Spotlight On Historic Southwest Virginia Musicians at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Now open at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Historic Downtown Bristol: Hometown Stars: Southwest Virginia’s Recording Legacy, 1923-1943, an exhibit from the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum at Ferrum College.
“We are really excited to host the ‘Hometown Stars’ exhibit. With its focus on the early recording industry and the amazing amount of musical talent in our area, this content really complements our museum’s permanent exhibits,” says Rene Rodgers, Curator of Exhibits & Publications.
The talents and repertoires of Southwest Virginia musicians proved to be a deep musical well for the nation’s growing recording industry. Few other parts of the country produced so much commercially recorded rural music in the pre-World War II era. Still, only a handful of Southwest Virginia performers saw real fame or money. Most were simply hometown stars, playing music locally and living average lives. “Hometown Stars” tells the stories of these artists — including the Powers Family, Dock Boggs, Carl Martin, The Roanoke Jug Band, Jack Reedy & His Walker Mountain Stringband, and several Bristol Sessions artists — through text, photographs, and artifacts.
Hometown Stars was curated by staff at the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum at Ferrum College. “Working with partners like the Blue Ridge Institute is key as we continually explore the region’s music history with multiple scholarly perspectives,” says Birthplace of Country Music Museum Director Jessica Turner. “We know our visitors will enjoy the chance to dig deeper into the history that made the Bristol Sessions possible, and we are grateful for the work that Roddy Moore and Vaughan Webb have put into gathering this history to remind us of its significance.”
Hometown Stars: Southwest Virginia’s Recording Legacy, 1923-1943 will be on display in the Special Exhibits Gallery at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum through June 4, 2017. The 2,000 square foot gallery houses two or three rotating exhibits per year, ranging from exhibits that are created in-house and by guest curators, or traveling exhibits from other institutions and museums.