By Sam Smith March 18, 2014 Overview • Introduction • History & Sub-genres • The Grand Ole Opry • Canadian Country • Related Themes "Country music is the combination of African and European folk songs coming together and doing a little waltz right here in the American south. They came together at some cotillion, and somebody snuck a black person into the room, and he danced with a white lady, and music was born." – Ketch Secor, Old Crow Medicine Show Introduction Origins: • • • • • 1920’s “Old-Time Music” & “Hillbilly Music” Roots in Southeastern American folk music, Western, Blues Influences from European Americans & African Americans Instruments: banjos, fiddles, harmonicas, & guitars (steel guitar & drums later) • Southern United States – The Southern Appalachians Area (Kentucky, Georgia, North & South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee) • First commercial recording in 1922 by A.C. (Eck) Robertson Sub-genres of Country Early Country: • The 1920s – the beginnings of Country • “Sallie Gooden” by Eck Robertson – Victor Records http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlULuyvMEJw • 1927: James Charles “Jimmie” Rodgers “Father of Country Music” and the Carter Family “The First Family of Country” signed by Victor Records – Both inducted in to the Country Music Hall of Fame • Blue Yodel #1 (T is for Texas) sold over 1 million copies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEIBmGZxAhg • The Carters – One of the most prominent musical acts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewnfWoSQz3o Sub-genres of Country Western Swing: • • • • 1930/40s Popularized in dance halls in the Lower Great Plains A blend of big band, blues, dixieland, and jazz Introduced drums and the steel guitar (by way of Hawaii) to country music • Considered Western until the hit “It don’t mean a thing (If it ain’t got that swing)” by Duke Ellington • Bob Wills ("King of Western Swing") and Milton Brown (“Founder of Western Swing”) – Founded the Crust Light Doughboys (Sponsored by Light Crust Flour) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU_IcFBoepU "Western Swing is nothing more than a group of talented country boys, unschooled in music, but playing the music they feel, beating a solid two-four rhythm to the harmonies that buzz around their brains. When it escapes in all it’s musical glory, my friend, you have Western Swing." –Merle Travis Sub-genres of Country Cowboy Music: • 1940-60s • Popularized through Hollywood and cowboy films • Roy Rogers “King of the Cowboys” – – – – Singer/Actor Formed the Sons of the Pioneers Longest surviving country music groups http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLoYFvbR0XY • Gene Autry – Singer/Actor – Only real competitor of Roy Rogers – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vLk1MyAcFE • Put the Western in Country & Western Music Sub-genres of Country Honky Tonk: • 1950s • Huge influence on today’s artists • The spirit of dancing and drinking, and of loving and then losing the one you love • Guitar, fiddle, string bass, steel guitar with rough & nasally vocals which developed a clear & sharp sound later • Hank Williams – One of the most significant country artists – Died at age 29 from heart failure exacerbated by alcohol and drug abuse – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95aP0OWx4jY Sub-genres of Country The Nashville Sound: • • • • 1950s Blend of pop and country Combination of big band jazz & swing with folk & country Jim Reeves – Biggest hit “He’ll have to go” brought him instant stardom • Patsy Cline – Greatest female vocalists – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsRNCvHXHHU • Both had their careers cut short from tragic plane crashes The Generations of Country Outlaw Country: • • • • • 1960/70s Resurgence of traditional country Nashville Sound losing popularity Conway Twitty & other artists emerged breaking the mold Willie Nelson – 1975: defied country conventions with concept album – the story of fugitive preacher on the law after killing his wife – Major role in the crossover movement – Major influence on today’s country artists http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qF5lZ82Nys Sub-genres of Country Urban Country: • 1980s • Move away from Country’s roots – Towards pop culture – “Urban Cowboy” • Attempt to crossover into easy-listening – Pop music of 60s & 70s with a hip rock beat • Most songs and artists were forgettable, with few being memorable • John Conlee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woWzNRIBEcI • Reba McEntire Sub-genres of Country New Country: • 1990s • Radio helped popularize Country • Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith, George Strait, Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Shania Twain • Garth Brooks – Most popular country artist of all time – World wide success http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvCgSqPZ4EM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d05tQrhNMkA The Grand Ole Opry • • • • • • • • 1925 Synonymous with Country Music WSM Radio’s Grand Ole Opry Nashville, Tennessee Live Country Music acts every Saturday night Used to promote artists’ live performances Moved around to account for growing audience Still around today close to downtown Nashville – Has a 6-foot circular piece of wood from Ryman Auditorium – heart of the stage Canadian Country Artists • • • • Canada has the 2nd largest country music base The Prairies, Ontario, & Atlantic Spread from radio The prairies are Canada’s heartland for country music – Cowboy and agrarian nature • Shania Twain, Gordon Lightfoot, George Canyon, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Paul Brandt, Dean Brody, Doc Walker, Dallas Smith, Emerson Drive, Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans, Gord Bamford, Chad Brownlee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhAB6Wj0pGw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7fASdvrR-g Related Themes • • • • • • Cultural Hearths Adaptation/Innovation Urban vs Rural Instruments & Recording technology Commercialization Cross Fertilization Sources • http://www.roughstock.com/history/ • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_music#Fi rst_generation_.281920s.29 • http://www.opry.com/history Thank You!