Music in Appalachia

I believe that music is a huge part of life.  It has emotion, invokes thought, sends messages, and in this case, can describe a geological area.  Bill Malone’s chapter “Music” describes the influence, types, and popularity of music in Appalachia.  He says that music had more “magical appeal” than anything else in Appalachia.  While I agree with this, he also says that there is not such thing as Appalachian music, just a bunch of vocal styles made by separate musicians in Appalachia.  I do not think this is true.  I think that Appalachian musicians as a whole contribute to the culture and the way of life in Appalachia.  I believe it is more than just music, it is a way for these “mountaineers” to express themselves and tell their story to the rest of the world who may not know anything about Appalachia at all.  It gives Appalachians the opportunity to talk about their region in their own way.  Malone also mentions that folk music is a big part of Appalachia, and it is liked by young and old.  I think this is a different, yet intriguing, concept that such different generations like the same type of music.  Where I grew up, older people listened to completely different music than younger people.  Older people listened to music that was popular when they were younger, while we listened to music that was popular then.  Malone goes into detail of how Appalachian music has changed over different time periods from folk music, to ballad singing, to blues.  “However, bluegrass found a receptive audience among mountain people, especially those who had relocated to the working-class sectors of Detroit, Cincinnati and other southern Ohio industrial towns, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.”   I think that Bluegrass music was what really shaped the style of music for Appalachia.   It brought people together, while they listened to music that was something they could relate their lives to.  The song “Boys ‘Round Here” by Blake Shelton is a good representation of Appalachian music to me.  He sings about “red dirt roads”, country living, trucks, etc.  I think that music in Appalachia has actually helped people view the area in different ways.  While music has been a huge influence in the region, do other stereotypes of Appalachia overshadow the power of music?


Straw, Richard Alan., and Tyler Blethen. High Mountains Rising: Appalachia in Time and Place. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2004. Print.

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