Grand opening of the Mountain Music Museum January 27

The Mountain Music Museum has set January 27 for the grand opening at their new location in Kingsport, TN.

The old museum closed in October and began the process of moving everything from their home on State Street in Bristol over to Kingsport, where members of the community have urged them too relocate. 

To celebrate the grand opening, a special concert has been scheduled for January 27 featuring Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys at 7:00 p.m. Ralph II has also donated a number of items relating to his famous father, Dr. Ralph Stanley, which will be on display at the museum. 

There will be music throughout the day that Saturday, starting at 10:00 a.m. when the museum opens. Tim White, host of Song Of The Mountains on PBS will perform, as will country singer Kaitlyn Baker. Rick Dollar, host of their regular Thursday night concert series, The Pickin’ Porch, will serve as master of ceremonies.

The normal admission fee is waived for that day, and everyone is invited to come tour the new location, browse the many exhibits, and enjoy the live music.

Kingsport Mayor John Clark says that he is delighted to see the Mountain Music Museum open in town.

“Our region is rich in the traditions of mountain music. From bluegrass to Gospel to old time and classic country music, we are excited to see them on display in Downtown Kingsport. The Carter Fold is just across the ridge on the ‘sunny side’ of Clinch Mountain in Hiltons, Virginia, and their instruments were purchased right here on Broad Street. The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville has the lyrics of the Carter Family song Will the Circle Be Unbroken etched on its walls. Today, country music a multi-billion industry. That started here. I’m excited to see it come full circle.”

Opened initially in 1998 by the Appalachian Cultural Music Association, the Mountain Music Museum differs somewhat from its larger cousin, The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, VA. Dollar says that the BCMM is focused primarily on The Bristol Sessions in 1927, when Ralph Peer came to town to record for the Victor Talking Machine Company, while the Mountain Music Museum traces the evolution of what we now call country, bluegrass, and old time music from its earliest roots in the Appalachian region.

Tim White, who was a museum co-founder, says that they trace mountain music to its immigrant roots.

“It’s no coincidence that bluegrass music sounds similar to a lot of Irish and Scottish music. What people think of as American mountain music is really an off-shoot of music that immigrants brought with them from other countries.”

The Thursday night Pickin’ Porch shows will continue at the new Kingsport location, with some larger events hosted at the nearby Kingsport Renaissance Arts Center. Plans are being struck now for an outdoor concert series during the summer called Bluegrass on Broad.

More details can be found online.

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John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.