Country Music as we know it has been around for decades, with the 1920’s seen as the ‘era’ of Country; with thousands of faces, some well-known, some fading into obscurity lining the Hall of Fame, who are the important figureheads in the history of Country Music? Who pioneered it, we know and love today? Here are some of the founders:
Alexander (known as Eck) Robertson recorded the first commercial Country Music song in 1922! He was born in 1887 and lived in Texas, growing up learning to play the fiddle, he eventually found himself with a recording contract. In 1922 Eck recorded the now famous track “Sally Gooden.” It never made it big, and it didn’t sell many copies, but he began the industry we know today.
As the first ever recorded artist, Eck Robertson certainly deserves to be considered a pioneer.
Vernon Dalhart had the first Country Singer to have a nationwide hit in 1924 -just 2 years after Eck Robertson sang, with “Wreck of the Old ’97.” Vernon was born in 1883 as Marion try Slaughter, he took his name from two towns were he worked. He applied and was hired by Edison records, but he didn’t start out as a Country Singer, he began with classical and dance, later in 1924 he released his first song which quickly became a hit. He went on to record many different hits, using various names, hundreds in fact!
While Vernon may have not begun his career, he certainly made an impact on the business, alerting recording companies to how lucrative it could be, for that and for singing the first country song to become a nationwide hit, Vernon Dalhart deserves his place in the pioneers.
Jimmie Rodgers if often known as ‘The Father of Country Music,” he recorded “The Soldier’s Sweetheart” and “Sleep, Baby, Sleep” in 1927 and although they didn’t make millions, they did achieve some success and fame. But Jimmie was determined to make it big and recorded another song ‘Blue Yodel” or “T for Texas” as it is often known. This song earned him his stardom, selling hundreds of thousands of copies.
Jimmie Rodgers made a good career for himself out of singing Country, and influenced many artists, Country and non country alike; sadly he died at 35 years old from TB. For his contribution, Jimmie Rodgers earned his place among the pioneers of Music.
The Carter Family
The Carter Family was a group that recorded in the late 1920s to the late 1950s, they are considered to be the first Country vocal group, in the group was Delaney Carter, his wife Sarah Carter and his sister-in-law Maybelle Carter.
They made their first recording in 1927 with “Wandering Boy” and “Poor Orphan Child,” later they created the well known, “Keep On the Sunny Side,” and many more besides. Their songs became very popular and very well known.
Later though the group disbanded and split, with Maybelle singing with her children and occasionally the group re-uniting to sing a hit, merging with several family generations.
The Carter Family’s songs have been covered by artists such as Joan Baez and even Bob Dylan, but as important as the songs were, the Carter Family pioneered a new way of playing the guitar the “Carter Style.” With such influence on the world, the Carter Family deserves their place as an early pioneer.
It has a long history spanning decades, and these among other later pioneers have created the wonderful world of this music that we know today, they deserve their place in Country Music history.
Joe Hansen is an expert in country music and also reports on the latest news and events in the country music world.
Amanda Henkel – “A Million And One” [ Country Music Video ]
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