Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Archives - The Birthplace of Country Music
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All I want for Christmas is a great music experience and the t-shirt: Bristol Rhythm Christmas Party Playlist included

In August 2013, St. Paul & The Broken Bones made an epic debut in Historic Downtown Bristol. The band was booked to headline Believe in Bristol‘s Border Bash free summer concert series with opener Blair Crimmins & The Hookers, and so begins the story of how the simple purchase of a band t-shirt may have helped direct the upward trajectory of the band’s career and continues to enrich my life with warm memories and great comfort after almost a decade of faithful wear.

Hailing from the iconic and eclectic music scene of Birmingham, Alabama, St. Paul & The Broken Bones had only been together for about a year when they arrived in Bristol, otherwise known as the birthplace of country music.  Though still in its infancy, the band was already creating a buzz in roots music circles with its throwback R&B sound, complete with jazzy horns and a killer lead vocalist that invoked the spirits of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and Wilson Pickett in every soul-gutting note. It was so early in the band’s development, they were paid only a few hundred dollars for the Border Bash booking, plus dinner. I can’t say for sure, but I believe the band likely accepted the gig because lead singer Paul Janeway’s girlfriend at the time, Caroline Williams, had family in Bristol who could put them up for the night.

It was my first time seeing either band live, and I was really stoked. I remember the show was well-attended and both bands killed. At one point in St. Paul’s set, Janeway’s mic briefly went out. Already a seasoned and flamboyant performer, Paul didn’t miss a beat…he ditched the dead mic and leapt from the stage to join my daughter Callie in an impromptu dance session. She was only four years old at the time and loved to dance at Border Bash. However, once she realized all eyes were on her and her flashy new dance partner, my baby girl had a moment and bolted!

Once the mic issue was resolved, the band played into the night –  making a big splash and lifelong fans in Bristol. After the show, I couldn’t get over to the merch tent fast enough to buy a St. Paul t-shirt and a CD from Caroline, who was manning the table. At some point Paul and a couple members of the band came over and chatted with us, and they were all super-gracious and kind. Paul and I laughed over Callie’s reaction to him joining her on the dance floor, and for several months after that encounter, she begged to listen to the band’s CD on repeat in the car.

Fan for life! Photo 1: 4-year-old Callie wearing her favorite frilly frock to see St. Paul & the Broken Bones at Bristol Rhythm 2013, hoping for a dance do-over. Photo 2: Callie and her friend Branch Sword couldn’t wait to say hi to Paul when the band returned to the festival in 2019.

Both bands that performed at Border Bash that evening returned the following month to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion (see the full 2013 festival lineup here) to much acclaim, with St. Paul & The Broken Bones participating in a Live and Breathing recording session from the sewing floor at LC King Manufacturing while they were here. To date, those videos have received over a million views on YouTube – and the video below was featured in a background scene of the HBO series “Big Little Lies(Season One, Episode 6: Burning Love).

Following the February 2014 release of their album “Half the City,” St. Paul & The Broken Bones was invited to perform at Hangout Music Festival and Bonnaroo, and also returned to the Bristol Rhythm lineup that September. In December of that year Paul married his sweetheart, Caroline, and the band’s stock was certainly going up. They were getting higher-profile gigs in bigger venues and earned coveted opening slots for acts like Drive-By Truckers and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. The latter performance was held at a bucket list venue for Janeway, as it took place at Nashville’s “Mother Church,” The Ryman. In this interview with, Janeway mentions that the band received three standing ovations that night.

Fast-forward to 2015 and the year my dear friend and co-worker Tracey Childress refers to as her “Year of Music.” She and her husband Eric took in several of their own bucket list shows in 2015, which included seeing Paul McCartney and a big Grateful Dead reunion tour. Me and my hubby Tim tagged along with them to see a cathartic 3-hour Fleetwood Mac show in Knoxville in March, during which I unexpectedly cried through almost the entire concert. The whole band was back together in its original form, and being in the same room with Stevie Nicks and seeing them play with such exuberance literally sent me on an emotional journey I hadn’t been prepared to take.

We learned The Rolling Stones were bringing their Zip Code Tour to Atlanta’s Bobby Dodd Stadium and that the opening act was none other than St. Paul & The Broken Bones! There was no way we were missing it, even if we had to sit in the nosebleed section.  Tickets in hand, we booked our hotel rooms and hit the road. I made sure to pack the t-shirt I had bought at the Border Bash show two years prior and proudly wore it to the concert.

Collage of 2 photos. The first is a photo of Eric, Tracey, Charlene and Tim (Charlene wearing St. Paul t-shirt) at Rolling Stones concert. Second photo is of Charlene, her daughter, and Paul Janeway of St. Paul & the Broken Bones.
Photo 1: Eric, Tracey, me, and my hubby Tim waiting for St. Paul & the Broken Bones to open for The Rolling Stones in Atlanta, June 9, 2015. I am wearing the t-shirt I purchased at St. Paul’s first Bristol show. Photo 2: That’s me with my daughter Callie and Paul Janeway at Border Bash in August 2013 when I bought the t-shirt.

For the record, I live for full-circle moments like these. Even though it was impossible that anyone from the band would see me in the crowd, I still came to represent in the St. Paul & The Broken Bones t-shirt I’d purchased two years prior. Also, once a band or artist has played Bristol Rhythm, it’s a bond that will never be broken. They are instantly part of our musical family and our story.

I ended up running into a couple of Atlanta friends I knew at the show who weren’t familiar with the band, and several people seated next to us were equally unaware of the greatness they were about to witness. My t-shirt opened up conversations about Bristol Rhythm and gave me the opportunity to brag about the band.

When St. Paul finally took the stage, it was exciting to see how the band had honed its stage show to perfection; their fiery energy primed the crowd perfectly for The Stones set and the whole night was magical. I’m still so proud of them and so incredibly happy for their success. Both The Stones and Fleetwood Mac shows are particularly sentimental to me now that we have lost Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts and the divine Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac. Most of all, I cherish those memories with Eric and Tracey whom I’ve been seeing shows with for the better part of 30 years.

Back to the shirt…there is an existing school of thought that it is uncool to wear your favorite band’s t-shirt to their concerts. I call B.S. on that, but I did run across this article panning the practice and another op-ed accusing band tee snobs of being self-loathing know-it-alls – so there’s that. I posed the question, “Is it cool or uncool to wear your favorite band’s t-shirt to their concerts?” on Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion’s Facebook page, asking fans and musicians to weigh in on the matter. The response was a unanimous “it’s cool” from both sides.

Collage of 3 photos: 1) Two young girls posing with the band The Happy Fits. The girls are wearing their band sweatshirts. 2) Charlene posing in her New Respects sweatshirt while posing with the band Curse of Lono. 3) Charlene selfie, she is wearing a Momma Mollasses t-shirt
Photo 1: My daughter Callie (right) and her friend Gionna Russo posing with The Happy Fits (L to R) Calvin Langman, Luke Davis, and Ross Montieth at Bristol Rhythm 2019. The girls are wearing the band’s sweatshirts in 90 degree heat! Photo 2: Me posing in my New Respects sweatshirt with WJHL news anchor Amy Lynn and the band Curse of Lono at Bristol Rhythm 2019. Photo 3: A selfie in my favorite Momma Molasses tee – yay, v-neck!

I have an entire chest of drawers overflowing with band and festival t-shirts, and they are a constant in my weekly wardrobe. I’ll never regret a single purchase, and I’d like to think that $15 or $20 investment in my favorite artists may be putting gas in their vans to get them to the next gig where a whole new audience will fall in love with their music. I’d like to think that my investment in St. Paul & The Broken Bones in those early years contributed to that in some small way.

Buying band merch is especially meaningful to local musicians. When you slap their stickers on your bumpers or sport a cool tee out in public, not only are you advertising their art, you are supporting a small business in your community, plus helping local artists tour, record new music, replace broken guitar strings, etc. Also, when you show up to their shows wearing those t-shirts, you’re showing them how much you love them. The energy exchange there is priceless, and it gives them incentive to keep creating.

Photo collage of 2 photos. In the first photo three children standing in front of a stage smiling. Two of them are wearing Avett Brothers t-shirts. In the second photo a young girl is wearing an Amythyst Kiah t-shirt.
Kids showing band love! Photo 1: My daughter Callie with her friends Branch and Ginny Sword, who were sporting Avett Brothers couture, at Kingsport’s Funfest in 2018. It was Callie’s first Avett’s show and we had yet to hit the merch table. Photo 2: Callie goofing with her Dad, but proudly wearing her Amythyst Kiah tank top on a summer beach trip.

This Christmas season, instead of buying stuff, consider giving your music-loving friends tickets to a concert and a cool band t-shirt to wear to the show. Every time they wear that shirt they’ll think of you and the great gift of a cool music experience that you gave them – plus, added bonus: it’s the perfect opportunity to promote hard-working musicians. Like St. Paul & The Broken Bones, they could be really huge one day, and your friends could have a great band story like mine to tell. It’s literally an unbroken circle of good vibes all around.

Shameless plug, but Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is a great festival for discovering new talent. Acts like The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Amythyst Kiah, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, 49 Winchester, Moon Taxi, and Sierra Ferrell are just a few examples of talent we’ve hosted early on in their careers. Additionally, Bristol is a great example of how a thriving music scene breathes new life into a community, adds jobs, and supports its local economy through tourism, so make that investment and watch your local music scene thrive!

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion weekend passes make great stocking stuffers, and our festival tees are a great, quality purchase – just sayin’! We are nonprofit and a small business, so everything you give goes back into the festival and our community. Visit our website at for more information, we’ll be rolling out the 2023 lineup early in the New Year! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the following Bristol Rhythm Christmas Party Playlist on Spotify – filled with amazing artists that have performed at the festival – to keep you in the holiday spirit all season long!


Rx for the Soul: A Bristol Rhythm Thanksgiving Playlist

Though BCM is in perpetual motion, we are grateful for a bit of calm in the months after a busy Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. The 2022 event was a very good festival year by all accounts – we celebrated the 95th anniversary of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, attendance was up, and the lineup was just stellar. We’re so appreciative to everyone who made the trip to State Street to be with us; we hope you had as great a time as we did and that your experience was both meaningful and memorable!

A collage of three photos depicting evening aerial scenes of the State Street Stage at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2022, packed with people.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2022 and crowds on State Street. (L to R) Photo credit Johnson City Aerial Photography, Earl Neikirk, and Johnson City Aerial Photography.

As we have moved through fall – my favorite season of all – with its glorious red, gold, and amber colors of the changing trees, the crisp morning air, and vibrant, floating leaves that blanket everything below, it’s time to prepare for another busy holiday season and all its traditions. It’s also great time to reflect on all the things that went right in our collective lives this year and give thanks.

A collage of photos including a woman making a heart symbol with her hands, a photo of five women from different ethic backgrounds smiling at the camera, and a third photo of three children, two boys and a girl, enjoying the festival.
Images of music fans at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2022. (Clockwise L to R) Photos by Earl Neikirk, Cora Wagoner, and Earl Neikirk.

There are a few things I love most about music, including

1) How it brings people from all walks of life together in a way nothing else can

2) How favorite songs can lift our spirits and validate our emotions

3) How – faster than a heartbeat – a familiar song can nostalgically take you back to a time and place in your life of great significance.

The holidays can often be a source of anxiety for many of us for any number of reasons, and though I’m not a doctor, I’d like to prescribe something for you that may help soothe your soul and take the temperature down when things get a little overwhelming: Good music. You can take as much as you want and though symptoms may vary, the right combination of lyrics and melodies can change hearts and heal old wounds.

As a small gesture of gratitude to our festival goers and the amazing musicians we’ve hosted on our stages over the years, and in an effort to transmit cosmic gratitude and positive energy through the transformative power of music this Thanksgiving season, we’ve curated the Spotify playlist below of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion artists – packed with sentimentality and feel-good tunes that are guaranteed to set the mood for an amazing holiday season.  Thank you, friends, and may your blessings be bountiful.


*NOTE: Early bird weekend passes to Bristol Rhythm 2023 go on sale Black Friday for $100. Discount is good through Cyber Monday. Purchase online at

The Future is Female: Women Rule Bristol Rhythm 2022

Voice Magazine for Women, a free, monthly publication distributed regionally in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia to 650 locations, partners with the Birthplace of Country Music to promote our annual music festival, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. In August and September of each year, Voice generously allows us free rein to produce cover stories for the magazine highlighting upcoming acts performing at the event. With their permission, we have duplicated the cover article for this month – we hope you enjoy it! To read this month’s issue in its entirety, click here.

Voice Magazine for Women, August 2022
The Future is Female: Women Rule Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2022
By Guest Contributor Charlene Tipton Baker

Who says female artists don’t sell tickets? Tell that to Tanya Tucker or Rosanne Cash, two iconic Country Music Queens that have been selling out venues for decades. Both ladies just happen to be headlining a strong, female-inclusive lineup at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion this year. Nearly half the acts featured at September’s festival are either led by women or have a strong female presence in their bands. We don’t have room to list them all here, but we do want to shine the spotlight on a few powerful, must-see acts across a diverse spectrum of genres; artists who are more than great musicians – they’re real, relatable women working through complex, real-life issues to become their higher selves.

Photo of Michael and Tanya Trotter of The War & TreatyThe War & Treaty
The War & Treaty’s Michael and Tanya Trotter are couple goals. Michael is a U.S. Army vet who overcame homelessness; Tanya is a born entertainer working in theater and music. Serendipitously, the two met at the Love Festival, and this is where their story began. Soon they would marry and later have a son while touring. It makes sense that their music is all about love and positivity, and the duo has won the hearts of audiences internationally with their intense, high-energy shows and all-around good vibes. In 2020 they performed alongside Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, and Gary Clark Jr. at the GRAMMYs for a tribute to Ken Ehrlich. They’ve also toured with the likes of Al Green, Brandi Carlile, and Jason Isbell. Tanya recently turned her signature pin-up style into a retro-cool side business, check out her online boutique at

A photo of Sierra Ferrell set against a backdrop of foliage. She is wearing a cowboy hat and vintage western-wear.Sierra Ferrell
Sierra Ferrell is a country-folk gypsy from West Virginia who grew up with a single mom and two siblings. They were poor and moved around the state a lot. Sierra spent her childhood playing outdoors and using her vivid imagination. Her introduction to music was whatever was on the radio and singing in the school choir. Since then, Sierra’s lived out of a van, hopped trains, and hitch-hiked her way across the country playing music, picking up a myriad of styles and influences along the way. A few years after moving to Nashville she was signed to Rounder Records, and now she’s enchanting audiences on a grand scale with her authenticity, angelic twang, and a genre-bending sound that she describes as “past life.”

A photo of Katie looking up at the sky.Katie Pruitt
Katie Pruitt’s conservative Catholic upbringing in the Atlanta suburbs led her to live a closeted existence until she left town to complete her collegiate studies in Nashville. For years she had hidden her true self from her family and friends back home and turned to music as a means of self-expression. She’s very open about her struggles coming out to her family and with mental health, and writes about it in her music. Today she’s living her true, authentic self as a queer woman. More indie-folk than Americana, Pruitt’s velvety vocals open the floodgates to confessional songs about love, longing, and societal expectations. Her music resonates universally with life-affirming beauty and resolve.

Photo of Molly and her band.Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
At 29, Molly Tuttle is hands-down one of the finest flat-picking guitarists of our time. In 2017 she was the first woman to win the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year and was part of the all-female super group First Ladies of Bluegrass with Alison Brown, Missy Raines, Sierra Hull, and Becky Buller. Tuttle has been vocal about her experiences with sexism in bluegrass music and her struggles with anxiety and alopecia. On her latest album Crooked Tree, Tuttle is re-writing the narrative. “Some of the old ballads are really misogynist. There’s a lot of violence towards women. So I flipped the perspective to a woman’s.”

A photo of Jade Bird sitting in a box. There is a single light bulb hanging from the center above her head.Jade Bird
At 24, Jade Bird is wise beyond her years. Raised in the U.K. by her mother and grandmother, who were both separated from their spouses, Bird credits her own feminist worldview to their strength and resilience. In an interview with Holler magazine about her latest album Different Kinds of Light, Bird stated: “There’s a strong sense of fury that comes with being a young woman with rights taken away.” With influences ranging from Alanis Morissette and PJ Harvey to Oasis and the Bee Gees, Bird harnesses her raw vocal power into strong, relatable narratives that represent a woman who is still figuring out the world around her.

A photo of Nicki Bluhm wearing a wide-brimmed hat.Nicki Bluhm
San Francisco native Nicki Bluhm gained widespread attention when her YouTube rendition of the Hall & Oates classic “I Can’t Go For That” went viral. At the time she was in the band Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, a group formed with her husband Tim Bluhm. The Gramblers recorded two albums together and toured internationally, but Bluhm’s marriage was crumbling under the weight of her husband’s substance abuse and infidelity. Nicki left the band and moved to Nashville with something to prove to herself and her ex – that she could make it as a solo artist on her own terms. Success has indeed been the best revenge, following collaborations and appearances with artists such as Phil Lesh, Margo Price, Dawes, The Band of Heathens, Josh Ritter, Lukas Nelson, and the Wood Brothers. Oliver Wood, Karl Denson, and A. J. Croce are just a few of the major artists she collaborated with on Avondale Drive, an album best described as “nostalgic country soul.”

A photo of Miko Marks sitting on a bench in front of a piano.Miko Marks
Miko Marks walked away from the music industry after recording two albums and struggling to feel accepted as a Black artist in country music. The Flint, Michigan native’s elders were part of the Great Migration of Black Americans who escaped from the Jim Crow South. “People don’t realize that Black people, we were watching ‘Hee Haw’ too,” said Marks in an interview with NPR last year. A decade later, in the midst of the pandemic, a former bandmate sent her the song “Goodnight America,” a bluesy ballad about injustice and the breakdown of the American dream. It was then that Marks revived her musical career. Marks has now reclaimed her place in the industry and is listed among CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2022.

A photo of S.G. Goodman standing in front of fall trees with the sunset peaking out just over her shoulder.S. G. Goodman
S. G. Goodman is a queer artist from Hickman, Kentucky, who writes cinematic, indie-rock grooves with subversive, rural narratives that push back on Southern stereotypes. Goodman’s haunting, warbling vibrato echoes old-time voices of generations past, with punk sensibilities. Her latest, ground-breaking release, aptly titled Teeth Marks, rips Southern stereotypes, emotional trauma, the opioid crisis, and small-town life into bite-sized shreds. “I always feel, when describing the South to people, that the South is the soul of the country. And when the soul of the country is sick, the body is sick.” The artist admits to writing an open suicide note on her first album called “Space & Time” when she was at her lowest, feeling isolated and unsupported by her community. She says it was her musical circle of friends that saved her life.

A photo of Emily Scott Robinson seated on a bench in the woods by a creekEmily Scott Robinson
Greensboro, North Carolina native Emily Scott Robinson once worked as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Telluride, Colorado. It was there that her dream of becoming a musician was fostered by kindred spirits at Planet Bluegrass’ The Song School. When asked what listeners would learn about her from her latest album American Siren, Robinson says, “I think they would learn that I absolutely LOVE unpacking the roles that religious, cultural, and moral beliefs play in our life choices. I like to take my characters into their shadowy places and explore their inner lives.” Inspired by other strong Americana songwriters like Patty Griffin, Nanci Griffith, John Prine, and Brandi Carlile, the beauty in Robinson’s music is in the art of skillful and personal storytelling, delivered with pristine vocals that echo her influences. Robinson’s album has appeared on a number of “Best Of” lists in publications like NPR, Rolling Stone, Wide Open Country, and The Bluegrass Situation.

A photograph taken in a cemetery. Three of the band's members are scattered about, posing behind the headstones.Oh He Dead
The story behind the Washington, D.C. quintet’s unusual name, Oh He Dead, came from a song written by the band’s vocalist C. J. Johnson. Based on an incident from Johnson’s life, the song’s narrator comes home to find her man cheating and guns him down. When asked by a band member what happened to the guy in real life, Johnson dryly retorted, “Oh, he dead.” No one was actually killed, but the phrase became a running joke and, eventually, the band’s name. The group had been together for four years when the pandemic placed a sudden halt on touring, so they started hosting weekly “Jammy Jams” where fans would tune in to listen to the group’s jazzy, rock and soul online. The two-year hiatus allowed the band to work on two albums of new material. In 2021 they submitted to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series, and it helped revive the band’s spirit. Johnson cites Fleetwood Mac and Sade as influences, and her autobiographical songs touch on real life – like the birth of her son, her rocky relationship with her father, and a high school crush.

Check out these acts and a host of other amazing talent during Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, celebrating the 95th Anniversary of the 1927 Bristol Sessions September 9–11, 2022, in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia. Check out the full lineup and purchase passes at

A Big Festival ‘Thank You!’: Gratitude Playlist Included!

After cancelling Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in 2020 due to the pandemic, it was great to be back on State Street this past September dancing with friends, making new ones, and enjoying great live music again. Sometimes we take for granted that there will “always be next year” but, when 2020 didn’t happen the way we had planned, we realized just how quickly things can change. Something extraordinary could derail any of us at any given moment, so it’s important to take stock in the moment, grasp tight to any positivity one can muster, and not get mired down in circumstances we have no control over. That’s why having the festival in 2021 was so important – not just to the Birthplace of Country Music as an organization, but also to our Historic Downtown Bristol community and to the artists and the fans who count on us to curate a quality event.

The saying “a rising tide lifts all boats” applies here. Bristol Rhythm has become a family tradition that not only lifts our community economically, but it also brings us together and elevates our spirits on a deeply emotional level that’s just good for the soul. The logistics of the festival are somewhat simple – meaning we don’t offer corporate activations like free hair salon tents, silent discos or ferris wheels – instead we focus on the charm and history of Bristol’s beautiful downtown and great live music without distraction. After all, we want our guests to fall in love with the setting, the artists and their music, and the overall good vibes. Personal struggles, social class, and political affiliations are checked at the gate, and we genuinely enjoy being a community of music lovers. We’re making core memories to last a lifetime, and hopefully they’re all positive.

Though our 20th anniversary celebration presented some challenges with last-minute lineup changes and navigating COVID, we did our best to stay positive and focused on festivalgoers’ overall enjoyment. Despite the hiccups, we had a solid turnout and the music was simply blissful! The magical spark that makes Historic Downtown Bristol so special during Bristol Rhythm was ignited once again and, if only for three short days, the world was harmonious. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Purple and yellow stage lights shining down on members of the band Blackberry Smoke performing on the State Street Stage at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2021. The image has been taken with forced perspective so it seems to curve at the bottom and show the whole stage set-up.
BlackBerry Smoke at Bristol Rhythm 2021

If you know, you know – meaning that those of us who attend Bristol Rhythm have a deep reverence for it. There are always people who will never truly get it unless they come here. As Communications Manager, I have spent nearly two decades pitching the festival to major music publications. We’ve had a few nice write-ups here and there, but nothing like what we received this year – thanks to the help of publicist Danielle Dror at Victory Lap. With her tenacity and great connections, around 40 reporters and journalists from a diverse group of media outlets attended Bristol Rhythm in 2021, many for the first time. Some of their words made me literally cry tears of joy, and I want to share them with you here:

  • “The Reunion should be counted in the top ten most influential and enriching festivals in roots music. With its location in the heart of a rural region rich in country music talent and history, it’s helped burnish Americana’s integrity as a music field that doesn’t only rely on or reflect the cosmopolitan values that suffuse the upcoming Nashville AmericanaFest. At the same time, Bristol’s heritage has never been more relevant.” – WMOT
  • “The environment and atmosphere were nothing short of magical; as if Jimmie Rodgers, The Carters, and the others were watching over everybody celebrating the beauty of what they started 100 years ago.” – Music Mecca
  • “Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion did a great job celebrating the region’s cultural history and musical folkways. In the process, area talents and local business owners benefited in the hear-and-now from Bristol’s legacy and its ability to draw stars the caliber of Anderson and Lauderdale to an idyllic, small and Southern town.” – Wide Open Country
  • “[Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion] may be our favorite festival yet. We encourage music fans to visit this special gathering in its next editions.” – JRod Concerts Podcast
  • “There is a neo-traditionalist movement afoot that has the potential to dynamically alter the future of country music. Far from the madding crowds of Nashville’s Lower Broadway and the boardrooms and industry offices on nearby Music Row, it’s happening in the genre’s ancestral home of Bristol – on the Tennessee/Virginia border – at the city’s Rhythm & Roots Reunion.” – The Boot
  • “Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion blended sounds both old and new, offering a variety of current and up-and-coming artists in the place where country music started a century ago. The festival continued to honor and carry forward traditions established in the city known as the Birthplace of Country Music.” – Blue Ridge Outdoors
  • “Bristol Rhythm & Roots is a festival that inspires artists and upholds tradition. Seeing the return of the festival following last year’s cancellation, bringing together musicians and music lovers for a weekend of communal camaraderie in reverence to the music that was made there, the words of a Carter Family classic still ring true for it is evident that the ‘circle will remain unbroken’.” – The Alternate Root
  • “The 20th Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion defines best as a triumph. From Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time show at the Country Music Mural on Friday afternoon through Saturday night’s scintillating Blackberry Smoke performance and Sunday’s eloquent set from Son Little on State Street, attendees luxuriated in music courtesy [of] Rhythm & Roots.” – Bristol Herald-Courier
Photo of Danielle Dror and Charlene Baker riding in a golf cart at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
Publicist Danielle Dror and me on a golf cart at Bristol Rhythm 2021

I want to take the time to thank each and every one of you who stayed with us through thick and thin, and for everyone who has supported us over the years. From our fans and volunteers to our sponsors and artists, you are responsible for making Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion the best music festival ever, and we appreciate you for helping us achieve all the things we couldn’t have achieved on our own. We really needed that support this year, and we are grateful for you in a million different ways.

As we sit down at our tables on Thursday to give thanks, we offer you an abundance of gratitude for your generosity, good will, kindness, and understanding through what has been a difficult time for all of us. May you be in the presence of those you love most this Thanksgiving – well wishes for a healthy, happy holiday and brighter days ahead for us all! We hope you enjoy our Bristol Rhythm Gratitude Spotify playlist as you gather and know you are forever in our hearts:

Charlene Baker is the Communications Manager at the Birthplace of Country Music.