DeFord Bailey

DeFord Bailey

He rose above many hardships to become a country icon.

Founded

December 14, 1899, Smith County, TN

Full Name

Date of Birth

December 14, 1899, Smith County, TN

Still Alive

Date of Death

July 2, 1982, Nashville, TN

Influenced By

Black Hillbilly music, Jazz, Blues

Later Influenced

Charlie McCoy, Sonny Terry

DeFord Bailey.
DeFord Bailey.

About The artist

A grandson of enslaved people, Bailey contracted polio at the age of three, which stunted his growth and left his back somewhat bent. He grew up in a musical family who played what he called “black hillbilly music,” a tradition of secular string band music actually shared by rural Black and white musicians alike. Bailey was a professional musician from the age of 15 and was a regular performer on Nashville radio station WSM in the 1920s. He was the first performer to be introduced on the station's now-legendary Grand Ole Opry program.

Did you know...

Bailey learned how to play the harmonica while recuperating from polio as a young child.

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Charley Pride

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Linda Martell

Linda Martell

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Genres from this era

Blues

Blues

Born in the Mississippi Delta.

Jazz

Jazz

Born in New Orleans with roots in ragtime and the blues.

Country & Folk

Country & Folk

Black musical tradition is a part of its core.

Gospel

Gospel

The progeny of spirituals and cousin to the blues.