The Carter Family is a traditional American folk music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, Southern Gospel and rock musicians as well as on the U. S. folk revival of the 1960s. They were the first vocal group to become country music stars, were the first group to record commercially produced country music in recorded history, their first recordings were made in Bristol, Tennessee under producer Ralph Peer on August 1st, 1927, the day before country singer Jimmie Rodgers made his initial recordings under Peer. Their recordings of songs such as "Wabash Cannonball", "Can the Circle Be Unbroken", "Wildwood Flower", "Keep On the Sunny Side" and "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes" made these songs country standards; the latter's tune was used for Roy Acuff's "The Great Speckled Bird", Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life" and Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", making the song a hit all over again in other incarnations.
The original group consisted of A. P. Carter, his wife Sara Carter, his sister-in-law Maybelle Carter. Maybelle was married to A. P.'s brother Ezra Carter, was Sara's first cousin. All three were born and raised in Southwest Virginia, where they were immersed in the tight harmonies of mountain gospel music and shape note singing. Throughout the group's career, Sara Carter played rhythm guitar or autoharp. P. did not perform at all but at times sang harmony and background vocals and, once in a while, lead vocal. Maybelle's distinctive guitar playing style became a hallmark of the group and her Carter Scratch has become one of the most copied styles of guitar playing; the group recorded for a number of companies including Victor, RCA, ARC group, Columbia and various imprint labels. The Carter Family made their first recordings on August 1, 1927. A. P. Carter had persuaded his wife Sara Carter, his sister-in-law Maybelle Carter the day before to make the journey from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol, Tennessee, to audition for record producer Ralph Peer.
Peer was seeking new talents for the embryonic recording industry. The initial sessions are part of; the band received $50 for each song recorded, plus half a cent royalty on every copy sold of each song for which they had registered a copyright. On November 4, 1927, the Victor Talking Machine Company released a double-sided 78 rpm record of the group performing "Wandering Boy" and "Poor Orphan Child". On December 2, 1928, Victor released "The Storms Are on the Ocean" / "Single Girl, Married Girl", which became popular. By the end of 1930 they had sold 300,000 records in the United States. Realizing that he would benefit financially with each new song he collected and copyrighted, A. P. traveled around the southwestern Virginia area in search of new songs. In the early 1930s, he befriended Lesley "Esley" Riddle, a black guitar player from Kingsport, Tennessee. Lesley accompanied A. P. on his song-collecting trips. In June 1931, the Carters did a recording session in Benton, along with Jimmie Rodgers.
In 1933, Maybelle met the Speer family at a fair in Ceredo, West Virginia, fell in love with their signature sound. She asked them to tour with the Carter Family. In the winter of 1938–39 the Carter Family traveled to Texas, where they had a twice-daily program on the border radio station XERA in Villa Acuña, across the border from Del Rio, Texas. In the 1939–40 season the children of A. P. and Sara and those of Maybelle joined the group for radio performances, now in San Antonio, where the programs were prerecorded and distributed to multiple border radio stations. In the fall of 1942 the Carters moved their program to WBT radio in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a one-year contract, they occupied the sunrise slot, with the program airing between 5:15 and 6:15 a.m. By 1936 A. P. and Sara's marriage had dissolved. Sara married A. P.'s cousin, Coy Bayes, moved to California, the group disbanded in 1944. Maybelle continued to perform with her daughters Anita Carter, June Carter, Helen Carter as "The Carter Sisters".
In 1943, Maybelle Carter and her daughters, using the name "The Carter Sisters," had a program on WRNL in Richmond, Virginia. Maybelle's brother, Hugh Jack Addington, Jr. and Carl McConnell, known as The Original Virginia Boys played music and sang on the radio show. Chet Atkins joined them playing electric guitar in 1949 until leaving in 1950. A. P. Sara, their children Joe and Janette recorded 3 albums in the 1950s under the name of The A. P. Carter Family. Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters began using the name "the Carter Family" after the death of A. P. Carter in 1960 for their act during the 1960s and 1970s. Maybelle and Sara reunited, recorded a reunion album, toured in the 1960s during the height of folk music's popularity. A documentary about the family, Sunny Side of Life, was released in 1985. In 1987, reunited sisters June Carter Cash and Helen and Anita Carter, along with June's daughter Carlene Carter, appeared as the Carter Family and were featured on a 1987 television episode of Austin City Limits along with Johnny Cash.
Revivalist folksingers during the 1960s performed much of the material the Carters had collected or written. For example, on her early V
Jimmie Rodgers (country singer)
James Charles Rodgers was an American country and folk singer and musician in the early 20th century, known most for his rhythmic yodeling. Rodgers, along with his contemporaries the Carter Family, was among the first country music stars, cited as an inspiration by many artists and an inductee into numerous halls of fame. Rodgers was known as "The Singing Brakeman", "The Blue Yodeler", "The Father of Country Music". According to tradition, Rodgers' birthplace is listed as Meridian, Mississippi, yet historians who have researched the circumstances of that document, including Nolan Porterfield and Barry Mazor, continue to identify Pine Springs, just north of Meridian, as his genuine birthplace. Rodgers' mother died when he was about six or seven years old, Rodgers, the youngest of three sons, spent the next few years living with various relatives in southeast Mississippi and southwest Alabama, near Geiger. In the 1900 Census for Daleville, Lauderdale County, Jimmie's mother, Eliza Rodgers, was listed as having had seven children, with four of them still living at that date.
Jimmie was next to the youngest at that time, was born sixth of the total of seven children. He returned home to live with his father, Aaron Rodgers, a maintenance-of-way foreman on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, who had settled with a new wife in Meridian. Rodgers' ancestral origins and heritage are uncertain, though records show his lineage to be of some measure of English American extraction. Rodgers' affinity for entertaining came at an early age, the lure of the road was irresistible to him. By age 13, he had twice begun traveling shows, only to be brought home by his father, his father found Rodgers his first job working on the railroad as a water boy. Here he was further taught to strum by rail workers and hobos; as a water boy, he would have been exposed to the work chants of the African American railroad workers known as gandy dancers. A few years he became a brakeman on the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad, a position secured by his oldest brother, promoted to conductor on the line running between Meridian and New Orleans.
In 1924 at age 27, Rodgers was diagnosed with tuberculosis. The disease temporarily ended his railroad career, but at the same time gave him the chance to get back to the entertainment industry, he organized a traveling road show and performed across the Southeastern United States until, once again, he was forced home after a cyclone destroyed his tent. He returned to railroad work as a brakeman in Miami, but his illness cost him his job, he relocated to Tucson and was employed as a switchman by the Southern Pacific Railroad. He kept the job for less than a year, the Rodgers family settled back in Meridian in early 1927. Rodgers decided to travel to Asheville, North Carolina that same year. On April 18, 1927, at 9:30 pm, Otis Kuykendall performed for the first time on WWNC, Asheville's first radio station. A few months Rodgers recruited a group from Bristol, called the Tenneva Ramblers and secured a weekly slot on the station listed as "The Jimmie Rodgers Entertainers". In late July 1927, Rodgers' bandmates learned that Ralph Peer, a representative of the Victor Talking Machine Company, was coming to Bristol to hold an audition for local musicians.
Rodgers and the group arrived in Bristol on August 3, 1927, auditioned for Peer in an empty warehouse. Peer agreed to record them the next day; as the band discussed how they would be billed on the record, an argument ensued, the band broke up, Rodgers arrived at the recording session the next morning alone, or, as stated in an on-camera interview by Claude Grant of the Tenneva Ramblers, Rodgers had taken some guitars on consignment and sold them but did not pay back the music stores that had supplied the guitars, that the band broke up because they did not agree with that. The interview BL-16 to 19 is listed here: On Wednesday, August 4, Jimmie Rodgers completed his first session for Victor in Camden, New Jersey, it lasted from 2:00 pm to 4:20 pm and yielded two songs: "The Soldier's Sweetheart" and "Sleep, Sleep". For the test recordings, Rodgers received $100; the recordings were released on October 7. In November, determined more than to make it in entertainment, headed to New York City in an effort to arrange another session with Peer.
Rodgers requested that Elsie McWilliams, a musician, help him write some songs. She would become his most frequent "songwriting partner." She wrote nearly 40 songs for Rodgers. Rodgers returned to the Victor studios in Camden and recorded four more sides, including "Blue Yodel", better known as "T for Texas". In the next two years, this recording sold nearly half a million copies, rocketing Rodgers into stardom. After this, he got to determine when Peer and Victor would record him, he sold out shows whenever and wherever he played. Over the next few years, Rodgers was busy, he did a movie short for Columbia Pictures, now under Sony, The Singing Brakeman, made various recordings across the country. He toured with humorist Will Rogers as part of a Red Cross tour across the Midwest. On July 16, 1930, he recorded "Blue Yodel No. 9" with L
Bristol is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,835, it is the twin city of Bristol, just across the state line, which runs down the middle of its main street, State Street. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Bristol, with neighboring Washington County, for statistical purposes. Bristol is a principal city of the Kingsport–Bristol–Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – known as the "Tri-Cities" region. Evan Shelby first appeared in what is now the Bristol area around 1765. In 1766, Shelby settled at a place called Big Camp Meet, it is said that Cherokee Indians once inhabited the area and the Indian village was named, according to legend, because numerous deer and buffalo met here to feast in the canebrakes. Shelby renamed the site Sapling Grove. In 1774, Shelby erected a fort on a hill overlooking, it was an important stopping-off place for notables such as Daniel Boone and George Rogers Clark, as well as hundreds of pioneers’ en route to the interior of the developing nation.
This fort, known as Shelby's Station was a combination trading post, way station, stockade. By the mid-nineteenth century, when surveyors projected a junction of two railroad lines at the Virginia-Tennessee state line, Reverend James King conveyed much of his acreage to his son-in-law, Joseph R. Anderson. Anderson laid out the original town of Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia and building began in 1853. Samuel Goodson, who owned land that adjoined the original town of Bristol TN/VA at its northern boundary, started a development known as Goodsonville. Anderson was unable to incorporate Bristol across the state lines of Virginia. In 1856, Goodsonville and the original Bristol, Virginia were merged to form the composite town of Goodson, Virginia. Incorporation for Bristol and Goodson, Virginia occurred in 1856; the Virginia and Tennessee Railroads reached the cities in the late summer of 1856. Due to having two different railroads companies, two depots served the cities. In 1890, Virginia once again took the name Bristol.
The Grove, Solar Hill Historic District, Walnut Grove are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bristol is located in southwestern Virginia at 36°36′N 82°11′W, it is bordered to the west and east by Washington County, to the south by the city of Bristol in Sullivan County, Tennessee. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.2 square miles, of which 13.0 square miles is land and 0.15 square miles, or 1.07%, is water. Little Creek and Beaver Creek flow south through the city. Beaver Creek is a tributary of the South Fork Holston River; the city is served by Interstates 81 and 381, by U. S. Routes 11, 19, 58, 421. I-81 leads northeast 149 miles to Roanoke and southwest 113 miles to Knoxville, Tennessee. Interstate 381 is a spur from Interstate 81 that provides access to Bristol, United States, it runs for 1.7 miles from the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Keys/Church Streets in Bristol at exit 0 north to Interstate 81. The I-81 interchange, the only one on I-381, is signed as exits 1A and 1B.
US 11 and US 19, running parallel to I-81, lead northeast 15 miles to Virginia. US 11 splits into routes 11E in Bristol. US 58 runs with I-81 northeast for 17 miles before splitting off to the east just beyond Abingdon. US 421 leads southeast 33 miles to Tennessee; as of the census of 2000, there were 17,367 people, 7,678 households, 4,798 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,346.4 people per square mile. There were 8,469 housing units at an average density of 656.6 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 92.54% White, 5.57% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.37% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, 1.08% from two or more races. 0.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 7,678 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 37.5% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older.
The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.78. In the city, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.9 males. The median income for a household in the city was $27,389, the median income for a family was $34,266. Males had a median income of $28,420 versus $20,967 for females; the per capita income for the city was $17,311. About
The Bristol Sessions are considered by some as the "Big Bang" of modern country music. Though in a 2015 roundtable discussion published in the periodical The Appalachian Journal several music scholars examined the "Big Bang" myth and suggested that other early recording sessions were important to the rise of country music; the Bristol Sessions were held in 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee by Victor Talking Machine Company producer Ralph Peer. Bristol was one of the stops on a two-month, $60,000 trip that took Peer through several major southern cities and yielded important recordings of blues, gospel, topical songs, string bands; the Bristol Sessions marked the commercial debuts of the Carter Family. As a result of the influence of these recording sessions, Bristol has been called the "birthplace of country music". Since 2014, the town has been home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Commercial recordings of country music had begun in 1922. Among these early artists were Vernon Dalhart, who recorded the million-selling Wreck of the Old 97, Ernest Stoneman from Galax, Henry Whitter, A.
C. Robertson, who recorded the first documented country record along with Henry C. Gilliland, Uncle Dave Macon. However, any "hillbilly" artists who recorded had to travel to the New York City studios of the major labels, many artists, including Dalhart, were not true "hillbilly" artists but instead crossed over from other genres. Okeh Records and Columbia Records had sent producers around the South in an attempt to discover new talent. Peer, who worked for Okeh at the time, recorded Fiddlin' John Carson using the old acoustic method in 1923, at the behest of the Okeh dealer in Atlanta, Polk Brockman. Despite Peer’s belief that the record was of poor quality, the 500 copies made of “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow” sold out in weeks; this experience convinced Peer of the potential for “hillbilly” music. Peer left Okeh for the Victor Talking Machine Company. However, Peer owned the publishing rights to all the recordings. Peer's arrangement of paying royalties to artists based on sales is the basis for record contracts today, the company he founded, remains in existence today.
The birth of electrical recording in 1925 allowed records to have a sound better than radio, which had threatened to reduce the recording industry to irrelevance in the early 1920s. This new method allowed softer instruments such as dulcimers and jaw harps to be heard, it meant recording equipment was somewhat more portable — and as such, recordings could be made nearly anywhere Peer asked Ernest Stoneman, who had recorded for Okeh, how to find more rural talent. Stoneman convinced Peer to travel through southern Appalachia and record artists who would have been unable to travel to New York. Peer recognized the potential with the mountain music, as residents of Appalachia who didn't have electricity owned hand-cranked Victrolas, or other phonographs, he decided hoping to record blues, gospel and "hillbilly" music. Artists were paid $50 cash on the spot for each side cut, 2½ cents for each single sold. In February and March, he made a trip recording blues and gospel music, decided to make another trip.
He decided to make a stop in Savannah and Charlotte, North Carolina. He settled on Bristol as a third stop, because with Johnson City and Kingsport, Tennessee, it formed the Tri-Cities, the largest urban area in the Appalachians at the time. In addition, three other record companies were scheduling auditions for Bristol. So Peer set out with two engineers for Bristol. Between 25 July and 5 August 1927, Peer held recording sessions on the third floor of the Taylor-Christian Hat and Glove Company on State Street, the state line in Bristol, he placed advertisements in the local newspapers, which did not receive much response aside from artists who had traveled to New York or were known by Stoneman. Stoneman was the first to record with Peer, on 25 July 1927, he recorded with Eck Dunford and Mooney Brewer. Other acts, including the Johnson Brothers vaudeville duo and a church choir, filled out the rest of July. However, these artists were only enough to fill the first week of recordings and Peer needed to fill out his second week.
A newspaper article about one of Stoneman's recordings, which stressed the $3,600 in royalties that Stoneman had received in 1926 and the $100/day that he was receiving for recording in Bristol, generated much more interest. Dozens of artists went to Bristol, he scheduled night sessions to accommodate the extra talent. Rodgers had a disagreement with the band in which he was a member over what name to record under, so Rodgers recorded solo and the band recorded as the Tenneva Ramblers. Rodgers and the band only found out about the sessions when they stayed at the boarding house run by the mother of one band member; the arrival of the Carter Family was more expected. Ralph Peer had corresponded with the family earlier in the summer, but wrote that "he was still surprised to see them," due to their appearance. "They wander in," Peer told Lillian Borgeson during a series of interviews in 1959. "He's dressed in overalls and the women are country women from way back there. They looked like hillbillies
Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk blues. Country music consists of ballads and dance tunes with simple forms, folk lyrics, harmonies accompanied by string instruments such as banjos and acoustic guitars, steel guitars, fiddles as well as harmonicas. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its recorded history. According to Lindsey Starnes, the term country music gained popularity in the 1940s in preference to the earlier term hillbilly music. In 2009 in the United States, country music was the most listened to rush hour radio genre during the evening commute, second most popular in the morning commute; the term country music is used today to describe many subgenres. The origins of country music are found in the folk music of working class Americans, who blended popular songs and Celtic fiddle tunes, traditional English ballads, cowboy songs, the musical traditions of various groups of European immigrants.
Immigrants to the southern Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America brought the music and instruments of Europe along with them for nearly 300 years. Country music was "introduced to the world as a Southern phenomenon." The U. S. Congress has formally recognized Bristol, Tennessee as the "Birthplace of Country Music", based on the historic Bristol recording sessions of 1927. Since 2014, the city has been home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Historians have noted the influence of the less-known Johnson City sessions of 1928 and 1929, the Knoxville sessions of 1929 and 1930. In addition, the Mountain City Fiddlers Convention, held in 1925, helped to inspire modern country music. Before these, pioneer settlers, in the Great Smoky Mountains region, had developed a rich musical heritage; the first generation emerged in the early 1920s, with Atlanta's music scene playing a major role in launching country's earliest recording artists. New York City record label Okeh Records began issuing hillbilly music records by Fiddlin' John Carson as early as 1923, followed by Columbia Records in 1924, RCA Victor Records in 1927 with the first famous pioneers of the genre Jimmie Rodgers and the first family of country music The Carter Family.
Many "hillbilly" musicians, such as Cliff Carlisle, recorded blues songs throughout the 1920s. During the second generation, radio became a popular source of entertainment, "barn dance" shows featuring country music were started all over the South, as far north as Chicago, as far west as California; the most important was the Grand Ole Opry, aired starting in 1925 by WSM in Nashville and continuing to the present day. During the 1930s and 1940s, cowboy songs, or Western music, recorded since the 1920s, were popularized by films made in Hollywood. Bob Wills was another country musician from the Lower Great Plains who had become popular as the leader of a "hot string band," and who appeared in Hollywood westerns, his mix of country and jazz, which started out as dance hall music, would become known as Western swing. Wills was one of the first country musicians known to have added an electric guitar to his band, in 1938. Country musicians began recording boogie in 1939, shortly after it had been played at Carnegie Hall, when Johnny Barfield recorded "Boogie Woogie".
The third generation started at the end of World War II with "mountaineer" string band music known as bluegrass, which emerged when Bill Monroe, along with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were introduced by Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry. Gospel music remained a popular component of country music. Another type of stripped-down and raw music with a variety of moods and a basic ensemble of guitar, dobro or steel guitar became popular among poor whites in Texas and Oklahoma, it became known as honky tonk, had its roots in Western swing and the ranchera music of Mexico and the border states. By the early 1950s a blend of Western swing, country boogie, honky tonk was played by most country bands. Rockabilly was most popular with country fans in the 1950s, 1956 could be called the year of rockabilly in country music, with Johnny Cash emerging as one of the most popular and enduring representatives of the rockabilly genre. Beginning in the mid-1950s, reaching its peak during the early 1960s, the Nashville sound turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry centered in Nashville, Tennessee.
The late 1960s in American music produced a unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres. In the aftermath of the British Invasion, many desired a return to the "old values" of rock n' roll. At the same time there was a lack of enthusiasm in the country sector for Nashville-produced music. What resulted was a crossbred genre known as country rock. Fourth generation music included outlaw country with roots in the Bakersfield sound, country pop with roots in the countrypolitan, folk music and soft rock. Between 1972 and 1975 singer/guitarist John Denver released a se