A musical tribute to Bristol – written by a local minister and recorded by a hometown girl with ties to Music City – will make its debut in historic downtown Wednesday as crowds gather on State Street for Food City Family Race Night.
The song, appropriately titled “A Good Place to Live,” has been set to video and will be played for the first time on Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m. at State Line Grille. It also will be shown on Colossus, Bristol Motor Speedway’s four-sided video screen, as race fans enter the speedway for the weekend’s NASCAR events.
“A Good Place to Live” poetically profiles Bristol’s unique location on the Tennessee/Virginia state line, the natural beauty of the region, treasured landmarks, and the small-town quality of life that is so endearing to residents and visitors alike. The song was written by Bristol native Doug Smith and recorded by Jessica Nixon, who grew up singing in local churches and downtown venues but is now pursuing a music career in Nashville. The video that accompanies the song highlights many of the landmarks mentioned.
The project came together after officials from the City of Bristol, Tennessee heard Smith perform the song and approached him about using it to showcase Bristol’s history and charm. Nixon readily agreed to lend her vocal talents to the song and recorded it in a Nashville studio. The video that accompanies the Bristol anthem was created by Brennan Dye and Scott Hill of the City’s Office of Community Relations.
“When I think of Bristol, I think of friendliness,” Smith said. “I think of folks helping one another. I think of the beautiful area we’re blessed with amid mountains and caverns and the lake. It really is a good place to live. … It means a lot to me to be able to communicate through these words and through Jessica’s voice just how blessed we are here in Bristol.”
Smith wrote “A Good Place to Live” in a single afternoon while driving from West Virginia back to Bristol. He was anxious to get home, he said, and starting thinking about all the things he loves about his hometown. As soon as he arrived in Bristol, he grabbed his guitar and finished the song.
The lyrics point to Bristol treasures like the country music mural and Bristol Motor Speedway, and also pay homage to music legends Tennessee Ernie Ford and Doyle Lawson. The railroad history of the town and the Bristol Sessions that earned the city notoriety as the Birthplace of Country Music also are included.
“It was a huge honor to be asked to take part in this special project,” Nixon said. “As a songwriter myself, I wanted to keep the authenticity and heart behind it, just as I knew the writer would want. I became emotional when I went in to cut the song because of the heartfelt lyrics and how much I relate to them. I am so proud to be from Bristol, and so honored to be asked to bring this song to life.”
So that community members and visitors with a special affinity for Bristol can view the video together, Annette Estes and her staff at State Line Grille agreed to host a celebration during Food City Family Race Night. The video will be shown on the restaurant’s big screen at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Mementos to mark the occasion will be provided to those in attendance, while supplies last.
Following the Wednesday evening celebration, the video will be posted to the City’s website at www.bristoltn.org/bristolanthem.
For additional information, please contact Terrie Talbert, Director of Community Relations for the City of Bristol, Tennessee, at (423) 989-5500, ext. 2055, or [email protected]