Linthead Stomp: The Creation of Country Music in the Piedmont South

Synopsis

"Contrary to popular belief, American country music did not have its roots solely on southern farms or in mountain hollows. Rather, much of this music recorded before World War II emerged from the bustling cities and towns of the Piedmont South. No group contributed more to the commercialization of early country music than southern factory workers. In Linthead Stomp, the first book-length study of southern millhands' musical culture, Patrick Huber explores the origins and development of this music in the Piedmont's mill villages and chronicles the enduring contributions that the region's millhands made to American popular music. Huber offers vivid portraits of a colorful cast of Piedmont textile worker musicians, including Fiddlin' John Carson, Charlie Poole, Dave McCarn, and the Dixon Brothers, and considers the impact that urban living, industrial work, modern technology, and mass culture had on their lives and music. He also demonstrates how a variety of influences - including phonograph records, radios, fiddlers' conventions, industrial welfare programs, labor strikes, and even the nature of textile work itself - dramatically shaped the evolution of this music in the Piedmont. Drawing on a broad range of sources, including rare 78-rpm recordings and unpublished interviews, Huber reveals how the country music recorded between 1922 and 1942 was just as modern as the jazz music of the same era. Linthead Stomp celebrates the Piedmont millhand fiddlers, guitarists, and banjo pickers who combined the collective memories of the rural countryside with the upheavals of urban-industrial life to create a distinctive American music that spoke to the changing social realities of the twentieth-century South."