MORRISTOWN — Canadian Lindsey Ell looks 17 but she's actually 30. She signed her first record contract at 16 and by age 20 was on tour with legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy. She currently has a top 20 hit with "What Happens In A Small Town" a duet with Brantley Gilbert.
Pittsburgh native Gabby Barrett gained national fame when she placed third on season 16 of American Idol. Since then she's signed with Warner Music in Nashville and has just been named Radio Disney's next big thing, meaning you'll be seeing and hearing a lot more of her on the Disney Channel in the near future.
Saturday, July 20, both young ladies brought their exceptional talents to the first ever "Blame My Roots Festival" near Morristown. The event drew smaller crowds than expected which was no doubt hampered by the stifling heat.
The event featured two stages: A larger stage at the bottom of a hill and a secondary stage at the top. Whenever a performance ended on the main stage, ten minutes later another act would start on the smaller stage.
The venue was clearly laid out with a bigger crowd in mind. While some younger fans didn't mind the trek up and down the hill many of the older attendees chose to sit on lawn chairs at the top.
The biggest draw of the weekend was Friday night's performance by nationally known country star Trace Adkins. Saturday American Idol alumna Gabby Barrett put forth her best effort in a heat defying black ensemble. While petite Lindsey Ell went with a more air conditioned outfit.
Highlights on the secondary stage were Walker Montgomery, the son of 90's hit maker John Michael Montgomery and Whey Jennings the grandson of the legendary Waylon Jennings.
Unlike the old Jamboree which, unfortunately, had its share of inebriated guests and fights, this smaller event, which one attendee refereed to as the micro Jamboree was well behaved with a more neighborly atmosphere.
None of the performers appeared to scale back their performances for the smaller crowds which gave those in attendance a chance to see some extremely talented people up close.
Hopefully, the event will continue, but it will require better attendance. Perhaps with good word of mouth and a break from an irritable Mother Nature, Belmont County can continue to let music echo through the hills.