E&H Musicians Join with Dolly Parton to Sing with Jubilee

Posted by Brent Treash

The new 12-track album called the “1927 Jubilee” marks the culmination of more than six months’ worth of scouting, recording and promoting the concept of making a new “Bristol Sessions” record 90 years after the first “Bristol Sessions” recordings were made by talent scout Ralph Peer in 1927.

1927 Jubilee: 90th Anniversary Of The Bristol Sessions is a collection of new, original, unreleased songs by artists from Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

The album is the brainchild of recording engineer and producer Stephen Schoenecker who later partnered with Jon McGlocklin of Middle Fork Records on the project.

Artists contributing songs included popular regional artists like Carson Peters & Iron Mountain, Tuatha Dea, Richie Owens & the Farm Bureau, 49 Winchester and Fritz & Co.

The album also includes one of country music’s biggest stars: Dolly Parton.

Parton grew up in Sevier County, Tennessee, about 100 miles south of Bristol. She submitted the song “Something More” for the project that was once used in a dinner theater production at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Her one request was that a musical and vocal backing be added to her recording.

“She’s bigger than life and I still can’t believe she’s a part of this project,” said McGlocklin.

To meet Parton’s request for additional voices, McGlocklin turned to April Hill (’03), a classically trained musician that he met from the days his band Virginia Ground performed on the E&H campus.

April Hill“Jon said he had a song by Dolly for this project that he felt needed some harmony on it,” said Hill. “He said I would have to get there quickly to get it done in time, so he sent me a file and I practiced it probably 300 times in three days. I got there on a Thursday evening and was in and out of the booth in probably 10 minutes because I’d worked so hard on it.”

Hill says she grew up listening to Dolly, and respects that throughout her long and storied career she has remained a caring and consistent individual.

“There are no words for how much I admire that woman,” said Hill. “It is so rare to find a celebrity of her stature who is still so down to earth and hasn’t forgotten where she came from.”

Hill served as one of the lead background vocalists on the track, but she is not the only E&H connection on the track. Around the same time Hill was contacted by McGlocklin, the partner of producer Stephen Schoenecker reached out to current E&H student Chloe Coulthard about her interest in coming down to the studio.

“I knew nothing about the track other than the fact that they needed a soprano,” said Coulthard. “I had no idea that I would be singing on a track by Dolly.”

Chloe CoulthardCoulthard grew up listening to Dolly and often sang along to her songs in the car on trips with her mom.

It wasn’t until she arrived at Schoenecker’s private studio in Bristol, Tenn. and heard the song that she realized she was about to harmonize with one her musical heroes.

“I was lucky that I was able to go into the booth after April,” said Coulthard. “I just stepped into the booth, sung my part several times in a row and it was over.”

Over 50 different artists recorded more than 60 songs, many on the historical dates of July 25 through August 5, and all are being recorded and mixed in Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee. The 1927 Jubilee truly celebrates the 90th Anniversary of the Bristol Sessions.

Mary Munsey (’85) and her song “Diamonds” are also featured on the album.

Popular local group Virginia Ground also appears on the album and features E&H graduate Ben Smith (’04).

A limited special edition of the album is available on CD for purchase at Misty Mountain Designs (downtown Bristol, Tenn.), Heartwood (Abingdon, Va.) and the Willow Tree Coffee House (Johnson City, Tenn.).

If you can’t purchase the album in person, you can currently reserve a cd, vinyl or digital download at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-new-bristol-sessions-90th-anniversary-album#/. The full release is expected in late spring.

  • Album Cover for 1927 Jubilee
    Album Cover for 1927 Jubilee

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