BRISTOL, TN/VA – The award-winning Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Radio Bristol announce a series of April events including performances and the special exhibition “Hometown Stars: Southwest Virginia’s Recording Legacy, 1923–1943.”
These events spotlight a landmark calendar year for the Birthplace of Country Music, the parent organization of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and Radio Bristol, as the 90th anniversary of the 1927 Bristol Sessions is celebrated. Arguably the most influential country music recordings in history, the Bristol Sessions included the first recordings of the legendary Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, among others, and ushered in a new era for the commercial music industry.
Roots music mavericks Western Centuries will perform exclusive new music before a studio audience and for radio listeners April 8 via listenradiobristol.com as part of the Radio Bristol Premieres concert series in the performance theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
Farm and Fun Time, a revival of WCYB’s radio show from 1940s–1950s, will air live April 13 at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum before a studio audience with guest performances by The Malpass Brothers and The Price Sisters. Hosted by Kris Truelsen, the program also features the Appalachian Sustainable Development Farm Report with Corbin Hayslett, an heirloom recipe segment that’s more storytelling than instruction, fun musical segways by house band Bill and the Belles, and more.
Patrons can enjoy an evening of music and discussion on diversity from four of the region’s finest young musicians: Southern Gothic blues singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah, old-time country duo Tyler Hughes & Sam Gleaves, and country singer/songwriter Joy Blair April 22. Inspired by the rich traditions of the Appalachians, these artists are boldly charting their own paths in the present music and social landscapes.
The museum will feature “Hometown Stars: Southwest Virginia’s Recording Legacy, 1923–1943,” an exhibit from the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum at Ferrum College on display now through June 4. This exhibit shares the stories of Southwest Virginia musicians including the Powers Family, Dock Boggs, Carl Martin, The Roanoke Jug Band, Jack Reedy & His Walker Mountain Stringband, and several Bristol Sessions artists through text, photographs, and artifacts.
More information on these events and the Birthplace of Country Music can be found below.
Event Detail Links
April 8: Radio Bristol Premieres: Western Centuries
April 13: Radio Bristol Presents: Farm and Fun Time ft. The Malpass Brothers, The Price Sisters
April 22: Amythyst Kiah, Tyler Hughes & Sam Gleaves, Joy Blair In Concert
Now–June 4: Hometown Stars special exhibit
About Birthplace of Country Music, Inc.
The Birthplace of Country Music, Inc. was established to honor the famed 1927 Bristol Sessions that were immortalized when Ralph Peer – a record executive from Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden, New Jersey – traveled to Bristol, the twin cities that straddle the Tennessee and Virginia border. Setting up a portable recording studio in the Taylor-Christian Hat Company building, Peer recorded 76 songs by 19 different acts, including The Carter Family, known as “The First Family of Country Music,” Jimmie Rodgers, “The Father of Country Music,” and Ernest “Pop” Stoneman. These recording are revered as the keystone sessions of country music. In 1998 Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia was recognized as the official birthplace of country music by the U.S. Congress; the 1927 Bristol Sessions were recognized by the Library of Congress as one of the 50 most significant sound recording events of all time.
In 2001 the award-winning music festival, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, began taking place in Historic Downtown Bristol. The annual three-day music festival showcases the very best in roots music – including Americana, folk-rock, bluegrass, old-time, and Piedmont blues. Around 50,000 music enthusiasts gather for the event to see more than 130 acts perform on 20 stages each September.
In 2014 the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, opened its doors in Bristol’s downtown. The museum tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, explores how evolving sound technology shaped their success, and highlights how this rich musical heritage lives on in today’s music. Through multiple theater experiences, interactive displays, and text and artifacts, along with a variety of educational programs, music performances, and community events, the exciting story of these recording sessions and their far-reaching influence comes alive.
In 2015 BCM began broadcasting Radio Bristol live from the museum. Radio Bristol features a low power FM broadcast in the Bristol area, three channels streaming different but related genres of music, and one channel streaming video. Stream stations can be accessed online or by using the free Radio Bristol app on mobile devices.
For more information, visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org.
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