Tracy Morrison

Country Ballads and Early Blues

Blues music is rooted in work songs, spirituals, and African folk music. Blues originated by African Americans in the Deep South around the end of the 19th century. The blues “form” is characterized by call-and-response, the blues scale, specific chord progressions, blue notes and shuffles. The Blues “genre” is characterized by lyrics, bass lines, and instrumentation.  Early blues verses consist of one line repeated four times and often relates the societal troubles of the time.

The origin of Country music is rooted in Blues music. Country combines Irish/Celtic fiddle tunes, traditional English ballads, cowboy songs and popular songs. It often consists of dance tunes and ballads with simple forms and harmonies accompanied by stringed instruments such as banjos, guitars, and fiddles. Country music originated from the folk music of Deep South working-class Americans in the 1920s.

“Country Ballads and Early Blues” explores early American music circa 1920s-1950s. This presentation introduces artists and songs recorded by early American musicians such as The Carter Family, Cousin Emmy, Lefty Frizzell, Kitty Wells, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Lottie Kimbro “Kansas City Butterball”,  Huddie “Lead belly” Ledbetter and more. Artists/writer’s are discussed, then songs are shared live.