10 Legendary Instruments of Country Music

DeFord Bailey’s Harmonica

DeFord Bailey holds the distinct honor of being the first male country artist introduced on the legendary radio program, the Grand Ole Opry. He also became the first African American inducted. Bailey began playing popular harmonica tunes at the opry almost since its establishment. His virtuoso harmonica playing landed him as a featured performer on the biggest tours of the day, including Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff. The grandson of slaves, Bailey overcame childhood illness (polio) and poverty to become the most influential harmonica player in the 20th century and one of country music’s true inspirations. Bailey attributed his passion to his parents, who gave him his legendary harmonica. “My folks didn’t give me no rattler,” he said. “They gave me a harp.”

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