June 12th, 2014

Jam Camp Moving to BCM Museum!


Bristol Rhythm’s 2nd annual Wernick Method Jam Camp is moving to new Birthplace of Country Music Museum!

September 17-19, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. daily

Tuition $249 includes lunch & complimentary festival pass.
$120 deposit holds your spot!

Closet pickers, this is for you!

Did you know there’s an etiquette to jumping into a bluegrass jam? Want to know how to find melodies and fake solos? That’s what the Wernick Method is all about, and we can teach you this year at Jam Camp! If you play guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass, or dobro, you got this!

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion’s Bluegrass Jam Camp, taught by Gilbert Nelson using the Wernick Method, happens Wednesday-Friday, leading up to the festival.

Click here to sign up for Jam Camp!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tourism and music industry representatives gathered today for a special press conference to officially announce the August 2 grand opening of The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, TN/VA and the creation of “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited.” It was further announced that a national search is underway for a new band to perform the last track on the “Orthophonic Joy” recording project, produced by multi-Grammy Award-winner Carl Jackson.

Famed Opry host Eddie Stubbs emceed the event with special remarks and musical performances by country music celebrity Marty Stuart, as well as The Church Sisters, The Shotgun Rubies, The Chuck Wagon Gang and Carl Jackson. Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Chris Canfield, Virginia Tourism Corporation, also brought remarks. The event was fittingly held at The Country Music Hall of Fame ® and Museum.

This Smithsonian Institution-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum is dedicated to preserve the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting influence on American popular music. Johnny Cash referred to the famous Sessions as “The single most important event in the history of country music.” Also known as the “Big Bang of Country Music,” the legendary recordings by Ralph Peer took country music to a new level and produced pioneers of the genre, such as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.

Set to be released in October, “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited,” features entertainment legend Dolly Parton, as well as country music stars Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers and Ashley Monroe. The recording project includes 16 of the original songs from the Bristol Sessions.

The idea to recreate the Bristol Sessions had been discussed within the Birthplace of Country Music organization for years, but the serendipitous connection between board member John Rainero, veteran songwriter Rusty Morrell and producer Carl Jackson helped bring “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited” to life.

“My dear friend Rusty Morrell approached me with the idea to produce a project honoring the original 1927 Bristol Sessions,” Jackson said. “He was very aware and fond of a couple of other multi-artist ‘tribute’ projects I had produced and felt I was the guy who could bring his vision to life. In my opinion, the importance of those ’27 recordings cannot be overstated, and I am truly honored that Rusty asked me to shine a new and loving light on some of those classic works.”

In the spirit of Ralph Peer, Jackson and the Birthplace of Country Music organization is launching a nationwide search for a new artist to record the final track on the album. Emerging and independent artists may submit ONE of the following selected Bristol Sessions songs: “The Storms Are On the Ocean,” “Darling Cora,” “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow,” or “I Am Bound For The Promised Land.” Deadline to receive submissions is July 10. Four artists will be selected for Jackson and a panel of judges to review.

“The 1927 Bristol Sessions have often been honored for their impact on the world’s music,” said Leah Ross, executive director, Birthplace of Country Music. “With the opening of the Museum, the release of ‘Orthophonic Joy,’ and the nationwide search for new talent, BCM and the team of irreplaceable partners who are part of these endeavors are ensuring the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions lives on for generations to come.”

Today’s event was hosted by the Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol TN/VA Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, and Virginia Tourism Corporation.

For a complete list of contest rules and more information on the Birthplace of Country Music, visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org.


Bristol, TN/VA (June 5, 2014) – In addition to Jeff Tweedy, a number of great acts have been added to the 2014 roster. Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2014 is proud to announce the following acts will join the growing alumni family this September:

Robbin Thompson: Following stints with the Tasmanians and Mercy Flight, Robbin was the lead singer in the Bruce Springsteen band Steel Mill. He has won the American Song Festival twice, and has recorded more than a dozen albums. Thompson, along with friend Steve Bassett, authored the song “Sweet Virginia Breeze,” which is considered by many to be the unofficial state song of Virginia. He has also written and recorded songs with Eagles bassist Timothy B. Schmit (who also sings harmonies on many of Robbin’s recordings). Thompson has shared the stage with many recording artists, including Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Bruce Springsteen, and Bruce Hornsby, to name just a few.

Honey Island Swamp Band: Great music begins with great songs, and great songs are what the Honey Island Swamp Band is all about. The band came together when members were marooned in San Francisco after the levee breaches following Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and a chance encounter with fellow New Orleans evacuees at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room on Fillmore Street. They knew each other from having all played together in some form or another in various New Orleans bands, and with the great unknown regarding their return to their underwater hometown looming in the distance, they decided to put together a band and get some gigs going. Fortunately, the Boom Boom Room’s owner Alex Andreas offered the band a weekly gig on the spot. Honey Island Swamp Band‘s music has been described as “Bayou Americana” with timeless songs highlighted by searing guitar, sure-handed mandolin, and 4-part vocal harmonies, all anchored by the powerful groove of a Louisiana stomp rhythm section.

Mandolin Orange: “Mandolin Orange carries an understanding of tradition and shape it into a thing of beauty. They craft simple songs that go beyond chord progressions and vocal harmonies, leading somehow toward something pure. Using acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin and a hand-me-down fiddle, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz allure with a heart-worn sensibility. Last year’s Haste Make/ Hard Hearted Stranger combines bluegrass, rock and country for lullabies that swoon.”
- Ashleigh Phillips, Independent Weekly

Elliott BROOD: Elliott BROOD have always been time travellers. The Toronto trio writes songs steeped in history that feel very present. They’ve done their share of actual travelling, too, these musical troubadours, acoustic guitars and banjos slung over their sharp suits as they barnstormed across Canada and beyond. For the new album Days Into Years, it was century-old stories encountered an ocean away that brought them closest to home. The album was recorded with co-producer John Critchley at Green Door Studios in Toronto at Avening Town Hall (a former army barracks) in rural Ontario, the album showcases a more amped up Elliott BROOD that will put the knell to the “death country” tag that described their early work. Now, the roof-raising rhythm stomp and mandolin collides with luscious harmonies, piano and, for the first time, electric guitar in a mix is “loud, heavy and rock ‘n’ roll.”

Gregory Alan Isakov: Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and calling Colorado home, Gregory Alan Isakov has been traveling all his life. Songs that hone a masterful quality beyond his years tell a story of miles and landscapes, and the search for a sense of place. His song-craft lends to the deepest lyrical masterpieces, with hints of his influences, Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen. He has been described as “strong, subtle, a lyrical genius.” Isakov has played numerous music festivals and venues across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Other artists added to the festival lineup include Jerron Blind Boy Paxton, Blue Ridge Entertainers, Clay Prewitt, Earth by Train, Good Rocking Sam, L Shape Lot, Logan Fritz, The Railsplitters, Ron Short & the Possum Playboys, Wires & Wood.

Jeff Tweedy

Bristol, TN/VA (June 5, 2014) – Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is over-the-moon ecstatic to announce groundbreaking singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy will join their already impressive 2014 lineup. Tweedy is scheduled to appear Saturday, September 20, 2014, during the three-day music festival. The Bristol date is part of his summer-long solo tour of the United States, promoting his new solo CD release.

“Having Jeff Tweedy at the festival with Emmylou Harris and the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience is the perfect trifecta of amazing talent,” said Leah Ross, executive director of Birthplace of Country Music®, the parent organization of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. “These artists, and many others on our roster, are groundbreaking, inspirational, and timeless. We are privileged to have them at our festival in September.”

Fans of Tweedy will remember Uncle Tupelo’s haunting rendition of The Carter Family’s “No Depression in Heaven” on the band’s first album, No Depression, in 1990. The homage is further evidence of the far-reaching impact of The Carter Family’s lasting influence across the generations and genres.

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is held annually the third weekend of September over three days. This year’s festival dates are September 19-21, marking the event’s 14th anniversary.

Jeff Tweedy: Jeff Tweedy is “one of the most daring songwriters of his generation” and his band Wilco is “vital, adventurous…breaking new stylistic ground with each ambitious and creatively restless album.” Salon.com

As the founding member and leader of the American rock band Wilco and before that the co-founder of alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy is one of contemporary American music’s most accomplished songwriters, musicians and performers. Since starting Wilco in 1994 Tweedy has written original songs for eight Wilco albums and collaborated with folk singer Billy Bragg to bring musical life to three albums-full of Woody Guthrie-penned lyrics in the Mermaid Avenue series.
Tweedy has had a firm hand in producing all of Wilco’s eight studio albums, and over the past decade has created “the Wilco loft,” a state-of-the-art recording studio and rehearsal space on Chicago’s North Side “where eccentric vintage instruments sit side by side with near classics . . . industrial-grade shelves filled to the ceiling with guitar cases and amps. Everywhere you look, there are instruments.”- Fretboard Journal

Tweedy, an accomplished and in-demand producer beyond the Wilco realm, has collaborated twice with soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples, first on her 2010 release You Are Not Alone, and more recently, on the just-released One True Vine. Both albums were produced by Tweedy and recorded at the Wilco loft and both have garnered widespread critical acclaim. “One True Vine sounds at once contemporary and true to Staples’ lengthy career and history . . . haunting, beautifully restrained . . .” – The A.V. Club.

“Guided by the brilliant production of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy . . . mixes triumphant gospel and evocative blues, infusing each with hard-won wisdom.” NPR on You Are Not Alone, which went on to win Best Americana Album in the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Tweedy’s most recent producer credits include The Invisible Way by the Minneapolis trio Low, Wassaic Way by folk-rock duo Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion’s (co-produced with Wilco’s Patrick Sansone) and a forthcoming album by Austin’s psychedelic rockers White Denim.

A touring tour-de-force since the release of The Whole Love in September 2011 on the band’s own dBpm Records, Wilco has played more than 170 concerts worldwide including multiple tours of North America and Europe as well as tours in Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Wilco also mans the helm at its own Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in The Berkshires – a three-day event blending music, comedy, world-class contemporary art, and more.

In addition to his work with Wilco, Tweedy tours frequently as a solo artist, playing intimate unscripted acoustic sets that draw from his 400-plus song repertoire. A departure from Wilco’s carefully orchestrated, sonically complex performances, Tweedy’s solo concerts showcase his prolific output as a songwriter, his proficiency as a guitarist, his charismatic and compelling stage presence, and his wry sense of humor. www.wilcoworld.net/splash-wilco-page/


Pictured L to R:
Carey Kidd (BCM), Nick Corrigan (L&B), Charlene Baker (BCM), Eric Blevins (BRRR),
Leah Ross (BCM), Justin Glanville (L&B), and Destiny Smith (L&B)

Johnson City, TN (May 9, 2014) – Birthplace of Country Music’s Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival took home a number of Pinnacle Awards, including “Best of Show”, from Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association (NETTA) at their annual awards luncheon on Wednesday. This latest recognition comes after the festival received the cities of Bristol Mayors’ Award of Distinction in April and several Southeast Festival & Events Association Kaleidoscope Awards, including “Best Festival”, in February.

The Pinnacle awards were sponsored by Bristol Motor Speedway and held at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, Tennessee.

“Receiving the Pinnacle for Best of Show from NETTA is especially meaningful to our organization,” said Birthplace of Country Music Executive Director Leah Ross. “To know that our event is held in such high esteem among our regional tourism industry is very humbling. It has taken a village to make Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion a success, this award speaks to the hard work and support of many over the past fourteen years.”

In addition to “Best in Show” honors, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion recieved the Pinnacle for Special Events and Public Relations. Jack King, owner of LC King Manufacturing Co. in Historic Downtown Bristol, accepted the Public Relations Pinnacle for #BristolRhythm: Live & Breathing, The LC King Centennial Sessions. Nick Corrigan, Justin Glanville, and Destiny Smith, of Live & Breathing, were also present.

Live & Breathing, based in Knoxville, Tenn., is a video production company known for capturing intimate performances by musicians in unique, personal settings. The company set up private shoots in the second story sewing room of the 100-year-old LC King factory during Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2013 weekend. Live & Breathing recorded over 50 performances by artists including IBMA award-winning Della Mae, Willie Watson, JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge, and St. Paul & the Broken Bones. As of this date, the Live & Breathing: LC King Centennial Session videos have netted more than 478,000 page views on YouTube alone.

“It is an honor to be recognized for our work, but it is a privilege to work with such talented people and with such a great event,” said Nick Corrigan, Live & Breathing Production Manager. “None of what we do would be possible without everyone who helped us along the way.  Everyone’s hospitality and the collaboration of Pointer Brand, The Birthplace of Country Music and Live And Breathing is what made the LC King Centennial Sessions a success. It’s great that the community sees and recognizes that.”

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion also recieved Merit Awards for Print and Multi-Media Advertising & Promotions for the Reunion’s Festival Guide, designer Cindy Collier, and Mobile Application, designer CrowdTorch by Cvent.

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2014 will be held September 19-21. Weekend Passes to the annual music festival remain at $50 through June 30.

Andrew Combs, Paleface

Andrew Combs, Paleface

Bristol, VA/TN (May 9, 2014) – 15 years of Border Bash continues its season long celebration! Thank you to the hundreds of friends who joined us downtown for the inaugural concert of the season last week, you made it a big success! Join us Friday, May 16, 2014, in the 700 block of State Street. Starting at 6:00 p.m., we’ll do it all again with children’s activities and vendors.

The free concerts start at 7:00 p.m. featuring Andrew Combs and Paleface, two acts featured at this year’s Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival (September 19-21, 2014). As always, the event is free to the public. Border Bash is hosted by Believe in Bristol, the Cities of Bristol, VA/TN, and Birthplace of Country Music®.

Andrew Combs is a songwriter, guitarist, and singer who lives in Nashville. Originally from Dallas, Combs is inspired by the great tradition of Texas songwriting exemplified by Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Mickey Newbury. Following the success of the 2010 EP Tennessee Time, Coin Records released the 7-inch single “Big Bad Love” in May 2012 and Combs’ debut full-length album, Worried Man, on October 30, 2012. The new album caps off a busy year for Combs who signed as a staff writer with Razor & Tie Music Publishing in July 2012. Combs was also tapped to play the 2012 Americana Music Association festival and has played and toured with Shovels & Rope, Jonny Corndawg, Caitlin Rose, Houndmouth, Robert Ellis, and Jason Isbell.

Prolific Influential cult-hero & Indie-folk icon, PALEFACE, is now a high-energy and charismatic duo (sometimes trio) featuring girlfriend-drummer Mo Samalot, who adds charming candied vocal harmonies to the mix. The band celebrated the release of their latest album One Big Party (Ramseur Records) with a special guest-performance alongside label-mates The Avett Brothers at Radio City Music Hall, followed by US and Europe tours. Soon after, PASTE Magazine premiered “PALEFACE: The Making Of One Big Party”, a short documentary which follows the band as they record the album and tour. Paleface’s music video for the album’s tittle-track received airplay through several MTV stations as well as satellite & online outlets (VH1, CMT, MTV). And this Winter, Paleface’s Mountain Stage performance aired via 130+ NPR stations nationwide and worldwide via Voice of America Satellite Service, and NPR.com. PALEFACE, was schooled musically by Daniel Johnston and soon discovered at an NYC open mic by Danny Fields (The Stooges, The Ramones, MC5). He’s released over a dozen records including two major label releases, and has been quoted as major influence and inspiration by a wide range of artists including Grammy Award recipient BECK who calls Paleface a big influence on his early work. Paleface has also collaborated and appeared on three albums by The Avett Brothers. At the moment, Paleface is in the process of writing a new album to record later in the year, and in the meantime he’s self-released Multibean Bootleg Vol.3, a collection of raw demos, live performances and outtakes.


Emmylou Harris, The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Moon Taxi, J. Roddy Walston & the Business, Dale Watson & His Lone Stars, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, The Kruger Brothers, Billy Joe Shaver, The Seldom Scene, Ray Wylie Hubbard, White Denim, Caveman, Willie Watson, The Black Lillies, 18 South, Marty Raybon & Full Circle, Sturgill Simpson, Balsam Range, Town Mountain, Red Molly, Folk Soul Revival, Chuck Mead, Sol Driven Train, Bronze Radio Return, Quiet Life, Joshua James, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Black Prairie, M.S.G. – The Acoustic Blues Trio, Goodnight, Texas, Breaking Grass, The Whiskey Gentry, Truth & Salvage Co., Swear & Shake, The Deslondes, The New Familiars, Fruition, The Cactus Blossoms, Flatt Lonesome, Leo Welch w/ Jimbo Mathus, Donna Ulisse & the Poor Mountain Boys, Bawn In the Mash, Tumbleweed Wanderers, Parker Millsap, The Giving Tree Band, Furnace Mountain, Elliott BROOD, The Dustbowl Revival, Hello Stranger ft. Dale Jett, Cruz Contreras, Bombadil, Paleface, If Birds Could Fly, Wayne Henderson & the Virginia Luthiers, Adam Faucett, The Adam Larkey Band, After Jack, Al Scorch, Amazed By Grace, Amythyst Kiah, Ancient Cities, Andrew Combs, Annabelle’s Curse, Annie Robinette, Antique Firearms, Barlow Gin & the Hatchetmen, Billy Crawford Band, Breaking Tradition, Bryan Elijah Smith & the Wild Hearts, The Corklickers, Cutthroat Shamrock, Deep Fried 5, Dustin Miller, Duty Free, Ed Snodderly, Empty Bottle String Band, ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band, ETSU Old Time Pride Band, The Farmhouse Ghost, Feed the Birds, The Fiddlin’ Carson Peters Band, Frank Fairfield, Great Peacock, Grits & Soul, The Harlow Experience, The Hermit Kings, The Hey Boys, Honaker FFA Bluegrass Band, The Honey Badgers, Indian Run Stringband, Jamie Cook, Jarekus Singleton, Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, Jon LaDeau, The Josh Daniel & Mark Schimick Project, JP Parsons & the American Bandwagon, King Super & the Excellents, Lauren Penley, Leo Rondeau, Loves It, Mis’ry Creek, Motel Rodeo, Mustered Courage, My New Favorites, The Neighbors, Old Line Skiffle Combo, The Ordinary Bitters, Rex Montgomery, Rickshaw Roadshow, The Rigneys, Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, The Rose Sisters, Scotty Melton, String Fever, The Successful Failures, Sycamore Hollow, Todd Day Wait’s Pigpen, Travis Frye & Blue Mountain, The Virginia Whirlwind, Wayne Graham, WestWend, The Whiskey Incident, Wise Old River.

Note: All artists are subject to change without notice.


Bristol, VA/TN (April 16, 2014) – At Wednesday’s press conference, Believe in Bristol, alongside community partners Birthplace of Country Music®, revealed plans for a summer packed with free live music and family fun on State Street and beyond.

Border Bash, the twice-monthly free concert series held annually May through August, celebrates its 15th anniversary as a roving mini-fest that has grown to include children’s activities and vendors in addition to live music and much more. Border Bash will take place on the first and third Fridays, May through August.

“We are always excited when it’s time for Border Bash. It is an opportunity for Birthplace of Country Music® and Believe in Bristol to work together to bring great music to our downtown. We are proud of the growth of the event and the community support that we receive for all that we do,” stated Leah Ross, Executive Director, Birthplace of Country Music®.

“Celebrate Bristol is proud to partner with Border Bash on Friday, July 4th to celebrate Independence Day, “ states Vicie Dotson, Believe in Bristol Promotions Committee Chairwoman and Celebrate Bristol organizer.
“As a small community, our resources are limited – community partnerships are key in allowing us to offer quality, free family-oriented activities including music, children’s activities, and fireworks!”

“Border Bash has definitely been a boom to the downtown Bristol experience,”said Matt Bolas, Executive Director of the Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Since Border Bash started several years ago, there’s been a significant increase in the number of people who come into town for our live music. And these aren’t just locals, they’re people from outside the area too so it’s played a key role in increasing visitor expenditures, particularly in downtown Bristol.”

The band line-up for this event consists mainly of artists slated to play Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in September. The Border Bash line-up for 2014 is:

May 2 – 7:00 pm, Ancient Cities
8:30 pm, King Super and The Excellents

May 16 – 7:00 pm, Andrew Combs
8:30 pm, Paleface

June 6 – 7:00 pm, Motel Rodeo
8:30 pm, Todd Day Wait’’s Pigpin

June 20 – 7:00 pm, JP Parsons
8:30 pm, Jon Ladeau

July 4 – 7:00 pm, Adam Faucett
8:30 pm, Josh Daniel & Mark Schimick Project

July 18 – 7:00 pm, Al Scorch
8:30 pm, Loves It

August 1 – 7:00 pm, Mustered Courage
8:30 pm, The Deep Fried 5

August 15 – 7:00 pm, Leo Rondeau
8:30 pm, The Deslondes

Border Bash is hosted by Believe in Bristol, Birthplace of Country Music® and the Cities of Bristol. Border Bash would not be possible without our community sponsors. Our sponsors in 2014 include Along Come Mary Interior Design – Mary Jane Miller, Alpha Natural Resources, Ann & John Tickle, Bank of Tennessee, Benjamin Walls Gallery, Blackbird Bakery, Blakley Mitchell Co., Brenda & John Fincher, Bristol Herald Courier, Bristol Virginia Utilities, Campbell Printing, Celebrate Bristol, Coca-Cola, Commonwealth Coal Corp., Cranberry Lane, Dent K. Burk CPA Firm, Doug & Amy Williams, Dr. and Ms. Bennett Cowan, Jr., Edward Jones Investments – Robert Hollo, Rob Simis, Brad Baker and Greg Fahn, Electric 94.9 FM, Express AV Productions, First Bank of Virginia, First Tennessee Foundation, Joe & Pam Kerr – Kerr Boswell Inc., Kil’n Time, Mary Landrum, Merrill-Lynch, Renasant Bank, Revolution Curbside Recycling, Sarah Hull – Serendipity, Spiegler Blevins & Company CPAs, State Line Bar & Grille, Strongwell, The Homer A. and Ida S. Jones Trust, The Williams Company, Tom & Barbara Smith, Tri-City Tent & Event, Walling Distributing, WCYB News 5, Wells Fargo Foundation, WXBQ 96.6 FM and Z-Rock 99.3.


Birthplace of Country Music® is proud to announce Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion annual music festival has achieved the esteemed Mayors’ Award of Distinction from the cities of Bristol.

“Earning the Mayors’ Award of Distinction is a reflection of the loyal, community support Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion has received over the years. It’s a direct result of the hard work and long hours put in by our staff, board members and volunteers,” said Leah Ross, executive director of Birthplace of Country Music®.

“We are humbled, and deeply grateful, to our cities and sponsors for their continued support.”

Sue Williams, founder of the Holly Help Spay & Neuter Fund, and Bristol Regional Medical Center’s volunteer auxiliary are also 2014 Mayors’ Award recipients.

Bristol, VA Mayor Guy Odum said, “The Mayors’ Award of Distinction annually recognizes the accomplishments of engaged community members from both sides of the state line who are committed to enriching our City through the common denominators of compassion, resourcefulness, and working toward a common good.”

The awards presentation is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on April 17, 2014 at the Paramount Center for the Arts, located at 518 State Street, in Historic Downtown Bristol.

Birthplace of Country Music® encourages all Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion volunteers and supporters to be present and celebrate the award alongside the organization.

Birthplace of Country Music® is the parent organization of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and Birthplace of Country Music® Museum, opening August 1, 2014. Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is scheduled for September 19-21, 2014 in Historic Downtown Bristol.


Closet pickers, this is for you! Learn how to step into a bluegrass jam just like a pro at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion’s Bluegrass Jam Camp, taught by Gilbert Nelson, using the Wernick Method. The camp is Wednesday, September 17 through Friday, September 19 at the Alumni House on the campus of Virginia Intermont College. Tuition includes lunch and a complimentary pass to the festival. Participants will be showcased in a bluegrass jam at The Reunion. Click here to sign up today!


(Article written by David McGee, Bristol Herald Courier)

BRISTOL, Va (Feb. 25, 2014) — The city appears poised to host a major outdoor concert later this year, following Monday’s sponsorship approval by BVU Authority.

The authority board voted 7-2 to appropriate $150,000 from BVU”s OptiNet division to underwrite an event expected to occur sometime in October. At its meeting tonight, the Bristol Virginia City Council is scheduled to consider a rental request from a local promoter to host an as-yet unnamed feature artist and supporting acts.

In August 2012, both cities, the nonprofit Birthplace of Country Music and Believe in Bristol collaborated with A-C Entertainment to host Mumford & Sons and other groups in a day-long concert at the municipal parking lot near the Bristol train station. The event generated ticket sales of 17,000.

The Mumford & Sons event brought in about $1.8 million and a profit of about $500,000 for promoter A-C Entertainment, Assistant City Manager Andrew Trivette said. The city incurred about $25,000 in employee costs for security and cleanup but wasn’t fully compensated. City leaders sought to have another event last year but were unable to reach an agreement, Trivette said.

“The theory is we would do a similar event every year. This first year it has to be in October because we’re trying to get on this artist’s tour schedule as opposed to being a separate event from their regular tour schedule,” Trivette said. “The theory — if this event is successful — is it would become a spring-time event.”

Under the agreement, BVU would fund the up-front expenses up to $150,000 and be repaid through proceeds from ticket sales and share in part of the rental costs. The event would be insured for weather and other reasons and could be canceled if enough tickets aren’t sold, Trivette said.

“How this works, the promoter pays for absolutely everything with the exception of trash pickup, parking coordination, additional security provided by the police department and state police. The difference is the promoter is offering us [city] a share of the profit.”

Officials declined to name the performer because no contract has yet been signed.

“The potential performer is very well known,” Trivette said in response to a question, and would be “very fitting” for a community known as the birthplace of country music.

The promoter is RAM, an acronym for Rusty Morrell, a Twin City developer who has been involved in commercial and residential projects, Trivette said.

“Under the contract, RAM would receive 10 percent of the profit. The rest of the profit would come to the city and BVU would make $50,000,” Trivette said.

City officials have been mulling this request for some time and it was supported by the city’s Economic Development Committee.

“Here is a chance to tie in with the opening of the BCM [museum]. Here’s a chance to get another 20,000 or 30,000 people back to Bristol to visit downtown, to go to the museum, to stay in local hotels,” EDC Chairman and BVU board member Jim Clifton said. “This isn’t something BVU ought to do as a regular basis but Economic Development looked at it as a possible one-time scenario to get Bristol on this guy’s tour schedule — 18 No. 1 records. It’s a tremendous opportunity. I think it ties in with Bristol’s image and it’s on the Virginia side.”

The city of Bristol, Tenn., isn’t scheduled to participate in this event but the country music organization and Believe in Bristol will, Trivette said.

Following a lengthy discussion, the board approved the plan with members Archie Hubbard and Doug Fleenor casting the dissenting votes.

“It’s not because I’m not for it. I just don’t think we should be in the promotion business. It’s not a utility function,” Hubbard said.


From L-R: Stephen Moore, RCS Productions, Charlene Baker, BCM’s director of marketing and public relations, Tahita Haynes, BCM’s operations manager, and Ron Simpson, president/owner of RCS Productions

Bristol, TN/VA (Feb. 18, 2014) — The Birthplace of Country Music® swept the Southeast Festival and Events Association Kaleidoscope Awards, held in Savannah, Georgia, at the Hilton Savannah DeSoto Hotel. The awards recognize the highest levels of achievement in the Southeast’s festival and event industry.

BCM, an SFEA member, has received award recognition at previous SFEA conferences. This year, there were 110 total entries for these awards from festivals and events throughout the Southeast.

BCM has taken home the following awards:

• Best festival, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
• Best poster, designed by Justin Helton of Status Serigraph (Gold)
• Best digital media app, designed by CrowdTorch (Silver)
• Best event program, designed by Cindy Collier and map insert by Kenny Thacker (Silver)

Charlene Tipton Baker, director of marketing and public relations for BCM, and Tahita Haynes, operations manager for BCM, attended the three-day SFEA Conference, which is held annually and provides marketing and networking opportunities for organizations within the festival and event industry.

Leah Ross, BCM’s executive director, says BCM’s success at the awards show is a reflection of the community’s continued support for the organization.

“This is huge for us. We are humbled and deeply grateful to all of our visitors, volunteers, sponsors, artists, board members and the community for playing a major role in this recognition,” Ross said. “Thank you to SFEA for recognizing our impact on tourism in the region.”

Founded in 2009, SFEA brings together the best in events, event planners, festivals, venues and service providers in the Southeastern United States. According to association’s website, SFEA believes “in the power of festivals and events to make our community a better place.”

For more information about SFEA, please visit www.southeastfestivals.org. To learn more about BCM, be sure to follow BCM on Facebook.

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It’s hard to believe it’s over. The stages are down, city crews and volunteers have hauled off the final remnants of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. Like most other festival this season, we were touched by rain, but it did little to dampen spirits.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of our guests. We are so grateful to you for making the trek to our Historic Downtown to support our festival. We hope your experience was epic, that you will remember us fondly, and that you’ll return for what we have in store next year in 2014 once the Birthplace of Country Music® Museum is open. We can promise lots of events in celebration prior to festival, so please, keep checking our website and reading our newsletters to find out what we have in store.

A long list of gratitude is due to many, first and foremost to our wonderful cities of Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee. What visitors don’t see behind the scenes is the hard work they put into our event. Their support is nothing short of amazing.

Thank you to all our Sponsors. Many have commented that they enjoy Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion because it is a community event. Our Sponsors are the reason. Their support keeps ticket prices reasonable and help us maintain the hometown atmosphere you’ve come to love. We hope you continue to support those that support us.

Thank you, Volunteers, for your tireless hours of hard work. Without you, we would not exist. From the folks that pitch tents and recycling to the folks to man gates and take tickets, your presence is crucial to our success.

And to our artists. Wow. You’ve amazed us again! For weeks we’ll be reminescing about all your amazing sets! For those of you that have played before, you were already an alum. For all the newbies, welcome to the family!

We don’t have the final talley on attendance, but will get those numbers to you as soon as we have them available. We’ll also be posting lots of pictures and videos throughout the year so keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Again, thank you all for a wonderful festival. We are blessed beyond measure that you have embraced Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion so wholeheartedly, and return year after year.

Discounted tickets to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, September 19-21, 2014 will go on sale December 1, so be watching our website. We can’t wait to do it all over again!

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion announced a special partnership with BVU Authority and BTES to provide improved digital connectivity for 2013 festival goers. BVU and BTES have volunteered to connect a total of eight stages, split between the two states, for live public video streaming by ETSU Online and Heritage TV during the three-day event. Some live footage will be recorded by Heritage TV, BVU’s local access channel, and will also be aired after the festival on OptiNet channel 3.

Leah Ross, Executive Director of Birthplace of Country Music®, parent non-profit of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, states “Bristol is two states with one state of mind. Bringing BVU and BTES together for this project is just another example of how our festival brings people together. We are very grateful to BVU and BTES for their support.”

BVU has also installed a large WiFi zone throughout downtown Bristol VA – allowing ticket holders to connect to the live streaming via OptiNet’s network. This permanent infrastructure is in addition to the “BVU Pavilion,” a technology hotspot for festival attendees. The BVU Pavilion, located at 709 State Street, will offer free WiFi access, public laptops, as well as high-definition televisions and seating for festival guests. BVU has also provided point-of-sale terminals at four Virginia locations for credit card processing at ticket booths, and has facilitated the electrical connections for the festival venues.

“Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion has become such a huge part of our community, and we are avid supporters of making the communities we serve great places to live and visit,” explains Gail Childress, Director of Community Outreach for BVU. “These complimentary services are just one way that we can say ‘Welcome’ to our visitors and ‘Thank you’ to our local residents.”

Mike Browder, CEO of BTES, added “Partnering with Rhythm & Roots Reunion in providing these high-speed data services is just another way that we can exceed our community’s expectations and continue to showcase our Gigabit Community.”

Festival guests and general public will be able to access the live video streaming at www.BristolRhythm.com and www.bvu-optinet.com/data_elements/brrrcams.html.BTES logo as of 7.29.10



Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion helps L.C. King Manufacturing Co. celebrate 100 years of quality, American made products with lights, sound, and action, thanks to a partnership with Live & Breathing and King University. Students and faculty from King University’s Photography Dept. will aid in a special video production, led by Live & Breathing, in the historic factory during Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

The video shoots are not open to the public.

“Live & Breathing is well-known for traveling to music festivals and filming artists in unusual settings,” says Charlene Baker, Director of Marketing and Communications for Birthplace of Country Music®, the parent organization of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. “When artists found out the project involved L.C. King’s 100th anniversary, artists like J.D. McPherson, Pokey LaFarge, and The Apache Relay wanted to be part of it.”

King University Photography students will serve as production assistants during shooting and take still photos of the artists for promotional and social media use during the festival.

“The production will provide real-world experience for our students,” says Joe Strickland, Assistant Professor of Photography at King University, “we are very excited to be part of the production.”

King University Photography students will also provide social media coverage during the festival for the second year Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

To see videos Live & Breathing has done at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and other festivals, visit LiveAndBreathing.com.

The L. C. King Manufacturing Company, makers of Pointer Brand workwear since 1913, will be opening their doors to their new showroom and factory outlet during Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

“Additionally, we are proud to host “The L. C. King Centennial Sessions” at the factory,” says Ben Collins, Brand and Digital Manager for L.C. King, “These private sessions will be a unique experience for artists and fans alike, helping to celebrate our significant milestone of one hundred years of made in America and our unique role in the Appalachian region’s hardworking musical culture. It is serendipitous that King University will play a role as we share in the King family lineage.”

During Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion customers can shop the entire line of clothing made today by the 100 year old factory, including the popular Brown Duck Chore Coat, Overalls, and our American Original Jean in both prewashed and raw denim styles. There will be a changing room, historical archive on display, one-of-a-kind samples for sale, T-shirts, hats, limited edition wallets and more. The store will be open Friday and Saturday from 10am – 6pm and possibly Sunday depending on inventory. Please check PointerBrand.com or Facebook.com/PointerBrand or e-mail info@pointerbrand.com for more information.


Birthplace of Country Music® presents “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, Saturday, September 14, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at Theatre Bristol.

The evening is a tribute to The Carter Family and will be hosted by John McEuen and feature John Carter Cash and family. Come celebrate the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s landmark album Will the Circle Be Unbroken and tell the story of The Carter Family.

John Carter Cash will share his family history through music, narrative, and photos.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served. Reserved seats are $75.00 per person. Call (423) 573-1927 for more information.

Click here to download complete list of rules.

Click here to download registration form.



The Bear Family Records release of the Johnson City Sessions will be a weekend long celebration, October 17-20, 2013, and Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is the Grand Finale!

Sunday, October 20 at 7:00pm Birthplace of Country Music® and East Tennessee State University will host Mountain Stage at the DP Culp Center Auditorium.  Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, Sarah Jarosz, Old Man Ludecke, The Deadly Gentlemen and the ETSU Old Time Pride Band will perform.

Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 day of show. For more information call 423-573-1927.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Other Johnson City Sessions Weekend Events include:

Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Reception for and Talk by Johnson City Sessions Box Set Co-Producer and Country Music Historian Tony Russell, Reece Museum, East Tennessee State University. Free event. For information call 423-439-4392.

Friday, October 18, 2013:

Tri-Cities area media appearances by Richard Weize and Tony Russell and others with the Johnson City Sessions Weekend Planning Committee.

Saturday, October 19, 2013: 7:00 PM

Johnson City Sessions Box Set Release Party, The Down Home, downtown Johnson City [featuring performances of 1920s-era Appalachian music]. Ticketed event. For information call (423)573-1927

Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 5:00 PM

VIP Event at The Venue, downtown Johnson City [featuring gathering of Johnson City Sessions family members]. Ticketed event. For information call (423)573-1927.


The Birthplace of Country Music® and East Tennessee State University will work together during the Johnson City Sessions Weekend, to be held October 18-20, 2013, in Johnson City, Tenn., to bring West Virginia Public Broadcasting‘s “Mountain Stage with Larry Groce” to ETSU’s DP Culp Center that Sunday. The line-up includes the singer-songwriter and instrumental duo of Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott and bluegrass phenom, Sarah Jarosz.

“Johnson City has long been an important stop for the musicians of our region and beyond. ETSU is growing artists who will carry on the music tradition of our region,” said BCM Board President John Rainero. He added, “BCM sees a wealth of opportunity in working with ETSU on future projects.”

Dr. Ted Olson, BCM Content Team Member and Professor of Appalachian Studies at ETSU is spearheading the Johnson City Sessions Box Set project, whose release is slated for early October on Germany’s Bear Family Records. This effort follows the success of 2011’s Bristol Sessions Box Set, also released by Bear Family. Olson, who served as co-producer and co-writer on both sets, played an instrumental part in making them a reality.

“While many people around the world have heard of the Bristol Sessions, very few people – even locally – have heard of the Johnson City Sessions. Yet the recordings from Johnson City are wonderful in their own right,” said Olson.

For more information about the Johnson City Sessions Weekend, please visit its Facebook page.

Our friends at Virginia is for Lovers just released this gorgeous video about sites of interest along The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail!  For more awesome videos from Virginia is for Lovers check out www.YouTube.com/VisitVirginia.


Upload our new app for iPhone or Android and share your festival experience with us!  You can share photos to your Facebook page or to Twitter without ever navigating away from the app.  Set up alerts to let you know when your favorite band will be on, read FAQ’s, and read all about the artists playing the festival–or watch their videos.  Sponsored by CenturyLink, this brand new app from CrowdTorch is designed to for sharing.  Click here to upload iPhone app.     Click here to upload app for Android. Or search in iTunes or Google Play.