Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Tennessee Fall Homecoming 2016 - Saturday & Sunday: Review

The lovely campus of the Museum of Appalachia can accommodate thousands of people without ever seeming to be stretched. With woodsy paths leading to old homes and farm building, four stages, vendors and demonstrators spread across the grounds, and food vendors offering up traditional southern cooking both traditional and more modern, the museum combines living history with living, changing music to appeal to general tourists as well as traditional and more contemporary music lovers. With bands ranging from local family bands hardly known beyond nearby farms and small towns to national touring bluegrass bands arriving in large tour buses, there's plenty for everyone.

David West & Ciderville Folk

The Stewart Family

Mornings at Tennessee Fall Homecoming begin early, with the first band hitting the stage at 9:00 AM and music continue for a couple of hours before the first band one might see regularly at a festival comes to the stage. While locally known on Knoxville TV, at local granges and get togethers, these bands are not why people buy tickets to this event. Nevertheless, they demonstrate one of the charms that old-time and bluegrass music represent: the direct connection between home/church/family/rural culture and professional touring musician. The line is direct. Furthermore, those people who perform are also ones who attend and support festivals, jam until two in the morning, and love the music. They keep tradition alive.

Dobro Champion - Johnny Bellar

Bellar is a well-known and respected Dobro player, whose greatest contributions have been studio work as a session player as well as touring with the Stonemans and various country bands.

Matt Foster

Foster sings contemporary singer/songwriter material on a far from contemporary instrument, the open back banjo.  His style and his music perhaps come across more effectively in smaller, more intimate venues where the content and style will be more fully appreciated.

Mike Bentley & Cumberland Gap Connection

The Stewart Family

Uncle Doc Wilhite

Uncle Doc Wilhite seeks to keep the legacy of Uncle Dave Macon, early Grand Old Opry Star, alive.

Uncle Shuffalo & His Haint Holler Hootenanny

In the Museum Gift Shop

Chris Jones & the Night Drivers at Stage 2

Chris Jones, also known for his work as a radio host on Sirius/Xm radio and a weekly columnist for Bluegrass Today, has been the long-time front man for his own band, too. Their winning combination includes classic bluegrass and contemporary songs written from within the band.

Chris Jones

Jon Weisberger

Grinding Sugar Cane for Syrup

Dale Ann Bradley

Dale Ann Bradley, five time IBMA Female Vocalist of the the Year, appeared for two too brief segments, along with frequent member of her band, Phil Leadbetter, who was here with two bands, while fans celebrated his victory of cancer after five years of concern for him.

Phil Leadbetter

Museum Founder - John Rice Irwin

Each year at the Tennessee Fall Homecoming a brief time is set aside to remember the music greats and museum benefactors and workers who have passed on during the year. John Rice Irwin often speaks about their importance to the museum and their role in helping realize his lifelong dream.

John Rice Irwin, Cindy Baucum
Museum President: Elaine Irwin Meyer

Bill and the Belles: An Up-and-Coming Band

Offering traditional music with a strong whiff of innovation...a refreshing band.

Kris Truelson

Grace van't Hof

The Barefoot Movement
Warming Up Back Stage

And On-Stage

Tommy Norris & Alex Conerly

Flatt Lonesome at the Cantilever Barn (3)

...And the Main Stage (1)

Charli & Buddy Robertson

Flatt Lonesome, a young, increasingly strong band featuring a unique blend of bluegrass, country, and gospel music was a big winner at this year's IBMA Awards show. 

Paul Harrigil, Dominic Illingworth & Kelsi Robertson Harrigill

IBMA Executive Director: Paul Schiminger

Many Attendees Come in Costume

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
at the Cantilever Barn

and Main Stage
Michael Cleveland

Joshua Richards

Nathan Livers

Audience at Cantilever Barn

...and the Main Stage

Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time

Known by his fans and friends simply as Cord, Larry Cordle is an iconic song writer for both country and bluegrass music as well as a first rate performer who deserves to be seen and heard much more widely. When you get a chance, don't miss this straight ahead singer with a fine back-up band. 


Jody King

Kim Gardner

Chris Harris

Kristin Scott Benson & Cindy Baucom 

The Grascals
John Bryan

Singer/Guitarist John Bryan seems to be the last piece in the rejuvenation of The Grascals, noted for their allegiance to the Osborne Brothers as well as a raft of more contemporary story songs and their high energy performances. The Grascals are entertaining and there's always lots going on during one of their shows. 

Kristin Scott Benson

Terry Eldredge

Danny Roberts

Adam Haynes

John Bryant and Terry Smith

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out is one of the country's most popular, well-regarded, and successful bluegrass bands. Currently on their 25th anniversary tour, their music is familiar and well-loved to bluegrass fans everywhere. 

Russell Moore

Wayne Benson

Justen Haynes

Keith McKinnon

Jerry Cole

Saturday at Tennessee Fall Homecoming enjoyed fine weather and a good crowd with first rate bands. 

Clinch Valley Bluegrass
Early Morning on Stage 4

Cozy Fire Back Stage

Mountain Music Ambassadors from Morrehead State

The Price Sisters with Faculty Advisor

Dale Jett & Hello Stranger

Dale Jett - Grandson of Sara Carter - Link to the Roots

Annual Antique Tractor Exhibit

Let's Take a Look at that Honey
Paul Schiminger & Stuart Wyrick


Flashback is a reunion band of the 1990's band put together to recreate J.D. Crowe and the New South with Stuart Wyrick playing the banjo in the place of the retired Crowe. The band is lively, tuneful, and offering new bluegrass in addition to the material from a couple of decades ago. 

Phil Leadbetter

Curt Chapman & Richard Bennett

Don Rigby & Stuart Wyrick

Cindy Baucom - Emcee

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Hall of Famer Doyle Lawson, during his long career,  played with some of the most important and influential bands in bluegrass history - Jimmy Martin, The Country Gentlemen, J.D. Crowe & the New South - before founding his own band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, which has been a leader in bluegrass and bluegrass gospel music for a generation. He has trained literally dozens of musicians who have gone on to be leaders in their own right. His performances are always balanced and tuneful, combining wholesome entertainment with fervent gospel proclamation. His Sunday performance at Tennessee Fall Homecoming offered him up at his best. 

Doyle Lawson 

Dustin Pyrtle

Josh Swift

Eli Johnston

Joe Dean & Doyle Lawson

Steven Burwell

Dustin Pyrtle & Josh Swift

Mountain Faith

Mountain Faith leapt to prominence because of its success on the summer television series America's Got Talent, where they made it to the semi-finals, and their story. The band, under the leadership of father Sam McMahan work during the week at the family's tire store in the Smoky Mountains while testifying to their faith through their performances on the weekend. They're both attractive and fun. A good strong band to end the Fall Homecoming with. 

Summer McMahon

Cory Piatt

Braydon McMahan

Luke Dotson

Summer McMahan

The Tennessee Fall Homecoming is, perhaps, the best example of a music festival and cultural tourism to be found. Combining some of the best in bluegrass bands with significant local and regional musical input leaning towards old-time and traditional music with the culture, art, architecture and food of Appalachia, it provides three days filled with music and fun. Put it on your calendar for next October. 

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