Title

The "Southernness" of Country Music

Abstract

This chapter presents an overview of Bill C. Malone's "southern thesis," as first articulated in his 1968 study, Country Music, U.S.A.: A Fifty-Year History, and examines the influential role that this regional interpretation has played in shaping country music scholarship. The chapter surveys some of the major trends in the scholarly literature over the past five decades regarding the music's perceived southernness. It explores Malone's problematic presentation of the American South as an exceptional region rooted in a unique rural folk culture, and the resulting historiographical debates. The chapter also identifies some significant topical and interpretative lacunae that now pervade the country music scholarship as a result of Malone's interpretation, and suggests several approaches to rectifying these omissions, including reinterpreting prewar country music as a commercial product of a modern, urban-industrial America and focusing attention on the American regional traditions and musical tributaries that contributed to its creation.

Department(s)

History and Political Science

Keywords and Phrases

Country music; Culture; Folk music; Folklore; Musicologist

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

978-019024817-8

Document Type

Book - Chapter

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2017 Oxford University Press, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2017

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