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  • Introduction / Cecelia Tichi  1
    Sing Me a Song about Ramblin' Man: Visions and Revisions of Hank Williams in Country Music / Christopher Metress  4
    Blue Moon of Kentucky Rising Over the Mystery Train: The Complex Construction of Country Music / David Sanjek  22
    Bloody Daggers and Lonesome Graveyards: The Gothic and Country Music / Theresa Goddu  45
    A Musical Legacy, A Way of Life: A Photo Essay / Charmaine Lanham  65
    Commercial (and/or) Folk: The Bluegrass Industry and Bluegrass Traditions / Mark Fenster  74
    Mountains of Contradictions: Gender, Class, and Region in the Star Image of Dolly Parton / Pamela Wilson  98
    Keeping Faith: Evangelical Performance in Country Music / Curtis W. Ellison  121
    Girls with Guitars - and Fringe and Sequins and Rhinestones, Silk, Lace, and Leather / Mary A. Bufwack  153
    Event Songs / Charles K. Wolfe  188
    Country Green: The Money in Country Music / Don Cusic  200
    Country Music and the Contemporary Composer: The Case of Paul Martin Zonn / Michael Kurel and Cecelia Tichi  209
    "My name is Sue! How do you do?" Johnny Cash as Lesbian Icon / Teresa Ortega  222
    The Dialectic of hard-Core and Soft-Shell Country Music / Richard A. Peterson  234
    "The Sad Twang of Mountain Voices": Thomas Hart Benton's Sources of Country Music / Vivien Green Fryd  256
    Mecca for the Country Music Scholar / Ronnie Pugh  286
    Country Music, Seriously: An Interview with Bill C. Malone / Cecelia Tichi  290
    Reading the Row / Christine Kreyling  307
    The Metric Makings of a Country Hit / Jocelyn Neal  322
    "The Voice of Woe": Willie Nelson and Evangelical Spirituality / T. Walter Herbert  338
    "I'll Reap My Harvest in Heaven": Fred Rose's Acquaintance with Country Music / John W. Rumble  350
    Jim Crow and the Pale Maiden: Gender, Color, and Class in Stephen Foster's "Hard Times" / Amy Schrager Lang  378
    Selected Discography  389
    Notes on Contributors  395
    Index  399
  • Cecelia Tichi

    Christopher Metress

    David Sanjek

    Teresa Goddu

    Charmaine Lanham

    Pamela Wilson

    Curtis W. Ellison

    Mary A. Bufwack

    Charles K. Wolfe

    Don Cusic

    Michael Kurek

    Richard A. Peterson

    Vivien Green Fryd

    Ronnie Pugh

    Christine Kreyling

    Jocelyn Neal

    T. Walter Herbert

    John Rumble

    Amy Schrager Lang

  • Reading Country Music should be greeted with a proper hoe-down fiddle. . . . What’s exciting about [this work] is the demonstration that cultural studies can be historical, persuasive, and on point.” — Teri Tynes

    "This eclectic collection . . . is a rich example of scholarship focused on country music today. . . . [T]here is much to gain by reading this anthology. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries." — Library Journal

    Reviews

  • Reading Country Music should be greeted with a proper hoe-down fiddle. . . . What’s exciting about [this work] is the demonstration that cultural studies can be historical, persuasive, and on point.” — Teri Tynes

    "This eclectic collection . . . is a rich example of scholarship focused on country music today. . . . [T]here is much to gain by reading this anthology. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries." — Library Journal

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  • Description

    With its steel guitars, Opry stars, and honky-tonk bars, country music is an American original. The most popular music in America today, it’s also big business. Amazing, then, that country music has been so little studied by critics, given its predominance in American culture. Reading Country Music acknowledges the significance of country music as part of an authentic American heritage and turns a loving, critical eye toward understanding the sweep of this peculiarly American phenomenon.
    Bringing together a wide range of scholars and critics from literature, communications, history, sociology, art, and music, this anthology looks at everything from the inner workings of the country music industry to the iconography of certain stars to the development of distinctive styles within the country music genre. Essays include a look at the shift from "hard-core" to "soft-shell" country music in recent years; Johnny Cash as lesbian icon; gender, class, and region in Dolly Parton’s star image; and bluegrass’s gothic tradition. Originally published as a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, this expanded book edition includes new articles on the spirituality of Willie Nelson, the legacy and tradition of stringed music, and the revival of Stephen Foster’s blackface musical, among others.

    Contributors. Mary A. Bufwack, Don Cusic, Curtis W. Ellison, Mark Fenster, Vivien Green Fryd, Teresa Goddu, T. Walter Herbert, Christine Kreyling, Michael Kurek, Amy Schrager Lang, Charmaine Lanham, Bill Malone, Christopher Metress, Jocelyn Neal, Teresa Ortega, Richard A. Peterson, Ronnie Pugh, John W. Rumble, David Sanjek, Cecelia Tichi, Pamela Wilson, Charles K. Wolfe

    About The Author(s)

    Cecelia Tichi is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English and Director of American and Southern Studies at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of High Lonesome: The American Culture of Country Music.

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