Jimmie Rodgers- “Father of Country Music”

By: Siyu Liu

Jimmie Rodgers was born in Mississippi in 1897. He was a country singer who was one of the first superstars in the genre and became famous from his yodeling. His few hits included “Blue Yodel (T is for Texas)”, “Waiting For a Train”, “Daddy and Home” etc. I chose to do a review on his music because I was interested in learning more about the genres I don’t quite listen to, and I know I have to go back to its roots and listen to some of the old superstars’ work.

When I hear “Blue Yodel (T is for Texas), which is one song from his series of 13 Blue Yodel songs, I hear a melancholy tone in his voice. He plays the guitar with the same expression on his face while yodels in most parts of the song. His yodeling created the craze in United States for Yodeling and he named it Blue Yodel to differentiate from another form of Austrian yodeling. I like his vocal arrangements at the end of some of his lyrics where he would sing a high pitch note. His yodel is very consistent and it played well in where he incorporated in the song.

In “Waiting For a Train”, he starts off with mimicking somewhat of a train whistle sound, and the yodeling is different from “T is for Texas”. It is in a lower register and slower speed. I feel like the tone of his song is once again not very upbeat but melancholy, not typically sad but not very exciting either. The lyrics started off fairly simple like “All around the water tank, waiting for a train
A thousand miles away from home, sleeping in the rain” . Then we get a context and story in “He said “If you got money, boy, I’ll see that you don’t walk. I haven’t got a nickel, not a penny can I show.”Get off, get off, you railroad bum” and slammed the boxcar door”.  Now I understand the melancholy tone I hear from his voice, when he gave us a story in being broke and on a train a thousand miles away from home. I like that there’s only two verses in the song but there’s quite a story to tell.

 

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