The Regional Music Project at the UWG Center for Public History

The Regional Music Project’s mission is 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 CDs created by the Center for Public History document the various music traditions of the west Georgia region, from “hillbilly”banjo music to sacred shape note. Through grants, such as those from the Georgia Humanities Council, we have professionally mastered and manufactured five CDs which showcase the amazing and varied folk music traditions of west Georgia. By purchasing a CD created by the Center for Public History, you not only purchase high-quality recordings of songs reaching across generational lines but you are also ensuring that the history of the folk music tradition of west Georgia is preserved for future generations.

Click here to listen to “Billy in the Low Ground”

 During his lifetime, John K. Patterson, the “Banjo King,” personified traditional folk music in West Georgia. Born in Carroll County in 1910, he received his musical education at a very early age, courtesy of his mother. A champion banjo picker in her own right, Bessie Patterson handed down to her young son a repertoire of traditional songs and the rudiments of his unique playing style, described by folklorist Art Rosenbaum as “a combination of up-picking with chordal brushes and three-finger melody playing.”
Among the first local performers on WLBB in 1947, Uncle John could be heard six days a week, twice a day, on his family’s fifteen minute program.