- Patrick Huber
A genre of American popular music, also known less pejoratively as “old-time music,” that was commercially broadcast and recorded between approximately 1922 and 1942 and that eventually evolved into modern Country music and various regional offshoots including Western swing , Honky tonk , and Bluegrass music. The generic term “hillbilly music,” coined in 1925 by the OKeh Records artists and repertoire man Ralph S. Peer, was intended to evoke this music’s supposed racial, rural, and regional origins. It typically featured stringed instruments, primarily fiddles, guitars, banjos, and mandolins, but occasionally included pianos, autoharps, basses, harmonicas, and sometimes even woodwind and brass instruments.
The first musicians to record what is now considered hillbilly music were fiddlers A.C. “Eck” Robertson of Texas and Henry C. Gilliland of Oklahoma in 1922, but it was the brisk sales of the 1923 OKeh record “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane”/“The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow” by Fiddlin’ John Carson of Georgia that revealed the potential market for this music. Shortly thereafter Columbia, Victor, Brunswick, and other major companies began recording similar old-time selections, usually at permanent studios in the New York area, Chicago, and, eventually, Los Angeles. But after ...