Louise Massey. Cousin Emmy. Molly O'Day. These names may not be familiar to you, but they helped pave the way for today's ladies of country music. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum celebrates these often overlooked pioneers of the country music genre, and many others, in its next Virtual Speaker Series entitled "Before Coal Miner's Daughters and Many-Colored Coats: Pioneering Women in Country Music."
Tuesday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m. EST guest speaker Bailey George, who has been collecting and researching country music since he was 11 years old (he's now 23), will lead the fascinating discussion on the impact of these pioneering female artists, musicians, writers, and performers. Bailey is himself a local musician and host of WBCM Radio Bristol's Honky Tonk Hit Parade.
"Country music has always been filled with fantastically talented female artists and an especially prolific period was the Radio Barn Dance era from the mid-1920s to the late 1940s," said Bailey. "For years the stories of these pioneers have been obscured by the Nashville-centric country music industry. It's time we shed some light on these trailblazing musicians!"
Traditionally the role and widespread recognition of women in country music has been relegated to a handful of superstars who rose to fame in the 1960s and 1970s. But female country artists have been making their mark since the beginnings of country music recording. The impact of these early artists has been somewhat overshadowed by flashier, pop-oriented female entertainers in recent years, but without these trailblazing recordings, the country music industry as we know it would not exist.
Bailey George's Honky Tonk Hit Parade explores country music from the 1940s and 1950s, and airs each Wednesday 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST on Radio Bristol at 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, through the free Radio Bristol mobile app and at ListenRadioBristol.org. Archived episodes of the program are also found at that web address.
The March Virtual Speaker Series, on Tuesday, March 2, will feature Alona Norwood and William Isom discussing the work of Black in Appalachia and the importance of amplifying Black narratives and histories.
The Virtual Speaker Series is free and open to the pubic, but you must pre-register to join the Zoom program. To do so, visit the Events page at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.