Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 25
Rich Musical HERITAGE
1. The Wall of Success in the
Birthplace of Country Music
Museum highlights the 76 songs
recorded in 1927.
2. Through artifacts, multiple
theater experiences, and
interactive displays, the Museum
shares the story of the 1927
Bristol Sessions recordings.
Birthplace of Country
In the summer of 1927, Ralph Peer made country music
history. As a talent scout and producer for the Victor
Talking Machine Company, Peer saw the potential to find
the music he was searching for in the Bristol, TennesseeVirginia area. Auditions were held, and artists such as The
Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, and Ernest Stoneman
recorded in a makeshift studio on State Street. Over two
weeks, 19 artists recorded 76 songs in what has become
known as the 1927 Bristol Sessions, often considered the
most important of early country music field recordings.
Those recordings initiated and enhanced the careers
of these star performers, and were also significant in the
commercialization of country music. For these reasons,
the U.S. Congress officially designated Bristol, TennesseeVirginia as the "Birthplace of Country Music" in 1998.
Today, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an
affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, tells the story of the
1927 Bristol Sessions through its permanent exhibits,
multiple theater experiences, interactive music-focused
stations, technology-rich media, and more. Special
exhibits rotate through the museum's exhibit gallery, along
with activities and programming throughout the year.