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Come one, come all! To the Radio Bristol Farm & Fun Time Christmas Ball! Featuring The Secret Sisters and Jill Andrews, live from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum!
Date: Saturday, December 2, 2017
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
Come celebrate the Christmas season with a festive, live radio show at the Birthplace of Country Music!
Farm & 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.
There are two ways of handling a dangerous, raging river: you can surrender and let it carry you away, or you can swim against the flow. For The Secret Sisters, there was a point after the release of their last record when they could have chosen to do neither – instead, sinking to the bottom as the weight of the world washed away their dreams. They went from touring with Bob Dylan to losing their label, purging their team, filing bankruptcy and almost permanently trading harmonies for housecleaning. But there’s a mythical pull to music that kept sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers moving forward, and they came out with a biting and beautiful third LP, produced by Brandi Carlile, You Don’t Own Me Anymore. Their first as New West signees, it’s a document of hardship and redemption, of pushing forward when it would be so much easier to drown in grief. And it’s a story about how passion and pure artistry can be the strongest sort of salvation – how art is left, like perfect grains of sand, when everything else has washed away.
It certainly would have been easier to just try and forget the past few years of The Secret Sisters’ life. After their second album, Put Your Needle Down, didn’t perform according to their label’s expectations – however unrealistic they were in this day and age – the duo was dropped, leaving them with barely enough money to stay on the road and keep making music. So they retreated home to Alabama, worn and weary from experiencing the devilish side of the industry first-hand, scraping together whatever they could while trying to embrace what seemed to be a future without music. But when Carlile – someone whom The Secret Sisters have admired for years and one of our truest talents – offered to produce their record, it made them think that a future was possible. Soon, a PledgeMusic campaign that completely exceeded their hopes and dreams made it fiscally so.
In the beginning, before that darkness moved in, things were a little like rainbows and roses for the sisters, who rose quickly through the music universe. An open audition in Nashville in 2009 lead them to a major label deal and a debut record produced by T Bone Burnett and Dave Cobb, followed by a tour with Levon Helm and Ray LaMontagne, a feat for any artist, let alone two that had just gotten started. From there, they opened for the likes of Dylan, Willie Nelson and Paul Simon, appeared on numerous late night shows and released a second album with Burnett. But the tides turned quickly – things can change in an instant, both for the good, and the bad. And when the clouds started to lift, Carlile was there to help usher in the sunshine.
The resulting songs of You Don’t Own Me Anymore are about life when everything you think defines you is stripped away. After all, sometimes you have to lose everything to get a renewed version in return. Like the Tennessee River they sing about, only after a drought does fresh, new water come rushing in.
A native of East Tennessee, Jill Andrews kicked off her songwriting career as co-founder of the everybodyfields, a band whose mix of Southern genres – folk, country, bluegrass – and male-female vocals helped pave the way for future groups like The Civil Wars. It earned the everybodyfields a wide fan-base too, as well as appearances at Bonnaroo, The Kennedy Center, and a cross-country tour with The Avett Brothers.
After three albums, Andrews left that band and launched a solo career, starting with a self-titled EP and a full-length record, The Mirror, that built something bigger a broader on top of her Americana roots. She followed The Mirror with the acclaimed The War Inside featuring a duet with Seth Avett.
While working on The War Inside, Andrews signed a publishing deal and began landing songs in multiple TV shows and movies, including Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife, Nashville, American Idol, Hart of Dixie, and Me, Him, Her (2015), among others, including the theme song to SyFy’s Wynonna Earp. One of her songs, “Joy Parade,” also appeared on The Music of Nashville: Season 2, Volume 2, a TV soundtrack that rose to number 13 on the Billboard 200.
Since releasing The War Inside, Andrews has remained busy touring and writing, opening shows for acts such as The Avett Brothers, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, Sean Watkins, and Mandolin Orange, as well as headlining her own shows throughout the country. Collaborations with friends like Langhorne Slim and Peter Groenwald have led to the digital release of a handful of duet singles.
These songs feel present, and they’re delivered the way Andrews always delivers them: with raw emotion that is as real to her as it is to the listener.
With striking three-part harmonies and masterful instrumentation, Bill and the Belles skillfully breathe 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 (Johnson City, Tennessee) 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 continue to play alongside America’s top country and roots music artists as the resident 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. Bill and the Belles are hitting the road with fervor, eager to share their music with new audiences.