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Birthplace of Country Music

The mountains of southern Appalachia have long been recognized as a breeding ground for traditional music. The earliest settlers brought their instruments and musical traditions, which were fused together to form country, blues, folk, and other styles of popular American music.

In 1927, Ralph Peer – a record executive from Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden, New Jersey – traveled to Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia to find the makers of “hillbilly” music. He set up a portable recording studio in the Taylor-Christian Hat Company building on State Street, advertised for auditions, and waited for the music makers to come to him. Over the course of two weeks, Peer recorded 76 songs by 19 different acts, including Ernest V. Stoneman with various friends and family, The Carter Family, known as “The First Family of Country Music,” and “The Father of Country Music,” Jimmie Rodgers. It was with these recordings that the foundation of country music was laid and its soundtrack begins.

These recordings met with commercial success and continue to influence musicians today, and in 2002, the Library of Congress ranked the 1927 Bristol Sessions among the 50 most significant sound recording events of all time. Johnny Cash said that “these recordings in Bristol in 1927 are the single most important event in the history of country music.”

The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) was established to preserve and promote the rich music heritage of our region. This grassroots organization was first formed through the cooperation of civic, educational, tourist, governmental, and music-related interests on April 7, 1994; it became a nonprofit in 1996. In 1998, the US Congress passed a bill that officially recognized Bristol as the Birthplace of Country Music.

The Birthplace of Country Music promotes and celebrates Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia as the birthplace of country music. BCM celebrates Bristol’s role in the birth and development of country music through the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, WBCM Radio Bristol, and educational outreach and programming.

Upcoming Events

November 2017

The Luthier’s Craft: Instrument Making Traditions of the Blue Ridge

November 3, 2017 @ 10:00 am - March 4, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
Birthplace of Country Music Museum, 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way
Bristol, 24201
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Luthiers – skilled makers of stringed musical instruments – are both keepers of tradition and innovators. They carry on the old ways of working wood and string to create beautiful and functional instruments, while also bringing new creativity and technology to the fore in their pieces. The Luthier’s Craft explores and documents the traditional arts of fiddle, guitar, banjo, and dulcimer making in Southern Appalachia and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Featured craftspeople include guitar maker Wayne Henderson, fiddle makers Audrey Hash Ham and Chris Testerman, banjo…

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December 2017

Farm and Fun Time Christmas Ball ft. The Secret Sisters, Jill Andrews

December 2 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Birthplace of Country Music Museum, 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way
Bristol, 24201
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Come one, come all! To the Radio Bristol Farm & Fun Time Christmas Ball! Featuring The Secret Sisters and Jill Andrews, live from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum! Date: Saturday, December 2, 2017 Time: 7:00 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Must be in your seat by 6:50 p.m.) Location: Birthplace of Country Music Museum Tickets: $30 PURCHASE TICKETS Come celebrate the Christmas season with a festive, live radio show at the Birthplace of Country Music! Farm & Fun Time, the…

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Farm & Fun Time: Christmas Ball

December 2 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Birthplace of Country Music Museum, 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way
Bristol, 24201
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$30

Come one, come all! To the Radio Bristol Farm & Fun Time Christmas Ball! Featuring The Secret Sisters and Jill Andrews, live from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum! Date: Saturday, December 2, 2017 Time: 7:00 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Must be in your seat by 6:50 p.m.) Location: Birthplace of Country Music Museum Tickets: $30 PURCHASE TICKETS Come celebrate the Christmas season with a festive, live radio show at the Birthplace of Country Music! Farm & Fun Time, the…

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AAME Public Speaker Series: Excerpts from The Book of Mamaw by Eugene Wolf

December 5 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Birthplace of Country Music Museum, 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way
Bristol, 24201
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FREE

DEC 5, 2017 - 7:00PM TO 8:30PM The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire’s Public Speaker Series presents Excerpts from The Book of Mamaw by Eugene Wolf on December 5, 2017 at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Time: 7:00 p.m. Location: Birthplace of Country Music Museum FREE EVENT Eugene Wolf has been performing since he was two years old, when he won his first talent contest at the Capitol Theatre in Greeneville, Tennessee. Wolf studied music and theater at the…

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Christmas Carolers at Birthplace of Country Music Museum

December 8 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Birthplace of Country Music Museum, 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way
Bristol, 24201
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FREE

Christmas Carolers at the Museum Friday, December 8 | 10:00 a.m. Birthplace of Country Music Museum Students from Watauga Elementary School will bring a choir group of 41 students to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on December 8 to sing Christmas carols at 10:00 a.m. The students will perform in the atrium of the museum and there is no cost to come and enjoy the music!

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