Peermusic and RCA Records Stage Family Reunion for Bristol Sessions’ 75th Anniversary

Posted in News on July 21, 2002

Peermusic and RCA Records will mark the 75th Anniversary of the Bristol Sessions with a dinner on August 1, honoring descendants of the artists recorded by Ralph Peer during the landmark sessions, including BMI affiliates the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Ernest Stoneman.

Jimmie Rodgers

Ralph Peer

Expected to attend the invitation-only event, to be held at the State Line Grill in Bristol, Tennessee, are Janette and Joe Carter, children of A. P. & Sara Carter; June Carter Cash, daughter of Maybelle Carter; Patsy Stoneman, daughter of Ernest Stoneman; Ralph Peer II, son of Ralph Peer; the great-grandchildren of Jimmie Rodgers; plus country legends Johnny Cash and Earl Scruggs.

Maybelle Carter, A. P. & Sara Carter

In the mid-1920s, the Victor Talking Machine Company (later RCA Victor Records) viewed hillbilly music as a growth genre, and hired talent scout Ralph Peer to pioneer its on-location recording. In the summer of 1927, Peer brought an electric recording machine to the Tennessee-Virginia border city of Bristol and, with two engineers, leased a former furniture store for 10 days of recording, July 25 - August 5, 1927. In this makeshift studio with state-of-the-art equipment, Peer recorded 76 songs from 19 different groups, in the process discovering the two most important acts of early country music, the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, and laying the foundation for the country music industry. The Bristol Sessions captured, for the first time, a true cross-section of Southern music and ultimately proved to be one of the most pivotal and influential episodes in American cultural history.

Peermusic Chairman & CEO Ralph Peer II, whose father founded the music publishing company in 1928, said, "This reunion is not only a celebration of the music that was created 75 years ago but a celebration of relationships. Peermusic’s long-standing personal and professional ties to writers, artists and RCA is part of a legacy that began at the Bristol Sessions."

RCA Label Group Chairman Joe Galante said, "The musical impact of the Bristol Sessions continues to be felt today in the music of the stars of this format. They were the most important session in our 75 year country history.” The Bristol Sessions on RCA Victor are the genesis of the current RCA Label Group catalog and roster.

Peermusic was the first publisher to establish a global network that today extends to 36 offices in 27 countries. In addition to its influence as a dominant force in popularizing country music, peermusic produced the first black R&B record and was one of the earliest to recognize the importance of rock 'n' roll and to fight for its acceptance.

With headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, RCA Label Group RLG/Nashville consists of three labels: Arista Nashville, BNA Records Label and RCA Records Label. RLG is a unit of BMG, the global music division of Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's leading media companies.

The peermusic/RCA reunion event is being held in conjunction with the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance's Diamond Anniversary Celebration of the 1927 Bristol Sessions. The focal point for the BMCA's year-long observance will be a ten-day series of concerts throughout the Southern Appalachia region from July 25 to August 3, featuring a variety of music, including country, bluegrass, and old-time, with more than forty bands.

The two-CD set The Bristol Sessions: Historic Recordings from Bristol, Tennessee featuring the first recordings by the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers was issued by the Country Music Foundation in 1991 [CMF-011-D].