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The Big Bang Of Country Music To Come Full Circle at HoustonFest

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Orthophonic Joy CoverTourism and Music Industry representatives announced a special showcase to be presented at HoustonFest on May 1 & 2, 2015. HoustonFest will hold a special showcase of historic importance. The group recently announced the creation of Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited CD project. Eleven of the 17 artists performing on this historic CD project will be appearing at HoustonFest 2015.

The Bristol Sessions, held in 1927 by Victor Talking Machine Company producer Ralph Peer, are considered by many as the “Big Bang” of modern country music. This landmark event ushered in the commercial debuts of pioneers of country music Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. Peer set up a makeshift recording studio in Taylor-Christian Hat Company building on State Street in Bristol. The center line on State Street marks the state line between Tennessee and Virginia. Numerous musicians from the region responded to the advertisements to audition for recordings in Bristol. Musicians from the Galax, Carroll, and Grayson area included Ernest Stoneman, Hattie Stoneman, Norm Edmonds, J. P. Nestor, Eck Dunford, Henry Whitter and The Shelor Family as Dad Blackard’s Moonshiners.

Ernest “Pop” Stoneman from Galax played an integral role in helping Peer comb the region for rural talent. Stoneman convinced Peer to travel through southern Appalachia and record artists who might otherwise have been unable to travel to New York. Peer recognized the potential with the mountain music, as even residents of Appalachia who didn’t have electricity were using hand-cranked Victrolas.

Stoneman was the first to record with Peer, doing so on July 25, 1927. He recorded with his wife Hattie and friends such as Eck Dunford and Mooney Brewer. A newspaper article about one of Stoneman’s recordings, (Skip To Ma Lou My Darling), which stressed the $3,600 in royalties that Stoneman had received the previous year and the $100 a day he was receiving for recording in Bristol, generated much more interest. Dozens of artists went to Bristol, many of whom had never been to Bristol in their lives. Eventually, nineteen artists recorded seventy-six songs during the 12 day Bristol Sessions.

Now, more than 85 years later, some of Nashville’s top recording artists have hit the studio with Grammy Award-winning producer Carl Jackson to capture the magic of those songs.

“Orthophonic Joy: 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited” honors the songs that Ralph Peer captured over the 12 days of recording on State Street in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia. It also sheds a spotlight on the surrounding mountainous region that was the wellspring of deep-rooted tunes that gave rise to the worldwide phenomenon of American Country Music.

Music legends Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, and esteemed bluegrass great Doyle Lawson are among the amazing roster of 17 talented performers on the project. Also performing on the upcoming CD are The Church Sisters, and Wayne Henderson & the Virginia Luthier Band from here in the Galax area.

HoustonFest 2015 will host an extraordinary lineup of artists who will perform songs from this soon to be released project. Grammy award winner, Carl Jackson will moderate “Orthophonic Joy: 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited Showcase” at HoustonFest in Felts Park, Galax, VA on May 1 & 2, 2015. A stellar lineup of artists from the project will perform at HoustonFest 2015 including: Marty Stuart, Steep Canyon Rangers, Doyle Lawson, Jesse McReynolds, The Chuck Wagon Gang, Shotgun Rubies, Ashley and Shannon Campbell, The Church Sisters, The Virginia Luthier Band, Corbin Hayslett, and Larry Cordle.

“There’s no more fitting place than Felts Park in Galax, VA (the hallowed ground of the Galax Fiddlers Convention) to kick-off and showcase this soon to be released project that pays tribute to the music pioneers from our region and sparked commercial popularity of country music,” says Debbie Robinson, HoustonFest Executive Director. “ HoustonFest organizers and the Galax Volunteer Fire Department (GVFD) are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), Tennessee Tourism, The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance (BCMA), and all those involved in this incredible project.”

Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited is set to be released by the summer of 2015. HoustonFest organizers and the Galax Volunteer Fire Department proudly recognize the significance of the original 1927 Bristol Sessions and the newly produced Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited. As Johnny Cash once said, “The Bristol Sessions is the single-most important event in the history of country music!”

Music festivals of the region draw tens of thousands of fans from around the world. Divergent veins of music run throughout Virginia, producing famous names in a variety of genres. Virginia’s music reverberates around the world today with new sounds and influences but still finds a home among the hills of Appalachia.

On May 1 & 2, 2015, “The Big Bang of Country Music” Comes Full Circle with this special presentation at HoustonFest in Galax, VA.
What: HoustonFest
When: May 1 & 2, 2015
Where: Felts Park, Galax, VA
Tickets & Info: www.HoustonFestGalax.com

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