Steve Earle grew up near San Antonio, Texas, and began learning the guitar at age 11. Earle began his career as a songwriter in Nashville and released his first EP in 1982. His breakthrough album was the 1986 album Guitar Town. Since then Earle has released 13 other studio albums and received three Grammy awards. His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Shawn Colvin and Emmylou Harris.
Now in its fourth year, River Town brings the music of America’s heartland to Bristol. This year’s festival promises a vibrant programme of blues, bluegrass, country and gospel, performed by global icons and rising stars.
Featuring some of the best acts from both sides of the Atlantic, including Graham Nash, Rosanne Cash and The Barr Brothers, River Town hits the road with shows outside Colston Hall at Thekla, St George’s Bristol and The Wardrobe Theatre for over a fortnight of live music celebrating the rich sounds of the deep south.
River Town began in 2015 under the banner of Bristol Americana Weekend and under a co-producing partnership between Colston Hall and St George’s Bristol presented Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Larkin Poe, Police Dog Hogan, Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham and many more outstanding artists of American roots music.
The festival returned after wide-spread acclaim in 2016 to feature Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the now internationally famous The White Buffalo.
In 2017 we launched the festival for a third year under the new name of River Town and showcased some of the finest blues, gospel, country and bluegrass, from across the pond and closer to home in Colston Hall, St George’s Bristol and for the first time in O2 Academy. Three UK greats – Paul Carrack, Nick Lowe and Andy Fairweather Low – joined forces in a rare trio performance that celebrated their shared love of American R&B, soul and country. The compelling singer songwriter Martha Wainwright performed along with R&B powerhouse, gospel legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples. Plus performances by duo The Shires with crossover stars Ward Thomas brought country-pop to Bristol.