The first stars of the hillbilly genre were the members of the Virginia-based
Carter Family, basically a vocal trio (Sara on lead vocals and autoharp,
Alvin on bass vocals and Maybelle on alto vocals and on guitar)
that started out in 1926 and first recorded in 1927.
Unlike their peers, who emphasized the instrumental sound, the Carter Family
focused on songs.
Collectively, they wrote over 300 songs, including classics such as
Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone (1928),
Keep On The Sunny Side (1928), a cover of the 1906 pop song by Theodore Morse and Jack Drislane,
Foggy Mountain Top (1929),
My Clinch Mountain Home (1929),
Worried Man Blues (1930),
Can The Circle Be Unbroken (1935),
No Depression (1936),
and especially Wildwood Flower (1928), a traditional first published in 1860 that Maybelle turned into a guitar masterwork.
Their vocal style was the quintessence of the "close-harmony" style of country music.
Later, Maybelle formed her own quartet with her three daughters (among whom
June wrote Ring Of Fire and Helen wrote Poor Old Heartsick Me).
The original Carter Family dissolved in 1943
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