Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mountain Music Museum will hold grand opening Thursday

Ben, left, and Jarrod Church of Burchleaf, Va., tour the Mountain Music Museum at the Bristol Mall in Bristol, Va.

By David McGee
Staff Writer / Bristol Herald Courier

Published: March 31, 2010
BRISTOL, Va. – Ben Church and his son, Jarrod, made the nearly two-hour journey from Birchleaf, Va., to Bristol on Tuesday, in part to visit the Mountain Music Museum.
Jarrod Church is merchandise manager and “backup banjo player” of Ralph Stanley’s bluegrass group and his father is a lifelong fan of the music. They spent part of the afternoon examining the artifacts, framed photographs, old records, posters and other memorabilia enshrined in a former toy store at the Bristol Mall.
It’s the fourth such mall location in 11 years for a collection of thousands of artifacts that reveal much about this region’s musical legacy. Organizers plan a grand opening, rededication ceremony and concert Thursday evening.
“It’s really special that they want people to come and see all these wonderful things,” Jarrod Church said, while standing next to the rusty soft-drink cooler that was once in A.P. Carter’s general store. Carter was the patriarch of the Carter Family, a Scott County, Va., group honored in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“I get to travel all over the country with Dr. Stanley and in the big cities you don’t see the artist appreciation like we have here,” he said.
Ben Church said he is “glad to see it preserved” but “amazed” at how many famous country and bluegrass acts grew up in this part of Appalachia.
Visitors can trace that lineage on a display called Roots & Routes of Country, a topographic map denoting the hometowns of artists as diverse as Stanley, Carter, Tennessee Ernie Ford of Bristol and Kentucky’s Patty Loveless.
“We’ve got to glue the names on this map,” volunteer Susan Gobble said of the daunting task of affixing more than 100 artist names. Read more...

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