Celebration will include performance by Ralph Stanley II & the Clinch Mountain Boys.
Three months after closing in Bristol, Tennessee, the Mountain Music Museum is gearing up to reopen at its new home at 316 Broad Street in nearby Kingsport, with special guests and new exhibits, on Saturday, January 27, from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.
The celebration will include a live performance by Grammy-winner Ralph Stanley II & the Clinch Mountain Boys, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Other performers throughout the day will include bluegrass artist Tim White, country singer Kaitlyn Baker and Master of Ceremonies will be Rick Dollar! Admission to the museum, which is usually $5, will be free during the grand reopening.
“Our region is rich in the traditions of mountain music,” said Kingsport Mayor John Clark. “From bluegrass to gospel to old time and classic country music, we are excited to see them on display in Downtown Kingsport. The Carter Fold is just across the ridge on the ‘sunny side’ of Clinch Mountain in Hiltons, Virginia, and their instruments were purchased right here on Broad Street. The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville has the lyrics of the Carter Family song ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken’ etched on its walls. Today, country music a multi-billion industry. That started here. I’m excited to see it come full circle.”
“We are excited about our new location,” said Rick Dollar, the museum’s newly appointed executive director. “There is more space for more exhibits. We have a lot of great things planned for 2018.”
One new exhibit at the Mountain Music Museum will be a collection of memorabilia related to the late Dr. Ralph Stanley, who lived in McClure, Virginia, about 60 miles north of Kingsport.
“Ralph II offered to donate some of his personal items to us,” Dollar said. “When we saw them, we knew right away that they deserved to be in a museum. We are grateful to the Stanley family.”
The museum was established in 1998 by the nonprofit Appalachian Cultural Music Association (ACMA). Dollar said he hopes the new location will help to further distinguish the Mountain Music Museum from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, which people sometimes confuse. While both museums celebrate the history of country music, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is focused primarily on the 1927 Bristol Sessions, the famed recordings produced in a makeshift studio in Bristol that launched the country music industry. The Mountain Music Museum in Kingsport celebrates the evolution of country music, by reaching farther back in history, to when immigrants settled in the surrounding mountains in the 1800s, bringing their Irish, Scottish and African rhythms with them.
“It’s no coincidence that bluegrass music sounds similar to a lot of Irish and Scottish music,” chairman of the ACMA board, museum cofounder as well as host of the nationally syndicated public television concert series Song of the Mountains. “What people think of as American mountain music is really an off-shoot of music that immigrants brought with them from other countries.”
In addition to historical exhibits, the Mountain Music Museum also features live music on a regular basis, most notably “The Pickin’ Porch,” a weekly show hosted by Rick Dollar. Performances by national artists will take place at the Kingsport Renaissance Arts Center, while emerging artists will perform at the museum. Additionally, the museum is planning an outdoor concert series called Bluegrass on Broad. Details will be announced at a later date.
The Mountain Music Museum is managed and promoted by the all-volunteer, nonprofit Appalachian Cultural Music Association, which Tim White founded with area business owner James Bryant.
The Mountain Music Museum will reopen on Saturday, January 27, from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., at 316 Broad Street, Suite 102, Kingsport, Tennessee 37660. Ralph Stanley II & the Clinch Mountain Boys will perform at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.AppalachianCulturalMusic.org or call 423-797-0275.