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!
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.
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 BristolRhythm.com.
I think we can all agree 2020 has been one giant dumpster fire. As we enter the Halloween season, you might be thinking reality has become a little like living a scary movie. This got me to thinking: if this were a scary movie, how could we flip the script? Hasn’t the horror genre taught us everything we need to know about surviving until the credits? And because every good Halloween flick needs a killer soundtrack, I’ve included a Spooktacular Bristol Rhythm playlist on Spotify to aid in your assault on COVID-19, with nearly five hours of music by your favorite festival artists! From the trailer through the double feature, we got you covered.
Please understand, I mean no disrespect. My intent is not to make light of the pandemic, its victims, or the tragedies we are facing as a society. COVID-19 has attacked my industry and many others, our friends and family, cancelled our favorite festival and now my favorite holiday – Halloween. But if the horror genre has taught me anything, it’s that light almost always conquers darkness, and that keeping a sense of humor through hard times is crucial to survival. But. Like Laurie Strode beat down the Boogeyman, I’m ready to kick some COVID ass!
An examination of the zombie sub-genre of horror by masters Romero, Kirkman, Boyle, Brooks, and Fleisher is essential right now because their work imparts an over-arching social commentary, including the dissection of human behavior, during times of fictional global crisis. Therein you may find one section of the population, like besties Shaun and Ed of Shaun of the Dead, who just want to wait it out over pints at The Winchester until help shows up.
In contrast you may find characters on a mission, like Tallahassee inZombieland who would face down a horde of the undead for a single Twinkie. Eventually Tallahassee meets up with Columbus and learned there are rules. If those rules were applied to the here and now, they kind of make sense. Let’s break it down:
Rule #1 – Cardio (References the ability to outrun danger.) Conditioning during the pandemic isn’t the worst idea. Stay strong, friends!
Rule #2 – Double Tap (Always make sure a zombie is decommissioned, i.e. a second shot to the head) When a sink is nowhere to be found, have sanitizer ready as a back up. Go for the big guns and hit that pump twice so you’re covered.
Rule #3 – Beware of Bathrooms (Don’t get trapped with your pants down.) Public restrooms can be sketch, so make going potty in a strange place a fun game! It’s called “Not Touching Stuff with Your Bare Hands” and anyone can play! Be resourceful, get creative! Give yourself points for ingenuity! Judge if you will, but I was playing this game for years before COVID-19 because poo.
Rule #4 Seatbelts (For obvious reasons.) Okay, this one really won’t protect you from COVID-19, but I mention it because it’s a safety precaution, just like wearing a mask, and seatbelts don’t seem to trigger anybody into a political argument. You just wear ’em and shut up about it.
Rule #7 Travel Light (You never know when you need to bolt.) Wallet? Check. Keys? Check. Mask and hand sanitizer? Check, check.
Rule #17 Be a Hero (Amended rule from the previous, don’t be a hero–sometimes you have to be a helper.) Imagine how many times you’ve distanced, masked up and not infected anyone with COVID-19! You’re already a hero!
Rule #22 When in Doubt, Know Your Way Out Don’t be afraid to say “no” to situations that don’t make you feel safe. These are extraordinary times, and the sooner we lick this thing, the sooner we can all get back to normal.
Rule #31 Check the Back Seat Can’t find your mask? Did you check the back seat?
Rule #32 Enjoy the Little Things Don’t take anything for granted. Let’s show each other some kindness and compassion, and be grateful for all the little things that make us happy. Like family, friends, and good music!
One positive thing about scary times and scary stories is what they teach us about ourselves. Even the most unassuming characters can turn out to be the toughest and most resourceful, and there is safety in numbers when we all choose to stick together and do the right thing. I pray we all actively choose to be heroes and protect each other, because our lives just may depend on it. I desperately want us all to dance together next year during Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion on State Street without masks and without the threat of COVID-19. Even scary stories sometimes have happy endings, and after all we’ve been through in 2020, I think we deserve one.
We hope you enjoy this musical Halloween treat from us: A Spooktacular Bristol Rhythm Spotify Playlist! From Appalachian murder ballads to rip-roarin’ rockabilly monster rock, some roots songs conjure an atmosphere worthy of any big screen thriller. I dug down deep into the vault of past Bristol Rhythm artists to come up with some killer tracks for this season of the witch – and found dozens of chilling tunes that rattle bones and tell some scary little stories of their own.