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The Bell Witch (Let the Game Begin)

A Song About the Bell Witch


NASHVILLE, Tenn., October 12, 2020 -- Pat Fitzhugh, longtime guitarist and researcher of Tennessee's Bell Witch legend for over 40 years, has joined forces with Dove Award-winning bluegrass songwriter, Mike Richards, to bring the epic American haunting legend to song. The final product, a single entitled "The Bell Witch (Let the Game Begin)," is available at retailers now.

As legend has it, an unseen force called "Kate," or the "Bell Witch," tormented the John Bell family of the Red River Settlement in northern middle Tennessee between 1817 and 1821. Allegedly poisoned at the hands of "Kate," John Bell died in 1820.

Released on the two-hundred anniversary of Bell's death, Fitzhugh and Richards' new collaboration embodies not only their musical synergy, but also their lifelong passion for folklore and spooky tales. That shared passion led to their meeting each other for the first time after one of Fitzhugh's lecture and book signing events.

"I have played music for most of my life, but writing a song about the Bell Witch legend had never crossed my mind until I met Mike," says Fitzhugh. That was the spark. "It was collaboration at first sight," he recalls, "Mike asked if I had considered writing a song about the legend, and I was like, no, but let's make that happen."

Richards, whose grandparents lived in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky, grew up on folklore. He penned the chorus of his and Fitzhugh's new song. "John Bell had already been through his troubles, and it was obvious he wasn't going to get away; it had been a cat and mouse game the whole time, and it couldn't go any further," Richards explains, "and that's the idea behind 'Let the Game Begin.'"

In addition to Fitzhugh and Richards, the recording also features middle Tennessee native Jimmy Williams, who sings the choruses after Fitzhugh's narrations, and fiddle player Lydia Bain, a New York native who has performed at Carnegie Hall and also opened for Snoop Dogg.

When discussing her role in the project, Bain relates, "The Bell Witch is a moody, legendary entity that decides who it likes and who it doesn’t; people who fall out of favor usually experience some kind of torture. I'm here to put the good vibes out, so that things can go a little more smoothly."

Williams, who has won awards for musicianship and vocal performance, as well as performed at Nashville's Opryland Hotel, says of the project, "I have always been a fan of scary ghost stories, and this is one of the most famous. We hope people will enjoy our version of it, and that it will live on in song."

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Last Update: July 03, 2024