440 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, appends., notes, bibl., index
The Creation of Country Music in the Piedmont South
2010 Wayland D. Hand Prize, American Folklore Society
2009 Award for Excellence: Historical Recorded Sound Research in Country Music, Association for Recorded Sound Collections
2009 Belmont Book Award, Belmont University
Contrary to popular belief, the roots of American country music do not lie solely on southern farms or in mountain hollows. Rather, much of this music recorded before World War II emerged from the bustling cities and towns of the Piedmont South. No group contributed more to the commercialization of early country music than southern factory workers. In Linthead Stomp, Patrick Huber explores the origins and development of this music in the Piedmont's mill villages.
Huber offers vivid portraits of a colorful cast of Piedmont millhand musicians, including Fiddlin' John Carson, Charlie Poole, Dave McCarn, and the Dixon Brothers, and considers the impact that urban living, industrial work, and mass culture had on their lives and music. Drawing on a broad range of sources, including rare 78-rpm recordings and unpublished interviews, Huber reveals how the country music recorded between 1922 and 1942 was just as modern as the jazz music of the same era. Linthead Stomp celebrates the Piedmont millhand fiddlers, guitarists, and banjo pickers who combined the collective memories of the rural countryside with the upheavals of urban-industrial life to create a distinctive American music that spoke to the changing realities of the twentieth-century South.
"In this groundbreaking study of the derivation of hillbilly music . . . Huber comprehensively explores the working-class origins and early development of the idiom. . . . Four colorful biographical chapters . . . form the meat of the book. . . . A fascinating glimpse into some hitherto unexplored territory."
"A new, canny take on Old, Weird America, this colorful, contrarian book does much to dispel a spate of antediluvian tropes, musical and otherwise."
--The Atlantic Monthly
"With respect and passion, Huber puts . . . pioneering artists in well-deserved perspective, gracefully illuminating the birth of an American art form."
--Publishers Weekly, web exclusive starred review
"A fascinating history of Piedmont textile workers and their role in the development of country music. . . . Opens a window on a new view of country music. Recommended."
"Huber's reverential and enlightening descriptions of country music's pioneers leave readers yearning for their actual recordings. Fortunately, an appended discography and directory of other early hillbilly musicians direct readers to more foot-stomping tunes.."
"For lovers of music and its history--especially our homegrown Southern sound--the more we know, the more we want to know. . . . An enthralling tuneful journey into the birth and influence of a heretofore undervalued contribution to the genre. Guaranteed to set readers' toes tapping and then tramping out to track down the recordings included in the Linthead Stomp discography."
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