The music of the Deep South enjoys one of the richest heritages in the United States. Even before the Civil War, traditional folk music brought from Ireland and Britain rivaled the songs of African slaves. African Americans developed the blues at the beginning of the 20th century.
All three states have added richly to the repertoire of country music, soul music, gospel, spirituals, rock 'n' roll, blue grass, jazz, and beach music. With origins stretching back to colonial days, Appalachian folk music is still played and sung today.
Not only Elvis, but many Carolina and Georgia artists were pioneers of rock 'n' roll, including Little Richard, Otis Redding, Carl Perkins, and James Brown.
Arguably, the only major American music not started in the South is rap. However, the tri-state area, especially Atlanta, has given rise to a subgenre of rap called "dirty south." Atlanta has long been a center of hip-hop culture.
The Music of Georgia
Getting their first break on the "Chitlin' Circuit," James Brown, a native of Augusta, and Little Richard, born in Macon, went on to greater glory. They fused gospel with blues and boogie-woogie, which paved the road for R&B and soul. An aging Little Richard still wows audiences with his famous "Tutti Frutti" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly."
In the 1960s Motown introduced Gladys Knight, who became one of its bestselling artists. Like Little Richard, Otis Redding grew up in Macon and helped define a gritty Southern soul sound.
Georgia has deep roots in folk music tradition, having been a player in every sound from Piedmont blues to African-American music. Mcintosh County is about the only place in American today that keeps alive "ring shout" music, featuring clapping and stick-beating percussion with call-and-response vocals.
Atlanta musicians spearheaded the rise of Southern rock, as exemplified by such bands as the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Lowrey Music became one of the world's major music publishers from its Atlanta base. Atlanta-based OutKast became one of the first major hip-hop groups to spring up outside New York or Los Angeles.
Guitarist Chet Atkins, reared in Hamilton, helped create a country music style known as the Nashville sound.
Athens, Georgia, has played an iconic role in the evolution of alternative rock and new wave, giving the world such artists as R.E.M. (with lead vocalist Michael Stipe) and the B-52s. One music critic called much of the music emerging from Athens as "quirky college rock."
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