Students of the history of commercial country music in the United States have a special fondness for Bristol, TN and the story of the Bristol Sessions in 1927. It was in July of that year that Ralph Peer journeyed there from New Jersey to make recordings of southern Appalachian music for release by the Victor Talking Machine Company, then the most prominent record company in the world.
These Bristol Sessions marked the first recordings of The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, and introduced a business model that paid artists not for the sessions, but as a percentage based on sales. The folks at The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance (BCMA) in Bristol, formed to preserve and promote this important musical milestone, like to refer to the Bristol Sessions as “the big bang of country music,” the single event that lit the big fire.
To commemorate 2007 as the 80th anniversary of the Bristol Sessions, the BCMA has planned a year long awareness drive to help educate people all over the world who love Appalachian and traditional country music about their region’s important contribution to the music’s roots. They are also trying to raise funds for a new museum and cultural center to be built in downtown Bristol. The site will house their administrative offices as well, and be the center for their educational activities and live music programming.
As an inducement to music lovers who might be willing to offer a donation, they have some special offerings in place.
To celebrate the 80th Anniversary of this historic event, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance will give away monthly prizes to individuals who make a donation of $19.27 or greater to the organization. In addition to the monthly drawings, each donor will receive one entry for a grand prize of 2 tickets to the Food City 250 and Sharpie 500 and lodging. February’s monthly drawing for 2 tickets to a 2007 Masters Practice Round. Through contributions the organization is able to carry out its mission to "To tell the story of the musical and cultural heritage of the region, its role in the birth and development of country music, and its influence on music around the world" through the preservation, education, and continuation of our region’s musical heritage and those cultural traditions which sustain that living legacy.
You can find more details about the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, and how you can assist their efforts, on the BCMA web site.