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In the 20th century, American roots music - gospel, blues, country, western, folk, cajun, zydeco, tejano and Native American - was invented and nurtured in small communities and spread across the nation and the world. Eventually these traditional forms gave rise to the popular music that conquered the world: rhythm and blues, rockabilly, and rock and roll. American Roots Music tells the story of this creative outpouring, spotlighting the pioneers who wrote the music and sang the songs, the entrepreneurs who used radio and recordings to convey the new sounds to the public, the innovative musicians who cross-pollinated traditional types of music, and the contemporary artists who have an international following with their own interpretations. This book includes: essays on the major musical genres, sidebars on pivotal events, narrative from key artists (including B.B. King, Bessie Smith, Elvis Presley, Muddy Waters and Hank Williams), and outlines of musical and social history. Portraits, performance shots and ephemera such as sheet music and record sleeves illustrate the text.