It’s undeniable that the 1927 Bristol Sessions were one of the most influential moments in American popular music history. In recent decades, the songs recorded there have been recognized through several new recordings and re-releases, including the star-studded Orthophonic Joy project helmed by Carl Jackson in 2015, and the extensive, Grammy-nominated Bear Family box set from 2011. For the ninetieth anniversary of the Sessions, however, two men are looking to honor it in a slightly different way. Recording engineer Stephen Schoenecker and his business partner Jon McGlocklin, CEO and founder of Middle Fork Records, have decided to record an album called 1927 Jubilee. Its purpose? Not much different from Ralph Peer’s – to showcase original music from artists local to the northeast Tennessee/southwest Virginia region.
Schoenecker and McGlocklin are in search of regional artists who perform their own material in styles that fall somewhere in or around the “Americana” bubble. That includes bluegrass, along with folk, country, blues, and even rock. They want to find between ten and fourteen songs to feature on the album, with the hopes of bringing local music to the national spotlight. Schoenecker has been recording some tracks already, but he and McGlocklin welcome submissions from artists who are interested in having one of their songs on the album.
Both men are quick to remind would-be artists that they’re not simply recreating the 1927 Bristol Sessions. They’re not looking for cover songs (even of public domain material), or for songs that have already been recorded and released on previous albums. They’re in search of something new that showcases what music is like today in the region surrounding Bristol. Schoenecker told the Bristol Herald-Courier that he is really open to music of any genre, but that it has to strike the right chord. “I want something that makes me feel something,” he said. “I want that song to speak to me.”
While artists can submit music to Schoenecker and McGlockin through email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com), live auditions will also be held Thursday, May 4 at Holston River Brewing in Bristol, Tennessee. Auditions begin at 2:00 p.m. and will continue through 9:00. Recording should begin in earnest soon, and the album release is tentatively scheduled for August.
For more information, visit www.1927jubilee.com or contact McGlocklin and Schoenecker at the email addresses above.