FOLK & COUNTRY
Railroad songs, bluegrass, zydeco, and more.
Origins: Early 20th century.
- Been Here And Gone by Frederick Ramsey Jr., 1960.
DeFord Bailey: A Black Star in Early Country Music by Charles Wolfe and David C. Morton, 1991.
African Banjo Echoes In Appalachia by Cecelia Conway, 1995.
- The Kingdom of Zydeco by Michael Tisserand, 1998.
Cajun and Creole Music Makers: Musiciens Cadiens et Créoles by Barry Ancelet, 1999.
Zydeco by Ben Sandmel, Rick Olivier, 1999.
- My Country, Too: The Other Black Music by Pamela E. Foster, 2000.
Texas Zydeco by Roger Wood, James Fraher, 2006.
- The Birth of the Banjo: Joel Walker Sweeney and Early Minstrelsy by Bob Carlin, 2007.
- One Generation at a Time: Biography of a Cajun and Creole Music Festival by Barry Ancelet, 2007.
Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World by Mark F. DeWitt, 2008.
- Sacred Steel: Inside an African American Steel Guitar Tradition by Robert L. Stone, 2010.
- Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music by Diane Pecknold, 2013.
- African American Folksong and American Cultural Politics: The Lawrence Gellert Story by Bruce M. Conforth, 2013.
- The Gandy Dancers: And Work Songs from the American Railroad by Vanita Oelschlager, 2015 (Children’s Book).
- Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South by Charles L. Hughes, 2015.
- The Banjo: America's African Instrument by Laurent Dubois, 2016. ︎
- Ghosts of Good Times: Louisiana Dance Halls, Past and Present by Herman Fuselier, Philip Gould, 2016.
Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs & Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, 2018
- The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America's Urban Heartland by Walter Thompson-Hernandez, April 2020. ︎
FILMS & SERIES
FILMS & SERIES
- The Banjo Project: A Digital Museum for America’s Instrument, prod. Marc Fields.
- Gandy Dancers, dir. Barry Dornfeld and Maggie Holtzberg-Call, 1994. 30 mins. Free stream via Folkstreams.
- Give Me The Banjo, dir. Marc Fields, 2011. 1h 30m. Available to stream on Vudu for free.
- The Librarian and The Banjo, dir. Jim Carrier, 2013. 56m. Available to stream with Prime video.
PODCASTS & RADIO
- “The Long Ride To 'Old Town Road': Black Artists And Their Contributions To Country Music” by NPR Illinois, August 2019.
- “Yeehaw” in NYTime’s Still Processing with Jenna Wortham & Wesley Morris, September 2019. 40 mins.
- “The Black History Of The Banjo” by Afropop Worldwide, February 2021. 1h.
- View accompanying playlist and photographs here.
- Library of Congress’ Entry on R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943).
- “Zydeco Zarico: Beans, Blues and Beyond,” by Barry Ancelet, Black Music Research Journal Vol. 8, No. 1, 1988.
- "Square Dance Calling: The African-American Connection" by Philip A. Jamison, Journal of Appalachian Studies. Vol. 9, No. 2, Fall 2003.
- “Why does country music sound ‘white’? Race and the voice of nostalgia” by Geoff Mann, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Volume 31, 2008.
“Louisiana’s Zydeco Trail,” by Shaila Dewan, NY Times, April 2011.
- “Country Music Opens Its Ears” by Jon Caramanica, NYTimes, May 2014.
- “On the Trail of a Creole Music Pioneer, Still Alive in Song,” by Campbell Robertson, NYTimes, May 2015.
“‘On a Mission’: Preserving Creole Culture One Tweet At a Time. Keith Frank, Zydeco, and the Use of Social Media,” by Marie Demars, Transatlantica, 2015.
- “6 Reasons Country Music is Blacker Than You Think” by Devon Leger in Paste Magazine, November 2016.
- “Lil Hardin: That’s How I Got to Memphis,” by Alice Randall (in Woman Walk the Line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives, ed. by Holly Gleason), 2017.
- “The Roots of Cowboy Music: The Search For A Black Self In The American West” by Carvell Wallace, MTV, May 2017. ︎
- “Darius Rucker and the Perplexing Whiteness of Country Music” by Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, October 2017.
- “Why Kane Brown Is Country Music’s New Outcast King” by Joe Levy, Rolling Stone, November 2018.
- “A Brief History of the Yeehaw Agenda” by Taylor Crumpton, Afropunk, March 2019. ︎
- “How Solange and Mitski Reconsider Who Can Be the Cowboy” by Michelle Kim, Pitchfork, March 2019.
- “How Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” Became a Lightning Rod for Race, the Charts, and Country Music” by Sheldon Pearce, Pitchfork, April 2019.
- “Lil Nas X Inspires a New Reckoning in Country Music” by Taylor Crumpton, PAPER, May 2019.
- “Rhiannon Giddens and What Folk Music Means” by John Jeremiah Sullivan, The New Yorker, May 2019.
- “Why Is Country Music Considered So White?” by Isaac Himmelman in Huffington Post, July 2019.
- “Black Artists Built Country Music—And Then It Left Them Behind” by Andrew R. Chow in TIME, September 2019.
- “Country Music Is More Diverse Than You Think” by Ken Burns & Dayton Duncan in NYTimes, September 2019.
“A Guide to African Country Music” by Jesse Jarnow, Bandcamp Daily, September 2019.
- “This black female musician you may not know has written songs you probably do” (on Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten) by Gabriella Abdul-Hakim, Good Morning America, February 2020.
- “Country Music Is Nothing Without Black Artists” by Andrea Williams, ZORA, April 2020.
- "She's A Country Girl All Right: Rhiannon Giddens's Powerful Reclamation of Country Culture" by Kimberly Mack, Journal of Popular Music Studies, June 2020.
- “Rewriting Country Music’s Racist History,” by Elamin Abdelmahmoud in Rolling Stone, June 2020.
- “Contributions of Black Creators Shaped Classic Country Music” by Edward Morris in CMT, June 2020.
- “Mickey Guyton Asks Country Music Industry and Fans to Imagine Being ‘Black Like Me’” by Chris Willman, Variety, June 2020.
- “Anita ‘Lady A’ White Will Not Be Erased” by Andrea Williams, Vulture, July 2020.
- “Why Haven’t We Had a Black Woman Country Star?” by Andrea Williams, Nashville Scene, August 2020.
“A Brief History of Black Country Music, From Tee Tot to Breland“ by Marcus K. Dowling, The Boot, February 2021.