Bristol a Stop on the Mississippi Country Music Trail
Bristol, TN-VA (November 22, 2019) – Legendary crooner Jimmie Rodgers has been honored by his home state of Mississippi with a historic marker unveiled at the site where the 1927 Bristol Sessions were recorded in Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia. The Bristol marker is the second to be dedicated to the artist; the first is located in his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi along the Mississippi Country Music Trail.
Visit Mississippi Director Craig Ray, who also serves as chairman of the Mississippi Country Music Trail Commission, was joined by Grammy Award-winning musician and Mississippi native Marty Stuart to unveil the marker recognizing Rodgers’ participation in the Bristol Sessions, the moment in history often regarded by historians as the “big bang of country music.”
“Bristol is not only where Mississippi son Jimmie Rodgers was discovered, but also country music itself, earning Rodgers the title of ‘Father of Country Music,’” said Ray. “It is an honor to plant this Mississippi Country Music Trail marker in what many consider country music’s holy ground.”
Recorded by producer Ralph Peer for the Victor Talking Machine Company, the 1927 Bristol Sessions are considered the most influential early commercial country music recordings of all time. The Sessions included the first recordings of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, propelling both acts to stardom. These recordings brought country music to the mainstream using state-of-the-art “orthophonic” sound technology, and Peer’s system of paying royalties to artists revolutionized the country music industry we know today.
Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), the Bristol nonprofit dedicated to perpetuating the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, welcomed the opportunity to be part of the trail.
“Music brings people together,” stated Ross. “That we share this connection with Mississippi is very special. It is the home of Jimmie Rodgers and so many artists that have no doubt been influenced by him. We are proud to be part of that story and to be included in the Mississippi Country Music Trail.”
The Jimmie Rodgers-Bristol Sessions Mississippi Country Music Trail marker can be found at 416 State Street in Bristol, Tennessee. It is the trail’s 33rd marker and the first outside the state of Mississippi. Other Mississippians honored along the trail include Elvis Presley, Marty Stuart, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Pride, and Conway Twitty, to name just a few.
“This is ground is ground zero for country music. I come back to this town for inspiration, I come to this town for enlightenment,” said Marty Stuart. “When you’re an island, you’re nothing, but when you’re neighbors, it’s everything. I love the fact that Mississippi and Tennessee are now officially neighbors at this site, because this is one of the most important sites in the history of American music. Unparalleled.”
Plans are in the works for Bristol to take a marker of their own to Mississippi in 2020.
Founded in 2010, the Mississippi Country Music Trail recognizes the state’s contributions to country music. To learn more about the Mississippi Country Music Trail, visit mscountrymusictrail.org.