First wave of artists announced for RIVER TOWN, Bristol’s 4th annual Americana festival

For the fourth year running, Colston Hall and St George’s Bristol are bringing the best in country, gospel, blues and bluegrass to venues across Bristol as part of River Town.

Over July and August multiple venues will host a world-class programme which will take the festival from Colston Hall, which will be undergoing its £48.8million transformation, and into a number of venues that include St George’s Bristol, The Wardrobe Theatre and Thekla. The first wave of line-up has just been announced, with more headline acts still to come.

In this first line-up announcement we can reveal that River Town 2018 will feature live shows from two true legends. Graham Nash will bring an evening of stories and music from an extraordinary career to St George’s Bristol on 25 July, and we will also host Rosanne Cash the following night.

A two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Graham Nash is a songwriter with few equals. His remarkable body of work stretches from the contributions to The Hollies between 1964-68, through the epic years of Crosby, Stills and Nash, right up to 2016’s This Path Tonight, his last solo album. Honoured with an OBE, this British-born musician, photographer, author and campaigner has led a remarkable life, and will be blending tales from it into an evening of his amazing music.

Rosanne Cash has country music in her blood and has built on the heritage of her name with 15 albums. A multiple Grammy Award winner, she explores rock, blues and pop as well as country in her song writing. Her 2015 album ‘The River and the Thread’ garnered impressive worldwide acclaim and three Grammy Awards. She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in the same year.

The true spirit of Americana will be found in shows by alt-country artist John Moreland, husband and wife duo The Grahams, up-and-coming solo artists Emily Barker, Holly Macve and Jade Bird while Montreal’s Barr Brothers will bring their unique sound to River Town.

Plus there’s lots more still to be announced – read on for the River Town programme so far….


The Barr Brothers, Thursday 19 July, Thekla, £15 inc booking fee
When it comes to folk-rock, Montreal trio The Barr Brothers are intrepid explorers with “a boundless sense of curiosity” (Paste). Fronted by brothers Andrew and Brad, the trio brings together bass, guitar, drums, harp, keys and xylophone in a sound that is “uniquely ambient and harmonically rich” (Thank Folk For That). With influences ranging from bluegrass and blues to acoustic balladry and North African rhythms, The Barr Brothers are “one of the most creative bands out there today” (Paste).

Jess and The Bandits, Saturday 21 July, The Wardrobe Theatre, £16.25 inc booking fee
Jess and the Bandits deliver infectious “country with zing and sparkles” (Renowned For Sound). Performing new tracks and favourites from their debut album – “a fun, melodic rollercoaster mix of country rock and ballads.” (Nashville Over Here) – River Town is excited to welcome “one of the most exciting live acts on the circuit” (Louder Than War).

The Grahams, Sunday 22 July, The Wardrobe Theatre, £13.50 inc booking fee
Alyssa and Doug Graham have been making music together since they were kids. Now a husband and wife team, the duo have married their love of Americana with a spirit for adventure. In 2017, The Grahams pointed their Harleys westward and set off along Route 66 to find the ‘real’ America. Performing live for River Town, The Grahams’ blend of rootsy folk will bring to life their unconventional journey across a country in turmoil, and the characters they met along the way. A must for all Americana fans.

Emily Barker, Holly Macve and Jade Bird, Sunday 22 July, St George’s Bristol, £15
As part of River Town we present a unique evening with three of the world’s most exciting, emerging female artists – each forging a new path in Americana. Emily Barker’s seamless mix of soul, blues, country and folk saw her named UK Artist of the Year at the 2018 UK Americana Awards. Holly Macve writes country music that has “a timeless feel” (Guardian), performed with a “voice that is just jaw-dropping” (Line of Best Fit). Finally, London-born Jade Bird has an authentic style and “crystalline soprano” (Pitchfork) that is “raw and robust” (Rolling Stage).The product of years of honing her music was stunning debut release Something American, Jade’s distinctive voice delivering a fresh sound which blends country, pop, folk and blues to conjure an incredibly mature sound for one still so young.

Graham Nash – An Intimate Evening of Stories and Songs, Wednesday 25 July, St George’s Bristol, £35 to £52.50
Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Award-winner and OBE Graham Nash is one of the most iconic songwriters of the last fifty years. With the Hollies and then Crosby, Stills, and Nash, he gave the world unforgettable songs like Marrakesh Express, Pre-Road Downs (written for then-girlfriend Joni Mitchell) and Carrie Anne. Now, in his seventy-fifth year, Nash comes to River Town festival, performing old favourites and tracks from his solo career.

Rosanne Cash, Thursday 26 July, St George’s Bristol, £28.50-£42
One of American music’s foremost singer/songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums, earned four GRAMMY Awards and holds a place in the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. The daughter of country music icon Johnny Cash, Rosanne delivers “evocative and impeccably crafted country / folk / pop” (Pop Matters), that blends blues with gospel and ballad influences. Soaring over the top of her music is a voice that is “pure and clear, languid yet emotionally direct” (The Telegraph). Don’t miss this live performance from an authentic and “original singer and storyteller” (The Guardian).

John Moreland, Sunday 5 August, St George’s Bristol, £16.50
Across his four solo albums, Oklahoma alt-country singer-songwriter John Moreland has wrestled with love, failure, happiness, and broken faith. Moving between swampy blues and raspy, Springsteen-inspired numbers, Moreland “wrings poetry from commonplace words and wisdom from dusty Midwestern country rock” (Uncut). Performing songs from all four albums, including Big Bad Luv (“one of the best albums of 2017” – Pop Matters), Moreland promises to deliver “achy songs with rare tenderness” (Washington Times).

Plus much more to be announced soon
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