Farm & Fun Time
Date: Thursday, April 12, 2018
Time: 7:00 p.m.
(Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Must be in your seat by 6:50 p.m.)
Location: Birthplace of Country Music Museum
About Farm and Fun Time
Farm and Fun Time the historic Radio Program broadcasting from Downtown Bristol, was a staple to listeners across the Southeast during the 1940s and 1950s on the former WCYB Radio. Radio Bristol breathes new life into the classic program with a fun, energetic show broadcasting live from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and features music by house band Bill & the Belles. Hosted by Radio Bristol producer and house band-leader Kris Truelsen, Farm & Fun Time is an event the whole family can enjoy live, in the studio or when gathered around their radios.
ABOUT THE TALENT
If you were to gather together an average cross-section of people and ask them if they thought it would be an advantage for a performer to be the child of a legend, most would probably conclude that it would have to be a definite plus. After all, the doors of opportunity would be quicker to open, and the spotlight of public attention that so many artists spend years trying to cultivate would be yours because…well…just because. Famous by default, so to speak and doubtless those are real, tangible advantages. But then there’s the downside- pressure. The learning curve, the whole growth process with all its potential missteps and pitfalls, is a public document. Most artists get to take those perilous first steps of their careers in relative anonymity, a nameless face in the crowd.
As one might expect for the son of a renowned banjo player, the first instrument Ralph II ever held was a banjo. At the ripe old age of three, Ralph (or simply “Two” as he is called by his family and friends), had his first lesson from the elder Stanley, learning a simple finger roll. It turned out, however, that he would not be following in his father’s footsteps, when it came to choice of instrument. He soon fell under the spell of the undisputed king of boyhood musical desires, the guitar. He spotted one under his sister’s bed, and according to Ralph, “I wanted to play it. When I was five years old, I started with the guitar and I’ve been playing it ever since”.
But despite his interest in the guitar, and the fact that he was occasionally traveling with the Clinch Mountain Boys on the road, he had not yet developed an ambition to play professionally. It took until age twelve and an old 1977 video of the late Keith Whitley during his tenure as lead singer for the Clinch Mountain Boys, to inspire him to become a professional musician. After seeing Whitley with the elder Stanley, he was hooked and spent hours in the family basement honing his skills, and weathering the comparisons to his late Uncle Carter. His persistence paid off, and he took the stage as lead singer with Ralph Sr. and the Clinch Mountain Boys in June of 1995. Since then, he has earned the respect of Stanley fans everywhere, and has garnered praise as a strong new artist in his own right.
On May 26, 2017, Stanley Family Records released the self-titled album by Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys. This is the first recording released since Ralph II honored his father’s wishes by taking over the Clinch Mountain boys name. These big shoes are being filled by the talents of previous Clinch Mountain Boy John Rigsby on fiddle and mandolin, Alex Leach on banjo, Noah Brown on the upright bass, and Ralph II on guitar.
Ralph II has had 2 Grammy nominations on previous albums he recorded with Rebel Records. In 2002 he earned his first Grammy along with his father. Dr. Ralph Stanley for their collaboration with Jim Lauderdale on “Lost in the Lonesome Pines.” Ralph II has proven to be an accomplished songwriter and has 6 solo albums under his belt, along with the highly acclaimed duet album with his father titled “Side by Side.” When not traveling, Ralph II enjoys his time at home with his wife Kristi and their children Taylor and Ralph III.
Alabama native and member of The Alabama Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, David Davis has traveled and preformed as frontman for the bluegrass group, David Davis and the Warrior River Boys since 1984. He is recognized as one of the foremost practitioners of the Monroe mandolin techinique. His interest in old-time and bluegrass music grew organically from a musical family, both his father and grandfather were players and singers. His uncle, Cleo Davis, was Bill Monroe’s original Blue Grass Boy. His Warrior River Boys band consists of Robert Montgomery (banjo), Marty Hays (bass), Stan Wilemon (guitar), and Phillip James (fiddle).
What began as a project to explore the space created between hillbilly and urban, between vaudeville
and down home, has arrived somewhere entirely new. Bill and the Belles offers a contemporary
reimagining of a bygone era, a vocal-centric performance that breathes new life into the sounds of
early country music. At the foothills of the Blue Ridge and the forefront of old-time music, Bill and the
Belles continue to further the music traditions of their region. From sentimental Southern ballads to the
popular songs of Tin Pan Alley to regional fiddle breakdowns, a Bill and the Belles show is a celebration
of the diversity country music once represented.
Bill and the Belles play alongside America’s top country and roots music artists as the house band for
the historic radio program Farm and Fun Time presented by Radio Bristol and the Birthplace of Country
Music. Lifelong musicians Kris Truelsen, Grace Van’t Hof, Kalia Yeagle, and Karl Zerfas bring to the stage
an uplifting show unlike any other, full of humor, high spirits, and all-around revelry. It’s clear this group
shares a rare musical connection and deep love for the music, and their excitement is contagious.