The Guitars of the Country Music Hall of Fame
Jimmie Rodgers’ Martin 00-18
On August 4, 1927, at a makeshift studio in a former furniture store in Bristol, Tennessee, an unknown singer from Mississippi made his first recordings for Victor Records. Accompanying himself on this plain-looking, but elegantly designed, mahogany and spruce Martin 00-18 guitar, Jimmie Rodgers recorded “The Soldier’s Sweetheart” and “Sleep Baby Sleep.” Released two months later, they launched a recording career that would turn him into country music’s first superstar.
The inscription “8-4-27 B. VA-TENN,” written in India ink inside the guitar’s sound hole, documents Rodgers’ recording debut at the Bristol Sessions, which marked a turning point in the history of country music.