Being a music aficionado isn’t a requirement to work at the Birthplace of Country Music, but most of us are really big fans. It isn’t uncommon for new hires to get quizzed on their favorite artists and what they enjoy listening to outside the office, so for this edition of the BCM Blog we made the quiz an assignment for the “new girl” in our Marketing Department. Below is Marketing Coordinator Ashli Linkous’ Top 5 must-sees at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in 2022:
Howdy! I guess I better introduce myself. I’m Ashli Linkous (odd spelling, I know). I first came to the Birthplace of Country Music as a King University student volunteer in 2021, where I helped monitor social media engagements during festival weekend. In January of this year, I started a Marketing internship, diving deep into the inner workings of all things BCM and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. Now, newly minted as Marketing Coordinator here at BCM (woohoo!), I am SO excited to be back for a second festival, this time managing the festival socials, creating content, photographing artists, and running around like a crazy person! With the festival just days away, I thought I would share the bands I’m most excited to see at this year’s festival.
Straight from the Russell County line! Our local boys!
Hailing from the nearby mountain town of Castlewood, Virginia, 49 Winchester is a year-after-year festival favorite. They’ve been playing here in Bristol for quite some time, and they are achieving mega success with their recent album “Fortune Favors The Bold,” their fourth studio album overall and debut with label New West Records.
Coming straight off of their debut at The Grand Ole Opry, 49 Winchester will make a momentous homecoming at #BristolRhythm2022. They finished up a summer stint with country rock group Whiskey Myers a couple weeks ago, and the momentum they are gaining is only going to continue to pick up. Current members consist of Isaac Gibson (lead singer/guitar), Chase Chafin (bass), Bus Shelton (guitar), Noah Patrick (pedal steel), Tim Hall (piano, organ, keys) and former Folk Soul Revival drummer Justin Louthian. Past festival goers may remember them playing some of the smaller stages through the years, but in 2022 they are coming to you from the State Street Stage right before Saturday’s headliner Del McCoury Band. They are currently the most scheduled band on our festival app, so you better see them now– they’re on track to major stardom.
Personal favorites are “Annabel,” “Hays, Kansas” and “Damn Darlin.”
Oh I’d rather be a crooked tree.
This April marked the highly anticipated release of west coast bluegrass queen Molly Tuttle’s “Crooked Tree” album, co-produced by Jerry Douglas (also on this year’s festival lineup) and featured some big name collaborations with heavy hitters like Billy Strings on “Dooley’s Farm” and Old Crow Medicine Show appearing on “Big Backyard.” Bluegrass fans will remember Tuttle dominating the IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards in both 2017 and 2018, winning ‘Guitar Player of the Year’ back-to-back as well as ‘Collaborative Recording of the Year’ in 2018. She is he first woman to win the IBMA in that category.
Her live band currently consists of Dominick Leslie (mandolin), Kyle Tuttle (banjo), Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle), and Shelby Means (bass). She was last with us in Bristol back in 2018, so make sure to see her while she’s in town. Molly and her band are set to play State Street Stage on Sunday just before Rosanne Cash!
Personal favorites include the cowgirl ballad “Side Saddle,” as well as “Dooley’s Farm,” an updated story about good ole moonshiner Dooley, and “Castilleja,” an outlaw drama turned song.
Call it a comeback.
After an early deal with Interscope and a nearly fatal car accident in the 90’s, Fantastic Negrito came back from a music hiatus in 2014 with a self-titled EP. In 2016, he released “The Last Days of Oakland” under Blackball Universe, a multimedia collective he co-founded with Malcom Spellman. Now holding three GRAMMY awards (Best Contemporary Blues Album 2017, 2019, 2021), Fantastic Negrito is looking to 4-peat with his new album “White Jesus Black Problems,” which he calls “an exhilarating ode to the power of family and the enduring resilience of our shared humanity.”
Fantastic Negrito makes his Bristol Rhythm debut this year and is sure to be a hit with blues, R&B, soul, and folk lovers alike. You can catch his set on Friday, September 9th from 10:00-11:30 PM at the Cumberland Square Park stage.
Personal favorites are “An Honest Man” and “Oh Betty.”
A little bit gypsy, a little bit country. A sprinkle of folk, a dollop of Americana.
Sierra Ferrell got her start busking on street corners around the country. By 2018, she signed with Rounder Records for a three album deal and had a live performance of “In Dreams” go viral on GemsOnVHS . Her first singles came with the release of “Jeremiah” and “Why’d Ya Do It” in 2020, and her first album “Long Time Coming” hit the shelves in August 2021 just before her appearance at the 20th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
Since last year, she has gained a boatload of new fans (rightfully so) and she just recently had her song “In Dreams” go viral on TikTok. We are thrilled that she’s returning to Bristol for a second year in a row; she’ll be at the Country Mural Stage on Saturday and if there’s only one person you should plan to see at this year’s festival it should 100% be Sierra Ferrell.
Sierra is one of my all-time favorite artists, with my favorite songs from her being the emotional track “Made Like That” as well as “Why’d Ya Do It” and “Bells of Every Chapel.” She’s also got the best covers of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rock” that I’ve heard from a modern artist. She may not pull them out at the festival, but maybe if we chant loud enough she’ll give us some Christmas in September!
On the come up.
Earning the stamp of approval from chart-topper and Bristol Rhythm/Radio Bristol Sessions alumni Tyler Childers, John R. Miller is an artist that should be on your radar.
Miller grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia and has lesser known releases going all the way back to 2014. Another Rounder Records artist, his debut solo album, “Depreciated,” came out in July 2021. His lyrics alone could be published as a poetry book, but his voice and instrumentals make it that much more impactful.
He was last in Bristol back in November 2021 for Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time live variety
show in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Now he’s set to take the stage again on
Saturday, September 10th, at the 2022 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
Personal favorites are “Shenandoah Shakedown” and “Lookin’ Over My Shoulder.”
For complete Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2022 lineup, schedule and tickets, visit BristolRhythm.com.