Known as the “Birthplace of Country Music,” Bristol’s streets are almost always filled with the sounds of live performances, whether that be bluegrass, folk, country, blues, or gospel.
This summer, Bristol celebrates the 90th anniversary of the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings with a series of panels, performances, premieres, and more showcasing the deep impact of the Sessions. The Bristol Sessions were produced by Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company and included the first recordings of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, among others. These recordings ushered in a new era for the music industry with their commercial success and the state-of-the-art technology used to record them.
Today, that history is kept alive with country music murals, monuments, destinations and events throughout the city. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum provides a forum for live performances and also features collections of musical instruments and memorabilia from various country music legends. Bristol is a major city along The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, which has more than 300 miles of musical history and scenic terrain through southwest Virginia, including 19 counties, four cities, and 54 towns.
Some of the events happening in Bristol to celebrate the 90th Anniversary include:
A “Friends of 1927” concert on July 29 featuring the talents of musician and Grammy Award-winning producer Carl Jackson, Kentucky Music Hall of Fame inductee Larry Cordle, and SESAC Country Music Songwriter of the Year Jerry Salley.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum hosts the premiere of “Born in Bristol,” a film highlighting the Bristol Sessions and featuring some of country music’s most respected artists, including Dolly Parton, Eric Church, Marty Stuart, Vince Gill, and more. Public screenings will take place Aug. 4-6 and the film is included with museum admission.
In honor of the 90th anniversary, patrons can visit the Birthplace of Country Music Museum with a special admission price of 90 cents from July 25 – 30.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion – taking place Sept. 15-17 – will pay tribute to the 90th Anniversary a special showcase featuring an array of festival artists yet to be announced. The tribute will take place on the final day of the festival. Artists performing at this year’s event includes Dwight Yoakam, Judah and the Lion, Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester, Son Volt, Rodney Crowell, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and many more.
Visit the Crooked Road