Country music will have a new shrine.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is set to open on Aug. 2 in Bristol, Tenn.

The museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, which were some of country music's earliest commercial recordings. Those sessions featured such future legends as the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers and have had an immense and lasting impact on American popular music.

No less of an authority than the great Johnny Cash once referred to the 1927 Bristol Sessions as the "Big Bang of Country."

And Cash wasn't the only one who felt that way. In 1998, Bristol was officially recognized as "The Birthplace of Country Music" by the U.S. Congress.

As part of the celebration, a group of talented country musicians are combining forces on the new recording "Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited." Due out in October, the set will feature 16 re-recordings of the original songs from the Bristol Sessions, performed by such stars as Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers and Ashley Monroe.

For more information about the Smithsonian Institution-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org.

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The Cowboy Junkies first came to fame with 1987's "The Trinity Session," a strikingly lo-fi effort recorded through a single microphone at Toronto's Church of the Holy Trinity.


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That hushed affair, which blended folk, blues and rock in a fashion that most had never heard before, sold more than a million copies in the U.S. alone and produced so many memorable tunes. It's long been considered a stone-cold classic.

And that's a major reason why fans are so excited about the Cowboy Junkies' upcoming trip the Bay Area.

The group will perform "The Trinity Session" in its entirety during each of its two local concerts -- Thursday at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and Saturday at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley.

The Canadian family-centric band -- featuring guitarist-songwriter Michael Timmins, vocalist Margo Timmins, drummer Peter Timmins and bassist Alan Anton -- is always great in concert. Yet, these "Trinity Session" shows should be really special.

Fans evidently agree with that assessment. Both of these shows sold out very quickly.

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Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic and www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews.