History of Country Music

The origins of country music can be found in southern Appalachian with fiddle recordings made at the end of 1910. It was not until the early 20s, however, that the kind of recorded country music we hear today came to be. Country’s first commercial recording was made in 1922 by Eck Robertson on Victor Records. Vernon Dalhart was the first national country star in 1924 with the song “Wreck of the Old ’97.” But most historians point to 1927 when Victor Records signed Jimmie Rodgers, and the Carter Family. These two are considered as the true country music originators.

Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie Rodgers, known as the “Father of Country Music” was a national instant success. He is credited with the first platinum selling single, “Blue Yodel # 1”, and his catalog of songs, all recorded between 1927 and 1933, have earned him the honor of one of the first prominent voices in country music. Rodgers died of complications of tuberculosis in 1933. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961).

The Carter Family

The Carter Family was the first famous vocal group of country music. The family was composed of members AP Carter, his wife Sara Dougherty Carter, and sister Maybelle Addington Carter. The group flourished in the late 20s after the release of their first collection of songs in 1927. The different variants of the Carter Family continued to record and perform for decades. Two of their first hits, “Keep on the Sunny Side” and “Wildwood Flower” are still popular today.

Western Swing

The Rise of Bob Wills and Western Swing from Texas and across the Midwest began in the late 1920s and reached its peak in the early 40s. Western Swing was led by horn sounds, upbeat jazz, big band sounds from New Orleans, Dixieland and blues influences. The drums were introduced by the western swing movement, and the eclectic musical mix includes saxophones, pianos, and an instrument called Hawaiian steel guitar. Personalities include Bob Wills (the “King of Swing “), Light Crust Doughboys and Milton Brown (the “Father of Western Swing”).