Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bristol in Sullivan County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Birthplace of Country Music

Bristol, Tennessee • Virginia

 

—Historic Downtown Bristol —

 
Historic Downtown Bristol Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 19, 2009
1. Historic Downtown Bristol Marker
Inscription. Bristol has long been known as a hub for traditional mountain music. In the summer of 1927, Ralph Peer, a record producer from Victor Talking Machine Company, traveled to Bristol and set up a portable recording studio four blocks east of this location. During his twelve days in Bristol, Mr. Peer recorded seventy-six songs by nineteen different acts capturing a wide cross section of traditional Appalachian music, including old time dance tunes, ballads, gospel songs, blues, and others. These sessions also produced the first recordings of the Carter Family from nearby Maces Spring, Virginia - "the First Family of Country Music" - and Jimmie Rodgers - "the Father of Country Music."

Music Historians consider these recordings to be the beginnings of the commercial country music industry and in 1998 the United States Congress declared Bristol the "Birthplace of County Music."

While Peer's 1927 recordings stand as a milestone in the development of country music, the musical heritage of Bristol continued after those recordings. In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, radio programs in Bristol, most notably WCBY's Farm and Fun Time, became popular and assisted in the development of a new genre of music - bluegrass.

Today, the rich musical heritage of Bristol remains vibrant. Bristol sits in the middle of Virginia's Heritage
Historic Downtown Bristol Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 19, 2009
2. Historic Downtown Bristol Marker
Closeup of top of marker
Music Trail The Crooked Road
, with the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance as a major venue along the trail. Dozens of musical venues in Bristol or nearby offer tradtitional Appalachian music on a regular year round basis with many of these concentrated in downtown Bristol.

The area in front of this mural has become a center for many of those community events. The stage in front of this mural plays host to a variety of weekly musical events from May through October. The area houses one of the main stages from the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion festival, held annually the third weekend of September. From April through October, a local Farmer's Market operated twice weekly. It is also a stop on the downtown audio walking tour.
For more information about our region's musical heritage, visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org
 
Erected by Tennessee Arts Commission an the National Endowment of the Arts.
 
Location. 36° 35.7′ N, 82° 11.218′ W. Marker is in Bristol, Tennessee, in Sullivan County. Marker is on State Street (Tennessee Route 34), on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 810 State Street, Bristol TN 37620, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker
Historic Downtown Bristol Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 19, 2009
3. Historic Downtown Bristol Marker
Closeup of middle of marker
. Ralph S. Peer (within shouting distance of this marker); Evan Shelby's Fort (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Shelby's Fort (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jimmie Rodgers (approx. 0.3 miles away); Overmountain Patriots of the American Revolution (approx. 0.3 miles away in Virginia); Bristol Sessions (approx. 0.3 miles away); First Country and Western Recording (approx. 0.3 miles away); Birthplace of Bristol (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bristol.
 
Also see . . .  Birth Place of Country Music. (Submitted on January 24, 2013, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
 
Categories. 20th CenturyArts, Letters, Music
 
Historic Downtown Bristol Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 19, 2009
4. Historic Downtown Bristol Marker
Closeup of bottom of marker
Picture of Mural from the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 19, 2009
5. Picture of Mural from the Marker
This mural, painted in 1986, depicts the key figures in the 1927 Bristol Sessions. (Left to Right) Ralph Peer; A.P., Maybelle, and Sara Carter; Ernest and Hattie Stoneman; and Jimmie Rogers.
Close up of picture from marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 19, 2009
6. Close up of picture from marker
Closeup of photo from marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 19, 2009
7. Closeup of photo from marker
Closeup of photo from marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 19, 2009
8. Closeup of photo from marker
Mural and Stage image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 19, 2009
9. Mural and Stage
Mural and Stage on the side of the building to the west of the marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 920 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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