This research will examine the rise in popularity of the hillbilly music genre as it relates to the early part of the twentieth century as well as its decline with the arrival of the western hero, the cowboy. Chapter 1 examines the origins of traditional music and how instrumental the fiddle and banjo were in that development. Chapter 2 looks closely into the careers of recording artists who recorded what would later be called hillbilly music. Chapter 3 examines the string band and the naming of the hillbilly genre. Chapters 4 and 5 look at the aspect of radio programming and stereotypes. Chapter 6 discusses the homogenization of the hillbilly genre and the replacement of the hillbilly with the cowboy. This research will clarify the appeal of the hillbilly and highlight the negative stereotypes that started the genre and ultimately ended it leading into the Second World War.
Ryan Carlson Bernard