For Black History Month, KEXP asked our specialty show DJs to pick an outstanding African American artist in their genre. DJ Greg Vandy, host of The Roadhouse on KEXP, chose country artist Linda Martell.
Country artist Linda Martell was a pioneer: not only was she the first African-American woman to chart on the Billboard Country Music charts, she was also the first African-American woman to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in August 1969. Martell ended her music career in 1974, and seemingly disappeared, but earlier this year, a Swedish TV show managed to find her in a small town in South Carolina, and the moment is just breathtaking. Watch a clip from that show (no Swedish language skills needed), and some of her earlier performances below:
Hear Linda Martell and more roots artists on The Roadhouse, every Wednesday night from 6-9 PM.