JUNE 10, 2014
The rise of country music throughout the 1920s had a monumental effect on Elvis. His mix of rhythm and blues, along with the traditional country sound, led to birth of rock 'n' roll and changed music forever. Tourism and music industry representatives gathered today for a special press conference to officially announce the August 2 grand opening of The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, TN/VA and the creation of “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited.” It was further announced that a national search is underway for a new band to perform the last track on the “Orthophonic Joy” recording project, produced by multi-Grammy Award-winner Carl Jackson.
Famed Opry host Eddie Stubbs emceed the event with special remarks and musical performances by country music celebrity Marty Stuart, as well as The Church Sisters, The Shotgun Rubies, The Chuck Wagon Gang and Carl Jackson. Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Chris Canfield, Virginia Tourism Corporation, also brought remarks. The event was fittingly held at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Pictured above is Elvis along with Minnie Pearl and historic WOPI radio announcer Ernie Ford in Bristol, TN. Elvis would often listen to the music coming out of Bristol, TN and later incorporated this into his own style. This Smithsonian Institution-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum is dedicated to preserve the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting influence on American popular music.
Johnny Cash referred to the famous Sessions as “The single most important event in the history of country music.” Also known as the “Big Bang of Country Music,” the legendary recordings by Ralph Peer took country music to a new level and produced pioneers of the genre and major influences on Elvis, such as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.
Set to be released in October, “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited,” features entertainment legend Dolly Parton, as well as country music stars Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers and Ashley Monroe. The recording project includes 16 of the original songs from the Bristol Sessions.
The idea to recreate the Bristol Sessions had been discussed within the Birthplace of Country Music organization for years, but the serendipitous connection between board member John Rainero, veteran songwriter Rusty Morrell and producer Carl Jackson helped bring “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited” to life.
“My dear friend Rusty Morrell approached me with the idea to produce a project honoring the original 1927 Bristol Sessions,” Jackson said. “He was very aware and fond of a couple of other multi-artist ‘tribute’ projects I had produced and felt I was the guy who could bring his vision to life. In my opinion, the importance of those ’27 recordings cannot be overstated, and I am truly honored that Rusty asked me to shine a new and loving light on some of those classic works.”
In the spirit of Ralph Peer, Jackson and the Birthplace of Country Music organization is launching a nationwide search for a new artist to record the final track on the album. Emerging and independent artists may submit one of the following selected Bristol Sessions songs: “The Storms Are On the Ocean,” “Darling Cora,” “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow,” or “I Am Bound For The Promised Land.” Deadline to receive submissions is July 10. Four artists will be selected for Jackson and a panel of judges to review. For a complete list of contest rules, visit BirthplaceofCountryMusic.org.
“The 1927 Bristol Sessions have often been honored for their impact on the world’s music,” said Leah Ross, executive director, Birthplace of Country Music. “With the opening of the Museum, the release of ‘Orthophonic Joy,’ and the nationwide search for new talent, BCM and the team of irreplaceable partners who are part of these endeavors are ensuring the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions lives on for generations to come.”
Today’s event was hosted by the Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol TN/VA Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Virginia Tourism Corporation. For more information on the Birthplace of Country Music, visit BirthplaceofCountryMusic.org.