subjects. Most of those who lived in this area could go months without hearing of events that were taking place in the rest of the world. When they did hear of something major, that too was incorporated in the music. When some of these early music-makers decided to try to make a better life for their families, they headed south or west, taking their music with them. This made it possible for others to hear the unique blending of traditional folk music and African blues. The term “hillbilly music” was often applied because the genre had originated in the mountains. From this beginning of a simple way to bring enjoyment and relaxation into a hard life, one of the longest lasting genres of music was born. Growing and Changing Beginning in the early 1920s, record players and radio broadcasts enabled Americans all over the country to hear different regional styles of music. The “hillbilly music” of Appalachia soon moved to the recording studios of Georgia and Tennessee. One of the first big stars was Vernon Dalhart, whose 1924 recording of “The Wreck of the Old ’97” sold more than a million copies. He recorded thousands of other popular songs. Jimmie Rodgers was another popular performer. The first women to record country songs were Aunt Samantha Bumgarner, a fiddler and singer, who was accompanied by Eva Davis on guitar. In 1925, Nashville radio station WSM began broadcasting a one- hour show of country music that became known as the Grand Ole Opry. The Great Depression of the 1930s hurt record sales, but radio became even more popular as people tuned in to find an escape from their everyday hardships. This helped spread country music even further. The Grand Ole Opry show continued to thrive, expanding to four hours and attracting



Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter