The Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival takes place Sept. 18-20 in Bristol, Va.
State Street in historic Downtown Bristol is taken over by the music of the Appalachian region as the music festival offers up 22 stages of live music including outdoor stages, a dance tent, and a children’s stage.
A number of the performers who call Virginia home will be playing at the festival. Here are some of the hometown musicians to catch.
— SAMMY SHELOR AND LONESOME RIVER BAND —
Sammy Shelor is leader of the Lonesome River Band and has been with them since 1990. His peers keep nominating him as “Banjo Player of the Year” and he’s won the title four times now. He comes from the musical families of the Shelors and Blackards, who were recorded by Ralph Peer in the Bristol Sessions of 1927.
— THE CHURCH SISTERS —
The Church Sisters, featuring twins Savannah Church on lead vocals and fiddle and Sarah Church on mandolin and harmony vocals, come from Galax and have been described as having “blood harmony” in their music. They recently signed a development deal with Big Machine Records and will be working on a new record soon.
— FOLK SOUL REVIVAL —
Folk Soul Revival comes from the Appalachian Mountain region of Virginia and brings to the stage a mixture of sing-along melodies and emotional vocals. They recently released their fourth album “Out of the Box.”
— ANNABELLE’S CURSE —
Hailing from Bristol, Annabelle’s Curse has traveled beyond long-established folk to craft a profoundly distinctive and soaring sound. While deeply grounded in musical tradition, each song offers the contrast of strong progression woven with striking banjo and guitar riffs, evocative lyrical harmony, stirring imagery, and infectious energy.
— THE LOOSE STRINGS BAND —
Photo by KB Photography
The Loose Strings Band is an all-girl group of musicians from Galax ranging in age from 16 to 19. They enjoy playing bluegrass, gospel, and country music and are known for their tight vocal harmonies.
— DORI FREEMAN —
Photo by Scott Simontacchi
Dori Freeman’s musical influences span a varied and unique list of musicians including Jackson Browne, Peggy Lee, Rufus Wainwright, along with many others. Dori effortlessly blends together jazz and swing tunes with traditional and acoustic instrumentation to create a sound all her own.
— CORBIN HAYSLETT—
Corbin Hayslett, the winner of the Birthplace of Country Music’s Orthophonic Joy Music Contest in 2014, hones his skills on the banjo playing Old Time “claw hammer” or “frailing” and Blue Grass picking. Corbin weaves the history of “America’s instrument” through shows with his lively stage presence and singing with his dry wit adding to his family-friendly performances.
— M.S.G.-THE ACOUSTIC BLUES TRIO —
M.S.G. – The Acoustic Blues Trio performs traditional Piedmont blues and their style of music has been influenced by the likes of Archie Edwards, Etta Baker and Cephas & Wiggins. This band brings the old-fashioned blues songs to get everyone dancing and singing.