Folk Music in Overdrive
A Primer on Traditional Country and Bluegrass Artists
Folk Music in Overdrive is a reader of music scholar Ivan Tribe’s more significant published articles, revised and updated, from their original publication in magazines such as Bluegrass Unlimited, Precious Memories: Journal of Gospel Music, Old Time Music, and Goldenseal: West Virginia Traditional Music, as well as two never-before published essays. Tribe delivers essays on well-known solo artists, such as Charlie Monroe and Mac Odell; country music duos like husband and wife team Joe and Stacy Isaacs or the brotherly duos of The Bailes, Callahan, and Goins brothers; famous and lesser known sidemen, such as fiddlers Tater Tate and Natchee the Indian, or dobro player Speedy Krise; and musical groups such as the enigmatic Coon Creek Girls. This collection represents an important contribution to music studies and spans bluegrass as a genre from its beginnings to the present.
These thirty-nine revised articles had been originally built around interviews with the musical figures and their close associates; but revision yielded new information from a variety of sources, much from Bear Family boxed sets as well as counsel, advice, and knowledge shared by other music scholars. The musicians and bands that Tribe profiles here were both bluegrass pickers and singers themselves, as well as some musicians who are often characterized as traditional country musicians. Some led bands for all or part of their careers while others ranked as noted sidemen or band members. Others composed songs that have become popular, indeed often standard, fare in the bluegrass field.
As part of the Charles K. Wolfe Music Series, formed in honor of the late music scholar, Folk Music in Overdrive succinctly advances traditional music scholarship and Wolfe’s own love of early country and bluegrass.
IVAN TRIBE is emeritus professor of history at the University of Rio Grande in Ohio. He is the author of The Stonemans: An Appalachian Family and the Music That Shaped Their Lives, Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia, and Country: A Regional Exploration.