Heather visits the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion
Heather Robin, is currently on a tour across the southern USA visiting 8 states while writing and playing music and broadcasting her radio show the Bluegrass Downunder Show on worldwidebluegrass.com. Here is another posting from Heather recounting her experience in Bristol Tennessee. Thanks Heather.
When I stepped off the Greyhound bus in Bristol Tennessee, I had no idea what lay in store for me at the 9th annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion.(BRRR)
Making my way through the festival I heard the strains of John Cowan finishing off his set from one of the main stages. He was followed by none other than Peter Rowan. The crowd was enrapt with the music coming from the stage and the applause was thunderous. While watching Peter Rowan perform with Jody Stetcher, Keith Little and Michael Bub,Â from the side of the stage, a friend nudged me and said ‘There’s Tim O’Brien’, and standing right beside me was indeed Tim O’Brien. I had a quick chat to him and discovered the good news he was planning a trip to New Zealand, he then disappeared and reappeared with a fiddle, onstage with Peter Rowan. It is very difficult to describe the feeling of being in close vicinity with a number of your favorite artists and be free to shoot the breeze with them.
Peter Rowan sent a ripple through the crowd when he launched into In the Pines and that high lonesome sound chilled me to the bone. Shoulder to shoulder with his band members and Tim O’Brien around a single mic, the close harmonies created a synergy that crackled through the crowd. It was a truly amazing experience. Peter Rowan bought to me a little of what it might have been like to watch Bill Monroe himself or at least the spirit of him. Back stage later on I arranged an interview with Peter Rowan for the next day. I also got a photo take with Tim O’Brien of course seeing he’s one of my all time favorite artists.
The following day, I and my fellow WorldWideBluegrass DJ, Jeff De Ford, set up in the hospitality area of the festival ready to do interviews all day. It was a great spot and we had the chance to meet many great artists from varied musical backgrounds. Some of the artists I interviewed included Nashville based singer song writer Shay Sparks, North Carolina band Pathway Bluegrass, and the legendary Peter Rowan. It was a growth experience for me as a broadcaster, as these were some of the very first face to face interviews I had ever had the opportunity to do. Interviewing Peter Rowan will always be a landmark in my broadcasting career. He shared many anecdotes and insights into his experience in bluegrass. A full transcript of this interview is available on my website blog www.heatherrobin.com.
As we eased into the evening I got to catch Tim O’Brien’s, The SteelDrivers’ and Dan Tyminski’s sets. It was an amazing experience to see these artists perform live. The sound was excellent and the atmosphere was beyond anything I have ever experienced in Australia. I got to go back stage and talk to The SteelDrivers which was a highlight for me as they are one of my favourite bluegrass bands. They were all very friendly and down to earth and generous with providing me with their music to play on my show. Again it was an experience that I will never forget. Being able to watch artists of this caliber perform live also gave me insight on how to raise the bar within my own music and performance. Example is a great teaching tool.