MACES SPRING, VA - JULY, 1972: A photograph of the pioneering musical group, The Carter Family, is on display at the Carter Family Museum near the musicians' birthplaces and homes in rural Maces Spring in Southwest Virginia. The Carter Family was a traditional American folk music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on what would become known in later years as country and bluegrass music. The group consisted of Alvin Pleasant "A.P." Carter, his wife, Sara Carter, and his sister-in-law, Maybelle Carter.
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'Born in Bristol' TV Special, Featuring Dolly Parton and More, to Tell Story of Country Music's 'Big Bang'

A one-hour docudrama about the 1927 Bristol Sessions, which get credited as the "big bang" for the nascent country music business, will debut Sat., July 30 on two separate platforms: 24/7 music channel DittyTV (at 8 p.m. EST) and the television home of the Grand Ole Opry, Circle Network (at 10 p.m. EST). Both will air replays throughout August.

Born in Bristol intersperses dramatizations of an important event in the spread of country music with interviews with an impressive cast of artists: Ashley Campbell, Ashley Monroe, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, Marty Stuart, Shannon Campbell, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Vince Gill and Carl Jackson. Per a press release, the never-before-seen interviews in the special come from Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited, a 2014 project that recreated history with modern-day stars.

Music industry pioneer Ralph Peer followed the success of 1923 sessions in Atlanta that resulted in the first widespread country hit, Fiddlin' John Carson's "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane," with a 12-day stay (July 25- Aug. 5) in 1927 at the Tennessee-Virginia state line. While in the twin cities of Bristol, Peer recorded two foundational country acts (the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers) with assists from a third (Pop Stoneman).

Though recorded country music dates back to at least 1922, the Bristol Sessions solidified the varied sounds and overall identity of what would become a global phenomenon.

"As a county music musician, it was kind of our genesis," Marty Stuart said, as shared in a press release. "The Bristol Sessions was kind of the formal 'how do you do' to the world. It absolutely was the blueprint of what country music has become."

"Those were songs that I grew up with and knowing and it influenced the way I write," added Dolly Parton. "But they're really simple songs— ordinary songs about ordinary people. But they're told in such a sweet, extraordinary way."

The special's debut is part of Tennessee Tourism's celebration of the 95th anniversary of the Bristol Sessions.

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