Bristol VA and TN

Read about our music travels to Bristol Virginia/Tennessee

Tuesday October 7 2014

First up, I’ve always wondered about the references to Bristol sometimes including Virginia (VA) and other times Tennessee (TN), and sometimes both.  Well, that’s because the State line runs right through the main street of Bristol which is fittingly called State Street.  I would’ve thought that’d be confusing, different State laws and taxes, but I guess the folk around here have gotten used to it.

Second thing, I’ve been blessed with no rain since my arrival in the U.S. on September 14.  Well, the drought is well and truly over as it rained last night here and most of today, sometimes seriously.


I had contacted Charlene Baker, Director of Marketing/Communications from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum a couple of days ago. She was kind enough to meet me at The Museum and take me on a personalised, introductory tour of the facility.  It opened on August 1 this year (Carlene Carter was here for the launch) and it has everything, loads of information about the famed Bristol Sessions, so many different interactive and interesting displays. too much to cover here – so impressive, I will write a separate piece on the Museum shortly.

One of the many facilities here is a performance space that Charlene took me through and she mentioned that there was a private concert being held tomorrow night by Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks and I would be welcome to come along, if I was interested.  I was indeed interested. In fact that was enough for me to settle on staying an extra night in Bristol.

After spending a couple of hours or so at The Museum, I was directed to The Burger Bar just two blocks away for lunch.  It has been a classic diner since 1942 and is famously known as the last place Hank Williams, Sr. was seen alive.  The decor is authentic and timeless. I had the “Hey Good Looking” burger.


The last place Hank Williams Sr was seen alive, according to local folklore

Time for a wander down both sides of State Street, to look at the various stores in Bristol’s Historic Downtown District.  There’s plenty of history and tradition here, with specialty gift shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, theatre and live venues as well as antique shops.  In fact, State Street is the site of the renowned Rhythms and Roots Reunion music festival each September (it has a terrific artist line-up but unfortunately for me, it has been the same dates as Americanafest in Nashville).






Time to think about CDs.  I found a shop on-line that looked like it had a pretty good stock selection – FYE, set the GPS and found it in the Bristol Mall, a pretty big shopping centre not far from where I was.  It was raining heavily by now.  I found a park close by the front door very easily (I checked on-line later and found that there are 7,000 car spaces here – today there were roughly 20 cars).  Very quiet inside, I wondered how these businesses would be making money.  I found FYE down below and was pleasantly surprised about the stock, large amounts of rock, pop, country and bluegrass.  The gentleman who served me was helpful and knowledgeable.  I picked up Lucinda Williams’s Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone (finally), Songs by John Fullbright and a live album of Seldom Scene (recipient of a life-time achievement award at the IBMA’s Awards last week in Raleigh North Carolina).  The only album on my list that I have yet to find is Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Sturgill Simpson’s latest.

It was early evening and the rain was bucketing down.

Tomorrow I will be venturing further up The Crooked Mile Heritage Music Trail to visit The Carter Family Fold.



Read about our music travels to Bristol Virginia/Tennessee

Read about our music travels to Bristol Virginia/Tennessee


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Author: Rob Dickens

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