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Parker 1 Margaret Parker LSHUM 200E Larry Friedman April 2007 History of Country Music The Beginnings: Country Music began August 1, 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee, where Ralph Peer signed Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family for their recording contracts for Victors Records. James Charles Rodgers known as the father of country music was born in Meridian Mississippi on September 8, 1897. He worked for the railroad and then became ill from working so hard that he left the railroad and moves to Asheville, North Caroline and organized the Jimmy Rodgers Entertainers. Roy Acuff: The king of Country Music is Roy Acuff from Tennessee. By 1933, Acuff formed a group called the Tennessee Crackerjacks. Acuff made some hits like “Wabash Cannonball” “The Great Speckle Bird” in the year 1936. During the 40’s Acuff’s recording became so popular that his hits were the biggest including: “Wreck on the Highway” (1942), Fireball Mail”(1942), “Night Train to Memphis” (1943) and so on. Acuff, recognized in November of 1962 when he became the first living musician to be honored as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Cowboy Music The songs of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and the sons of the Pioneers put the western in Country and Western Music. Much of this music was written for and brought to the American public through the cowboys films of the 30’s and 40”s and Parker 2 was widely popular. Western Swing This is a very popular style of music that blends in with big bands, blues, dixieland, and jazz and among others. Honky Tonk Music Another style of country music is honky tonk, which has a great influence on today’s music. A lot of this music is fun to dance to and loves that kind of music and before you know it, you are separated from your loving ones. The Nashville Sound The Nashville Sound is a blend of pop and country that happens in the 1950’s it was more like big band jazz and swing of the 30’, 40’s and 50’s. Outlaw Country In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the outlaw country music became a more traditional country sound. Outlaws music merged into the pre-British Revolution pop culture in different areas. Urban Cowboys During the 1980’s, the urban cowboy music was moving away from its roots. They were saying that country music was moving more toward pop culture music. Garth Brooks & New Country When the urban cowboy music was a failure a new traditional of music came and brought the country out of its post-urban cowboy music. The New Traditionalists During the 1990’s country music became more like a country rock: like people Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Lee Ann Womack, Gretchen Wilson and many more. Some of them talk about their lives. An example of one of them is Gretchen Wilson she puts it into a song. Parker 3 Changes Coming On: Its been said that country and western music is the expression of all that is noble and pure in the American Spirit. If this is so, it is indeed a sad and depressed spirit that haunts the America of today. Since when, one might ask, did abuse, infidelity, depression and murder gain the status of nobility and purity? For it is these very subjects that seem to have dominated both the lyrics and the soul of country music across the past decade. Beginning in the early 1990s, country and western superstars began to flood the contemporary country music charts with a new generation of hot songs that took traditional themes a step or two further and introduced the field to a new world of depressing subject matter. In place of the conventional down-on-your-luck or good- love-gone-bad stories emerged songs that shouted of abuse and betray, whispered of depression, and hinted at the justification of murder. For example, Martina McBride's chart topping hit of the 1990s entitled "Independence Day". Told through the viewpoint of a child, this song speaks of the breaking point of a mother's tolerance of abuse at the hands of her husband. This abuse only ended, along with the life of the husband, in a tower of flames synonymous with fireworks on the mother's Independence Day. Alternatively, take as another example superstar Garth Brooks' platinum-selling single of the same era, "Mama's in the Graveyard, Papa's in the Pen". The title of that particular song needs no further explanation or clarification. This morbid trend in contemporary country music has continued to control the field of country music, as can be evidenced by the widespread popularity of The Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl", released in 1999. A storyline involving repeated abuse, specially seasoned black-eyed peas and a secret trip to the lake with a tarred bundle leaves little doubt that this is Earl's final farewell. Country music has undergone a series of radical changes throughout the past Parker 4 two decades, and today's country bears little resemble to the music first promoted by traditional hallmarks such as The Grand 'Ole Opry and Hee Haw. Straight country music has been criticize for the "old time" twangs of its arrangements and the "hillbilly heartbreak" of its lyrics has been considered by many to be a contributing factor to conditions such as chronic depression (Country Music in the 1930s, 1998; http://xroads. virginia.edu/~1930s/RADIO/c_w/essay2.html). Contemporary country music, can be criticize for the very same reason. Research conducted over the past few decades has uncovered possible links between country and western music and not only chronic depression but also high suicide rates. II. Country Music & Depression "I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison, and I went to pick her up in the rain...but before I could get to the station in my pickup truck, she got ran over by a damned old train" (Goodman, 1997; http://users.aol.com/ Acushen/songs.html#CALLED). These words, written by Steve Goodman and immortalized by David Allan Coe in "You Never Even Called Me By My Name", comprised what their author called "the perfect country and western song" (1997; http: //users.aol.com/acushen/songs.html#CALLED). This observation about the inherent depression and sadness in country and western music is meant as an ironic to take on the field, but in fact contains a great degree of truth. Country music has conventionally and consistently dealt with the more depressing factors of human existence, factors such as dishonesty, misplaced trust, jealousy, and revenge. One wonders what influence the haunting melodies and compelling lyrics of these songs might have on an individual who is already contemplating one of the crimes of passion that are so often their focus. Much been said over the past few years concerning the dangerously Parker 5 depressing elements of heavy metal music, but little time or effort has been invested in investigating the same effects about country music. Toward the end of the twentieth century, however, a number of research teams began to look into the subject of the connection between depression and country and western music. These studies, although inconclusive for the most part, have produced results that hint at the fact that country music may very well be linked to depression in some cases and that this type of music may also contribute to high suicide rates in others. III. Country Music & Suicide During the early part of the 1990s, a series of studies began to focus on any link that might exist between suicide rates in metropolitan areas and the amount of airplay that these areas dedicated to country music. In 1992, Stack and Gundlach published The Effect of Country Music on Suicide, a work based on these studies that posited the idea that country music does, in certain cases and among certain subcultures, correspond with higher suicide rates. According to this theory, country music "nurtures a suicidal mood through its concerns with problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and alienation from work" (Mauk, Taylor, White & Allen, 1994; p. 1249). Stack and Gundlach elaborated on the fact that a unique and distinct subculture of country and western music fans has developed in many areas, and that this subculture is highly affected by not only the content of the music that is played by local country stations, but also by the amount of airplay this music receives. This subculture, according to the authors, relates deeply with this type of music and in many cases their actions are guided and dominated by ideas and images produced by current popular country songs. Stack and Gundlach further state that this subculture is similar to a separate and distinct social class and that the growing numbers belonging to this subculture "reinforces a suicidal mood conveyed in the themes of country music" (Mauk, Taylor, White & Allen, 1994; p. Parker 6 1249). As stated, however, these study results been deemed inconclusive to come to under fire from a number of organizations that support the country and western music industry. The most notable opposition to this theory stems from within the expanding and networked subculture of country music fans. As the twenty-first century progresses, country music will most likely continue to undergo the changes that took root in the last part of the twentieth century and may emerge as a distinctly and notably different genre altogether in the years to come. However, even in a different format, it is likely that country and western music will retain its inherent depression and sadness, for that is somewhat like the trademark of the field. As long as their pickups, mamas, trains, there will be country music. Parker 7 Annotated Bibliography (1998, June 24). Country & Western: Imagining Rural Characters. Country Music in the 1930s, (http://xroads.virginia.edu/~1930s/RADIO/c_w/essay2.html). Country Music’s image had to represent both the traditional of old time music. Early stars like the carter family or John Carson evoked an older image. Goodman, Steve (1997, April 21). You Never Even Called Me By My Name. The David Allan Coe Page,(http://users.aol.com/acushen/songs.html#CALLED). Coe finally hit the top ten with “You Never Even called me by my name” in 1975. The song, written by Steve Goodman with one verse inspired by a letter Coe sent to Goodman, it was known as the Perfect Country Western Song. It includes a narrative in which Coe explains that the perfect country and western song has mention Mama or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk. Mauk, Gary W., Taylor, Matthew J., White, Karl R. and Allen, T. Scott (1994, June 1). Comments on Stack and Gundlach's "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide": An "Achy Breaky Heart" May Not Kill You. Social Forces, v72, p. 1249. The study has some suggestions for the debate on the distribution of country music. While country, music has been historically the music of lower classes, we found no association between poverty and country music. This finding supports the confusion thesis, that country music has mellowed across the field of social classes. Parker 8 Millard, Robert. 70 Years of America’s Favorite Music. Tennessee: Harper Perennial, 1993. Country Music spans eight decades of commercial country music from the Carter family and Jimmie Rodgers to Hank Williams and Patsy Cline to Randy Travis and Garth Brooks taking you back to the 20s 30s and 40s and to every year from1950 to 1992. Tichi, Cecelia. High Lonesome the American Culture of Country Music. Tennessee: 1980. The main influences from the past surely are the instruments and themes of the songs inherited from the immigrant’s music depending on the type present even until today. Malone, William. Country Music USA A fifty year History. Tennessee: American Folks Society, 1968. Country Music in the 1950s is expressive, its ability to offer identity, connection, legitimacy, and it potential for clearing, an alternative way of casting the world. To the extent that such things matter, they should be understood, explain and approved. Williams, Roger M. Sing a Sad Song The Life of Hank Williams. New York: 1970. Hank Williams is one of the most amazing people in history of American show business. He was the best songwriter country music has ever produced and one of it finest performers. Parker 9 Wilson, Gretchen. Redneck Woman stories from my Life. New York: 1973. Country Music Gretchen Wilson offers up her rags to riches tale with the same storytelling that increases her songwriting and inspires million of fans to both celebrate and identify with this self-styled Redneck Woman. Chase Gilbert. American Music from the Pilgrims to the Present. New York 1770 The danger, which threatens the American composer, is the tendency to accept and be traditional to the standards of the centers of straight and designer musical culture and to fail to study out the real nature and the musical needs of the American people Howard, John. Our American Music A Comprehensive History from 1620 to the Present. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1834. In 1939, when Our American Music been in motion for eight years, the book added to tell briefly of developments and the many composers that had appeared in a short time. Since the first appearance of Our American Music many specialists have been busy with research in the early days of American’s music. Scaruffi, Piero. A Brief History of Country Music. Tennessee: 1910. The sound of country music in person the history of the USA, it represented its genes. As it developed from the 1920s to the 1960s, it simply continued to emphasize that “American” element, progressively removing the European elements: it sounded less and less like the English ballads and the Irish dances that originated it, and more and more like something completely new. Parker 10 Steward, Robin. The History of Country Music. Tennessee: 2002 Today country music is perhaps at it highest peak of popularity-the road to success paved by Tubbs, Williams, Wells, and others now treaded by mega-stars like Garth Brooks, Brooks and Dunn, Reba McIntire, Vince Gill In addition, dozens of others who were quote with their gratitude to the pioneers of the sound of country music. BIO Country- Icons of Country Music. 1996 – 2007 http://www.biography.com/boicountry/bc_icons.jsp. Today’s Country music has climb to more than a century. Modern countries roots began in the south in the 1920s. Its tunes and traditions reflect the mix in today’s generation. Country Music: Timeline Patchwork Quilt: Dolly Parton and the roots of Country Music. 1994. The library of Congress. 1st September 1994. http://memory.loc.gov/cocoon/ihas/html/dollyparton/country-timeline.html. Music and stories are hand down generation-to-generation, but popular music publishing carries on up until now. The musicians in the first half of the century learn by listening and imitating their songs than using music sheets. That is the true country music of America. Country Music. 1967. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_music. Country music is a great category that include several different music. Each style is unique in its completing, use of rhythms, and its Parker 11 harmony structures. Country music types are: Nashville sound, Bluegrass, Western cowboy music Western swing, outlaw country, honky tonk and so on. Southern Music Network Nashville TN. 1925. Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium. http://www.southernmusic.net/grandoleopry.htm. The grand ole opry was originally known as the WSM Barn Dance, and its opening broadcast was made from station’s small fifth floor studio. Ellis, Max. History of Country Music in Australia. 2006. Australia’s Country Music Capital http://www.historyofcountrymusic.com.au/into.htmi. The article is about a person name Max Ellis who played A central role in marketing and promoting Australia country music. He was employed for 20 years at Radio 2TM.He produced “Walk a Country Mile” which tells the story of Australia Country Music. Groll, Bill. Traditional and Classic Country, Honky-Tonk, Rockabilly, Folk, Bluegrass our true American Roots. 2001-2007. http://www.countryrootsmusic.com/ In this article is where it covers all the great country roots music. It also got the audiences with a experienced musical taste. Celebrating Pasty http://www.patsycline.com It talks about the landmarks and the Historical Sites of Patsy Cline. Her natural talent and spirit took her to the top of the country charts in Parker 12 1962, and her style and popularity. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum http://en. Wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_Music_Hall_of_Fame Its mission is to document the history of country music and to honor its major figures. Within the building lies the Hall of Fame itself, which consists of plaques honoring the most famous of country and western music related personalities as -designated by the Country Music Association .
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