Curse of Lono

The Curse of Lono will take to the stage at O'Mainnin's on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. during the 19th annual Rhythm & roots Reunion.

Paul Janeway sings as if in the midst of a nuclear meltdown.

Buddy Holly glasses notwithstanding, he’s one of the coolest dudes on today’s music scene.

Janeway returns St. Paul & The Broken Bones to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in downtown Bristol on Friday, Sept. 20. Roll to their razzle-dazzling show onstage in Cumberland Park.

“Bristol, it’s very down home,” said Janeway, by phone from his home in Birmingham, Alabama. “Special place for me.”

Before St. Paul’s ascension to music stardom, he dated then married a girl from Bristol. When St. Paul’s horns-honking “Call Me” struck an international chord in 2014, the band soared as if aboard a rocket to the moon. They went universal.

“It was powerful. Life-changing,” Janeway said. “Now we’ve done Coachella, Bonnaroo, really big festivals. We try to give people a show they will never forget.”

If You Go

» Who: St. Paul and The Broken Bones

» When: Friday, Sept. 20 at 10 p.m.

» Where: Cumberland Stage, Bristol, Virginia

» Admission: $45-$70 per day; $110 three-day wristband ticket in advance, $125 three-day wristband ticket at the gate

» Info: 423-573-1927

» Web, audio and video:

L.A. Edwards

Jackson Browne seems reborn in the form of L.A. Edwards. When Edwards sings, as with his new single “Reign Over Me,” it’s as if the years melted away from Browne.

“I get that a lot lately,” said Edwards, by phone last week from Nashville. “Even my mom always told me that.”

Sidle up to Edwards’ easy-does-it southern California rock style at Bristol Rhythm & Roots on Friday, Sept. 20 and Saturday, Sept. 21.

“I like that it sounds happy and sad at the same time,” Edwards said. “It’s joyful and hopeful. There’s poetry. It’s accessible.”

Edwards tours on the strength of last year’s “True Blue” album. Melodies gathered as if from the breeze, summer warmth emanates from Edwards’ highway star of a voice.

“It’s my way to be honest with myself and with people around me,” Edwards said. “Music let’s me be me.”

If You Go

» Who: L.A. Edwards

» When: Friday, Sept. 20 at 9:45 p.m. (State Line) and Saturday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. (O’Mainnin’s)

» Web, audio and video:

Patty Griffin

A songbird whose lyrics provide her wings, Patty Griffin flies when gifted a song to sing.

Catch Griffin in flight when she embarks upon Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion on Saturday at the State Street Stage in downtown Bristol. She’ll sing with Virginia to her right, Tennessee to her left and truth right down the middle.

“Honesty? I’m probably my harshest critic,” said Griffin, by phone from Austin, Texas. “I try to do something that sounds like me.”

For instance, when Griffin encountered the loss of her voice, she penned the moving “What Now,” which turns up on her latest album. Coupled with a bout of cancer, her album embraces themes of mortality as reality.

“That’s definitely a good way to put where my mind was at, receiving a severe diagnosis for the first time,” Griffin said. “It was there for me to closely examine for a while.”

If You Go

» Who: Patty Griffin

» When: Saturday, Sept. 21 at 10:30 p.m.

» Where: State Street Stage, downtown Bristol

» Web, audio and video:

Amythyst Kiah

She’s a Van Gogh with a voice, a Langston Hughes poem enlivened.

She’s Amythyst Kiah, local musician of growing national and international note.

Behold Kiah’s breathtaking gift of song at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion on Sunday at the 7th Street Stage. Most memorably, she emotes as if from a genre all her own. Take her song, “Myth.” Art down from the walls, Kiah sings as if for one and for millions, a sterling representation of the lengths to which a singer can reach.

“For almost 10 years, music was a private thing for me,” said Kiah. “(Now) it’s become my life’s work.”

If You Go

» Who: Amythst Kiah

» When: Sunday, Sept. 22 at 12 p.m.

» Where: 7th Street Stage

» Web, audio and video:

Music Notes

Felix Bechtolsheimer boarded a plane in London last week. The lead singer of alternative rock band The Curse of Lono disembarked hours later in Chicago then grabbed another flight, Nashville bound. Today, he’s en route to Bristol.

Partake of Curse of Lono during Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion at 7 p.m. Friday at O’Mainnin’s. Bechtolsheimer’s band along with fellow Brit Danni Nicholls will participate in the festival as part of The Road to Tennessee, a partnership between the British Underground and Rhythm & Roots, that began in England with The Long Road Festival.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Nicholls. “I grew up in a tiny town in the UK listening to country music. It was the foundation on my musical journey and means so much to me.”

Bristol native and BBC radio personality Baylen Leonard is an organizer of The Long Road Festival.

“Baylen had this idea,” said Bechtolsheimer, by phone moments after he touched down in America. “He chose the bands for The Long Road Festival. He said, ‘I’m going to be at the AmericanaFest in Nashville and then I’m going to Bristol for Rhythm & Roots. Why don’t we take along some bands?’”

Hence the presence of Curse of Lono and Nicholls at Rhythm & Roots this weekend. Each intimated not only a desire to see Bristol, but to walk in the footsteps of Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. Bristol describes as Americana at its best, small town America graced with generational music and worldwide famous history. Therein lies the draw.

“Americana, that’s a broad church I want to be a part of,” Bechtolsheimer said. “It gives us loads of room to try some things out.”

Rhythm & Roots provides an entryway for Curse of Lono and Danni Nicholls. Not only does it open a door into Bristol, but much more broadly, into America.

“Getting to perform at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is one of my proudest achievements,” Nicholls said. “I can’t to hear so much great music at the festival, too.”

Bristol favorite of yore, Miss Tess, serves seven songs via this week’s free MP3 downloads. Boogie over to Based in Nashville, Miss Tess’ cobbling of roots music from jazz to folk results in such pensive numbers as “Darling, Oh Darling” and a cloaked-in-cool “Caravan.”


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Tom Netherland is a freelance writer. He may be reached at

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