Birthplace of Country Music

Yesterday I visited this museum in Bristol. The town has the unique distinction of being both in Virginia and Tennessee. I think the museum is in the Virginia half. It is a really good, well done museum and well worth a visit! What some have referred to as “The big bang of country music” happened here. The “Bristol Sessions” occurred over several days in July and August in 1927. A record executive from New York came to Bristol and recorded musicians singing old time ballads, gospel hymns, blues songs and folk tunes. These musicians were from all around the region including Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and other places. It was an opportunity for a broader audience to hear what would eventually become “country music”. Regardless of what your favorite type of music is, this museum is an interesting and fun lesson in history. The displays and listening areas are so well done, and there are opportunities for hands on interaction. In addition to the regular galleries, there is an exhibit going on right now of black and white photographs made by Marty Stuart. They are really amazing!

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