How African-American Appalachian music influenced the sounds of today

The music that came out of southern Appalachia developed into bluegrass and country music.

Introduction to Early Banjo History by Clifton Hicks

Introduction to Early Banjo History: a survey of the gourd banjo in early American folk culture

Barbecue Bob

Robert Hicks, better known as Barbecue Bob, was an early American Piedmont blues musician.

Instrument Interview: The Creole Bania, the Oldest Existing Banjo

“Instrument Interview” posts are a chance to sit down with the instruments of traditional, country, bluegrass, and roots music – from different types of instruments to specific…

Photo Essay - The Banjo and African American Musical Culture

The banjo and African Americans have traveled from Senegambian roots to Caribbean birth, to North America, and then to the world. Don Vappie (b. 30 January 1956), the New…

The African musical influence in the world of bluegrass music

African music has always influenced other musical genres.  When slaves came to the Appalachian Mountain region from Africa, they brought over a lot of their traditions.…

Op-Ed: It’s Time for Country Music to Elevate Its Overlooked Black Voices

Imagine a world where, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement's recent resurgence, country music's headlines were not dominated by chatter regarding Lady A and the…

Black-and-White Duo Allerton & Alton Occupy Special Place In Country Music History

Portland, Maine, 1947. Two teenagers, one white, one black, rummaged through the record bins at Knight’s Used Furniture store. The two didn’t know each other, but they…


In The Banjo: America’s African Instrument (Harvard Univ. Press, 2016), Laurent Dubois weaves a narrative of how this instrument was created by enslaved Africans in the midst…

My Banjo Journey (Oteil Burbridge)

My wife Jess started playing banjo before I did. When she was away working in Africa for a year, I started messing around with it. I’ve loved bluegrass music since I met Col.…