I blame the Carter family.
When my mother- in- law visited a couple of months ago she observed how I get Chas to take his naps. I sit in our recliner, rock him back and forth and sing to him from Rise Up Singing; a collection of popular and folk songs.
Up to this point, the only people who were privileged to hear my voice have been my wife and kids; None of them have complained about my singing. ( I am really not too bad.)
Before I started, my mil stated that I could not really carry a tune. My mil and I get along so well that I was not a bit bothered by the comment and I began singing Sound Of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel) . I mean it's folk music right how can I really mess that up?
Well, OK, if I were singing say...some of the songs the Carter family made famous you could not say I was messing it up. They sang the way they would sing in church, which is about my level of ability. They may have been great singers in their time but just about everyone, regardless of skill sang. On the other hand, Simon and Garfunkel's music is much more refined, to sing one of their songs even sort of well, takes practice.
So my mil has a point, I can't carry a tune but compared to whom. I listen to music a lot and I sing along, loudly, to whatever is playing and I know the words to many of the songs. Most of the singers I listen to have much stronger vocal ability than me, of course being the pros that they are, probably have to practice and some probably have access to voice enhancers.
What do I blame the Carter Family for? I blame them for becoming radio stars and recording artists. Granted back when they were playing the recording industry was very different. I am only guessing that the general public new the songs the Carters were performing and also sang their own variations at home and at church.
The difference between the Carter Family and the general public though, was that the Carters were being paid for what they did so, were able to refine their style. They made it possible for other aspiring musicians to become professionals and of course every new generation of musician became better and better so that eventually their musical abilities are much more refined than their audiences abilities.
Now days, many of us are mere consumers of music and would not even try to make it ourselves. Why bother, we would never be as good as a lot of artists who probably spend years training their voices, before they ever record. I don't think the Carters had vocal coaches and they would resent the blame I am resting on their heads. If they had not made that first recording we all might still be singing.