Southern Songbirds: An Evening with Rissi Palmer
**Arrive early and get FREE admission to The Power of Women in Country Music from 5-7 p.m. with your Southern Songbirds ticket.**
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Concert begins at 7:00 p.m.
The North Carolina Museum of History announces a special concert series in conjunction with the traveling exhibition The Power of Women in Country Music, coming to us from the GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles in October!
The exhibition is punctuated by our Southern Songbirds concert series. The series is rounded off with Rissi Palmer, who is featured in the exhibition, performing on Saturday, January 21, with her dynamic blend of country and R&B/soul. Legendary country artist Jim Lauderdale will emcee the entire concert series.
Rissi 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.”
The daughter of Georgia natives, Rissi was born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spent her adolescent years in St. Louis, Missouri. Raised in a musical family that loved both country and R&B, Rissi 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, Rissi has independently released a Christmas single, her first 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.
A few highlights throughout her musical career include performances at the White House and New York’s Lincoln Center and multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. She has toured extensively across the country, sharing stages with Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Chris Young, Charley Crockett, and many more. Rissi also has made numerous national appearances on Oprah & Friends, CMT Insider, CNN, CBS This Morning, GMA, Entertainment Tonight, and FOX Soul’s The Book of Sean and has been featured in Associated Press, Ebony, Essence, Huffington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, NPR’s All Things Considered, PEOPLE, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, to name a few.
As a passionate voice for country artists of color and those who have been marginalized in mainstream country music, Rissi launched her own radio show Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer on Apple Music Country. Since the show’s debut in August 2020, listeners have been treated to in-depth and riveting, often funny, yet very necessary conversations with Brittney Spencer, Cam, Chapel Hart, Crystal Shawanda, Maren Morris, Miko Marks, The War and Treaty, Darius Rucker, and Mickey Guyton and author/journalist Andrea Williams. Fans can tune in live to Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer every other Sunday on Apple Music Country at 4 p.m. Pacific/7 p.m. Eastern. To watch previous episodes on demand, click HERE.
In conjunction with her radio show, Rissi created the Color Me Country Artist Grant Fund designed to support new country artists of color who are just beginning to build their music careers.
Rissi is also a special correspondent for CMT Hot 20 Countdown. The weekly series airs Saturdays and Sundays on CMT at 9 a.m. Eastern/8 a.m. Central and features chart-topping music videos, news stories, live performances, and candid interviews from country’s biggest stars.
At any given time, you’re likely to find Jim Lauderdale making music, whether he’s laying down a new track in the studio or working through a spontaneous melody at his home in Nashville. And if he’s not actively crafting new music, he’s certainly thinking about it. “It's a constant challenge to try to keep making better and better records, write better and better songs. I still always feel like I'm a developing artist,” he says. This may be a surprising sentiment from a man who’s won two Grammys, released 34 full-length albums, and taken home the Americana Music Association’s coveted Wagonmaster Award. But forthcoming album Game Changer is convincing evidence that the North Carolina native is only continuing to hone his craft.
Operating under his own label, Sky Crunch Records, for the first time since 2016, Lauderdale recorded Game Changer at the renowned Blackbird Studios in Nashville, co-producing the release with Jay Weaver and pulling from songs he’d written over the last several years. “There's a mixture on this record of uplifting songs and, at the same time, songs of heartbreak and despair—because that's part of life as well,” he says. “In the country song world especially, that's always been part of it. That’s real life.”
Lauderdale would know: He’s been a vital part of the country music ecosystem since 1991, when he released his debut album and began penning songs for an impressively long roster of country music greats. “When I was a teenager wanting to be a bluegrass banjo player, I never would have imagined that I would get to work with people like Ralph Stanley, Robert Hunter, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams and John Oates ,” he muses. “Getting to work with them inspires me greatly to this day, and I know it always will.”
From rollicking guitar riffs on “That Kind of Life (That Kind of Day)” to the slow, sweet harmonies of “I’ll Keep My Heart Open For You,” Game Changer shows off Lauderdale’s ingenuity as a singer, songwriter, and producer—while reestablishing him as one of Americana’s most steadfast champions. "Country music is constantly evolving, but I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for steel guitar and a Telecaster," he says. "I have done my job on this record if people who love classic country feel like they can put it on, or have it in their collection, and it would fit right in."
Respecting the past doesn’t mean he’s not breaking new ground. “We’re All We’ve Got,” a co-write with Mary Gauthier and Jaimee Harris, offers a timely message about healing torn relationships at home and across the world. And “Friends Again,” a grinning number about rekindling a friendship, is fresh and forward-looking. At every turn, Lauderdale’s collaborative spirit and genuine love for the creative process reveal themselves in thoughtful, well-crafted songs sure to stand the test of time. "When everything works right, it's just magical to be able to hear them back," he says. "You feel, at least for those three-and-a-half minutes, like life makes sense.”
MOHA/museum members, in addition to enjoying unlimited access to the exhibition during its run, will receive a reduced ticket price and priority seating for the concert. Please note: this concert will be recorded live by PBS North Carolina. As such, there will be cameras in the audience. Seats around those camera stations will not be open. This concert is general admission, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.