Bill and the Belles have announced their newest member, Aidan VanSuetendael, who joins the band on banjo.
The east Tennessee-based group plays an interesting mix of old time, bluegrass, and swing, primarily focused on the sounds of American music in the period prior to WWII. They have come to prominence in the past few years both for their clever stage show, and for serving as hosts of the revived Farm and Fun Time radio/television show aired on Radio Bristol.
Farm and Fun Time had been a popular and long-running radio show on WCYB in Bristol in the early days of bluegrass music, which combined the morning farm reports and weather with live bluegrass and old time music. The show featured regular performances by seminal groups like The Stanley Brothers, Flatt & Scruggs, and Jim & Jesse who would appear daily for months at a time. When the new Birthplace of Country Music Museum opened in Bristol back in 2014, they brought the show back to life, complete with old time radio-style live commercials, in a variety show type environment. It airs on the second Thursday of each month before a live audience, and is rebroadcast on multiple PBS affiliate stations across the southern US.
Kris Truelsen, guitarist and vocalist with Bill and the Belles, shared the band’s welcome to their new member.
“We are thrilled to introduce this wonderful new addition to the band, and can’t wait to feature her three finger and clawhammer banjo playing! Aidan grew up in South Florida where she first cultivated her interest in traditional American music. That interest deepened during her time at Denison University in Ohio, and carried her to Nashville where she currently resides. We are so happy to welcome her to the Bill and the Belles family, and can’t wait for you to meet her!”
Truelsen also mentioned that they will be releasing a new album soon. In addition to Kris on guitar and Aidan on banjo, Bill and the Belles are Kalia Yeagle on fiddle, and Andrew Small on bass.
The September edition of Farm and Fun Time will be VanSuetendael’s first show with the group, which will be filmed sans audience this month, on September 10 at 7:00 p.m. The show is live-streamed via Radio Bristol. Guests include The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys and 49 Winchester. You can watch the video livestream on the Radio Bristol Facebook page.
More information about Bill and the Belles can be found online.