As the end of 2017 approaches, we wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of what this year had to offer, and to thank you for all you’ve done to support our efforts! 2017 was a wild ride for Bill and the Belles and here are some of the highlights:
- We were honored to be nominated for 4 IBMA awards this year, and hosted the official IBMA Awards Show After Party!
- We played some spectacular festivals, including the Brooklyn Folk Festival, Grey Fox, Ossipee Valley Music Festival, Old Tone Roots Music Festival, Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, and the Washington Square Park Folk Festival. We also had the privilege of playing the last Tennessee Fall Homecoming, one of the region’s longest running festivals that we will be sad to see go.
- As host band of Radio Bristol's Farm and Fun Time we were incredibly happy and grateful to see the program sell out every month, and witness it change and expand. We got to share the stage with a bounty of talented artists including the Earls Of Leicester, John McEuen, the Secret Sisters, and Alice Gerrard.
- We made our second appearance 333ft below ground, with Bluegrass Underground!
- Along with many heroes, we hosted the first Martin Guitar Gathering!
- Our playful rendition of "Mr. Frog Went a-Courtin" was included on the Grammy Nominated album "Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition."
- We released our third annual holiday video, “Mistletoe Minnie,” shot at some quintessential Johnson City locations.
- And the most incredible journey of the year took us to Michoacan, Mexico, where we played shows in towns around Lake Patzcuaro and collaborated with local Purépecha bands for a finale festival in Tzintzuntzan. This was one of the most impactful trips any of us have been on. It really put into perspective our participation in celebrating tradition, and what it means to be an artist in today’s world. One of our biggest takeaways was how valued the arts seem to be there. The smallest communities with the fewest resources were brimming with artists, and many people expressed to us with pride how everyone was expected to play music. It was seemingly a given, not a thing that required immense convincing and systematic overhaul. It was refreshing and inspiring to say the least. How have the arts shaped your identity? What are you doing to support the arts in your community? These are some of the many questions we’re bringing home with us.
We’re ready for what 2018 has to offer, and we’ve already got big plans in the works. We’ll be heading out to Colorado for RockyGrass, and returning to favorite festivals like Old Tone Roots Music Festival. We also are planning a few trips overseas this year! And most exciting of all, we’ll be recording and releasing our NEW RECORD! Released in conjunction with Jalopy Records, it will feature our signature three-part, highly-arranged harmonies, plus playful and high-spirited songs presented with the energy of early country radio. For the first time we’ll feature original material, and we’ll be collaborating with a few world-class artists to add new musical voices to our mix. Keep an eye out for more details and plan on getting a copy in May 2018!
Most importantly we want to thank all of our fans, friends, and family for your constant and overwhelming support. This has been a big year for us and we couldn't have made the strides we've made without your belief in our music. Thank you, and we wish you the happiest of new years!
Bill and the Belles