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White and Rural

What is country music?

Country and western music were born in rural, white and poor America. It is influenced by the blues and encompasses two parallel and independent musical scenes: the hillbilly of the Appalachians and the western music of the cowboys.

Its roots are in the traditional music of the white majority, the songs of the working class and in traditional styles of the European immigrant communities, such as ballads or Irish and Celtic melodies.

The Ozark Mountain Daredevills – Chicken Train (1973)

A bluegrass song composed by Steve Cash and based on the Appalachian hillbilly tradition. It shows the use of the characteristic mouth bow.

Bluegrass means "blue grass" and refers to the poa de los prados or poa pratensis. Its roots are in the old rural and mining string bands of the 19th century and it is influenced by other styles such as blues, ragtime or jazz. In the forties he lived his best moment, with bands like The Blue Grass Boys where Bill Monroe (the father of bluegrass) played. Monroe was born on his parents' farm, near Rosine (Kentucky), where all the members of the family played some traditional instrument.

How did country start?

The first generation emerges in the early 1920s. From the Atlanta music scene came the first albums, such as those of Fiddlin' John Carson, on Okeh Records, or those of Samantha Bumgarner, on Columbia Records.

In 1927, RCA Victor recorded The Carter Family, the most influential vocal group of its time and later. Careful vocal arrangements on compositions found diving in all kinds of sources.

The Carter Family – Keep On the Sunny Side (1928)

Song originally written by Ada Blenkhorn and J. Howard Entwislede in 1899 A. P. Carter's adaptation was a great success and became a model for country music. 

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The Carter Family was a trio formed by Alvin Pleasant Carter, his wife Sarah Dougherty Carter and his sister-in-law Maybelle Addington Carter, married to his brother Ezra Carter. The three were born and raised in southwestern Virginia, where they practiced the vocal harmonies of gospel mountain music and group singing on different scales. Maybelle's distinctive and innovative guitar style became a hallmark of the group. Years later she would become the mother-in-law of Johnny Cash, the legend of country and rock and roll.

Who stands out in this genre?

One of the most important artists among the pioneers of the 1920s and 1930s was Jimmie Rodgers, the first country musician to become a start.

With a mix of country, blues and hillbilly ballads, he created a whole subgenre that he called country blues. From his own experience, he wrote lyrics that portrayed the deepest of America.

Jimmie Rodgers – Mississippi River Blues (1929)

This is a song attributed to Rodgers himself. It is an example of his country-blues style. In it he makes use of his famous yodeling or ziplining song, very present in hillbilly music.

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Born in the city of Meridian (Mississippi), Jimmie Rodgers knew all kinds of characters and had experienced situations like poverty, illness or death up close, which were evident in his songs. He still has an important group of followers, both country and blues musicians. His figure is so important that he is the only musician from outside the Delta who has received recognition from the Mississippi Blues Trail, the body that controls the designation of origin of the blues.

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