Thursday, June 19, 2003; 7:36 PM
At a crossroads in the Appalachian mountains, Bristol straddles Virginia and Tennessee - the state line runs dead center down the city's main street, State Street. Dubbed "The Birthplace of Country Music" by no less an authority than the U.S. Congress, Bristol famously hosted the 1927 recording sessions that catapulted what was then called "Southern music" into the national consciousness.
Gene Boyd, known affectionately as the Fiddlin' Barber, has been cutting hair and playing music in his Bristol barbershop for over 50 years. Every Thursday morning, people gather to swap licks, tell tales and pick bluegrass.
A co-founder of the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, Tim White painted the 30- by 100-foot mural in downtown Bristol that commemorates the so-called Bristol Sessions of 1927. He plays banjo with the VW Boys and will perform on the National Mall during the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
"Appalachia: Heritage and Harmony," is one of the three themes at
37th Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival,
June 25-29 and July 2-6 on the National Mall.