Long before Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and The Dixie Chicks, the original pioneers of country music--The Carter Family, Vernon Dalhart, The Monroe Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, and others--paved the way for future country artists, influencing musicians for generations to come. Now for the first time, country music authority Charles K. Wolfe gathers together his profiles of 50 legends of country music. "Classic Country" includes such Hall of Famers as the father of bluegrass Bill Monroe, honky tonker Lefty Frizzell, and queen of country music Kitty Wells, as well as lesser-known but equally important artists like DeFord Bailey, first African-American star of the Grand Ole Opry, the mysterious Seven Foot Dilly, and the reclusive songwriter Arthur Q. Smith. Wolfe also offers portraits of recent artists who perform in the classic country style, such as Doc Watson, The Freight Hoppers, Hazel and Alice, and The Statler Brothers. Based on the author's personal interviews with the musicians and those who knew them, these profiles present colorful anecdotes and little-known facts behind the songs. Here you will read how Lefty Frizzell's hit "I Love You, I'll Prove It a Thousand Ways" started off as a love letter to his wife while he was in jail at age 19. And how Roy Acuff was so popular that during the latter days of World War II, Japanese soldiers would try to psyche out American Marines by yelling taunts like "To hell with Franklin Roosevelt! To hell with Babe Ruth! To hell with Roy Acuff!" Much more than a collection of mini-biographies, this engaging collection also provides unique insights into the history of the recording and broadcast industry that are sure tofascinate not only fans and scholars of country and bluegrass music, but anyone interested in the roots of American popular music.