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'The Bull' taps into South Florida's love for the genre. - Sun-Sentinel

07/25/14 3:25 pm

'The Bull' taps into South Florida's love for the genre.
"As a result, regions like South Florida will experience a rapid increase in the popularity of country music. I would expect additional growth in South Florida in the near future, ranging from more country bars to a greater number of country stations ...

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The Grand Opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum - Music Times

07/25/14 1:05 pm

Music Times

The Grand Opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Music Times
At that point in history, country music was being recorded and released, but it was all done in New York City so it wasn't true "hillbilly." By the end of the 12 days of sessions, 19 artists had recorded 76 songs and true country music was commercially ...

'Y'all' needs no translation: US country music is big abroad - The Seattle Times

07/25/14 1:00 pm

'Y'all' needs no translation: US country music is big abroad
The Seattle Times
For decades country acts rarely toured outside the U.S., with exceptions for superstars such as Johnny Cash, but it's now one of America's hottest musical exports, thanks in part to younger country acts with a knack for marketing themselves on social ...

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Sturgill Simpson's 'Metamodern' Country Is Turning Heads, Including Zac Brown's - US 99.5

07/25/14 10:07 am

US 99.5

Sturgill Simpson's 'Metamodern' Country Is Turning Heads, Including Zac Brown's
US 99.5
A half-dozen years ago, Sturgill Simpson was just one of hundreds of guys from Kentucky working a day job and playing music on the side. Fast-forward to 2014, and his life has changed drastically. And in his case, the change positively stunning. He's ...

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Alan Jackson 25 Years of Keepin' It Country Exhibit Coming to Country Music ... - Taste of Country

07/25/14 9:03 am

Newnan Times-Herald

Alan Jackson 25 Years of Keepin' It Country Exhibit Coming to Country Music ...
Taste of Country
Alan Jackson's storied career will be honored at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Beginning in August, the country legend's work will be seen in an exhibit called 25 Years of Keepin' It Country. The exhibition, which opens on Aug. 29, will ...
Jackson exhibit to open at Country Music Hall of Fame Newnan Times-Herald
Country Music Hall of Fame to Feature Alan Jackson Exhibit The Boot
KHAZ Country Music News: Alan Jackson's Exhibit at Country Music Hall of ... hays Post
Reverb MSN Music (blog)  -  - All Access Music Group
all 19 news articles »

Granada Theatre Brings Classic Country Music Concert Series to Emporia - Emporia Gazette

07/25/14 8:49 am

Granada Theatre Brings Classic Country Music Concert Series to Emporia
Emporia Gazette
“And while I also enjoy that music, I realized that we weren't bringing in my generation's music. We weren't booking those great late 80's and early 90's artists such as Travis Tritt, Joe Diffie, Marty Stuart and Orrie Morgan that brought country music ...

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Dierks Bentley and Friends Bring Country 'Front and Center' -

07/25/14 8:34 am

Dierks Bentley and Friends Bring Country 'Front and Center'
The performance also helped mark the 10th year of the Country Music Association's intimate CMA Songwriters Series. Joined onstage by singer-songwriters Ross Copperman, Jon Randall, Brett James and Jim Beavers, Bentley and company, armed with just ...

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Hick Hop: When Country Music and Hip-Hop Collide - National Review Online (blog)

07/24/14 2:49 pm

Hick Hop: When Country Music and Hip-Hop Collide
National Review Online (blog)
In an interview with sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom, Berlatsky seeks to understand an emerging music genre that remixes traditional country music with elements of autotuned hip-hop. If you have heard anything by Florida Georgia Line, then you ...

and more »

Corey Smith finding his country music bearings - Chicago Sun-Times

07/24/14 12:38 pm

Corey Smith finding his country music bearings
Chicago Sun-Times
Sitting outside his tour bus in the middle of somewhere with only a cup of coffee at his side, country music singer-songwriter Corey Smith is finding himself craving some of the comforts of his Georgia home, specifically his bathtub. “There is ...

Country Music In the Digital Age, From Apps to Festivals - News

07/24/14 12:17 pm News

Country Music In the Digital Age, From Apps to Festivals News
Garth Brooks remains one of country music's biggest names, with 134 million albums sold worldwide, RIAA certification of his position as No. 1 selling solo artist in U.S. history and 25 No. 1 radio singles. And on July 10, 2014, Brooks announced he ...

Country Music
Southern States: Hillbilly Music

In 1910 ethnomusicologist John Lomax published "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads" (that followed by two years the first known collection of cowboy songs), and in 1916 Cecil Sharp began publishing hundreds of folk songs from the Appalachian mountains (or, better, the Cumberland Mountains, at the border between Kentucky and Tennessee), two events that sparked interest for the white musical heritage, although the world had to wait until 1922 before someone, Texan fiddler Eck Robertson, cut the first record of "old-time music". These collections created the myth of the Appalachians as remote sanctuaries of simple, noble life, whose inhabitants, the "mountaneers", isolated from the evils of the world embodied the true American spirit. Many of those regions were not settled until 1835, and then they were settled by very poor immigrants, thus creating a landscape of rather backwards communities, still attached to their traditions but also preoccupied with the daily struggle for survival.

In 1922, a radio station based in Georgia (WSM) was the first to broadcast folk songs to its audience. A little later, a radio station from Fort Worth, in Texas (WBAP), launched the first "barn dance" show. In june 1923, 55-year old Georgia's fiddler John Carson recorded (in Atlanta) two "hillbilly" (i.e., southern rural) songs, an event that is often considered the official founding of "country" music (although Texas fiddler Eck Roberton had already recorded the year before). The recording industry started dividing popular music into two categories: race music (that was only black) and hillbilly music (that was only white). The term "hillbilly" was actually introduced by "Uncle" Dave Macon's Hill Billie Blues (1924). In 1924, Chicago's radio station WLS (originally "World's Largest Store") began broadcasting a barn dance that could be heard throughout the Midwest.

With When The Work's All Done This Fall (1925), Texas-bred Carl Sprague became the first major musician to record cowboy songs (the first "singing cowboy" of country music). And, finally, in 1925, Nashville's first radio station (WSM) began broadcasting a barn dance that would eventually change name to "Grand Ole Opry". Country music was steaming ahead. Labels flocked to the South to record singing cowboys, and singing cowboys were exhibited in the big cities of the North.

Among the most literate songwriters were Texas-born Goebel Reeves, who penned The Drifter (1929), Blue Undertaker's Blues (1930), Hobo's Lullaby (1934) and The Cowboy's Prayer (1934), i.e. a mixture of hobo and cowboy songs, and Tennessee-born Harry McClintock, the author of the hobo ballads Big Rock Candy Mountain (1928) and Hallelujah Bum Again (1926).

Country music was a federation of styles, rather than a monolithic style. Its origins were lost in the early decades of colonization, when the folk dances (Scottish reels, Irish jigs, and square dances, the poor man's version of the French "cotillion" and "quadrille") and the British ballad got transplanted into the new world and got contaminated by the religious hymns of church and camp meetings. The musical styles were reminiscent of their British ancestors. The lyrics, on the other hand, were completely different. The Americans disliked the subject of love, to which they preferred pratical issues such as real-world experiences (ranching, logging, mining, railroads) and real-world tragedies (bank robberies, natural disasters, murders, train accidents).

The instrumentation included the banjo, introduced by the African slaves via the minstrel shows, the Scottish "fiddle" (the poor man's violin, simplified so that the fiddler could also sing) and the Spanish guitar (an instrument that became popular in the South only around 1910). Ironically, as more and more blacks abandoned the banjo and adopted the guitar, the banjo ended up being identified with white music, while the guitar ended up being identified as black music. For example, Hobart Smith learned to play from black bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson, but went on to play the banjo while Jefferson played the guitar.

The role of these instruments was more rhythmic than melodic, because most performances were solo, without percussion. Some regions added their own specialties (such as the accordion in Louisiana), but mostly white music was based on stringed instruments. When not performed solo, it was performed by string bands, particularly after the 1920s, when the first recordings allowed musicians to actually make a living out of their "old-time music". The string bands of the 1920s included Charlie Poole's North Carolina Ramblers, that augmented the repertory of old-time music with songs from minstrel and vaudeville shows, Ernest Stoneman's Dixie Mountaineers, and finally (but the real trend-setters for string bands) the hillbilly supergroup Skillet Lickers, formed in 1926 and featuring Riley Puckett on guitar, Gideon Tanner and Clayton McMichen on fiddles (and all of them on vocals), the first ones to record Red River Valley (1927).

The "hillbilly" format (led by the guitar and a bit more "cosmopolitan") was more popular in the plains, while the "mountain" format of the Appalachians (dominated by fiddle and banjo) remained relatively sheltered from urban and African-American influences.

Solo artists, or "ramblers", became popular after World War I, but often had to move to New York to make recordings. Some of them specialized in "event" songs, songs that chronicled contemporary events, such as Henry Whitter's The Wreck Of The Old 97 (1923), that may have been the first "railroad song" (but actually used the melody of the traditional The Ship That Never Returned), later recorded by New York's singer Vernon Dalhart (1924) for the national audience (perhaps the first hit of country music), Andrew Jenkins' Death Of Floyd Collins, also first recorded by Dalhart (1926), about a mining accident, and Bob Miller's Eleven Cent Cotton and Forty Cent Meat (1928), Dry Votin' (1929), and especially Twentyone Years (1930), perhaps the first "prison song". Miller was, by far, the most prolific, writing thousands of hillbilly songs.

Hillbilly musicians also dealt with the opposite genre, the novelty song: Wendell Hall's ukulele novelty It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo (1923), Carson Robison's whistling novelty Nola (1926), Frank Luther's comic sketch Barnacle Bill The Sailor (1928).

Very few of these singers were of country origins: Vernon Dalhart, Carson Robison and Bob Miller were New York singers who became famous singing hillbilly songs (and sometimes composing them, as in the case of Robison and Miller).

The real country musicians had been known mainly for their instrumental bravura. A national fiddle contest had been organized in Georgia already in 1917 (by the Old Time Fiddlers Organization). Two musicians important in the transition from the quiet and linear "mountain" style and the fast and syncopated "bluegrass" style were banjoists Charlie Poole of the North Carolina Ramblers (Don't Let Your Deal Go Down, 1925; White House Blues, 1926, better known as Cannonball Blues), and "Uncle" Dave Macon, the main "collector" of old-time music and one of the best-sold artists during the Roaring Twenties (Keep My Skillet Good And Greasy, 1924; Chewing Gum, 1924; Sail Away Ladies, 1927). If these two already used the banjo as much more than a mere rhythmic device, Dock Boggs was perhaps the first white banjoist to play the instrument like a blues guitar (in 1927 he recorded six plantation blues numbers and Sugar Baby, that was rockabilly ante-litteram). Sam McGee was one of the first to play the guitar like a bluesman, starting with Railroad Blues (1928). Georgia's blind guitarist Riley Puckett, the author of My Carolina Home (1927), played a key role in transforming the guitar from percussion instrument to accompanying instrument.

Un until the late 1920s, hillbilly artists were considered comedians as much as musicians. Many of them had a repertory of both songs and skits. The Skillet Lickers were probably instrumental in creating the charisma of the country musician, as opposed to the image of the hillbilly clown.

The Hawaian steel guitar, invented by Joseph Kekuku around 1885 in Honolulu, was a late addition