Whitesburg KY

Ralph Stanley, Doc Watson to headline Bristol festival

BRISTOL, Tennessee

Ralph Stanley and Doc Watson, two pillars of bluegrass music, will headline this year’s Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

It will be the first time either has performed at the annual festival celebrating the Appalachian region’s musical heritage. The festival runs Sept. 19-21 in downtown Bristol.

Stanley, 80, a native of southwest Virginia, is a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.

He and his brother, Carter, formed the Stanley Brothers and their Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946. The duo helped define the music that would become known as bluegrass, fusing Bill Monroe’s rapid rhythms with the mountain folk of groups such as the Carter Family.

Watson, a western North Carolina native, became a key figure in the 1960s folk movement with his mix of mountain tunes, blues and gospel. He helped revolutionize folk guitar with his flat-picking, evident on his signature song, “Black Mountain Rag.”

Watson, 84, has received seven Grammy Awards.

The music festival’s lineup includes T.G. Sheppard, Sam Bush, Cherryholmes, Blue Highway, Kelli Willis, New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Otis Taylor.

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