Sat., Aug 6 – Emi Sunshine: It’s impossible to explain the exceptional talents of EmiSunshine, an 12-year-old East Tennessee prodigy who has captured the nation’s attention as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Steeped in Appalachian music, she is a true vocal stylist, one who instinctively knows how to interpret the nuances of a song with her impressive range, even though she has yet to gain the life experience and empathy seemingly necessary to fully comprehend the words she sings. Despite a given name that reflects optimism, she is drawn to darker themes of pain, anguish and even murder, like that of The Louvin Brothers, whom she loves.
The Tennessean is just the latest to describe her as “an old soul,” noting, “Onstage, this soul’s presence is commanding and her singing voice authentic and folksy.” While her youth might remind many of Taylor Swift, a more apt comparison would be to artists such as Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss or members of the Carter Family.
Whether she’s performing on the Today show or the Grand Ole Opry or taking the stage at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, she is fearless, confident and firm in her musical direction. As she says, she sings “old-time music,” but it’s her own unique blend of roots music that is equal parts Americana, bluegrass, gospel, and country, with a little bit of blues thrown in for good measure. Her talent is indescribable and inexplicable, but fortunately, it doesn’t have to be understood to be appreciated.
Sat., Aug. 20 – Rooster Walk Presents: Mountain Heart w/ opener Annabelle’s Curse at Pop’s Farm (675 Hobson Road, Axton, Va.). Mountain Heart is the band that has been fearlessly revolutionizing the way acoustic music can be presented and played. Mountain Heart or members have been nominated for Grammy’s, ACM, CMA awards. The band has also been nominated for and won multiple IBMA’s. They have appeared on the revered stage of the Grand Ole Opry in excess of 130 times, and have shared the stage with acts ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Montgomery Gentry, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Brad Paisley to Alison Krauss, Tony Rice, The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mountain Stringband, The Punch Brothers, Levon Helm, and John Fogerty. Annabelle’s Curse is an alt-folk band from Bristol, TN/VA. Its members are Tim Kilbourne (vocals, banjo, guitar), Carly Booher (vocals, mandolin), Zack Edwards (guitar), Travis Goyette (percussion), and Tyler Luttrell (bass). As an independent band, Annabelle’s Curse’s fan support has been instrumental to their success. They have released three full-length albums; the most recent two, Hollow Creature and Worn Out Skin, were fully funded by fans. Since forming in 2010, Annabelle’s Curse has toured extensively, developing a devoted fan base throughout the southeast and mid-Atlantic. Annabelle’s Curse has supported acts such as Anderson East, The Black Lillies, HoneyHoney, and Humming House. The band has been a staple at Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion and has also performed at Floydfest, Rhythm and Blooms, Rooster Walk, and Music City Roots. Tickets $25 advance & $30 at the gate. Music starts 8 pm. No season passes accepted. Buy tickets online HERE or from the Daily Grind and/or Rising Sun Breads.
Fri., Sept. 9 – Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes at Shining Star Farm. Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes rocks the house all the time every time! This classically trained New Orleans-based band delivers a smorgasbord of musical genres every time they hit the stage. JSDN defy easy categorization, their irreverent funk is cut with rock riffs, a Gypsy/Klezmer flare, a Latin tinge courtesy of a hard hitting horn section, and a sense of humor. JSDN is a collection of carefully crafted alter egos, mystical musicians hesitant to share their personal selves but collectively ready to funk beyond the call of duty. The ensemble features Johnny Sketch (Marc Paradis ) on guitar, electric cello, and lead vocals; Busta Gnutt (Dave Pomerleau) on bass and backing vocals; Dirty Johnny (Andre Bohren) on drums and backing vocals; and Johnny Rico (Omar Ramirez ) on trumpet and flugelhorn: Johnny Walker (Brad Walker) on Saxophones. Season Passes gladly accepted. All tickets $15 each and available at Daily Grind and Woodall’s Music.
Fri., Nov. 18 – Mipso – When Mipso’s 2013 debut, Dark Holler Pop, rose to #8 on Billboard’s Bluegrass charts, the success surprised a lot of people – Mipso’s four members included. “Well, we didn’t know so many people would buy it,” laughs mandolin player Jacob Sharp, “and we definitely didn’t know we were a bluegrass band.”
Since then, Mipso has performed over 300 shows and welcomed frequent collaborator Libby Rodenbough’s voice and fiddle to the fold – and has continued to grow as musicians and songwriters, while drawing continual inspiration from their North Carolina roots. Their new album Old Time Reverie – produced by Mandolin Orange’s Andrew Marlin – is a reflection of that musical and personal growth: a gripping, mature sophomore release that finds the quartet expanding their sonic resources while doubling down on their experimentation with string band tradition.
While the instrumentation on the acclaimed Dark Holler Pop embraced North Carolina’s bluegrass heritage head-on, Old Time Reverie finds Mipso shifting their focus away from bluegrass, introducing new instruments and textures to create a distinctly different sound. Clawhammer banjo out of 1920s early country music meets atmospheric electric organ (played by Josh Oliver of The Everybodyfields) more native to 1970s pop. Add imaginative songwriting and a group cohesion gained from two years of near constant touring, and the resulting sound is powerfully rhythmic, lyrically sharp, and woven with beautiful four-part harmonies. Tickets $15 advance & $18 day of show. Music starts 9 pm. No season passes accepted. Buy tickets online HERE starting Monday, July 25th.
Fri., Nov. 28 – Mission in the Rain – Mission in the Rain is a group of High Country musicians from North Carolina celebrating the music of The Jerry Garcia Band. Founded in the fall of 2015, this Boone, NC-based band features members Jonathan Priest, Toma Fuller, Brandon Holder and Slate Lacy. Their Sunday evening set on the Pine Grove Stage of Rooster Walk 8 was a huge hit that left fans requesting their return appearance to Martinsville. ART is happy to have them coming back for our annual Day After Thanksgiving Show! Tickets $12 adv / $15 day of show. Online tickets will be available HERE starting Monday.