Birthplace of Country Music
Bristol is the Birthplace of Country Music
In 1927 Ralph Peer from the Victor Talking Machine Company traveled to Bristol on the advice of early mountain music recording artist Ernest “Pop” Stoneman. During his stay in Bristol, Peer recorded 76 songs by 19 artists in one of the most significant field recordings of early country music. These historic “Bristol Sessions” launched the careers of the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, the Stoneman Family, and other pioneers of the modern country music movement. The event has been called by historians the “big bang of country music.”
Because of that event, in 1998 the U.S. Congress recognized Bristol as the official Birthplace of Country Music. Today the Birthplace of Country Music (formally known at the Birthplace of Country Music Allianace) is helping keep the area’s musical traditions alive by building the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in historic downtown Bristol. The 20,000+ sq ft museum is an affliate of the Smithsonian and is scheduled to open in August 2014. Bristol remains true to its roots with live music performances through out the year.
Opening in downtown Bristol in summer 2013 is the Appalachian Cultural Music Association's Mountain Music Museum, a museum containing artifacts from the “Birthplace of Country Music” region which highlights the roots of old time country and bluegrass music. You'll find interesting displays and memorabilia honoring music pioneers like The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Tennessee Ernie Ford as well as contemporary stars with roots in our region like Kenny Chesney.