Nashville Music Before Country

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Nashville is a name synonymous with music. Years before the first radio broadcast of country music from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, music and publishing were central to Nashville's self-identity.

Thousands of songs flooded into the Cumberland and Tennessee River valleys from Southern Appalachia, sung by folk performers. These songs became the foundation for the folk-hymn traditions that grew throughout Tennessee. Into this stream flowed a body of African American spirituals, gospel, and minstrel songs. The arrival of trained German musicians brought classical styles to this gathering stream of

musical confluences. These musicians found a home in the academies and businesses of Nashville. Nashville Music before Country is the story of how music merged with education, publication, entertainment, and distribution to set the stage for a unique musical metropolis. The images for Nashville Music before Country come from private collections as well as public libraries and archives.

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