Six Songs, Plus Three More

If you listen to the recordings from the Bristol Sessions (and you should—the Bear Family collection, The Bristol Sessions: 1927-1928 is the definitive version, despite some unfortunate errors in its accompanying hardcover liner notes, but the Country Music Hall of Fame release The Bristol Sessions is also excellent) … if you listen to the recordings … Continue reading Six Songs, Plus Three More

I Walk the Line

On August 4, 1927, Jimmie Rodgers—free of his entanglement with the Tenneva Ramblers—made his first recording as a solo act.  Commercial country music, which had been born, unheralded and unnoticed, on August 1, when the Carter Family made their first recordings, came into focus at that moment.  (The Tenneva Ramblers—free of their entanglement with Jimmie … Continue reading I Walk the Line

If Anyone Should Ask You Who Composed This Song

When Vince Gill covered “The Soldier’s Sweetheart” (1927), the first song Jimmie Rodgers had recorded at the Bristol Sessions, he made some significant changes to the lyrics. This wouldn’t be surprising—country artists often tweak the tunes or lyrics of the songs they sing, whether to reflect modern sensibilities, to make them fit more comfortably with … Continue reading If Anyone Should Ask You Who Composed This Song

If You’ve Got the Money: The Economics of the Bristol Sessions

The Bristol Sessions looms large in history for artistic reasons:  They launched the careers of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, whose music would define the parameters of country music for generations to come. However, the Sessions were not primarily an artistic exercise, but rather an economic one.  Ralph Peer wasn’t in Bristol looking for … Continue reading If You’ve Got the Money: The Economics of the Bristol Sessions