Hosted by the Museum’s Adam Ollendorff, Carlos DeFord Bailey, grandson of DeFord Bailey; Ketch Secor, multi-instrumentalist and front man of the band Old Crow Medicine Show; and Jake Groves, harmonica player for Colter Wall and host of WXOX Louisville’s Faint of Harp Radio Hour, talk about the influence Country Music Hall of Fame member DeFord Bailey had on the harmonica and their styles. Joined by Old Crow Medicine Show member Jerry Pentecost on drums and award-winning singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle on guitar, participants perform original songs such as “The Legend of DeFord Bailey” and “DeFord Rides Again.”
Bailey, a native of Smith County, Tennessee, suffered from polio as a child and was bedridden for several years. During that time, he taught himself to play the harmonica by mimicking the sounds he heard on his family’s farm, including the train that passed by daily. In the 1920s, Bailey became one of the first cast members on the Grand Ole Opry and the first artist to record an album in Nashville, Tennessee—making him country music’s first Black star. Nicknamed the “Harmonica Wizard,” Bailey was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
Discover DeFord Bailey projects are made possible by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. For more information, visit https://countrymusichalloffame.org/DeFordBailey
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