Photography by Laura Ord
When I walked into the festival grounds at 11:30 on Sunday there were people already marking their territory on the rail at the Cumberland Square Park Stage. The act they were waiting for was no stranger to this city or the festival billing. The boys on stage doing soundcheck were familiar faces from an hour north and their name was an address paying homage to the home that gave birth to the band - 49 Winchester.
Having already played a set during the three day weekend you knew the super set was going to have some tricks up its sleeve. All weekend, people were abuzz speculating who would make guest appearances during the hour-and-a-half long jam, and though a few were wrong, I can guarantee none were disappointed.
The 21-song set started with 49 Winchester bringing out Sierra Hull to accompany on mandolin for ‘Hillbilly Daydream’ and ‘Russell County Line’. Sierra passed the torch to Daniel Donato and Woody Woodworth for the next three songs, which included a cover of Waylon Jennings’ ‘Waymore’s Blues’. By the end of the night the more surprising developments were the song choices and not the guests. What resulted was a perfect intermingling of 49 Winchester’s own, their guests’ songs and covers.
From an incredible rendition of ‘Superstition’ with Sam Collie to a beautiful Jimmy Buffett tribute performing ‘A Pirate Looks At Forty’ with Jim Lauderdale, the set highlighted the talent and versatility of both the boys of 49 and each of the artists they chose to share the stage with.
The hour and a half long jam let 49 Winchester showcase some of their original music while also sharing the spotlight. While a 49 Winchester set is always a treat, the covers and adaptations were truly something memorable.
Sunday night's set was one that will go down in country music history, and each person that toughed out the weather was able to witness something truly incredible.
Super Set at Bristol Rhythm & Roots 2023
Guests: Sierra Hull (1,2,3) Woody Woodworth (4,5,6) Daniel Donato (4,5,6) Kelsey Waldon (6,7) Brent Cobb (8) Sam Collie (9,10) Adam Bolt (11,12) Jake Quillen (13,14,15,16,17) Kris Truelsen (16,17) Jim Lauderdale (18) Daniel Davis (19) Carlene Carter (20,21)
For more on Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, see below: