Celebrating the 90th anniversary of the birth of country music, Tennessee music superstar Marty Stuart hosted the UK premiere of the documentary, ‘Born in Bristol’, which tells the story of the of the 1927 recording sessions in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia, an event Johnny Cash called, “the single most important event in the history of country music.”
Stuart hosted a 30-minute question-and-answer session moderated by BBC Radio personality Baylen Leonard prior to the screening, which was held at the O2 Cineworld Cinemas as part of the C2C (Country to Country) Music Festival in London. Stuart, appearing at C2C in support of his new album, ‘Way Out West’, appears in the film, which tells the story of the July 1927 music recording sessions organized by Victor Recording executive Ralph S. Peer, where music legends including Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family were discovered.
Speaking about the evolution of country music from those humble record sessions in Bristol 90 years ago, Stuart said, “I’ve always said that country music, to this very minute, is such as diverse place…it doesn’t matter where you get on. Whether it’s the Brothers Osborne or Eric Church or Florida Georgia Line or Taylor Swift, or the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, or Merle Haggard or somewhere in the middle, just get on board and start listening. You will find something that applies to your life—something that speaks to you, I’m sure.”
Produced by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Virginia Tourism Corporation and directed by Sundance Award-winner Chusy, ‘Born in Bristol’, which received shortlist consideration at the 2016 Cannes International Festival of Creativity, was filmed on location in Bristol, which straddles the Tennessee-Virginia state line in the U.S., and Nashville.
‘Born in Bristol’ features re-creations of the 1927 recording sessions, as well as appearances by Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Ashley Monroe, Sheryl Crow, Ashley & Shannon Campbell and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, each of whom contributed music tracks to the 2015 release ‘Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited’, produced by multi-Grammy Award-winner Carl Jackson and featuring an historical narrative by Eddie Stubbs, the voice of the Grand Ole Opry. The release of ‘Orthophonic Joy’ coincided with the grand opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Tenn./Va.
“We like to say the soundtrack of America is made in Tennessee, because our state is the birthplace of no fewer than seven different forms of American music—country, bluegrass, gospel, the blues, rockabilly, soul and rock-and-roll,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. “We invite visitors from around the world to see and hear our music where it was born and is still going strong today.”
“Quality films have been produced on nearly every genre of music. But this documentary takes a deep dive in addressing the spark that lit the country music flame. What came from those two weeks in 1927 spawned an industry and launched careers of artists, songwriters and producers now enshrined in the Country Music and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame among others,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Jimmie Rodgers’ first recordings were made during those sessions. George Harrison was inspired by Rodgers’ music before he even got his first guitar. There are hundreds of stories like that. This film celebrates those stories and the ingenuity of Ralph Peer and the mountain music traditions of Ernest Stoneman, the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. In Bristol those stories are preserved and promoted every day at the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum.”
The Q&A session with Marty Stuart and Baylen Leonard will be broadcast at a later date on Chris Country, the UK’s 24/7 country radio station and official media partner of the ‘Born in Bristol’ premiere.