American popular music originated with whatever folk music and instruments the emigrants from Europe brought with them. Eventually, elements from African, East Asian, and Native American music were  mixed with the European traditions, or developed into distinct American music forms.

The first recordings of Country Music were made in the 1920's. Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family began recording in 1927.


This Jimmie Rodgers recording, Pistol Packing Papa, was made in 1930. It has some humor, a frequent element of country music. And it includes one of Rodger's yodels.


The Carter Family was made up of A P Carter, his wife Sara and Sara's cousin Maybell, who was married to A P's brother. The low female voice is Sara who plays the autoharp. Maybelle sings and plays the guitar and A P just sings. This song contains more elements of country music such as love gone wrong, respect for parents and trouble with the law.


Instruments used in early country music include the banjo, the autoharp, the guitar, the Appalachian dulcimer, the fiddle (violin) and the Mandolin. This selection makes use of the banjo and the autoharp.


The Appalachian Dulcimer is the only one of the instruments indigenous to the Appalachian mountains.


Jimmie Rodgers died young of tuberculosis, in 1933. Members of the Carter family lived long lives. Here are Maybelle and Sara in their later years performing a lively Cannonball Blues.


The Jug Band or Skiffle Band originated in the south and the instruments were often used by country bands also. Here we have a couple of jugs, a washboard, a kazoo and washtub base; with other instruments. The style and lyrics are typical.