StartDerived from folk music brought by British, Scottish and Irish settlers to the Southern US and the mountain regions of the Eastern part of country.
Western SwingOriginated in the Texas string bands of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.
Along with the typical stringed instruments, it also contained drums, piano, steel guitar and in some cases, a horn section (saxophones, clarinet, trumpet, trombone).
This music included folk and country ballads, but also popular blues, jazz and pop tunes. This style was generally more accepting of other musical styles and were not opposed to improvisation.
Major figure in Western Swing was Bob Wills and he wrote Swin
String bandsThe earliest form of country music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4KJ4lSq8XA
HillbillysMeant to bring the nostalgia of a time before modern things but by the late 1920’s it was derogatorily referred to as hillbilly music.
Grand Ole Opry- based in Nashville
National Barn Dance- based in Chicago
Southern CountryStrongest influence on rock and roll through the music of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Buddy Holly.
Many southern country tunes are based upon standard blues progressions and the performance style also incorporates some of the techniques of blues like sliding between pitches and blue notes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhYtB7pjkS0
Characteristics of Country musicSimple melodies with narrow ranges
Simple harmonies (tonic, subdominant, dominant)
Beat remains constant
Lyrics often dealt with love, jilted lovers or love gone bad.
Solos had little improvisation.
Vocalists had a nasal quality, sliding from pitch to pitch and sometimes used a yodeling technique.
Steel guitar sometimes used.
Use of two-beat bass- tonic on the 1st beat, dominant on the 3rd beat.
Jimie RodgersJimmie Rodgers- the “father of country music”
Greatly influenced by the blues music he heard growing up in Mississippi.
Blue Yodel (1927) made him popular with a national hit.
Yodeling was a trademark of his music and was influenced by street cries, field hollers, train whistles and imitations of Swiss
Hank Williamsborn in rural Alabama in a logging community, raised by his mother and spent much time in church and was exposed to weekly Saturday night dances that featured old-time string bands.
Rough and short life and he had hits that included Move It On Over, Lovesick Blues, Your Cheatin’ Heart, Cold, Cold Heart and was a huge hit on the Grand Ole Opry.
Life went downhill due to a dependance on painkillers, alcohol, rough living. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WXYjm74WFI