“A fact that’s been nearly lost to music history in general, and to Southern Californians in particular, is that from the 1940s right through 1960, our part of the state was well known for country music. We had our own unvarnished sound before Buck Owens and Bakersfield rose to prominence in the early 1960s. Merle Travis and Wynn Stewart may be our most famous exports, but be sure to check out Skeets McDonald, Molly Bee, Cliff Crofford and Billy Mize—and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
The performances of that time have a vitality and authenticity that’s lacking in today’s Nashville product. Once you’ve been introduced to the canon of SoCal country, you’ll be hooked. For this, we can thank the scores of Dust Bowl and southern migrants, who in the 1930s brought their fulsome musical traditions to the Golden State. To accommodate these newcomers and the impulses of those who already lived here, dance halls and honky-tonks blossomed like California poppies.”