The Music

The music played at the Wheel Club originates in a particular time and place in American History when the country was becoming modern and electrified, yet many parts of the rural south continued to embrace the traditions they were raised with. “In the absence of radios, many people simply gathered around a local business in the evening to hear an impromptu performance by amateur local musicians. Music was everywhere, and southerners sang, played and listened to it every chance they got” (Lange 20)

This Old Time music, at it’s inception, was part of an American tradition of oral history, where stories were shared in the form of songs, and passed on from town to town or from elders to younger generations. This tradition continued to be simulated when artists such as Jimmie Rogers and the Carter Family began to perform regularly on local and national radio stations. The perpetuation of these traditions was part of what made the music they produced authentic, and was exploited through marketing these ‘hillbilly’ or ‘old time’ records during the early and mid 20th century. The Wheel Club, too, participates in a tradition of oral history. Older folks often act as mentors to younger musicians, not only sharing songs and instrumental technique, but stories about their adolescence and the early days of Hillbilly Night.

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