Spring Has Sprung: And Farm and Fun Time is Growing!

From rockin’ new roots music to Americana royalty, March’s Farm and Fun Time was a thrilling conclusion to our 2020 Radio Bristol Fund Drive! A special thanks to all the generous donors who helped exceed our stretch goal of $25,000! And through the support of our sponsor Eastman Credit Union, Radio Bristol was able to bring Farm and Fun Time not only to those in the audience or tuned in to WBCM-LP, but to viewers far and wide via Facebook Live. Be sure to like WBCM – Radio Bristol on Facebook to tune in every month!

Left: Bill and the Belles' bass player Andrew Small and Kris Truelsen, aka Bill, on guitar.
Right: Kalia Yeagle (fiddle), Kris, and Helena Hunt (banjo) sing together at the mic.
Bill and the Belles’ performance at the March Farm and Fun Time brought the audience good feelings in tricky times. © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

Host band Bill and the Belles got the show rolling with their lighthearted sound ready to soothe the soul in these turbulent times. Farm and Fun Time strives to preserve the traditions of early country radio in Bristol, and our “Heirloom Recipe” presenters for the evening brought an early Bristol tradition to the stage. Tonight’s recipe was presented by members of Bristol’s Blue Stocking Club, a philanthropic organization that has been doing good deeds in the community for 100 years. Clad in costumes worn by Blue Stocking club members in the 1940s, our presenters brought to life an old recipe for Brunswick Stew from a historic cookbook published by the club decades ago. However, no conclusion was drawn about what meat goes in Brunswick Stew. Beef? Pork? Possum? Chicken? Bill and the Belles then crooned a speculative tune, still not revealing a conclusion.

The Blue Stocking Club members were the traditional 1940s club outfits -- a blue dress with a white collar and a Blue Stocking apron -- as they tell the audience about their recipe for Brunswick stew.
Blue Stocking Club members Barbara Smith and Mary Lynn Satterwhite share a timeless recipe from the club’s cookbook. © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

The “Heirloom Recipe” was followed by our first musical guest of the evening: Miss Tess. If you listen to Radio Bristol, you’re certainly not a stranger the music of Miss Tess and the Talkbacks. With tasteful electric guitar riffs and jazzy arrangements, Miss Tess blends early rock ’n’ roll, blues, jazz, and country into a distinctive style all her own. A gifted vocalist, Miss Tess brought down the house with performances of selections from her new record, The Moon is an Ashtray. A brilliant release, it came at an inopportune time, as many artists are losing tour dates due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Because musicians are unable to tour right now, be sure to check out all the recordings available from Miss Tess and countless others to help artists through this difficult time.

Top left, top right, and bottom right images all show Miss Tess singing with her guitar and various band members, including the drummer.
Bottom left: A shot of the full audience at the show.
Miss Tess and her band were a big hit with the Farm and Fun Time crowd. © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

For this month’s “Farm Report” segment, we visited the Tilted Tavern Animal Sanctuary near Jonesborough, Tennessee, where we learned a lot about rehabilitating abused and neglected farm animals! Here’s a video from our visit:

Our final guest of the evening was the King of Americana, the legendary Jim Lauderdale. A prolific songwriter and versatile performer, Jim put on a tremendous performance with a bluegrass band, featuring Alex LeachThomas Cassell, and other regional super pickers. Jim is a favorite in Bristol, and he had the crowd singing right along for most his performance. Jim featured many power songs in his set, including “Lost in the Lonesome Pines” and “Old Time Angels,” an homage to women who were victimized in the murder ballads that are such a large piece of the Appalachian musical tradition. It was a pleasure to work with Jim on March’s show, and we can’t wait to hear new music from him soon!

Left: Jim Lauderdale and his band play together on stage.
Right: A close-up of Lauderdale, wearing a colorful shirt and playing guitar.
Jim Lauderdale and his band brought a performance to remember to March’s Farm and Fun Time. © Birthplace of Country Music; photographer: Billie Wheeler

Thanks to everyone who came out and joined in this great night of music! April’s Farm and Fun Time has been postponed, but good news: You can tune in to Blue Ridge PBS on April 4 at 7:00pm for the debut of Farm and Fun Time as a television show! Thanks for your continued support of Radio Bristol, and we hope to see you soon!

Production Assistant at Radio Bristol

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