Country Music’s Beginning
I have always been baffled by the fact that country music is a very popular genre in America, but it isn’t as well-known outside the country. It is actually a niche genre in the United Kingdom. This is what puzzles me. It is because the Irish are close to the United Kingdom, and half of Ireland is considered to be part of the United Kingdom. Here is a look at its origins. This was before music recordings and the like. This was before music was just a means to make money.
Country music, as we know it today, has been around for more than three hundred years in the Southern region of North America. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s when it gained popularity. How did it all start? It all began with a group Irish immigrants who settled in the Appalachian Mountains. It is a long way from Ireland to reach North America. It was a long and difficult boat trip. Space was also limited. The most valuable possessions were the only thing that could be taken with those who traveled to America. All other possessions were left behind. Many Irish loved their instruments, and they were the ones that they took with them on this boat trip.
The Irish preferred the fiddle, which is still used in country music today. Because of its dynamic range, the fiddle was a favorite instrument. You could play the most upbeat music, while the next moment you could create something almost sad. It wasn’t just the Irish fiddle who played a role in its history. The banjo (from West Africa), Mandolin (Italy), and the Dulcimer were all included. It was a great mix of instruments.
It was born from a clash between cultures. It has many roots in African music, something that many people don’t realize. It is the result of black and white musicians playing together in the south of the country. Country music history actually shows that Country Music was more African-influenced back in the day than European. It is difficult to tell how much the style has merged with modern music. It all grew from there. The music started to spread throughout the region and people began to add new elements to it. It is an ever-evolving form of music. It is not the same country music we used to consider country music years ago. It is exciting because of that. It is impossible to predict where the music will take us next.
The Early Recordings
Country music has been popular in the south for more than three hundred years. It wasn’t always as popular as it today, where it is one the most loved music genres in America. This music was not popular outside of the Appalachian region. However, this all changed quickly.
The booming music industry in Atlanta was what launched country music’s history. Many people from the Appalachian region started working in the cotton mills in the early days. They carried their instruments with them on their travels, just as their ancestors did all those years ago. Country music was born in Atlanta.
The recorded music industry was only beginning in the 1920s. It was especially popular in Atlanta. Atlanta was actually the center for many recordings for more than twenty years. Unfortunately, recordings began to fade away in the 1950s.
Nevertheless, everyone was trying to make money from commercial music in the 1920s. But, no one thought country music would be a big seller. Fidlin’ John Carson was one of many people who tried to record their music. Record company after record company turned them down. This was before someone discovered that country music could be marketable. These marketing geniuses thought it would be particularly popular among those who worked in agriculture. This was a brilliant brainwave. This was the idea that started country music as we know it today.
Country music was at that time a mixture of different styles. It didn’t have a defined genre. It was just played as it was. Henry Gilliland, A.C. Robertson were the first to release a recording that was considered country. They released ‘Turkey in the Straw” and ‘Arkansas Traveller”. Both were fiddlers. This is far from country music we now know, which is often dominated by guitarists.
The high sales of these records was what really set the country music scene ablaze. Okeh Records signed Fiddlin’ John Carson after he was rejected by every record label. In 1923, he released the much-loved song “Little Log Cabin in the Lane”. Vernon Dalhart was the country’s first superstar. Wreck Of The Old 97 was his hit in 1927. It was truly amazing. It was a huge success and really increased the commercial appeal of country music.
The Carter Family had a huge impact on the 1920s. Their unique music style was unmatched. They released 300 songs over the 17-year period. Many of these songs are still popular today. The Carter Family’s music was actually intended to highlight the history of Southern America. You can guess that they sold millions of records.
This is a brief overview of country music history from the 1920s. The style developed from there, as you will see. These recordings are what we now call country. Although it was built on the same principles, it was quite distinct from the music of three hundred years ago. It would be fascinating to see where country music goes from here.
Travis Picking: The Evolution
I don’t know if you have ever tried to learn the guitar. If you have, you’ll notice there are many techniques you must master if you hope to be able to play any song written by someone else. The most important technique for guitarists is ‘fingerpicking’. There are many styles of finger picking. Travis Picking is the one I’m going to be focusing on. Because it is rooted in the history of country music, this is why I want to focus on it.
Before we get into the details of Travis Picking, I want you to understand where it fits in the contexts of country music history. You may not be aware that country music didn’t really take hold of popular culture until the 1920s. But people had already begun to create their own style long before then. Arnold Shultz was an African-American musician, who was born in Ohio County (Kentucky).