A retired brakeman from Manchester Tennessee , Roy Harper has been performing old-time country music for more than fifty years. Roy has devoted his life to continuing the traditions of the style of country music he grew up listening to. Much of the inspiration for his songs comes from the many years he spent working on the railroad. Compared by his fans to Jimmy Rogers, Roy has developed quite a following among people who find this style of music preferable to modern “country” music. “County music gradually got citified, and I stayed the same.”
Roy Harper & Johnny Bellar - video
The Tennessee Stifflegs play old-time and western swing with a keen sense of showmanship and musical integrity. They are a high energy old-time string band featuring Frank Bronson on fiddle and vocals, Thomas McNair on guitar and vocals, Nathan Black on banjo and lap steel, and Tom Cook on upright bass.
Y’uns is a goodtime
acoustic band that blends jugband music with elements
of folk, swing, country, and blues. They boast more kazoo-playing
& yodeling than any Knoxville band but will fulfill
their contract to play at least one down-in-the-coalmine
dirge per set. Y'uns
features Steve Horton & Stan Turner from the
Lonesome Coyotes, Danny Gammon from Music Therapy, J.
Miller from UT Theater, & J.P.
Reddick from the mighty Mumbillies.
Pickett State Ramblers
Trenton Caruthers is 14 years old and is from Cookeville, TN on the precipice of the Cumberland Plateau. He has won several contests including the Uncle Dave Macon Days Old Time Band competition with Josiah Tyree, Randy Hill, and Jeremy Stephens. Trenton plays fiddle, banjo, and guitar. He is also a champion buck dancer, winning third place at the Great Southern Old Time Fiddler’s Convention last year. His influences include the legendary Bob Douglas, Clyde Davenport, and Michael Defosche. He is often seen playing at the 111 Flea Market in Cookeville and Cedars of Lebanon State Park.
Jordan Hughett is 19 years old and heralds from Huntsville, TN near the Big South Fork. His influences include Burnett and Rutherford, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and Uncle Dave Macon. Another important influence is Philip Kazee, son of banjo player Buell Kazee. Philip learned banjo playing and ballad singing from his father and instructed Jordan in the Kazee traditional repertoire. In addition to banjo, he plays guitar, autoharp, and jaw harp. Jordan often plays bluegrass music at area events with his siblings who are known as the Hughetts, and enjoys gathering and telling stories.
The Pickett State Ramblers formed by happenstance
in 2015 at the Pickett State Park Old Timer’s Day,
which was the first event for both Jordan and
Trenton. They quickly formed a duo and proved to be
very popular with the spectators. The Pickett State
Ramblers specialize in Old Time Music played in the
old time way, with the fiddle as lead and
banjo/guitar serving as backup.
Bill & the Belles
With striking three-part harmonies and masterful instrumentation, Bill and the Belles skillfully breathe new life into the sounds of early country music. At the foothills of the Blue Ridge and the forefront of old time music, Bill and the Belles (Johnson City, Tennessee) continue to further the music traditions of their region. From sentimental Southern ballads to the popular songs of Tin Pan Alley to regional fiddle breakdowns, a Bill and the Belles show is a celebration of the diversity country music once represented.
With a rapidly growing reputation throughout the
Southeast, Bill and the Belles has shared the stage
with many national acts, including Hot Rize, the
Gibson Brothers, and Larry Sparks. They continue to
play alongside Americas top country and roots music
artists as the resident band for the historic radio
program Farm and Fun Time presented by Radio Bristol
and the Birthplace of Country Music. In just a short
time, Bill and the Belles have brought their show to
the audiences of television and radio broadcasts,
and several major festivals around the country.
Lifelong musicians Kris Truelsen, Grace Vant Hof,
Kalia Yeagle, and Karl Zerfas bring to the stage an
uplifting show unlike any other, full of humor, high
spirits, and all-around revelry. Its clear this
group shares a rare musical connection and deep love
for the music, and their excitement is contagious.
Bill and the Belles are hitting the road with
fervor, eager to share their music with new
Mike and Marcia Bryant
Mike Bryant has been playing
old time fiddle for over 30 years. For 22 years he
played with the award winning old time band The New
Dixie Entertainers, playing all aound the country and
at fiddle conventions. Mike has taught fiddle classes
at Swannanoa and Augusta and also enjoys teaching
individuals at home in Tennessee. Over the years Mike
has won many awards for fiddling, most notably at
Clifftop, West Virginia. Mike enjoys playing old time
tunes from all over the south. He also has a good
repertory of blues and rags on the fiddle. Mike
was featured prominently in a recent issue of the Old
Time Herald and in
the video series Songs
Leah Gardner & Peggy Hambright
East Tennessee native Leah Gardner sings soulful blues, love ballads, and country folk tunes. Her sound is influenced by roots music, old time, classic bluegrass and country, early R&B, and years of playing with a range of fine folks in and around Knoxville. She has performed at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Festival, Bonaroo, Nashville's Loveless Café and the Ryman auditorium, Tennessee Shines, and several times here at the Laurel Theater.
Peggy Hambright is well known as the baker and proprietor of Magpie's Bakery and is sometimes caught performing on accordion, fiddle & voice.
Anybody remember the Newly Evicted Expo City Ramblers? The Honey Wagon Dip Sticks? They're still here, the ever-lovin' Mumbillies, wearing the same hats and the one name they couldn't shake. Alleged to be the oldest continuing band in Knoxville, the Mumbillies have stuffed old time fiddle tunes and banjo riffs into every crack in the Laurel Theater's walls for the last quarter century and more.
John Alvis, Juanita Johnson and other friends pay tribute to legendary fiddler Charlie Acuff of the Union County family made famous by Charlie’s cousin Roy. Charlie can't be with us this year but his many musician friends will carry his music as far as they can.
Knox County Jug Stompers
The Knox County Jug Stompers consists of 5-6 active members that are based out of Knoxville, TN. They perform jug band music, old time music, a wide range of bluegrass tunes, western swing, old 1930's era blues and much more. The group has been performing and touring for the last three years. Influenced by Doc Watson, Blind Blake, Jesse Fuller, the Memphis Jug Band, and many more, this ragtime band has ventured to create their own jug band music. They have an energetic new sound that embodies old time music by clashing old songs with an eruption of stringed instruments consisting of banjo, mandolin, wash tub bass, wash board percussion's, guitar, and vocal harmony.
David Lovett & Friends
David Lovett has been playing tunes for some while now -- gathering, sifting, exploring archaic tunes that have lain fallow for a generation.
People enjoying themselves in the basement of the Laurel
Epworth Old Harp Singing
The Epworth Old Harp Singers host a community singing from The New Harp of Columbia, a manual of sacred songs first published in Knoxville in 1848, related to the better known Sacred Harp singing tradition and emerging from the singing school movement once widespread throughout New England and the South. Copies of the 2001 edition will be available for use. video
||Saturday, February 25
John Alvis & Friends
7:30 David Lovett & Friends
8:00 Tennessee Stifflegs
8:45 Leah Gardner & Peggy Hambright
9:15 Knox County Jug Stompers
all night: basement sessions
Pickett State Ramblers
7:30 Kelle Jolly
8:15 Roy Harper
8:45 Mike & Marcia Bryant
9:15 Bill & the Belles
10:00 The Mumbillies
all night: basement sessions
Sunday, February 26
Old Harp Singing 2-4 pm followed by a social hour