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Transcript of Country Music
Comes out of the rural south
Relates primarily to lower rural class
Romanticized and sentimental idea of rural life
“It’s not what you have, but who you are”
White males believed in a myth of white superiority over black men
Myth of machismo – male strength and virility
Hard work, sports
Drinking, fighting and seducing women other than their wives, whose honor they protected.
Ingrained inferiority complex
Victorian values for “ideal womanhood”
Gift of Gab
Instruments in Country Music
Violin (fiddle) was used by Anglo-Americans – especially for barn dances
Guitar became prominent at the turn of the century (1900’s) because of the influence of African American blues, Hispanics in Texas, and Hawaiian sliding on the guitar
Banjo from minstrel music
Mandolin – mandolin ensembles existed around 1900
Developed in the 1920’s as radio became serious competition for phonograph records
Talent scouts were sent all over the South to search for folksingers to record for the rural white market
Ralph Peer conducted the first recording expeditions in the South as a producer for General Phonograph Company (GPC)
Polk Brockman, owner
of a large furniture store
was a race record distributor
Grand Ole Opry
Began as a radio show – a development of barn dance music (National Barn Dance)
Announcer George D. Hay
2 shows emerged: National Barn Dance (NBD) in Chicago and Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
NBD faded, but Grand Ole Opry is still a major venue in Country music today
Country Ballads and Story Tellin'
Storytelling in music goes back to the roots of American music
Child Ballads: Collections of ballads collected by Francis James Child
Many of the best country songs tell a complete story in the length of a song
Nashville Music Industry
Roy Acuff hosted the Grand Ole Opry beginning in 1938 and started the Acuff-Rose publishing firm
Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) was established to protect copyright for country songs
Nashville was established as a center for other music businesses
Now rivals New York as a major music publishing center
became associated with conservative politics during W. Bush administration
many country songs celebrate veterans
Dixie Chicks protested Iraq war and were banned from performing
"Waitin' for a Train"
Fiddlin' John Carson
"I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow"
from O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
"Sunny Side of the Street"
Country Meets Western
American West was mythologized through Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show in the late 19th century
by 1910 cowboy movies became popular
Gene Autry became Hollywood's singing cowboy
"Back in the Saddle Again"
Sons of the Pioneers,
"Cool, Cool Water"
"San Antonio Rose"
Hank Williams, "Love Sick Blues"
Women in Country Music
First 30 years are male-dominated
In 1952 Kitty Wells recorded "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels"
Loretta Lynn became a country music star in the 1960's
Tammy Wynette followed in the '70's
Patsy Cline became a major cross-over artist with country and pop audiences
Gretchen Wilson recorded "Redneck Woman" in 2004, singing about popular country themes from a woman's point of view
Country Music 1990's-2000's
"Class of '89: Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Travis Tritt
Garth Brooks: fused traditional country and rock music
Shania Twain and Faith Hill: success rivaled that of pop stars in the '90's
Progressive Bluegrass: Nickel Creek and Alison Kraus
Progressive country: Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Civil Wars
Shania Twain, "Any Man of Mine"
Garth Brooks, "The Dance"
Nickel Creek, "This Side"
Lady Antebellum, "American Honey"
Taylor Swift (w/Civil Wars)
"Safe and Sound"
Johnny Cash, The Man in Black
Career spanned 4 decades
Transcended the country genre, and influenced many other artists
did a series of prison concerts
His life touched many through his autobiography "The Man in Black" (1975), and the movie "Walk the Line" (2005)
Died in 2003
Johnny Cash, "Hurt"