Music, instruments, and songs tell the story of the ordinary and extraordinary people who have populated this country and propelled it into the twenty-first century: colonists, pioneers, sailors, lumberjacks, immigrants, ’49ers, farmers, mountaineers, slaves, soldiers, cowboys, railroaders, factory workers, activists, and others. Not only do the lyrics directly reflect the hopes, fears, struggles, sorrows, triumphs, and humanity of the real people who lived history, but to follow the path taken by the music itself is to understand the great cultural stew that is the United States of America.
Since before the country declared independence, songs and musical styles were brought to the New World by British colonists, African slaves, and immigrants from different parts of the world. New songs and styles grew out of encounters between these diverse people as well as the unique American experience itself. As America changed, grew, and pushed its boundaries, so did the music.
This is American heritage music.