String band music is most commonly associated with the mountains of North
Carolina and other rural areas of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains,
but it was just as abundant in Piedmont region of North Carolina, albeit
with different influences and stylistic conventions.
This work focuses exclusively on Piedmont string band music with regard to
the history and culture of the area and the music’s development and the changes
within traditional communities of the Piedmont. It begins with a discussion
of the settlement of the Piedmont in the mid–1700s and early references
to secular folk music, including the attitudes the various ethnic and
religious groups had on music and dance, the introduction of the fiddle and
the banjo, and outside influences such as minstrel shows, Hawaiian music
and classical banjo.
It then goes on to cover African-Americans and string band music;
the societal functions of square dances held at private homes and community
centers; the ways in which musicians learned to play the music and bought
their instruments; fiddler’s conventions and their history as community
fundraisers; the recording industry and Piedmont musicians who cut
recordings, including Ernest Thompson and the North Carolina Cooper Boys;
Bascom Lamar Lunsford and the Carolina Folk Festival; the influence
of live radio stations, including WPTF in Raleigh, WGWR in Asheboro,
WSJS in Winston-Salem, WBIG in Greensboro and WBT in Charlotte;
the first generation of locally-bred country entertainers,
including Charlie Monroe’s Kentucky Partners, Gurney Thomas
and Glenn Thompson; and bluegrass and musical change following World War II.
About the Author
Musician and writer Bob Carlin lives in Lexington, North Carolina.