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BILL AND THE BELLES plus THE CAROLINA CUD CHEWERS Appearing Fri June 9th 2017 at 8pm

$10 in advance
$12 at the door


What began as a project to explore the space created between hillbilly and urban, between vaudeville and down home, has arrived somewhere entirely new. Bill and the Belles offers a contemporary reimagining of a bygone era, a vocal-centric performance that breathes new life into the sounds of early country music.

At the foothills of the Blue Ridge and the forefront of old-time music, Bill and the Belles continue to further the music traditions of their region.   

From sentimental Southern ballads to the popular songs of Tin Pan Alley to regional fiddle breakdowns, a Bill and the Belles show is a celebration of the diversity country music once represented.

Bill and the Belles play alongside America’s top country and roots music artists as the house band for the historic radio program Farm and Fun Time presented by Radio Bristol and the Birthplace of Country Music. Lifelong musicians Kris Truelsen, Grace Van’t Hof, Kalia Yeagle, and Karl Zerfas bring to the stage an uplifting show unlike any other, full of humor, high spirits, and all-around revelry. It’s clear this group shares a rare musical connection and deep love for the music, and their excitement is contagious.

  • Bluegrass Underground and Music City Roots artists. 
  • Official Showcase artists at the Americana Music Association’s (AMA) 
  • AmericanaFest 2016 (see Rolling Stone’s AmericanaFest 2016: 20 Best Things We Saw), 
  • International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) World of Bluegrass 2016 (see Bluegrass Situation: 7 Artists We’re Stoked to See), and 
  • Folk Alliance 2017. 
  • 2016 First Place Band category at the Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention. 
  • Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour w/John McEuen.
  •  Festivals include: 
  • Brooklyn Folk Festival, 
  • Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, 
  • Grey Fox, Tennessee Fall Homecoming, 
  • Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, 
  • Ossipee Valley Music Festival.

to visit the performers website

The group features:

KRIS TRUELSEN (guitar, vocal) was raised in the mountains of Colorado and has been an avid fan of early country music most of his life. As the first to earn his masters degree in Appalachian Studies from East Tennessee State University, he continues to expand and share his knowledge of traditional American music. As producer of Radio Bristol, housed in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Kris' music, philosophy, and enthusiasm touch audiences internationally. Kris produces and hosts the historic radio program "Farm and Fun Time" and a daily morning program "On the Sunny Side."

KALIA YEAGLE’s (fiddle, guitar, vocal) expressive and versatile fiddling is quickly positioning her at the forefront of a new generation of acoustic musicians. She takes inspiration from her upbringing in Alaska, where long winters and strong, diverse communities have produced a music scene unlike any other. Her music is undeniably of the mountains, both the Chugach and the Blue Ridge. As a scholar of Appalachian Studies, she studied the rich musical heritage of the region with special interest in early country music’s pioneering female artists.

GRACE VAN’T HOF (banjo, banjo ukulele, vocal) from Western Michigan, discovered the banjo in high school when she built a 5-string prototype that won 2nd place in a statewide Science Olympiad. Grace is inspired by artists ranging from Charlie Poole to Puccini, and her banjo playing provides equal parts drive and subtly to Bill and the Belles. A founding member of the Grammy-nominated Della Mae and longtime touring musician, Grace’s career has taken her around the world and continues to do so.

KARL ZERFAS (bass) of Manhattan, Kansas, grew up listening to his father sing Kansas cowboy and prairie songs of the 19th century. Now a sought after bassist across east Tennessee and western North Carolina, Karl has proven himself to be one of the best up-and-coming roots music bassists in the country. Karl's early American music repertoire is vast, drawing influence from classic country, early jazz, and hillbilly music. His unique perspective and solid groove shape the rhythmic backbone of Bill and the Belles.


Opening the Evening will be local favorites:

Influenced by the great Carolina stringbands of the 1920s, the Cud Chewers play music from a time of transition, when the rural South was becoming industrialized and musicians who had lived in relative isolation found themselves playing with other musicians and creating what we now call country music. The Cud Chewers, led by Brody Hunt and Antone Costa (members of the semi-defunct band, Blind Boy Chocolate And The Milk Sheiks) feature a wide array of instruments, including finger-style banjo, bowed cello, Hawaiian guitar, Spanish guitar, blue yodeling, mandolin, musical saw, bones, and fiddle.