The opening night of the 2014 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in Bristol, TN/VA was a huge success. The weather, which is always a bit unpredictable this time of year, was the best I can remember, with temperatures in the mid-60’s and a nice breeze. This year marks the opening of the new Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, and the excitement centered around the successful festival (50,000 visitors in 2013) can be felt all around the “Twin Cities”. Friday night’s artists did not disappoint. Thanks to Alane Anno Photography, we can share some of the moments from the first night.
The Country Mural Stage opened with The Rigneys, who performed a blazing set to open the festival. Andrew and Grant Rigney wowed the gathering crowd as they showcased their instrumental and vocal skills. Parents Mark and Melissa Rigney round out the band and enjoyed both the weather and the opportunity to bring their family to the stage in Bristol.
Each year BRRR hosts a “Jam Camp”. This year the “campers” hit the stage for a quick 3-song set. This is what bluegrass music is about! The joy on the faces of those who were playing and singing drives home the point that this music is meant to be experienced and enjoyed as players and fans. Well done!
The Church Sisters then brought their beautiful harmonies and outstanding band to the stage. These young ladies are among the artists chosen to participate in the Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited project, a recording project which recreates the 1927 Bristol recording sessions, the “Big Bang of Country Music”. After hearing their set, it’s clear that the Church Sisters are up to the task.
The legendary Seldom Scene brought a standing room only crowd and didn’t disappoint. These guys need no long, glowing report. In addition to being outstanding musicians and singers, they are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet. If you’ve seen them, you know they are some of the best to ever perform. If you haven’t seen them, shame on you. Catch them soon.
Red Molly, ALWAYs a crowd favorite in Bristol, (they have been called the Twin City’s sweethearts), wrapped up the evening with their high energy set. These young ladies have been a part of the festival for several years now, and their support continues to grow.
While the first evening is in the books, Saturday looks to be even better. Some of the upcoming acts on the Country Mural Stage: Fiddlin’ Carson Peters, Flatt Lonesome, Donna Ulisse & the Poor Mountain Boys, Breaking Grass, Balsam Range, The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, and Town Mountain. Check the schedule at www.bristolrhythm.com for more information.