The "Singing Brakeman," country legend Jimmie Rodgers was the honoree for the 2nd annual American Music Masters Series. In just thirty-five years, Jimmie Rodgers [inducted 1986] grew from the son of a southern railroader to a legend who would influence American popular music for decades to come. Rodgers' recordings helped shape the evolution of not only country music, but rock and roll as well. He combined Appalachian hill ballads, spirituals, rural blues and pop music, fusing aspects of both black and white cultural traditions to create a new sound. The first artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, Rodgers was also among the first class of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Saturday, September 20
Sunday, September 21
On September 20, scholars, artists, journalists and fans gathered to discuss the life and legacy of Jimmie Rodgers and his music. Panelists explored his ongoing legacy, the roots and routes of Rodgers' music, Depression-era visual culture, the music industry of Rodgers' America, his influence from African-American culture, and Rodgers' role in the birth of country music.
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Jimmie Rodgers of course is one of the guiding lights of the twentieth century whose way with a song has always been an inspiration to those of us who have followed the path.
My hero is Jimmie Rodgers. He should be up there with Walt Whitman.