April 16, 2015

Samantha Bumgarner : First Female Recording Artist

Samantha Bumgarner (right) at Asheville Mountain Music Festival, August 1938

Samantha Bumgarner (1878-1960) was a fiddle and banjo player from North Carolina who, in 1924, became the first woman to record hillbilly music. In doing so, she opened the doors for all the great female hillbilly and country musicians who followed. Imagine for a second a world without Brenda Lee, Iris Dement, Jean Shepard, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Norma Jean, Skeeter Davis, Sue Thompson and Tammy Wynette, to name a few. Not a pretty place.

Photo by Ben Shahn (1937) LOC
In April 1924, accompanied by guitarist Eva Smathers Davis of nearby Sylva, Bumgarner traveled to New York City where, on the 23, she and Davis recorded ten songs both together and solo. According to County Music Magazine, that record was also the first release by female musicians in the hillbilly genre. were also the first recordings of a five-string banjo. Although today the Cashville country scene has little use for anything but this week’s disposable pap, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum there does feature the 78s of her initial recordings, which were:

Big-eyed Rabbit (Samantha Bumgarner & Eva Davis) Cindy in the Meadows (Samantha Bumgarner & Eva Davis) Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss (Samantha Bumgarner) The Gamblin' Man (Samantha Bumgarner) Georgia Blues (Samantha Bumgarner) I Am My Mother's Darlin' Child (Samantha Bumgarner & Eva Davis) John Hardy (Eva Davis) Shout Lou (Samantha Bumgarner) Wild Bill Jones (Eva Davis) Worried Blues (Samantha Bumgarner)

[via Amoeblog : Read more...]

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