The Blue Ridge Music Center is presenting Rissi Palmer and Joe Troop & Friends for an evening of Southern country soul and Latingrass at 7 p.m., Saturday, July 23, in the outdoor amphitheater. The Music Center is located at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just south of Galax and 30 minutes from Sparta and Mount Airy, N.C.
Palmer’s gift lies in reaching across all musical boundaries. While she made her mark in country music, she is equally at home in R&B, bringing the entire spectrum of popular music to bear on music she calls “Southern Soul.”
Raised in a musical family, Palmer was a part of a singing and dancing troupe sponsored by a local television station at age 16, and by the time she was 19 years old, she had already been offered her first publishing and label deal. In 2007, she released her debut album, Rissi Palmer, charting singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air.”
Since then, Palmer has independently released a Christmas single, a children’s album, Best Day Ever, and an EP titled The Back Porch Sessions. Her most recent album, Revival, was released in 2019 and has been critically hailed as her most personal and uplifting work to date.
Highlights throughout her musical career include performances at The White House, New York’s Lincoln Center, and multiple appearances at the Grand Ole Opry. She has shared stages with Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Chris Young, Charley Crockett, and many more.
Opening the show is Joe Troop & Friends. Troop is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter hailing originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. Committed to learning direct action from stalwart progressive organizers, his music is deeply embedded with and inspired by his activism.
In March 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, globetrotting folk singer Troop suddenly found himself back in rural North Carolina, an ocean away from his adopted home of Buenos Aires and from Che Apalache, the Grammy-nominated band he founded with his students. So, he did what he knows best: hunkered down with his banjo and sang his heart out. A year later, he recorded his debut solo album, Borrowed Time, featuring musical luminaries including Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Tim O’Brien, and Charlie Hunter.
Troop recently put down roots in Durham, N.C., and was invited to do a month-long residency at a local arts space called The Fruit. Out of that was born a new quartet with friends Omar Ruiz-López, Reed Stutz, and Ramón García. Together they continue the Latingrass legacy established by Che Apalache.
Both Palmer and Troop participated in the Blue Ridge Music Center’s recent Deep Roots, Many Voices online video series. These discussions included 10 roots-music and Americana artists talking about how race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity has informed and affected their musical careers.
Tickets are $20 for adults. Children 12 and younger are admitted free of charge. Advance tickets are available at BlueRidgeMusicCenter.org. Tickets can be purchased on the evening of the show at the admission gates.
Parking opens at 5:15 p.m. and is free. Admission to the amphitheater begins at 5:45 p.m.