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Downtown Bristol Blog

Bridgeforth Design Embarks on Innovative Graphic Novel Project

Downtown art studio Bridgeforth Design has begun a partnership with fantasy writer Joey Collard to develop and pitch an innovative graphic novel called Solon. They have worked to create artwork to pitch to publishers and also for the development of a Kickstarter campaign that has already attracted 17 backers who will receive eBooks, signed hard copies, custom original Bridgeforth artwork and more for their contributions.

Touted as a "hybrid" graphic design, Collard aims to push the envelope of the creative format, introducing clues and easter eggs alongside context that includes real science in a fantasy setting.

"Carolyn Solon is a microbiologist who discovers a way to achieve unlimited amounts of fiery, superhuman energy through manipulation of a virus, which feeds on the calcium in a human body. She fights mythical beings and traces their origins using her uniquely perceptive abilities, so having large amounts of artwork lets me show you, the reader, exactly how she arrives at her conclusions: VISUALLY. "

As of this writing, about three weeks are left in the campaign, so show your support for one of Downtown Bristol's own!

Caterpillar Crawl has a New Butterfly

In 2009, the Junior League of Bristol launched the Caterpillar Crawl, a downtown public art project designed and installed as a permanent family-oriented scavenger hunt. The project was inspired by Eric Carle’s children’s book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and is part of the League’s ongoing commitment to reading and literacy. The caterpillars were created by Bristol artist Val Lyle.

Sadly, in October, JLB learned the bronze butterfly that was attached to the front of the Bristol Public Library had either flown away or been taken. To remedy this situation, a new butterfly is now being displayed in the window near the old location. JLB hopes those who enjoy the Caterpillar Crawl will see the butterfly and then go into the Library to read a book.

Caterpillar Crawl brochures are available at the Chamber of Commerce, Believe In Bristol and in the Children's Department of the Bristol Public Library. They may also be printed from the Junior League website at

Vote for the Best of Virginia 2016

Who has the best tapas in Southwest Virginia? What's the best winery in the region? Virginia Living magazine wants to know what you think. Vote today for your hometown favorites in their 5th annual Best of Virginia Readers' Survey!

Visit to cast your ballots. You'll automatically be entered in a drawing to win an iPad mini! The polls close at 11:59 p.m. EST Jan. 22. Winners will be announced in Virginia Living's Best of Virginia 2016 special issue, which publishes in May.

Please note that Virginia Living and the reader survey are not affiliated with Believe in Bristol. If you have questions or experience technical difficulties, please email for assistance.

Downtown Bristol Events

Radio Bristol Sessions: Cicada Rhythm

January 13 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Be part of the live audience for WBCM Radio Bristol Sessions this week at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. It's free! Can't be there? Listen live on the air at WBCM 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, through our website, or our on our mobile app for iPhone or Android.

About Cicada Rhythm
Born and raised in Georgia, this talented pair imitates and modernizes folk music to a rejuvenating degree. Their sound exhibits skilled and articulate guitar picking honed in the dive bars of Atlanta over rolling Julliard-trained bass lines. Expect chilling harmonies, unbridled enthusiasm, some wholesome tunes and a sincere performance. Learn more at

The Paisley Fields

January 13 | O'Mainnin's Pub

The Paisley Fields will play O'Mainnin's Pub in downtown Bristol on January 13, 2016.

About The Paisley Fields
The Paisley Fields are a country band based in city where the blue of the sky is snatched from skyscrapers. There is no doubt Brooklyn has more concrete than fields. But the band is unapologetic about pushing boundaries and seeking inspiration in the unexpected.

Singer/songwriter/pianist James Wilson is not the cowboy hat wearing, good old boy one pictures when thinking about country music. The Brooklyn resident and lead singer cuts a different kind of cowboy figure.

Wilson also happens to be a gay man.

In 2010, Wilson spent a year living in Japan and making music with his band Sora Ocean. His time living in the Japanese countryside made him realize he wanted to make a change in his life.

Back in New York, he decided to leave his former band behind and play music full time. Wilson spoke to his longtime collaborator Jessica Kimple about forming a band together, a country band.

Growing up in Iowa, Wilson listened to country musicians like Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks. Kimple, a trained opera singer and an Iowa native, signed on immediately.

In 2012, The Paisley Fields played their first gig.

“I see myself as coming full circle with The Paisley Fields,” Wilson says. “We are playing country music inspired by the songs I grew up with, and that really brings me back to my roots.”

The band added Anna Volpe to the mix in 2014. Volpe is also a trained opera singer.

“From the beginning, I always knew there was something special about this band,” Volpe says. “The Paisley Fields' music is not only unique, but the lyrics are thoughtful and can strike a chord with any audience member.”

Though Wilson is inspired by country musicians like Parton and Brooks, he wanted The Paisley Fields lyric’s to reflect the modern world, particularly his own experience of it.

Wilson penned The Paisley Fields’ song, “Windows Fogged Up” about his longtime boyfriend, now husband, Ryan. The video follows a gay couple as they meet, fall in love and eventually get engaged. The band’s videos have over a 100,000 views on YouTube.

Though Wilson is an award-winning songwriter, he sometimes struggles to write. Almost two years ago, he entered one of those periods. The next day, Wilson began his commitment to write a song a day for one year.

Wilson wrote “She’s No Angel” on day five. The song debuted at #17 on the New Country Releases on the iTunes Charts.

The Paisley Fields’ momentum continues. The group was awarded a sponsorship from Brooklyn Arts Council to record a full length album.

The Paisley Fields’ second EP Oh These Urban Fences is out now.

History Harvest: Tennessee Ernie Ford

January 16 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum wants to record and preserve your Tennessee Ernie Ford stories, photographs, and memorabilia during a “history harvest”!

Do you have a story about a personal connection with Tennessee Ernie Ford, his parents, or his family? Do you or your family have photographs – particularly candid photos – of Ernie on his visits to Bristol, or other Ford-related memorabilia? We would love to add a digital copy to our archive at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum! Come to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Saturday, January 16 from 11–4 or on Thursday, January 28 from 1–5 with your item or story to share.

We will record your stories or memories, and scan or photograph the items that you bring with you to add to BCM’s digital archive. These items will help to tell the story of Tennessee Ernie Ford and his connection to Bristol to future generations, and the recordings or digital images will be available to community members, museum staff, and researchers for years to come. BCM will not keep your originals, though museum staff members are happy to discuss the process of donating items to the museum. BCM will send History Harvest participants who provide their email addresses a digital copy of their scanned image, photographed item, or recorded story after the event.

Please contact Dave Lewis (, our Curator of Collections and Digital Media with any questions, or if you have a particularly large collection of items.

We hope to see all you pea-pickers there!

Photo courtesy Bristol Historical Association.

January Jazz with the Matt Hall Quartet

January 16 | Blackbird Bakery

Join us at Blackbird for some January Jazz with the Matt Hall Quartet! It'll be a great evening of fun. What could be better than some great coffee, great pastries, hanging with friends, and enjoying the best music around. Matt is originally from Kingsport, TN, and he is currently a freelance musician in San Diego, CA and formerly a United States Marine Corps musician. Matt Hall is a Michael Rath Trombones Performing Artist.

Joining Matt will be:

Dan Keller, guitar
Bill Perkins, bass
Tony Wilder, drums

Auditions for Theatre Bristol's "Robin Hood"

January 17–20 | Theatre Bristol

Theatre Bristol announces January audition dates and details for the March production of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" at the ARTspace theatre. Veteran and novice actors are invited to audition January 17th at 2:30 PM, and 18th, 19th, and 20th at 6:30 PM at Theatre Bristol, 512 State Street, Bristol, TN.

The auditions will consist of cold readings from the script, and a monologue. No preparation will be necessary. For updates please visit

Performances are scheduled for March 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, and 20.

"The Adventures of Robin Hood," a timeless tale of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, is a whimsical retelling of the folk fable about the outlaw/hero Robin of Locksley, whose mission it is to "steal from the rich to give to the poor." RobinHood, his merry band, and Maid Marian join forces in Sherwood Forest to foil the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and restore justice to the kingdom.

This lively and comical tale promises to be great entertainment for all ages. Directing will be Theatre Bristol veteran, Steve Baskett (Oliver, Cinderella, Sound of Music, Peter Pan, Anne of Green Gables, Miracle on 34th St, Les Misérables, Scrooge the Musical 2014 and 2015).

Anyone interested in being a part of the production crew may contact Theatre Bristol at

The Americans

January 18 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum

The Birthplace of Country Music is proud to present The Americans on Monday, January 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are $5.00 per person.
Doors Open: 6:30 p.m.
Concert Begins at 7:00 p.m.

Click here to buy tickets.

About The Americans
The Americans perform original rock & roll with deep roots in traditional American music. They have performed on the Late Show with David Letterman, twice joined Grammy and Oscar winner Ryan Bingham on national tours, and played the first dance at Reese Witherspoon’s wedding. They have backed up Nick Cave, Tim Robbins, and Lucinda Williams.

The Americans appear throughout American Epic, a four hour primetime PBS / BBC special produced by Jack White, Robert Redford, and T Bone Burnett, featuring Nas, Elton John, Alabama Shakes, and Willie Nelson (coming spring 2016).

The Americans recorded an original song for Hal Willner’s Son of Rogue’s Gallery (ANTI- Records), an album of sea chanties and pirate songs featuring Tom Waits, Keith Richards, and Iggy Pop, executive produced by Johnny Depp. Reviewing the album in Believer magazine, critic Greil Marcus wrote, “The Americans [are] led by Patrick Ferris, whose deep voice doesn’t sound like Richard Manuel’s but feels like it.”

The Americans’ music is featured in the Michael Mann produced film Texas Killing Fields, starring Sam Worthington and Chloë Grace Moretz. The soundtrack includes two original songs, “Kiss Your Eyes” and “When The Blaze Is Blue.”

Find the Americans on Facebook at

Corklickers & Friends

January 23 | KP

Come down to KP for an evening of great music with the Corklickers & Friends.

Also Coming Up

More Upcoming Events »

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