I suppose I should have continued last week’s look at western swing, I was enjoying our look at the good time music that developed in the American Southwest. Let's get back to swingin' again.
The post war popularity of Big Bands and swing music was felt throughout the American musical landscape, not just the dusty plains. Back East, along the Piedmont and Appalachian regions, swing music was finding its way into the music of the hill folk. Although nowhere near as popular (or remembered) as its western cousin, the swing-influenced country music of the Southern Mountains was a unique style all its own.
In contrast to western swing, eastern swing was based on an already established musical style with a long history, so the influences were a bit more subtle. I hear a lot more of Memphis in these tunes as apposed to the New Orleans sound that made its way into western swing. The Hawaiian influence is deeply rooted in both styles as the slide and steel guitar had been popular nationwide since the turn of the 20th century. The German, Polish and Czech influence of western swing was not a big influence on eastern swing, but the Moravian influences (minus the brass) so prevalent in the music of North Carolina are surely present in these tunes.
By the late 1940s radio was having a major impact on regional musical styles. As radio stations began to broadcast more music from records with fewer live radio shows, recorded music from far off regions of the country were replacing live local performers. The lines between distinctive style was becoming blurred. Many of these regional styles would be folded into the mix that would become rockabilly and early rock’n’roll.