September 5 – Episode One: When First Unto This Country 

When First Unto This Country traces the emergence of roots music in America from its European and African origins through its maturation into American musical genres such as spirituals, blues, country and gospel. For the first time, American “folk” music is defined as scholars and music industry entrepreneurs travel throughout the nation to record authentic cultural expression through field recordings, photographs, early newsreels, and ethnographic footage. “Hillbilly” and “race” records become profitable recording industry genres that popularize regional music. The emergence of radio broadens audiences and helps the cross-fertilization of various musical forms. Episode One explores such important turning points as the popularization of African-American spirituals by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the birth of country music with the recording of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers by Ralph Peer, the development of the Grand Ole Opry, and the creation of gospel music by Thomas A. Dorsey with commentary by Pete Seeger, Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie, Ricky Skaggs, Rufus Thomas and Keb’ Mo’ among many others.

  • Tuesday, September 5, 3:00 pm
  • FREE admission
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