March 22, 2017 is the 125th birthday of North Carolina music legend, Charlie Poole. He and his band recorded over 60 songs for Columbia during the 1920s, and many of them (“If the River Was Whiskey”, “White House Blues”, “Sweet Sunny South”) quickly became standards. His revolutionary three-finger banjo style was a huge influence on a subsequent generation of players, including fellow North Carolinian Earl Scruggs. He was one of the first Carolina musicians to find success in the record industry.
In order to commemorate his birthday, we are presenting a Freegal playlist which spotlights musicians from North and South Carolina. It is arranged chronologically and spans nearly a century of music from recordings made in the 1920s all the way to the present day. Click on the link and enter your library card number to listen.
These artists are significant in various ways. A select few could be considered as cultural icons, while others have enjoyed long-standing but genre-specific commercial success. You will also find revolutionary musical innovators, cult favorites, and a couple of truly odd, historic curios. Other names which appear here may be considered flash-in-the-pan, one-hit wonders, yet they still reflect the zeitgeist of their respective eras. Although many artists featured in this playlist may not be considered household names today, they are still highly regarded for their influence on subsequent generations of musicians, and/or their innovative contributions to their respective genres.
Old-time string bands, blues, bluegrass, big band, jazz, country, folk, rock-and-roll, soul, vocal jazz, southern boogie, arena rock, power pop, punk, metal, indie rock, and rap are all represented here.
Most of these artists are also represented on physical media owned by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Consult our online catalog if you would like to request materials. If you wish to explore further (particularly with some of the older titles on this list), then feel free to schedule a listening session at the Carolina Room in our Main Library uptown, where many of these recordings can be heard on vinyl.