Music of the United States
Local music
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Georgia's musical output includes Southern rap groups such as Outkast and Goodie Mob, as well as a wide variety of rock, pop, and country artists such as R.E.M. and Family Force 5. The music of Athens, Georgia, is especially well known for a kind of quirky college rock that has included such well-known bands as R.E.M. and The B-52's.

Music institutions[]

The state's official music museum is the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, located in Macon, Georgia. Colleges such as the University of Georgia and Columbus State University have extensive music departments.

Folk music[]

Georgia's folk musical traditions include important contributions to the Piedmont blues, shape note singing and African American music.

African American folk music[]

The "ring shout" is an African American musical and dance tradition that is among the oldest surviving African American performance styles in North America. The ring shout tradition is rare in the modern Southern United States, but it still found in McIntosh County, Georgia, where black communities have kept the style alive. The McIntosh County ring shout is a counterclockwise ring dance featuring clapping and stick-beating percussion with call-and-response vocals. The ring shout tradition is strongest in Boldon, Georgia (also known as Briar Patch), where it is traditionally performed on New Year's Eve.[1]

The Georgia Sea Island are an important group in modern African American folk music in Georgia. They perform worldwide the Gullah music of the Georgia coast, and have been touring since the early 1900s; the folklorist and musicologist Alan Lomax discovered the Singers on a 1959-60 collecting trip, and helped to bring their music to new audiences. The Georgia Sea Island Singers have included Bessie Jones, Emma Ramsey, John Davis, Maybel Hillary and Peter Davis.[2]


The Sacred Harp, first published in 1844, was compiled and produced by Georgians Benjamin Franklin White and Elisha J. King. The helped establish a singing tradition also known as Sacred Harp, as well as fasola and shape note. The Sacred Harp system use notes expressed with shapes, intended to make it easy for people to learn to sight-read music and performed complex pieces without a lot of training.[3] Foremost among Georgia Sacred Harp adherents is the Original Sacred Harp Publishing Company of Tallapoosa. A Georgia-based music label, Bibletone Records, has released a 28-cut CD of Sacred Harp Music.

Popular Music[]

Rhythm and Blues[]

Augusta native James Brown and Macon native Little Richard started performing in Georgia clubs on the Chitlin' Circuit, fused gospel with blues and boogie-woogie to lay the foundations for R&B and Soul music, and rank among the most iconic musicians of the 20th century. In the 1960s, Atlanta native Gladys Knight proved one of the most popular Motown recording artists, while Otis Redding, born in the small town of Dawson but raised in Macon, defined the grittier Southern soul sound of Memphis-based Stax Records.R&B singer Ray Charles was born in Albany, GA.


Atlanta-based OutKast proved one of the first commercially successful Hip-Hop groups from outside of New York or Los Angeles. In the 1990s and 2000s, Atlanta became the leading center of urban music. Artists like Lloyd, T.I., TLC, Monica, Usher, 112, Ludacris, YoungBloodZ, OutKast, Goodie Mob (as well as the Dungeon Family music collective which both are members of), producers like Organized Noize, L.A. Reid, and Jermaine Dupri, the latter of whom founded the successful record labels LaFace and SoSo Def, have blurred musical boundaries by blending R&B singing with Hip-Hop production. More recently, Atlanta is also known as a center of crunk music, an electric bass-driven club music, whose most visible practitioner has been Atlanta-based producer/hype man/rapper Lil Jon. Before moving to Atlanta, Young Jeezy lived in Macon, Georgia.


Pylon at Athfest 2005

The earliest Atlanta-based music maven, Bill Lowery, started the careers of Ray Stevens, Joe South, Jerry Reed, and countless others, and created the first Georgia-based springboard for such talent, National Recording Corporation, sporting not only a record label, but a recording studio and pressing plant. Lowery would later work with the likes of Billy Joe Royal, Mac Davis, Dennis Yost & The Classics IV, and The Atlanta Rhythm Section, and put Atlanta on the music map with his Lowery Music group of publishing companies, one of the world's biggest music publishers. Noted session and touring drummer, Michael Huey, started his career at Bill Lowery studios. Cat Power also got her start in Atlanta.

The Allman Brothers Band, founded in Jacksonville, Florida, moved to Macon at the urging of their manager, Phil Walden, who had previously managed Otis Redding. Walden's Macon-based Capricorn Records, spearheaded the rise of Southern rock, and the success of the Allman Brothers paved the way for other Southern rock bands, including Atlanta Rhythm Section, South Carolina-based Marshall Tucker Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd, also founded in Jacksonville.

The Black Crowes are a group out of Marietta, Georgia that fuse blues, rock, and gospel into a Southern-soul-driven hard-rockin' extravaganza with tones of Zeppelin-power and Sunday morning inspiration.

The city of Athens, Georgia, home to the University of Georgia has been a fertile field for alternative rock bands since the late 1970s. Notable bands from Athens include R.E.M., The B-52's, Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers, Cartel, Of Montreal, Dead Confederate as well as bands from the Elephant 6 Recording Company most notably The Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel.

Acoustic rock/folk duo the Indigo Girls got their start in Decatur. Alternative rock band September Hase began in Tifton. Rock pianist Elton John spends some time living in Atlanta. Singer-songwriter John Mayer has lived in Atlanta since dropping out of the Berklee School of Music in 1998. Georgia has had a decent contribution to the ska scene with the bands Treephort, 50:50 Shot, and The Taj Motel Trio and ska punk has seen a recent revival in the state of Georgia with the regional ska festival, the Mass Ska Raid, taking place for the first time in 2008.

Along with Louisiana and the rest out the Southern area there is a strong heavy metal music scene in Georgia; with bands such as Mastodon, Baroness,Royal Thunder, Black Tusk, Kylesa, Withered, and Sevendust.

Another notable offshoot of hard rock is Punk Music and Hardcore. These bands don't get as much hype because they were born in the underground of the South and stay there. Such bands as The Black Lips who are known for their wild antics (Such as urinating on the crowd and vomiting) are from Dunwoody, Georgia. The other notable bands from the Atlanta Hardcore movement are Out Crowd, and BAD. The "Atlanta Hardcore" Movement has been strong since the 80's during the time of Famous Hardcore Punk locals like Neon Christ.

Also, several Christian rock musicians have come out of Georgia, such as Third Day, Casting Crowns, Bebo Norman, and Family Force 5.


On June 14, 1923, the country-music recording industry was launched in Atlanta when Fiddlin' John Carson made his first phonograph record for Okeh Records Company representative Polk C. Brockman. Carson's recordings of "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" and "The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster's Going to Crow" sold over 500,0000 copies and opened the eyes of record company executives to the market for "old-time" country music.

In the 1960s, Guitarist Chet Atkins, born in Luttrell, Tennessee but raised in Hamilton, Georgia, drew on Jazz and Pop music to help create the smoother Country music style known as the Nashville Sound, expanding Country music's appeal to adult pop fans. Country music superstars Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, and Travis Tritt are natives of Georgia. Other successful country music acts from Georgia include Billy Currington, Cyndi Thomson, Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, Daryle Singletary, Doug Stone, John Berry, Rhett Akins, Mark Wills, as well as up and coming stars Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert, Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Kip Moore and Lauren Alaina. The Zac Brown Band, based out of Dahlonega, and Lady Antebellum are country music groups hailing from Georgia. Other notable country musicians include Corey Smith and Tabby Crabb from Sumter Co., who worked with the original Urban Cowboy Band, Hank Cochran, Keith Urban, and many others in Nashville.


Opera singer Jessye Norman is native to Augusta. Famous music director Robert Shaw spent much of his time living in Atlanta directing the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Notable musical groups include the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, Atlanta Opera, the Georgia Boy Choir, the Atlanta Boy Choir, New Trinity Baroque, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, Atlanta Ballet, Gwinnett Ballet Theatre, as well as symphonies in the cities of Columbus, Macon, Augusta, and Savannah.

The Great American Songbook[]

Lyricist Johnny Mercer, whose works include the Academy Award-winning song On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe and other entries in the Great American Songbook of pop music standards, is a native of Savannah.

See also[]



  1. ^ New Georgia Encyclopedia: McIntosh County Shouters
  2. ^ New Georgia Encyclopedia: Georgia Sea Island Singers
  3. ^ New Georgia Encyclopedia: The Sacred Harp

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Music of Georgia (U.S. state). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.