Give wide berth to major country music lineage en route to the Birthplace of Country Music.
Presenting: Lorrie Morgan. Her guest? Hers and the late Keith Whitley’s son, Jesse Keith Whitley. Experience country royalty when Morgan occupies the spotlight at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol, Tennessee, on Sunday, Oct. 6. Morgan and son, they’re the daughter and grandson of the late George Morgan, the “Candy Kisses” star and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Lorrie Morgan accentuated her pedigree with a hall of fame worthy career. More hits than what grows in Willie Nelson’s backyard, Morgan’s lineup includes such keepers as “Five Minutes” and “What Part of No.” Morgan’s style marks as her own. Bound in layers of spunk as driven by a distinctive voice, Morgan belongs well within the vast canon of country music essence.
If You Go
» Who: Lorrie Morgan and Jesse Keith Whitley
» When: Sunday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.
» Where: Paramount Center for the Arts, 518 State St., Bristol, Tenn.
» Admission: $48-$71.25
» Info: 423-274-8920
» Web, audio and video: https://lorrie.com
Strong stuff, that Tennessee moonshine. Stronger still, Elizabethton’s Tennessee Champagne.
No, Carter County hasn’t gone soft. Quite the opposite. Five-man, road-rippling band Tennessee Champagne return to Bristol and Quaker Steak & Lube on Saturday, Oct. 5.
Rowdy? They look like members of David Allan Coe’s band – rough and ready. As heard on their EP, “Corn from a Jar,” Tennessee Champagne occupy Southern-threaded lines of rock. Therein “Thunder in the Mountains” spreads wide a way for their infectiously pummeling groove ‘n’ grinding style. Guitars, loud. Vocals, louder. Good times? On tap and ready to pour.
If You Go
» Who: Tennessee Champagne
» When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m.
» Where: Quaker Steak & Lube, 629 State St., Bristol, Va.
» Info: 276-644-9464
» Web, audio and video: https://tnchampagne.com
Curtis Eller’s American Circus
Gather ‘round, ladies and gents! To the big top in Little Chicago spin Curtis Eller’s American Circus.
Elephants? No. Clowns? Depends on one’s outlook. Regardless, Curtis Eller’s American Circus embarks upon The Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room in Johnson City on Saturday, Oct. 5. Showmanship extraordinaire at the ready, Eller fields an on-the-mark and get-set-and-go band.
Eller plays banjo. He winds vaudevillian wackiness with clever showmanship as driven by a vibe that’s all character-driven rock ‘n’ roll. Voila! Out pops Curtis Eller’s American Circus. As heard on their latest album, “A Poison Melody,” Eller and troupe stir quite the tempest storm of swirling rhythms amid undulating horns and crisp melodicism.
If You Go
» Who: Curtis Eller’s American Circus
» When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m.
» Where: The Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room, 216 E. Main St., Johnson City
» Admission: $10
» Info: 423-631-0600
» Web, audio and video: www.curtiseller.com
Country singer Dillon Carmichael crossed a blue-jeaned leg. He lounged on a couch backstage at the Paramount during the final day of the 19th Annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
He took it all in.
Around him crowded the misty figures of music’s past, each of whom in times gone by trod within the Paramount. Sit and listen. Gradually, Bristol’s own Tennessee Ernie Ford comes along. Why, there’s Chet Atkins, country music’s “Mr. Guitar.” Nearby, Little Jimmy Dickens, a shadow from his days in the 1940s at the Paramount, comes into glittering rhinestones view.
Clippety-clop echo the shoed hooves of Gene Autry’s horse, Champion. Autry, six-guns holstered at his side and clad in his Hollywood Singing Cowboy’s glory, strides by. Grinning, naturally.
Momentarily, ole Ernest Tubb loped in the midst. His famed Texas Troubadours, six-string master Billy Byrd included, in tow. They rendered “Walking the Floor Over You” from the stage long ago at the Paramount, of which its fading honky-tonk rhythms still imbed within the deepening walls of the Paramount and of Bristol.
Tubb stayed the night at Hotel Bristol. Nowadays, we have something akin to its offspring, The Bristol Hotel.
Ford to Autry, Tubb to Dickens and Roy Acuff, too, helped solidify Bristol as a country music town of worldwide note in the decades after the fabled 1927 Bristol Sessions. Ralph Peer, Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family, Ernest V. “Pop” Stoneman and company preceded Hollywood’s “The Wizard of Oz” by a dozen years.
But they paved Bristol as a yellow brick road nonetheless. Generations of country music’s torchbearers strode its path in the decades since. Lorrie Morgan, she’s next.
Morgan joins a lineup for all of time. Such a pathway led to Bristol’s distinction as the Birthplace of Country Music. It provide space for the ballyhooed Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. Why, even Judy Garland, Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” once applied her heels to downtown Bristol’s golden wide way.
Carmichael, who may well have felt their presence, turned his head to the right.
“So,” Carmichael said, “this is Bristol?”
You betcha, cowboy.
In acknowledgement of Ken Burns’ PBS epic, “Country Music,” Hank Williams helms this week’s free MP3 downloads. Recall https://archive.org. Search audio for Hank Williams. Find a trove of treasures including “Angel of Death” and “The Battle of Armageddon.”