As small town America goes, there is really nothing special about tiny Hiltons,
Hiltons is really just a nice, quiet, wide place in the road about 20 miles west
of Bristol, Va on route 58. Quaint houses, a school, and a convenience store.
Like I said, there is nothing special at all about Hiltons. Except for the Carter
In the year 1927, an event took place in Bristol that literally changed the
world of music forever - The Bristol Sessions. Ralph Peer, representing the
Victor Talking Machine Company, came to Bristol seeking to find and record local
talent performing old-time Appalachian Mountain music.
Peer found several performers and groups that impressed him enough to invite
them into the studio. One of these great performers was Jimmie Rodgers (who was
actually from Mississippi). But the group that would turn the musical world
upside down was The Carter Family.
A.P. Carter, his wife Sara and sister-in-law Maybelle performed mountain songs
they had written as well as some that A.P. had discovered while visiting the
hills and "hollers" of the Appalachian region.
Their style was simple, soulful, and most of all unique. Sara's clear, strong
voice placed the music right in your soul while Maybelle's amazing pickin' on
songs such as the Wildwood Flower literally transformed the guitar from being traditionally
a rhythm instrument into a lead instrument.
The events of 1927 and the music of The Carter Family in the years that followed
resulted in the birth of what we now call "Country Music". Without the
Carters, there would be no Nashville (as we know it today) or "Music
Row". The original Carter Family were musical giants although they
certainly didn't know it at the time.
(with lots of help from younger brother Joe),
following through on a promise she had made to her dad A.P. just before he
passed away to keep the Carters' music alive, built the wonderful Carter Fold in
their hometown of Hiltons, Va. It was officially opened in 1979.
Every Saturday night at 7:30, the hills and hollers of Hiltons come alive with
the echoes of Old-Time and Bluegrass
music. Yes, the tiny southwestern Virginia community of Hiltons, Va is just
a wide spot in the road. But it's a spot that can be heard around the world each
and every weekend thanks to The Carter Family!
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