The Birthplace of Country Music Museum: Bristol, VA

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Country music just wouldn't be the same without those 1927 Bristol Sessions and we are going to tell you why!

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The Birthplace of Country Music is an enlightening experience about what became the ground for the country music industry. The 1927 Bristol Sessions were intriguing and historic and the museum offers a detailed glimpse into this storied past.

With all our blogs about Bristol, it is important that we explain that Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia share a main street that goes directly through the towns, called State Street. The two towns working perfectly together and offer visitors some of the best tourist opportunities between the two of them. 

           Located in Bristol, Virginia is a museum that often shocks visitors when they first lay eyes on it. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute and tells the incredible story of how country music came to be born here. The Bristol Sessions were held here in 1927 and have become known as the “big bang of country music” and continues to influence and inspire artists from all genres today!

            The Bristol Sessions in 1927 occurred when the Victor Talking Machine Company came into Bristol, Tennessee and the Taylor-Christian Hat Company. Director Ralph Peer and his crew of engineers recorded from July 25 to August 5 and recorded music legends such as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. These recordings laid the groundwork for country music by collecting a cross section of the styles of music that were present in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachia. Johnny Cash even said, “The 1927 Bristol Sessions are the single most important event in the history of country music.”

            Even though the museum has several exhibits that rotate through the year that are created in house, there are several other permanent interactive exhibits. Many of those exhibits allows you to fully immerse yourself in the history of the Bristol Sessions. Interactive touchscreen exhibits allow you to listen to many of the songs that were recorded in 1927 while another recording exhibit allows you to overlay your voice onto one of the 1927 tracks. Visitors also get a glimpse into the Radio Bristol, which broadcasts live from the museum! 

            In addition to all the interactive exhibits, there are also numerous areas where visitors can see the actual records that country legends cut, their instruments, and other really unique items that helped define Appalachia as the true birthplace of country music. 

            From time to time, special exhibits make their way to Bristol. The current special event that we had the pleasure of seeing will last through the summer until August 7! The “It’ll Tickle Your Innards!” A Hillbilly History of Mountain Dew,” was not only interesting but completely fascinating to learn how one of our favorite sodas was created and the history behind it. If you visit the museum between now and August 7th, please take time to see the Mountain Dew exhibit!

            A trip to Bristol TN/VA is an absolute must and while you there, you have to explore the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. The museum is located at 101 Country Music Way in Bristol, VA 24201. Their regular hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm and Sunday’s from 1:00pm-5:00pm! Give them a call before you go to ensure the hours and to ask any questions you may have. They can be reached at (423) 573-1927 and we encourage you to check out their website at birthplaceofcountrymusic.com

            We were amazed at the music and its displays and we cannot wait until you experience it as well! 

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