Appalachian Musicians And Singers and The Songs They Write


Growing up in Appalachia and around its music has made a great impact on
my life. I can remember, as if it were yesterday sitting on grandpa's front
porch with my family singing along with Hillbilly songs on the radio. Along
with entertaining the music eased the tensions of living a meager existence in
Appalachia. By relating with these song writers and the stories in there songs
we somehow find our life less tedious and more bearable. Most country and
gospel Appalachian song writers find the words to there songs in the day to day
experiences of there lives.

One of the most prominent and popular types of music to come out of the
Appalachian region is gospel music. Writing about the religious experiences one
felt at the alter or the hope of seeing a lost family member in the here after
has been the subject of many Appalachian gospel song. Singers and song writers
like Tennessee Ernie Ford and Ernest Tub have left us with joy in our harts and
tears in our eyes. Singing and listening to songs like The Old Rugged Cross has
carried over from generation to generation in Appalachia.

Another branch of Appalachian music that encircle around religion is
bluegrass. One of the best known Bluegrass artists (Bill Monroe)Known also as
the father of bluegrass music, dedicated a portion of every performance to a
gospel bluegrass harmony number. Bluegrass became popular in the region for a
number of reasons. Not the least of which was the inexpensiveness of home made
instruments.(Ergood and Kuhre 189) The relatively small size made the
instruments easily transported from home to home.

The variance of topics in Appalachian music can not be numbered. The
subject of a song can be anything from the pine trees on the highest mountain to
the cool water in the stream at the bottom of the lowest holler or any thing in
between. Anything seen heard or felt might have a song written about it.
Another brand of Appalachian music honky tonk music was made popular by a man
named Hiram (Hank) Williams. Songs about cheating harts and Honky Tonkin might
no have been popular with the churches, but they were with the Appalachian
workers in the city bars that couldn't be down home with there loved ones. Hank
Williams, although not mentioned in our text had a high pitched pining sound
that was common among Appalachian singers. Blue grass instruments carried over
into this style of Appalachian music. Hillbilly as it is referred to in slang
terms also known as country and western or just country as it is referred to
today is one of the most popular styles of music. Many of today's top country
artists got their start in churches or at family gatherings with the old
standard gospel and bluegrass songs like In The Pines or The Circle Be Unbroken.
The text mentioned Dolly Parton's song Coat Of Many Colors and Loretta Lyne's
Coal Miners Daughter for including there Heritage in the songs(Ergood and Kuhre
189).

There are many Nationally known Appalachian Song writers musicians and
singers today. Gospel, bluegrass, country and western or rock whatever the
style of music it has some origins in Appalachia. Most Appalachians have been
surrounded in the music since birth. In some Appalachian families, like the
Stonemans every member of the family has a role in the performance. Although
these singers and song writers and many more lesser known and those from times
gone by also. Those not heard of yet have many differences there will always be
to common bonds. There Appalachian style of singing about the land that they
love.

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