Located in Sullivan County, Tennessee is the city of Bristol. With a population of just about 27,000 people, Bristol is the twin city of Bristol, VA, which lies right across the TN-VA border. Separating the two cities is the state line that runs along state street in the shared downtown district of the two cities. Johnson City, Bristol, and Kingsport are commonly referred to as the “Tri-Cities” region of TN.
Bristol’s Musical History
Bristol is known across the country music industry as the “Birthplace of Country Music”, which was officially recognized by the U.S Congress in 1998. This name is thanks to the city showcasing early country musicians like the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is located in Bristol to further enforce the claim to fame of the city.
In 1927, Ralph Peer of Victor Records began to record local musicians in the Bristol area in an attempt to catch the sound of “folk” music from the region. One of the groups that came from Bristol and perfectly encompassed the sound was the Carter Family. At the end of July in 1927, A.P Carter and his family traveled from Virginia to Bristol for a chance of fame in an audition with Ralph Peer. Each song the family recorded earned them $50, the equivalent of about $700 in 2017.
The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance began to promote the city as a mecca for country music culture, as well as the role of the city in the creation of the genre of country music as a whole. At the moment, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance is organizing the building of a brand new, state of the art, cultural heritage center with intentions of educating the youth and public at large of the importance and history of country music throughout the region.
The Annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion take place during the third week of September. This music festival is held downtown on the Tennessee and Virginia state line. This festival exists to celebrate the heritage of Bristol, TN as the birthplace of country music as we know it today.
Bristol Fun Facts
Located in Bristol is the Bristol Motor Speedway, one of the Nascar Sprint Cup tracks. Construction for the Bristol Motor Speedway started in 1960 and ended the following year when the first race occurred on the track in July of 1961. Due to the tracks distinct features, like steep banks, an all concrete surface, and stadium-like seating, Bristol is among the most popular tracks in all of NASCAR. This popularity may play a hand in why it’s been named one of the loudest NASCAR tracks around.
The motto of the Birthplace of Music is “A Good Place To Live”, and the city is named after the English city of Bristol.
Experience the lush history and emotion of “the Birthplace of Music”, Bristol, TN.
Make sure to take a picture over the state line of Virginia and Tennessee when visiting beautiful Bristol after visiting our firm!