Trip Across America ~ January 2016

January 2, Saturday

 Winchester, VA to Kingsport, TN

We packed up the car and then added little Tickle to the back. She was all smiles. You see Ellen driving away from her Winchester home. The road is always interesting. It was a cold day but people were traveling with kayaks. Burrr!


The weather couldn’t be better otherwise. We were able to take some nice pictures from the car window. Anytime there’s a quarry then it’s alert time because Jorge thinks they’re so interesting and needs to take pictures.


There’s always a neat looking run down place somewhere. We saw a shed by a river that looked like a hobo hangout..

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Bristol, VA–TN!

Click on the star!

Click on the circle!

Bristol is a curiousity! It is two towns: one is ine Virginia and the other in Tennessee. In 1998 the town was recognized as the birthplace of country music by the U.S. Congress.


This is a good story: Tennessee Ernie Ford was born in Bristol. So the museum has a special exhibition on him…we think that it is probably a year round exhibit. We thought, “Well, I guess that this is it.” But no, the true story starts in 1927 with a man named Ralph Peer.

The Victor Talking Machine Company (Yes, later renamed RCA) was lagging behind other companies that had successfully released hillbilly records. In 1926 Ralph Peer, along with other early producers, conducted location recording sessions throughout the South in the 1920’s. All these sessions produced interesting and sometimes historically important recordings and yet today only one such session is widely known: The 1927 Bristol Sessions conducted in Bristol Tennesse, VA.


The session is often referred to as the Big Bang of country music. Ralph Peer came to Bristol and offered $50 (per song) for people to come and record songs into to his brand new, state of the art traveling microphone and recording kit. 76 songs were recorded by 19 performers. These historical recordings launched the careers of the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, the Stoneman Family, and other pioneers of the modern country music movement. Do you recognize Jean Ritchie playing her mountain dulcimer?

So, 1927 was start of recording hillbilly or old timey music which became country music.

Odd fact: The fiddle was historically known as the devil’s box

and associated with fun, food, drink and merry-making…such improper behavior!