Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents divorced when she was four years old. She was raised by her mother, who bought her a ukulele at age three. She began playing guitar and writing songs at age eight. She says that she may have been first inspired to play the guitar by the television show Hee Haw. In her native Cleveland she experienced frequent bullying and racially motivated assaults as a child.
Robert Hicks, better known as Barbecue Bob, was an early American Piedmont blues musician. His nickname was derived from his working as a cook in a barbecue restaurant. One of the three extant photographs of him show him playing a guitar and wearing a full-length white apron and cook's hat.
Ozark Highlands Radio is a weekly radio program that features live music and interviews recorded at Ozark Folk Center State Park’s beautiful 1,000-seat auditorium in Mountain View, Arkansas. In addition to the music, our “Feature Host” segments take listeners through the Ozark hills with historians, authors, and personalities who explore the people, stories, and history of the Ozark region.
Little is known of Blake's life. Promotional materials from Paramount Records indicate he was born blind and give his birthplace as Jacksonville, Florida, and it seems that he lived there during various periods. He seems to have had relatives in Patterson, Georgia. Some authors have written that in one recording he slipped into a Geechee or Gullah dialect, suggesting a connection with the Sea Islands. Blind Willie McTell indicated that Blake's real name was Arthur Phelps, but later research has shown this is unlikely to be correct.
Gus Cannon (September 12, 1883 – October 15, 1979) was an American blues musician who helped to popularize jug bands (such as his own Cannon's Jug Stompers) in the 1920s and 1930s. There is uncertainty about his birth year; his tombstone gives the date as 1874.
Students and fans of bluegrass and old time music, and a great many people with an interest in American folk music, know of the African roots of our beloved banjo. Academics and ethnomusicologists have written extensively on the topic, but the instrument has had precious few practitioners among black Americans in recent history.
Strains of African-American music beat in the deep heart of bluegrass, from the African-derived tones of the five-string banjo to the blue notes that give the music its characteristic lonesome sound. At least two African-Americans who play bluegrass and string music – Tennessee picker Carl Johnson and Carolina Chocolate Drops member Hubby Jenkins – will perform at this week’s World of Bluegrass festivities in Raleigh. And acoustic-music giant Bela Fleck and banjoist/wife Abigail Washburn will likely explore the banjo’s African roots during their duet appearance Friday.