Country Music During the Great Depression

Dillon Martinez 

During the great depression country music went through three major stages; Old Time, Hillbilly, and Western Swing. Although these three sub-genres were different in many ways, they all managed to keep a smile on Southern Americans faces during a very difficult time.

In the early years of the depression old time country music emerged and became very popular.  A music group named The Carter Family revolutionized the way country music was played. By changing vocals, and creating their own style of guitar playing. CMT named them “the most influential group in country music”.  Soon after the Carter Family found success with their style, Hillbilly groups began to emerge.
Hillybilly country music is typically upbeat. These groups were not famous worldwide and they took whatever work they could get. This lead them to want to put on a fast beat cheerful show in order to get recognition. The lyrics in which they sang were cautiously picked, many listeners did not like the referral to love. Most enjoyed to listen about real-world experiences and real-world tragedy. At the time hillbilly style musicians worked harder than another other musical performer. The hillbilly singing style was also mixed with a form of acting, all hillbilly musicians had some sort of skit to go along with their singing performance.

Country music was evolving fast during the great depression, and by far the most popular sub-genre of the time was Western Swing. Films made western swing a nationwide sensation when they introduced the “singing cowboy”, such as John Wayne and Roy Rogers. The popularity of the films allowed many people to recognize and enjoy Western Swing.
All in all country music during the Great Depression was one of the few things that made Americans happy. These unique styles of country music are still among the best.

Works Cited
Larkin, Colin. "The Carter Family." The Oldies. Muze. Web. 19 Nov 2012. <>.
Malone, Bill. "Southern States Hillbilly Music." A history of country music. The Nashville Sound, n.d. Web. 19 Nov 2012. <>.

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