Craig Maki with Keith Cady

Detroit Country Music: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies
Craig Maki with Keith Cady

Detroit Country MusicCraig Maki and Keith Cady provide a well-researched look at an overlooked part of Motor City’s rich musical history. They offer new or little-known information about the fertile Detroit scene that influenced people such as Del Shannon and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen with Bill Kirchen.

The Motor City nurtured many country and pre-rockabilly pioneers. Included are the York brothers and Chuck Carroll, guitarist for Casey Clark’s Lazy Ranch Boys. Clark’s band featured steel-guitar icon Buddy Emmons, who talks here about getting possibly the first pedal-steel guitar in Michigan, a Paul Bigsby custom-made model with “Bud Isaacs tuning on the outside neck” and “the other two (set up like) Speedy West’s.” Emmons began as a kinetic guitar showman who often straddled the front of his non-pedal steel and played behind his back like a rockabilly T-Bone Walker.

Detroit Country showcases homegrown figures like rockabilly icon Jack Scott, born in Windsor, Ontario, but raised in suburban Detroit. And it chronicles the many transplants, mostly from the Deep South, who were important to the development of country and rockabilly music, variations of what was then called “hillbilly music,” and to guitar culture as well.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’14 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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