WBCM – Radio Bristol: Music with roots broadcasting from the birthplace of country music

Will travel for music.


We all travel for different reasons: to relax; to experience a different culture; to sample local cuisine; and even for sporting events. I’ve traveled for all of these reasons and have another to add to the list: music. As in, live music performances and music festivals. I’ve got one such trip planned for later this year and to say I am excited about it is an understatement. My family and I will be heading down to Bristol, Tennessee, for the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion.

Does Bristol, Tennessee, sound familiar? Many people know it as the home of Bristol Motor Speedway and one of NASCAR’s biggest races. But what a lot of people don’t know is that Bristol is the birthplace of country music. That’s right. Back in 1927, Ralph Peer, a record executive from the Victor Talking Machine Company, traveled to Bristol to find and record the makers of “hillbilly” music. In just two weeks, he recorded 76 songs in his portable recording studio and, as a result, commercial country music gained widespread popularity in homes across the country – both on record and on the radio. In fact, in 2002, the Library of Congress ranked the 1927 Bristol Sessions among the 50 most significant sound recording events of all time. Johnny Cash even said that “these recordings in Bristol in 1927 are the single most important event in the history of country music.” I say, it just doesn’t get more authentic than that.

To share “hillbilly” music with a wider audience and to further celebrate the musical heritage of Bristol, a group of folks are working to launch Bristol’s very own radio station, WBCM – Radio Bristol: Music with roots. The goal is to supply the world with American roots music and radio programming, streaming from the Birthplace of Country Music, via a mobile app. Programming will focus primarily on American roots music and will include three channels:

  • Classic: Playing the greats, and more obscure artists of old-time, bluegrass, and country music, and including archival material and rare recordings from America’s past.
  • Americana: Featuring a diverse selection of contemporary artists, as showcased at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion.
  • Live and Local: Live original programming, from the physical station at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, focusing on local and regional music and culture from yesterday and today.

I’m a music lover and appreciate (almost) all styles, but Americana and roots rock are my absolute favorites. I cannot wait to travel to Bristol to see first-hand how the music has played such a significant role in the history and culture of the region. I’m also a supporter of the arts so I did not hesitate to contribute to the WBCM – Radio Bristol: Music with roots Kickstarter campaign. With 7 days to go, the campaign hasn’t quite reached half of its fundraising goal. If you feel as strongly as I do about supporting music, history, heritage, and the arts, please consider contributing to the WBCM Kickstarter campaign!

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8 Responses to WBCM – Radio Bristol: Music with roots broadcasting from the birthplace of country music

  1. lola June 22, 2015 at 7:17 am #

    What a great cause and a fun trip to take. I’ve traveled for music too and that’s a trip and lifetime experience I will never forget.
    lola recently posted…Fun Forecast: New Finds in 4 Great US CitiesMy Profile

  2. Erin Marie June 23, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    I travel for music too! This sounds like a great trip to take. I had no idea that Bristol was the birthplace of country music. 🙂
    Erin Marie recently posted…Mustang – The Lost Kingdom of TibetMy Profile

  3. Traveling Ted June 23, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

    Cannot wait to hear about this adventure. I know very little about many of the bands there, so with so many acts, there are bound to be some great discoveries. Steve Earle and Delbert McClinton are a good start. My roommate in college had a Corklickers record, and they looked quite interesting.
    Traveling Ted recently posted…Learning the GoPro culture at the GoPro Mountain GamesMy Profile

  4. Lance | Trips By Lance July 2, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

    Didn’t know all of this about Bristol. I’ve been through a couple of times but have never spent time there.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted…Guide to One Day at DisneylandMy Profile

  5. craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous) July 22, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    What Johnnie Says is law, although he was an outlaw? … Actually, i heard of the Nascar Race, but never these recordings, thanks for teaching more about America. Have a great time too…

    Stay listening and learning, Craig
    craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous) recently posted…The Shenandoah Skyline SunsetMy Profile

    • Francesca July 23, 2015 at 7:14 am #

      Thanks, amigo. Glad my post taught you something new! #staylearning

  6. music March 12, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    i like music


  1. Will travel for music: Destination - East Tennessee - November 19, 2017

    […] passion for music now is bleeding over into my life as a blogger, for I will soon be on the road to Bristol, Tennessee – the birthplace of country music – to cover the annual Rhythm and Roots Reunion. I […]

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