A Day in the Life…
… Of someone with a new appreciation for Country Music
Yesterday, I made my second visit to the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol. I went earlier this summer with my three granddaughters and their other grandmother. We all really enjoyed it. I didn’t want my husband to miss this and we’re leaving the area soon so this time, Dave and I went, and again, it was very enjoyable.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and has excellent exhibits.
From their brochure – “ The mountains of southern Appalachia have long been recognized as a breeding ground for traditional music. The earliest settlers brought their instruments and musical traditions, which were fused together to form country, blues, folk, and other styles of American popular music.
In 1927, Ralph Peer, a record producer from Victor Talking Machine Company, traveled to Bristol Tennessee-Virginia and set up a portable recording studio in the Taylor-Christian Hat Company building on State Street. Over the course of two weeks, Peer recorded 76 songs by 19 different acts, including Ernest V. Stoneman with various friends and family, The Carter Family, now known as “The First Family of Country Music”, and “The Father of Country Music”, Jimmie Rodgers. These recording met with great success and continue to influence musicians today and in 2002, the Library of Congress ranked the Bristol Sessions among the 50 most significant sound recording events of all time.”
The museum is located at 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way, Bristol Virginia and the cost to enter is around $13 for adults. Seniors and Children are slightly less.
The first encounter in the museum is the “Bound for Bristol” orientation video narrated by John Carter Cash. He’s the son of June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash and the grandson of Maybelle Carter. He tells about the beginning of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and the artists that came from miles around, mostly by train, to get their chance to record their music.
This could be the train station where they first encountered the city.
Once you leave the “Bound for Bristol” theatre you begin your tour through the rest of the exhibits. You can listen to original recordings of various artists and can see how the technology developed through the years.
There are exhibits of various musical instruments and you can see how they advanced through the years.
This is a combination of a Ukelele and a banjo
One of the exhibits is a little chapel that illustrates where some of the country music began. A video is shown there with special musicians leading worship.
There are many stations where you can listen to the music from various artists and even one “little recording booth” where you can sing along with the artist’s voices or by yourself with just the music.
And, there’s the Unbroken Circle “experience”. In this circular room, the video shows a variety of artists singing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and you have the inclination to sing along with them.
There is so much to see here, I encourage anyone to make the trip to Bristol.
You may know that Bristol is a city divided. State Street runs through the middle of town. One side of the street is Virginia and the other side is Tennessee. Some of my pictures show this divide.
This marker in the middle of State Street shows one side is Virginia and the other side is Tennessee.
There are also state flags lining State Street. Virginia on one side & Tennessee on other.
And, by the way, if you’re hungry, there’s an awesome little place called EATZ. Dave said it’s the best food he’s had for months!
It’s within walking distance of the museum. Be sure to stop there when you visit the museum.
There is so much to see in Bristol. We could have stayed longer in the museum and we could have spent some time checking out more of the city and the shops on State Street.
This coming weekend, September 21 and 22, 2018 they have a big music festival called Bristol Rhythm and Roots. They block off several streets around the museum and have thousands of enthusiastic attendees. Go if you can. You won’t regret it.