Known as the “Birthplace of Country Music,” Bristol, Virginia’s streets are always filled with the sounds of live performances, whether that be bluegrass, folk, country, blues, or gospel.
This summer, Bristol celebrates the 95th 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.
“Born in Bristol,” a documentary film that tells the story of Bristol Sessions as well as capturing the recording of the album Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited, airs Saturday, July 30, 2022 on the Circle Channel. The film features some of country music’s most respected artists, including Dolly Parton, Eric Church, Marty Stuart, Vince Gill, and more.
Also celebrating the 95th Anniversary is the award-winning Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion – taking place Sept. 9-11, 2022 – is a three-day music experience that celebrates Bristol’s heritage as the Birthplace of Country Music. State Street in historic Downtown Bristol comes alive with more than 100 acts on 22 stages of live music.
Visit the Crooked Road