Regional Music Project
The Regional Music Project began in 2001 to document, preserve, interpret, and promote the musical folklife and history of grassroots music in Carroll County and the West Georgia region. The project incorporates original field research, oral histories, archival preservation, live performances, school programs, website exhibits, and compact disc releases.
The Regional Music Collection is a multi-format collection of audio and visual recordings, photographs, and other materials documenting West Georgia's music traditions and history. The Collection is archived at the Center for Public History at the State University of West Georgia.
“God was in us, ‘cause we sung…”: African American Shape Note Singing
As part of the Center for Public History’s Regional Music Project, students at the Center are documenting the tradition of shape-note singing in African American communities in Georgia. Although the Sacred Harp style of shape-note singing is relatively well known in the rural South, very few are aware of the distinctive characteristics of the African American tradition. African American shape-note singers employ a seven-note system, syncopated rhythms, and a uniquely emotional singing style that differentiates their music from that of the Sacred Harp tradition.
Those who carry on the shape-note singing tradition in modern African American communities often remember members of their family who also sang shape-notes and find themselves drawn to the practice by both the beauty of the music and the timelessness that it represents. Unfortunately, as those who remember and practice shape-note singing grow older, the tradition is in danger of being lost. In an effort to document and preserve this rich part of Georgia’s musical history, staff at Center for Public History is collecting oral histories from contemporary note singers and are making plans to produce an album that will feature shape note singing groups from the west Georgia region.
Students and staff at the Center have had the pleasure of working with the United Shape Note Singers, an active note singing group that draws members from communities throughout West Georgia. A schedule of their singings for 2011 can be found .
In the spring of 2011, the Center for Public History, with the support of the Georiga Humanities Council and the Warren and Ava Sewell Foundation, began production on a compact disc album featuring African American note singers from the west Georgia region. As part of that project, the Center sponsored a public program in March that included an afternoon workshop for local students and an evening note singing program. The CD, God Was In Us, 'Cause We Sung is now available for purchase at the Center for Public History!
Compact Disc Collections
Everybody's Tuned to the Radio: Rural Music Tradtions in West Georgia, 1947-1979
This award-winning compilation of historical, non-commercial recordings of old-time country, gospel, and bluegrass features local musicians from the by-gone era of live"hillbilly" music programs on the radio.
I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling
A collection of new and vintage recordings of old-time country music, traditional folk songs, and original compositions by Alton Stitcher, a West Georgia singer, songwriter, and guitarist who began performing on regional radio during the 1930s.
Set Your Fields On Fire Volumes 1 and 2
These albums showcase over 150 years of sacred music in the West Georgia region, including shape note singing, black gospel, bluegrass gospel, spirituals, and southern gospel music.