The Farm and Fun Are Never Far from Radio Bristol!

Since its inception in April 2016, Farm and Fun Time has become the flagship show of the Radio Bristol programming lineup. Featuring the finest in contemporary roots music artists and segments that highlight Appalachian food and farming, Farm and Fun Time sells out weeks in advance of the performance date. This level of success and popularity hasn’t gone without recognition, and on April 4, Farm and Fun Time debuted as an hour-long television show on Blue Ridge PBS. Unfortunately, with the concerns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and the need for social distancing, our before-a-live-audience installment of April’s Farm and Fun Time has been postponed until November 2020, when Nora Brown and Merle Monroe will be joining us for a wonderful evening of music.

We hope that we can get back to bringing our monthly audience the finest in live roots music programming as soon as we can, but until then, did you know that you can get your Farm and Fun Time fix more regularly? If you hadn’t already heard, The Farm and Fun Time Noon Show, a weekly extension of our monthly Farm and Fun Time show, brings you high energy, heartfelt bluegrass music direct from downtown Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia every Friday!

Debuting in early 2017, The Farm and Fun Time Noon Show hearkens back to the early days of country radio, when radio was king and bands performed while selling everything from miracle cures to farm equipment and more to audiences crowded around radios in the early morning and at lunch time. Both Farm and Fun Time and The Farm and Fun Time Noon Show take their names from a program that debuted on Bristol’s WCYB on December 26, 1946. WCYB’s Farm and Fun Time would broadcast the early sounds of bluegrass music into the homes of millions across a five-state region. Bands including The Stanley Brothers, Flatt & Scruggs, Mac Wiseman, The Sauceman Brothers, and countless others used this platform to begin their rise to now-legendary status. While Bristol is known as “the birthplace of country music,” it is perhaps just as appropriate to call it “the cradle of bluegrass music.” The future is made by those who stand on the shoulders of giants, and it is a great honor for everyone involved with Farm and Fun Time today to continue the legacy of this legendary program.

A black-and-white image of six male musicians, all wearing white shirts, ties, and hats, and holding their instruments.

Beginning in early 1951 to 1952, The Sauceman Brothers – seen here as part of the Green Valley Boys – performed on WCYB’s Farm and Fun Time. Left to right, standing: Curley Seckler, Carl Sauceman, J. P. Sauceman, and Larry Richardson; sitting: Joe Stuart and Arville Freeman. Image courtesy of Nathan Sykes

The Farm and Fun Time Noon Show was initially hosted by The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys. Though they were beginning to tour more extensively around the time they began working with Radio Bristol, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys were primarily based in the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee area playing at Old Smokey Distillery. Since that time, they have signed with Rounder Records, and their release Toil, Tears, and Trouble was nominated for a Grammy in 2020. With a more rigorous touring schedule, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys left fond Farm and Fun Time memories behind, and The Kody Norris Show took over the spot of host band for The Farm and Fun Time Noon Show. Based in nearby Mountain City, Tennessee, The Kody Norris Show combines the high energy stylings of classic bluegrass music and a level of showmanship that is uncommon in today’s musical landscape. Even with their own busy touring schedule, The Kody Norris Show still manages to pull into Bristol by noon on most Fridays to entertain their radio neighbors far and wide for 30 minutes at noon. Often working on radio as a trio, the band provides a full spectrum of country music sounds, ranging from bluegrass classics to old-time ballads to sacred songs for our sick and shut-in friends, that are sure to please even the most discerning roots music fans.

The Po Ramblin' Boys, all wearing suits and hats, gather and play around the mic on stage in the museum's Performance Theater.

Grammy-nominated, Rounder Records recording artists The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys were the first host band of The Farm and Fun Time Noon Show. They are seen here playing on the museum’s Performance Theater stage. © Birthplace of Country Music

With the current situation surrounding COVID-19, many venues are cancelling events several months in advance and people are staying at home as much as possible. The Kody Norris Show can’t make it into the Radio Bristol studio right now, but they’re making the best of their time at home! For the past two weeks, The Kody Norris Show has performed via Facebook Live for countless fans across the globe directly from their kitchen in Mountain City. We are thankful that during these trying times we have such a hardworking group as part of our team, musicians who are willing to go above and beyond to keep bringing our Radio Bristol community entertainment they won’t find anywhere else.

Three members of The Kody Norris Show around a mic in their kitchen, ready to record from home.

The Kody Norris Show ready to entertain listeners directly from the kitchen. The show must go on! Image courtesy of The Kody Norris Show

And so if you’re itching for some live music while social distancing, stay tuned! You never know what we have up our sleeve! During these uncertain times, all of the Radio Bristol team is pulling together to keep bringing you the best roots music programming, producing shows at home and spreading awareness for the artists who are feeling the harshest effects of the closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Follow our lead and do your part to sustain roots music artists during these dark days by listening in, going to their websites and social media pages to show your support, and purchasing merchandise where you can. We love our Radio Bristol community, and we can’t wait to see you all in person again soon!

You can catch The Farm and Fun Time Noon Show on Fridays via 100.1FM, the Radio Bristol app, or through the website.

Production Assistant at Radio Bristol

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