Bristol – When southern rock band 49ers Winchester took to the stage in Bristol on Friday to celebrate their latest album, Native Southwest Virginians will do so while looking at the faces of some of the people they love most – people from home.
“It’s really special to come back to your hometown playing in front of a huge audience that I’ve watched grow and grow every time you play there,” Isaac Gibson, the lead singer and guitarist for the band, said in an interview with The Times News. “To see the culmination of all our efforts, it is a really great honor. We are really looking forward to it.”
The band will release their fourth studio album, “Fortune Favors The Bold” Friday night with a free party-style show at the Bristol Sessions Hotel. The show will take place outdoors at the Lauderdale Stage starting at 7:30 with the opening and Nicholas Jamerson of Kentucky.
“We just wanted to do something to give back a little,” Gibson said. “We are so proud of where we come from. In terms of people, you can’t beat downtown Appalachian. We are really, really proud to be from this area, and we wanted to do something to give back to the support and love that this place has shown us since we started when we were a group From high school kids who didn’t know what we were doing.”
The band hails from Castlewood and includes Gibson along with Chase Chafin on bass, Bus Shelton on guitar, and Noah Patrick on steel pedal. Since the band’s inception, 49ers Winchester has continued to record three previous studio albums and most recently with a new Nashville-based label, New West Records.
The band performed across the country at South by Southwest and Willie Nelson’s 10th annual Luck Reunion and was featured by CMTAnd Rolling Stone CountryAnd yarnamong other things.
“We’ve been working really hard on it for a long time,” Gibson said. “It feels so good to finally see things come to fruition like people tell you it will work if you keep working on it. We are really proud to be able to do that.”
The group’s ride heads forward, but that doesn’t mean Gibson and his bandmates aren’t keeping an eye on the rear view, which is filled with scenes from their Appalachian home in southwest Virginia. This patriotism is also shown by the band’s latest album, which will be released on Friday.
“When you’re away from home as much as we love home as much as we do, it’s hard not to share the message about what it’s like and what our culture is like here in the mountains,” Gibson said. “I think that’s part of the ‘Russell County Line’ theme. It’s not just a love song for my girl, but for my people, my family, and my friends who are here.
“I don’t know it’s a conscious decision (singing songs about home), but it’s part of our core. We’re all about honesty. And I think honesty stands out that way.”
The album also includes the title track, “Fortune Favors The Bold,” which showcases the band’s affinity for forming their own track with lyrics such as “Well, some are born beautiful, some are born fools / Some play fair and some break the rules / But luck favors the bold”.
“That streak really summed up where we got on the journey as a band,” Gibson said. “It’s being bold, taking chances, grabbing every opportunity that comes your way and letting the chips fall where possible – and relying on a good work ethic, good character. We take pride in that. We work hard and do things the right way.”
Gibson said he also thinks the album is a mileage that proves to him and his bandmates the growth the avid Castlewood kids group has experienced over the past eight years.
“I think it’s just a model for our progress,” Gibson said of the new album. “It shows that we’re always getting better, bigger, worse, and getting better at what we’re doing. This record sounds like a sharp improvement in that feeling for us. We really know where home is to us, vocally. We know the band we want to be and I think we’re They are really able to score that in this recording.”
This year the band will perform at festivals such as Merlefest, FloydFest, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, which will be a homecoming of sorts for the band.
“We’ve been coming to cadence and roots since we were kids,” Gibson said.
The band will also go on tour with the Southern Rockers Whiskey Meyers on their summer tour in Tornillo.
“The Myers Whiskey Tour is going to be huge for us,” Gibson said. “We’re really looking forward to getting in front of their audience every night and being able to show what we’re doing to so many people and to a crowd that really enjoys our voice. We’ve opened for them once before. We also have some other big show announcements coming soon as well.”
Viewing the album release at Bristol Sessions Hotel Lauderdale Stage is free to the public. The theater is located at 833 State St., Bristol, Virginia. Jamerson will start the show at 7:30 PM