Southern contributions to American music are so abundant that they can be considered as the bedrock of most all music as we know it today. From Appalachian hill music, Gospel and Blues (both Country and Urban), was birthed Country, Rockabilly, Pop, Motown, Rock and Roll and Southern Rock. All great American music has its roots in the Southern tradition. But, a somewhat forgotten era is the form of music that came to the American South with settlers from North Briton (Ireland, Scotland, England) in the early 1600s. This music would “grow up” in the South as new instruments would be introduced and numerous genres of music would ultimately flow from it over the coming decades.
There are those today who are keeping this great Southern entertainment tradition alive by reviving this music, and allowing modern generations to travel back into time as they listen. Here are just a few who are contributing to the preservation of Southern history through the songs of those bygone eras.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Bobby Horton could justly be considered the modern Godfather in the efforts to revive period music from the 19th Century South. It is difficult to overestimate the contributions that he has made towards preserving these great songs for future generations of Southerners and with his music he has helped to bring a forgotten era to life. Immensely talented, Bobby has mastered over two dozen different instruments and in his recordings and concerts he often plays instruments that were actually made in the 19th century. Bobby has been recognized around the world for his accomplishments and has been a true inspiration for future generations of musicians who seek to keep the Southern tradition alive through song.
Unreconstructed also hails from the State of Alabama and are well known all across Dixie for their dedication at “keeping the memories alive.” The first time I saw them was in Mobile, Alabama and I was struck by their ability at not only making great music, but in creating an atmosphere and ambiance reminiscent of the period that they depict. Their instrumentation ranges from tranquil and smooth to raucous and fun, depending on the mood of the song and they capture both styles very well. If you get a chance to see them perform live, go. You’ll not be disappointed.
From Mississippi, the Lost Cause Band has been together for nearly 25 years. Their instrumentation is fantastic and the vocals raw, gritty and pure. Bobby J. Smith of the Daily Corinthian wrote, “The main thing that makes Lost Cause better than almost every other band who plays music from the Civil War era is that these guys actually sound like they’re having a good time with these old songs. The whole band seems to be in step with the soul of the time.” Give them a listen, and you’ll see what he’s talking about
Kracker Dan is a group specializing in bringing live minstrel shows back to life. Conversant in music from the 1740s through the 1930s, their performances are highly energetic, entertaining and certain to take you on a trip back in time through the Southland. They’ve performed at numerous events across the South from Beauvoir to The Highland Games and are well worth going to see.