During the years before World War II, hundreds of traditional musicians were sought out by commercial record companies, brought to New York or into local often makeshift studios, to cut recordings that would be marketed as "race" and "hillbilly" music. Virginia was home to scores of these performers, several of whom were to become internationally known. Among them were the Carter Family, the Golden Gate Quartet, Charlie Poole, and the Stoneman Family, whose music has touched millions of listeners far beyond the confines of the Old Dominion.
It is this historically important body of recordings from this unique period that forms the focus of Kip Lornell's study. In it he combines biographical sketches and bibliographies of the artists and groups with comprehensive discographies of each, covering not only the original 78-rpm issues but also American and foreign long-play releases. The entries incorporate new primary research and contemporary interviews with veterans of early recording sessions. Numerous vintage photographs are also included, some reproduced here for the first time.