APPALACHIAN MUSICTIANS 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.