Here’s where I live and where Fincastle, Virginia is: Fincastle, Virginia: Fincastle, Virginia 1965 Carlton Haney: Performers: Set the stage for: Fincastle, Virginia set the stage for many other festivals to come. Sadly, the festival did not stay at the Cantrell sight very long. The festival was moved to Lithia, Virginia (which … Continue reading Fincastle Presentation
On Monday, we were given a worksheet with lenient directions to go listen to what is around us as we walk to different places. The first place I went was the Duck Pond on campus because it is away from all the hustle bustle of campus and it is a quiet place to just relax. … Continue reading Can you hear what I hear?
In class we have been discussing the gender, race and class struggles within Bluegrass music. It is clear that Bluegrass was, and to a point, still is, primarily a white men music. Most all of the Bluegrass performers in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s, were white males. The Carter Family was one of … Continue reading The Carter Family and Carolina Chocolate Drops
In class we discussed “genres” briefly today. It kind of struck me a little differently than I expected. It brought back an old memory of mine I had long since forgotten. It reminded me of when I was a kid and I asked my father and grandfather what made country music country music. I remember … Continue reading What does “Genre” even mean?
Recently I read, “The Portable Communities” by Owens Gardener. The “portable communities” he referred to were the communities found at the smaller bluegrass festivals. It describes the way people interact at festivals, and how festivals tend to bring people together. I enjoyed the writing because it perfectly describes what I define as Bluegrass music. To … Continue reading Festivals are Families
The Big Question is…. Is Appalachia the only region associated with Bluegrass music? I am no expert, by any means. I am from the Appalachian region and I grew up listening to the banjos, fiddles, mandolins, and guitars, but I am more cautious when answering this question. From listening to the songs and being around … Continue reading Place and Location… It Matters
On Wednesday, we were given the opportunity to have John Lawless, head editor of Bluegrass Today, visit our class to talk to us about Bluegrass music and many other interesting topics. One of the things that hit me the most was how quick he was to give his definition of Bluegrass. He told us, “If it has mandolin, … Continue reading Decisions Decisions
Don Reno Don Reno, a master of the five-string banjo and the one credited for the emergence of the guitar, was a superior master of the tenor vocalist and songwriters of his time. He was born in South Carolina in February of 1926. He grew up in North Carolina and as a kid, built his … Continue reading Don Reno
Cantwell spends a great deal of the article, “Hillbilly Music” describing the cultural and economic impact of the radio on Monroe’s career and most all early time bluegrass and old-time singers. Monroe was given his first real radio spot at WLS out of Chicago. His band, which at the time included his two brothers, were first given a real spot on the radio to be broadcast in the surrounding areas. The Monroe brothers were able to put their name out and able to get more and more publicity. They began their career by playing local barn dances and square dances within their home town. They made approximately $5 every dance. The radio allowed them to nearly quadruple their earnings. Bill Monroe would take off to go work at the refinery in order to make extra money, but he came to realize the road was the life he wanted.
“..Amplifying the audience’s consciousness of its own identity, or even defining it”
The radio did more than just give singers and songwriters a start, it allowed people to empathize with the music. People were able to see their lives and feelings laid out in the song and through the radio. Many politicians used the radio to tell people about their campaign or to discuss political issues. Musicians were able to use the radio in a different way. They were able to use it to portray their lives and to truly speak the voice of thousands. The cultural aspect of the radio helped to bring about a sense of diversity. People from the North were able to hear what life was like in the South and people in the South were able to see what life was like in the North.
The songs played by Monroe and others on the radio were songs that empathized the feeling of uneasiness at the time. Monroe, like many others, was having to leave the rural South to move to the industrial North for work. The songs were able to show people that they are not alone. Many were having to leave the life they grew up with and loved behind in order to have the finances needed to provide for themselves and their families. In a sense, the songs were a reprieve for the people that came from rural America and the Appalachian hills. The songs helped them to remember the good times and allowed for them to get lost in the music as they reminisced about the life they had to leave behind. It also made them yearn and made the weekends they had to travel back home much more worth the hardships of leaving home.
My questions for this article are:
1. What would it be like if the radio was never invented? Would Bill Monroe and many others be as popular as they are today?
2. Did the wars lead to the more impressive social impact of the radio?
In September, I was given the opportunity to visit, “The Birthplace of Country Music” in Bristol Tennessee. I was able to learn about “The first family” the Carter’s and many others. A.P. Carter, his wife- Sara, and sister-in-law Maybelle, were a few of the first performers to make the Bristol Sessions successful and well-known. They … Continue reading Bristol Sessions Performers