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Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion 2014 Recap

By Shirley Griffith Photo by Carter Short

September 23, 2014

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J Roddy Walston Photo by Carter Short

J Roddy Walston & The Business – Piedmont Stage – Saturday

J Roddy Walston came as an undeniable force with his powerfully electric performance at the Piedmont Stage Saturday night. Doing their home-state Tennessee all the justice, they planted their unremarkable Southern-roots on stage and embodied their hard-working, soul-sharpening grit into each song.

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Mandolin Orange Photo by Carter Short

Mandolin Orange – Theatre Bristol – Saturday

Mandolin Orange not only put the Bristol Theatre at capacity (putting viewing at a 1-in, 1-out during most of their performance) but they shared with the audience the most honest, undressed showings that I had witnessed throughout the entire festival. Intimate and seamlessly stunning, no one spoke during Andrew Marlin’s yearning vocals. Standing in the darkened room for only 2 minutes, I was so captivated I had forgotten I was in the center of bustling festival at all.

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White Denim Photo by Carter Short

White Denim – Piedmont Stage – Saturday

Hailing from Austin, TX, White Denim was a bluesy, 4-piece taking over the Piedmont Stage midday Saturday. When first walking up to the raised, outdoor stage I noticed substantial Black Keys influences in the murky guitar riffs, powerful, stand-alone basslines and singer James Petralli’s execution of lyrics. Although their set was easy to keep a beat with, it’s simple digestion made me lose interest more quickly than I wanted to.

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Paul Janeway of St. Paul and The Broken Bones. Photo by Carter Short
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Paul Janeway of St. Paul and The Broken Bones. Photo by Carter Short

St Paul & The Broken Bones – Cumberland Park – Saturday

Who needs church when you could just go to a St Paul concert? Frontman Paul Janeway exhibits all the fervor of a tenured evangelical priest as he writhes on stage in a full suit exposing his passionate voice to the awestruck audience in front of him. The band is a Sunday service full of glory and salvation, more powerful than any choir organ in a stuffy church could ever provide. Fender guitars ring out and a saxophone symphony cries as St Paul cascades into the pit below to deliver himself among the crowd. The sun sets and I’ve just experience an Act of Apostle.

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Sol Driven Train

Sol Driven Train – Cumberland Park – Sunday

This Charleston, SC based sextet provided the perfect calvary of foot-stompin’ to dance away the dreary rain that dampened some of the festival’s earlier acts Sunday afternoon. The brass accompaniment of both trombone and saxophone blared through Cumberland Park as adults and children spun themselves around, relishing in the joyous harmony of strewn sunlight and vocal harmonies. It’s clearer than a Carolina blue sky that Sol Driven Train’s festival performance nails it.

Friday Instagram Highlight Video featuring St. Paul and The Broken Bones and The New Familiars.

Saturday Instagram Highlight Video featuring J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Caveman and Ancient Cities.

2014 Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion Recap Movie

Official 2014 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Recap Movie from CLTure on Vimeo.

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