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western swing

western swing

PBS American Roots Episode 2: Chapter 1: Cowboy Music & Western Swing

1y ago


Episode Two: This Land is Your Land explores a period in which different strands of roots music become commercialized and visible through movies, television, radio and records. Concurrently, "folk music" is redefined to include newly written music for songs that often deal with social causes. Roots music is influenced by the labor movement, WWII, urban migration, progressive politics and the McCarthy era. During this episode, we see how roots genres, particularly country, are evolving. From the popularization of cowboy and western music through movies and radio to the development of western swing by charismatic band leader, Bob Wills, the creation of Bluegrass by Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs and the innovations of "honky tonk" artists including Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams, country music is sprouting many branches from its roots. Episode Two also highlights the early folk revival with the emergence of Woody Guthrie and the recording of Lead Belly by John and Alan Lomax. Finally, we trace the origins of the blues scene in Memphis from a small radio station down in Helena, Arkansas where the blues were first broadcast to Elvis Presley's first big hit with Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's blues song "That's All Right Mama." Commentary in this episode is provided by Earl Scruggs, Merle Haggard, Marty Stuart, Arlo Guthrie, Sam Phillips, Kitty Wells and B.B. King among many others.