We’re fortunate here in Philly that we’ve had numerous points to connect with the Black Opry organization over the past couple years, from a World Cafe Session to a XPoNential Music Festival appearance, to the Black Opry Residency which took place at WXPN in March. For the broader NON-COMM network of radio stations and industry players from around the country, the Opry was new, and today’s Free At Noon concert was a warm and welcoming introduction.
For the uninitiated, Black Opry was founded by Nashville promoter Holly G during COVID-19 as an online network, it grew during the pandemic recovery period into a thriving collective of artists supporting artists, specifically Black singer-songwriters making music in the largely white Americana and country music industry. The organization’s touring revue connects a rotating cast of lineups around the country, and the artist’s various degrees of experience and renown have also turned it into a practical resource, a space for education and skill-sharing.
Today at NON-COMM, three alums of the Black Opry Residency — Nashville’s Denitia and Tylar Bryant, and Philadelphia’s Sam Rise — performed in the round, giving the Free at Noon audience a view into their sound, their craft, and their support of one another. Rise’s contemplative song selections touched on love, regret, and other matters of the heart. Denitia’s hushed and haunting folk turned the lens inward, shining particularly strong in their self-reflective song “My Weakness” from last year’s Highways. “Country music was my first obsession,” Denitia told the crowd, and you could tell by listening — and that went just as much for Bryant, whose knack for hooks and humor coalesced on “Stay Wild.”
Check out photos from the performance below, and for more on the Black Opry organization, visit its website.