listeners about the recently restored Stanley Brothers radio transcription disc from WCYB’s original Farm and Fun Time, on air in the 1940s and 1950s. This badly damaged disk was recently restored thanks to a special grant from the Virginia Association of Museums. After her explanation of the high-tech process used to restore this piece of history by the Northeast Document Conservation Center, the story was brought full circle as some selections were played for the audience, and the Stanley Brothers were once again heard on Farm and Fun Time some 70 years later!

Left: A close-up of Bill and two of the Belles singing at the mic; Right: Rene Rodgers telling the story of the radio transcription disc on stage.
Bill and the Belles charmed the audience with their old-time tunes, while René Rodgers shared the fascinating story of the preservation of a one-of-a-kind radio transcription disc. © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

The Kody Norris Show – host of the Farm and Fun Time Noon Show – was our first musical guest of the evening, and they started us off with a bang! Radio Bristol listeners are certainly no strangers to the higher energy, hard-driving sounds of Kody Norris over the air, but what a treat to see them in person! Clad from head to toe in brightly colored western-wear, The Kody Norris Show looks like they just stepped out in color from grandma’s black-and-white TV, and they have the classic sounds to match. Playing and singing songs ranging from bluegrass standards such as “Pig in a Pen” and “Rose of Old Kentucky” to country classics including “Tennessee Flattop Box” and “Movin’ On,” The Kody Norris Show knows the lineage of the music they play and are presenting it in a grand style all their own. Wrapping up their set with a dynamic performance of “The Auctioneer,” the Farm and Fun Time crowd was SOLD!  on The Kody Norris Show!

Left: The full Kody Norris Show band on stage; Center: Detail of Kody's western-inspired blue jacket sleeve bearing an images of a mandolin and music notes; Right: The Kody Norris Show's fiddler, banjoist, and Kody on guitar.
The high-energy and glitz of The Kody Norris Show was a wonderful crowd pleaser, bringing the audience to their feet and a smile to everyone’s face! © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

For this month’s “Farm Report” segment, we visited the Erwin National Fish Hatchery in Erwin, Tennessee, where we learned a lot about how fish are produced to stock waterways in Tennessee and beyond! Here’s a video from our visit:

Our final guests of the evening were the unlikely duo of guitar masters, Wayne Henderson and Presley Barker. Wayne Henderson is a legendary finger-style guitar player and luthier who has lived his entire life in Grayson County, Virginia, where he builds some of the finest musical instruments in the world. Presley Barker is an up-and-coming 15-year-old flatpicker who is winning contests and audiences everywhere he goes. Though there are a lot of years between these two pickers, they’re as close as can be when it comes to making music! Both drawing from the influence of Doc Watson, Wayne and Presley put their own unique spin on classics from old-time fiddle tunes and songs to bluegrass and country favorites. Wayne Henderson is truly a gem of our region, and it was an honor to have him grace the Farm and Fun Time Stage and see how he is passing his legacy along to the newest generation. And we look forward to seeing where the music takes Presley!

Top left: Wayne Henderson and Presley Barker on stage together; Top right: Close up of Wayne playing guitar; Bottom left: Detail of the crowd responding to the show; Bottom right: Presley Barker playing with Wayne Henderson.
Wayne Henderson and Presley Barker shared their talents and camaraderie with a delighted Farm and Fun Time crowd. © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

Thanks to everyone who came out and joined in this great night of music! Tickets for March’s Farm and Fun Time featuring Jim Lauderdale and Miss Tess are sold out, but of course, you can listen live or watch on Facebook Live. However, tickets are available for April’s show featuring Merle Monroe, Nora Brown, and host band Bill and the Belles. We hope to see you there!

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