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Country Music Distribution Monument.

Country Music Distribution Monument

Field review by the editors.

Bristol, Tennessee

In the summer of 1927, Ralph Peer of the Victor Record Co. (later RCA) came to Bristol, set up an improvised studio in a hat warehouse just south of the Tennessee-Virginia state line, and recorded dozens of songs from local performers. The "hillbilly music" was pressed onto 78 rpm records, and its popularity spawned the birth of the country music industry.

In the summer of 1971 Bristol erected a monument on the spot -- now a parking lot -- singling out Jimmie Rogers and The Carter Family for praise, calling their recordings "the first Country and Western music to be distributed nationwide."

The monument, despite its size, is a minimalist blocky white column and easy to overlook, and it ignores the other 17 acts who also recorded songs in that hat warehouse. Bristol fixed those flaws in 2014 when it opened its hard-to-miss (and inclusive) Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

Although the recordings took place in Bristol, Tennessee -- as the monument points out -- the museum is two blocks north of the monument, on the Virginia side of the state line. But no one on the Tennessee side seems to mind.

Country Music Distribution Monument

416 State St., Bristol, TN
East end of downtown, on the south side of State St., just west of its intersection with MLK Jr Blvd.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Birthplace of Country Music MuseumBirthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol, VA - < 1 mi.
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James Keeling, Defender of the BridgeJames Keeling, Defender of the Bridge, Bristol, VA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Most Powerful Musical Bi-Polar Tesla Coil, Gray, TN - 23 mi.

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