The grand opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Tennessee, was a real treat for my daughter Mary and me. This museum, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian, explores the history of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting impact on our music heritage. The Bristol Sessions are considered by many as the “Big Bang” of modern country music. They were held in 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee, by Victor Talking Machine Company producer Ralph Peer. They marked the commercial debuts of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.
Mike Milhorn, co-owner of Up Against the Wall in Kingsport, TN, with Georgia Warren, last surviving performer of the Bristol Sessions.
Bristol is located on the border of Virginia and Tennessee, and both states have supported the establishment of this beautifully done tribute to our country music heritage. I hope everyone will treat themselves to a visit. The energy, enthusiasm, and camaraderie of the participants, sponsors, and performers was wonderful to experience with Mike and Lisa Anne Milhorn of Up Against the Wall in Kingsport, Tennessee. I’ll be showing with them at their gallery December 12-13.
Outside the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Friday with Lisa Anne Milhorn, co-owner of Up Against the Wall in Kingsport, TN; Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music; Mike Milhorn, co-owner of Up Against the Wall; me; and Lois Clarke, who purchased the original painting of Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
With Lea Powers, Mayor of Bristol, TN.
Saturday’s dedication ceremony was very special, with Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey of Tennessee and Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia in attendance. Afterward, Dr. Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys kicked off a concert. Dr. Stanley is remarkable!
Edd Hill is on the Board of the Birthplace of Country Music and was instrumental in getting the museum funded and established.
Mary and I returned to Blacksburg, Virginia, Saturday afternoon in time to take in some of the Steppin’ Out Festival. The Steppin’ Out Festival is Blacksburg’s annual street festival that is held during the first weekend of August. Artists and craft people from all over the country participate in this festival, and there are three main stages for musical performances.
L. to R.: Mary, me, and my granddaughter Sarah at our gallery’s booth at Blacksburg’s Steppin’ Out Festival on Saturday. We are sponsoring a raffle for the quilt on display in the picture, and the proceeds will benefit the P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education. The drawing will be held on December 7, and tickets are $3 each or two for $5. For more information, please contact the P. Buckley Moss Gallery in Blacksburg at 540-552-6446. Also, the Moss in the New River Valley Chapter of the P. Buckley Moss Society is conducting a raffle for one of my ink drawings that will benefit their local food pantry and Christmas store.
On Wednesday I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Alexander Black House & Cultural Center for Blacksburg. The house was built by Alexander Black from 1897 to 1898, and he lived in it until his death in 1935. He was a great-great-nephew of town founder William Black, and his father was the first rector of the board of visitors of what is now Virginia Tech. The house had passed out of the Black family and had been a funeral home for more than sixty years when the Town bought it. Originally located on Main Street, the house was moved by the Town to its current location on Draper Road.
The Alexander Black House & Cultural Center will serve as a social hub in Blacksburg for years to come, with Wi-Fi and other amenities, and will offer workshops and historic and artistic displays.
I was honored to join Town citizens, officials, and special guests for the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Alexander Black House & Cultural Center.
Craig Little (left) and his mother Nita (center) are descendants of Alexander Black.
Life is good!