Country Music: African American Roots
"The African-American music of the rural South provided the source for gospel, jazz, and blues, while the oft ignored black contribution to country and hillbilly music went far beyond providing the banjo and Charley Pride. Southern rural musicians drew upon a common well, segregated into blues, country, and folk by recording companies and folklorists only well into the 20th century. Until the explosive emergence of the blues a century ago, blacks played fiddle and banjo for dances throughout the South, entertaining audiences of both races and often playing with European-American musicians." -- Art Menius
The plucked banjo string . . .
The field holler . . .
The gospel spiritual . . .
Each of these traditions is an element of what has made country music. Each is rooted in the African American experience, in the southern Appalachian Mountains and through the South. The migration of the music and the influence on the musical traditions are so fundamental that what we know as country music would not be possible without the African American contribution.
Read the rest here: http://www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org/node/49