Music News

Listen: Billie Maxwell and the Maxwell Family Orchestra

This week's feature is on the very first recorded music made by someone from the state of Arizona.

The music of Billie Maxwell and her family comes from eastern Arizona's White Mountains and was put on wax in the late 1920s. Maxwell wasn't only the first Arizonan to record music, but she may be the very first woman to ever record country music.

Reading our story about Maxwell will tell you a lot, but to truly understand Maxwell's music you have to hear her sing. Listen below and you'll no doubt be blown away by just how beautiful, unique, and haunting the music she made was.

Here are four tracks recorded by Maxwell and four more tracks featuring her playing along with her family's band.  All were recorded for the Victor label in 1929 after a harrowing trip down from the mountains and through the desert to El Paso, Texas.

"Cowboy's Wife" by Billie Maxwell by Sarah Ventre

"Haunted Hunter" by Billie Maxwell by Sarah Ventre

"Billy Venero, Pt. 1" by Billie Maxwell by Sarah Ventre

"Billy Venero, Pt. 2" by Billie Maxwell by Sarah Ventre

"Gooson Quadrille" by the White Mountain Orchestra by Sarah Ventre

"Escudilla Waltz" by the White Mountain Orchestra by Sarah Ventre

White Mountain Orchestra Instrumental by Sarah Ventre

White Mountain Orchestra Instrumental 2 by Sarah Ventre

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Sarah Ventre