Happy Easter, Passover, Masters Sunday, and 49 Winchester Day to all who celebrate.
Yep, today is a big day, and not solely because of today’s well-established religious holidays or the fact that someone will win a Green Jacket in Augusta this evening. It’s also the first ever 49 Winchester Day in Russell County, Virginia.
The Board of Supervisors in the band’s home of Russell County, Virginia declared back in September that 4/9 would become known as 49 Winchester Day in the county, and now the inaugural holiday is officially upon us. An amazing hometown homage to one of the fastest growing band’s in county music, the holiday should be celebrated everywhere, not just in Russell County.
49 Winchester formed in the Russell County, Virginia town of Castlewood in 2013, following the high school graduation of several band members and childhood friends. Over the next seven years, the outfit honed their craft and found their sound while playing any gigs they could get throughout Appalachia and the Southeast.
They released their self-titled debut album 49 Winchester fairly shortly after their formation in 2014, followed by their sophomore record The Wind in 2018. Earning their fans the old fashioned way, by touring heavily and putting out good music, 49 Winchester was slowly but surely putting together something special. And then, during the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic in October 2020, they dropped their aptly titled third record III, and that one really seemed to move the needle.
As songs like “Everlasting Lover,” “Hays, Kansas,” and “It’s a Shame,” among others, began to rack up streams, 49 Winchester’s music spread quickly through streaming platforms via playlists and word of mouth, and when they were able to begin touring again in 2021, the fans showed out. With a high-energy, honky-tonkin’, soulful rock and roll show, the band proved night in and night out that they were one of the best live shows in music, and as a result, the buzz really began to grow.
By the time they released their highly anticipated fourth studio record on May 13, 2022, the critically acclaimed Fortune Favors the Bold, the stars had aligned, and 49 Winchester set off on an unprecedented trajectory for an Appalachian Soul country outfit from Castlewood, Virginia. Their meteoric rise over the last year or so has been proof that fortune really does favor the bold, but for anyone that has been following these guys for a while, there was never a doubt this would happen. It was just a matter of time.
Fortune Favors the Bold dropped at the perfect time, right when their momentum was really picking up and just before they played some of the biggest shows of their careers, spreading their music to new fan bases across the country. Shortly after the album release, they joined Whiskey Myers and Shane Smith & the Saints on a national tour.
They’ve also played support for the Turnpike Troubadours and Flatland Cavalry, and are scheduled to open a few shows for Dwight Yoakam before they cross the pond for a massive European arena tour with Luke Combs.
They have played the Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry, and found themselves on all of the biggest country festival lineups throughout the real deal. And as a result of all of this, the headlining shows keep selling out faster and the venues keep getting bigger., and the streaming numbers are skyrocketing When I tell you 49 Winchester is one of the hottest bands in country music, that may be an understatement.
The band, in its current formation, consists of frontman and guitarist Isaac Gibson, lead guitarist Bus Shelton, Chase Chafin on bass, Noah Patrick playing pedal-steel, Tim Hall on the keys, and Justin Louthian pacing the show on the drums. And when these guys step on stage, and get started on that first note, they put on a show like no other. 49 Winchester has put together something special, and it’s been awesome watching it all transpire.
So, in honor of one of country music’s greatest bands, and their inaugural 49 Winchester Day, here are ten of my favorite 49 Winchester tunes. Enjoy some Appalachian Soul Country.
“Annabel” – Fortune Favors the Bold (2022)
“Hays, Kansas” – III (2020)
“Veruca Salt” – The Wind (2018)
“Damn’ Darlin’” – Fortune Favors the Bold (2022)
“Chemistry” – III – (2020)
“Michigan” – 49 Winchester (2014)
“Fortune Favors the Bold” – Fortune Favors the Bold (2022)
“Raleigh” – III (2020)
“Russell County Line” – Fortune Favors the Bold (2022)
And for a look at the band’s Russell County home, where everyone will be celebrating 49 Winchester extra hard today, take a look at the music video for “Russell County Line.”
Happy 49 Winchester Day, everybody!