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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

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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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