Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 19, 2015

Joni Bishop, Nashville singer-
songwriter, entertaining guests
at the house concert

     JONI BISHOP is a Nashville singer-songwriter of the highest degree! She refers to herself as a "creativity troubadour," which implies that it isn't only about the music. It is certainly a lot about the music, which she has honed throughout the years from the tender age of about eight. This excellent self-styled fingerpicker drew inspiration from the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Paul Simon. That comes through in her music. Joni's original songs are about home and Grandma and quilts and gardens. Her vocal and instrumental arrangements are entirely her own and they are unique. It is a pleasure to watch and listen to Joni as she spins her musical tales. Joni plays her mountain dulcimer from a standing position with a strap around her neck, such as a Dobro(r) player might play that instrument. She is entirely comfortable with her guitar or her dulcimer, and she weaves a little talk and some singing into each selection.
     Joni's creativity has spread out in all directions, and when she performs, she brings along stunning original works of art and amazing cigar-box guitars which she builds from the box upward. All the parts, everything. The instruments are playable and most are for sale, as are her other art works. You may have figured out by now that Joni Bishop is one of a kind. She has blazed her own trail and made herself a name in Nashville, TN, and wherever she goes to perform.
     We first heard Joni Bishop when she performed with Pam Setser on Thanksgiving Day 2015 at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR. We already knew Pam as part of the popular group Apple-Setser-and-Rounds. Joni was such a pleasant surprise! We knew we wanted to hear her again. When she mentioned that she would be at a house concert in Olive Branch, MS, just before Christmas, we definitely wanted to be there. At Joni's suggestion, we contacted homeowners Richard and Mary Sojourner about attending the invitation-only performance. We had to wait until somebody canceled--the house was already full. When Richard e-mailed us, we were thrilled to learn that we could attend. The home was beautifully decorated for Christmas, and there must have been at least 50 people who attended. It was Joni's sixth performance for the Sojourners, so people knew what fun was in store.
Pam Setser and Joni Bishop perform at the
White Oak Theater, Mountain View, AR
      Joni's song selection for the evening was perfect for the season: Away in a Manger, Little Drummer Boy, When God Made You, Mary Had a Baby, We Three Kings, Grandma's Garden, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Christmas in the Trenches (a John McCutcheon song that you must hear), Toys, Endless Christmas, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, two Old English carols: Soul Cake interwoven with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, What Child Is This, On the Road to Bethlehem, Stone by Stone, Send Yourself Home for Christmas, Threads, Dream Anyway (in honor of Mother Teresa, written after the Nashville tornado a few years ago), Buzzed (Texas Swing number about coffee and love), Mary Did You Know, Children Go Where I Send Thee, Twelve Days of Christmas, Amazing Grace, I'll Fly Away, Ain't That Love, repeat of Christmas in the Trenches by request, and Silent Night (sung in English and Latvian, Joni's family's native tongue).
     Somewhere in the middle of the program was a pause for wonderful food and beverages. The Sojourners know how to have a house concert! Special thanks go out to Richard, Mary, and all those other family members and friends who helped with the concert. We cannot wait for the next one in 2016!
     Want to hear more Joni Bishop? Visit her website to listen and learn more about this amazing, talented artist. Do yourself a favor and order a CD or two! You'll be glad you did!
     For more information:  www.jonibishop.com
     Pick away on your cigar box guitar!


  1. I will be in Olive Branch in early February - are there any bluegrass activities occurring Feb 4-6?

  2. Thanks for your inquiry. Weekly Collierville TN Jam Fridays from 6-9p CST at Collierville United Methodist Church, 454 W. Poplar Ave. Also SPBGMA Awards and huge lobby jams at Nashville's Sheraton Airport Hotel. Runs Feb. 4-6. Lobby jams and those in hotel rooms are free. Shows in ballroom at the hotel are pricey.

    1. Thanks we will check out the Collierville Jam this Friday!

  3. Great! You will be welcome at the jam! We're acoustic only, so bring your instrument and join the fun! Pick away!

  4. Thanks for coming to the Collierville Friday night jam! Please join us anytime when you are back this way.