Bristol mural weathers 30 years

September 8, 2016Live at Five at 4Giant mural features country music pioneers from 1927

BRISTOL - An iconic landmark in Bristol is a giant mural in a prominent place on State Street. The artist who made the mural calls it "Bristol the Birthplace of Country Music."

"It's kind of a signature piece," Tim White said.

Thirty years ago, White decided to honor the people who brought commercial country music to the nation by recording in Bristol in July and August of 1927. He worked on a canvas version for a year.

"I took the original canvas to a city council meeting and they liked it. They especially liked that I was going to raise the money and I didn't ask them for money, but I had to get their blessing to put a mural of this size," he said.

The mural is about 30 feet by 100 feet.

White picked that particular wall because it was available.

"I guess divine intervention. It was a place that this mural needed to be and it sure has been good for Bristol and the musical heritage, and it's been pretty good for Tim White, too," he said.

White painted it by himself in a couple of months.

"If you start on the left hand side, it's Ralph Peer. Ralph Peer is the man who did the original recordings of the Bristol Session of 1927. He came down from New York for the Victor Company," White said. "Do you know the name of the dog on the Victor record label? I didn't until I painted this mural. What's his name? His name is Nipper, Nipper the dog."

The mural also features the original Carter family: AP, Sara and mother Maybell.

A stage for musicians blocks part of the mural about music, but does not damage it.

"Knock on wood, no one has actually ever vandalized it. People of Bristol are proud of it I think and nobody has messed with it," White said.

He has repainted the mural once.

"In 1999 I repainted it with help from my son Murphy, that's why I had him sign on the bottom under my name. We re-did it back in 1999. It's due for a facelift now," he said.

Thirty years have passed since White painted the mural. Thirty years have been good to Bristol.

"When I painted this mural, you could practically see a tumbleweed or two blow down State Street. Now you see music, you hear music, you see restaurants and it's been a nice evolution. I'm very proud of what this mural has had a part of doing in developing the history of Bristol," he said.

White also created "Marion's Musical Heritage Mural: in Marion Virginia. He is an entertainer and musician who hosts a television show and a radio show.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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