September 26

Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake Reunites at the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Do you still remember the historic duet of Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton in the CMA’s two years ago? Well, if you don’t, the good news is, they just reunited last Saturday at the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tennessee.

The November 2015 performance of Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” and Timberlake’s “Drink You Away,” undoubtedly helped push Stapleton to international fame on the same night the Kentucky native swept up three awards for his critically-acclaimed, but modestly-selling solo debut, “Traveller.”

The 2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival definitely brought a lot of memories thousands of music fans. On Day One, Justin Timberlake gave an electrifying performance that started off with his cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” In a powerful display of unification, members of his band joined Timberlake in a long line at the front of the stage as they finished the iconic song. Then they moved into “Drink You Away” and “Suit & Tie.”

Later on in his set, Timberlake brought out surprise guests Chris and Morgane Stapleton to sing “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Fire Away” and “Sometimes I Cry” from Stapleton’s Grammy-winning album Traveller.

Other performers on day one included performances by Ruby Amanfu with Steelism, the Avett Brothers, Better Than Ezra, Gary Clark, Jr., the Jerry Douglas Band, Jillian Jacqueline, Nikki Lane, Angaleena Presley, Shovels & Rope, the Texas Gentleman, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Colter Wall and more.

On Sunday, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder closed the festival with a solo performance. It included a cause to show solidarity with players from all 28 NFL teams. During his set, Vedder walked to center stage and kneeled in front of the audience like many players have done during National Anthem performances in stadiums nationwide.

Vedder was among the few Pilgrimage performers to express their political views live onstage at the third annual event. Elsewhere nationwide, other performers took a knee with the NFL on Sunday including Rhiannon Giddens, Meghan Linsey, Pharrell Williams, Dave Matthews and Roger Waters.

Rounding out day two of the 2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival were performances by Ryan Adams, Band of Heathens, Devon Gilfillian, Valerie June, Kingfish, Pokey LaFarge, Muddy Magnolias, Amanda Shires, the Sisterhood, Langhorne Slim, Mavis Staples, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives and more.Saturday night at Pilgrimage, a festival Timberlake co-produces, he invited Stapleton out for a reprise of “Tennessee Whiskey,” a Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove tune made famous by George Jones in 1981, and also highlighted two of Stapleton’s hits: “Fire Away” and “Sometimes I Cry,” with Stapleton and Timberlake trading verses.

“I think we should just make a deal that anytime either of us play Tennessee, the other one’s there,” Timberlake said in a video of the performance posted on YouTube. Stapleton simply replied, “OK.”

We could say the same for Kentucky, Gentlemen.

Stapleton and Timberlake also appeared Sunday night in Virginia at A Concert for Charlottesville, a unity concert in response to white nationalist rallies there in August. The concert was headlined by Virginia artists the Dave Matthews Band, which got its start at the University of Virginia, and Pharrell Williams, a native of Virginia Beach, as well as Kentuckians Cage the Elephant.


chris stapleton, justin timberlake, pilgrimage music and cultural festival

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