Country music and bluegrass music has been the subject of favorable treatment by academics with the International Country Music Conference (ICMC) and the Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol, TN/VA, being two of many organisations that stage seminars that present talks and discussion groups addressing certain aspect of bluegrass music and its cultural environment.
Recently the Baltimore City Historical Society invited Tim Newby, the author of Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin’ Sound and its Legacy, to talk entitled Appalachian Migrants and Bluegrass Music in Baltimore.
Appalachian migration to the north goes back as far as the Depression era, if not before, and as the disparity between living standards in Appalachia and the industrialised northern cities such as Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Baltimore continued, emigration from the South continued after World War II and into the 1950s and 1960s and onwards.
As Newby notes in his recently-published book, many migrants brought bluegrass and old time music to those cities and Baltimore became a hot-bed for the emerging bluegrass art-form. Key figures in the city included Del McCoury, Earl Taylor, Walt Hensley and Hazel Dickens, and later Mike Munford.
The presentation, the first in the Baltimore History Evenings 2016 series, will cover immigration and bluegrass activity as a part of Baltimore history. It takes place tonight (January 21, 2016), at the Village Learning Place, 2521 St Paul Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218. There is a reception at 7:00 p.m. (wine and beer is available) and the talk begins at 7:30 p.m. There will be a question and answer session after the talk. Attendance is free.
If you’re in the area and want to know more about Appalachian migrants and bluegrass music in Baltimore, why not go along to the Village Learning Place?
The Baltimore History Evenings all take place at the Village Learning Place on the third Thursday of every month from January through to June and information about those up to and including April are now available at the Baltimore History Evenings website.