The way we see country music, and the kinds of country music we listen to,
are changing, and editors Charles K. Wolfe and James E. Akenson are prepared
to change with them. The Country Music Annual 2001 reexamines what country music
is and how is should be studied.
The second volume of the Country Music Annual provides cultural scholars and fans
alike with thoughtful discussions about the musical genre that has taken its place
as a fixture in American popular culture. With its roots planted firmly in folk
traditions, country music has grown into a variety of intriguing sub-genres.
It is, the editors propose, more than a musical style; it is a business,
a mythology, a history, a life style, and an art. It crosses ethnic, geographic,
and economic lines. It is even blurring the line between "country" and "popular"
Country music is a uniquely American art form and it grows in both audience and
variety each year. The second volume of the Annual views country music in broad
terms, as a group of musical styles that share common historical, cultural, and
demographic roots. "Country music has always been surprisingly diverse," Akenson
believes, "despite the apparent simplicity suggested by concepts such as `classic
The Annual's ten essays cover topics ranging from a study of one of the first
musicians to make country records to the new wave of alternative country bands.
Included in this broad spectrum of topics are discussions of the gospel music
group Jerry and Tammy Sullivan, and new research on a forgotten figure
in bluegrass history, Sally Ann Forrester. Also included in this second volume
are two surveys that explore the connection between country music and two other
cultural forces-cable television and the NASCAR racing phenomenon.
Akenson says, "Country music scholarship, like country music, continues to evolve
and provides new insights into its complex history as well as its complex
dynamics .... Writing about country music research keeps the researcher
and the reader in a constant state of growth which broadens and deepens
the understanding of the country music phenomenon."
The subjects of this second volume range from one of the very first
musicisans to make country records, Henry Gilliland, to the current
avant-garde work of the alternative country band Uncle Tupelo. Ernest
Tubb's musical roots, the origins of one of Roy Acuff's classic gospel
songs, and the Carter Family's rhtyms are discussed in these pages.
Other chapters look at the relationship between country music and
two major cultural forces of our timecable television
Table of Contents
Charles K. Wolfe and James E. Akenson
- Having the Franchise: Country Music TV from the Third Coast
- The Country Music-NASCAR Connection
Lawrence E. Ziewacz
- Performance, Faith, and Bluegrass Gospel: An Anthropological Journey with
Jerry and Tammy Sullivan
- "Oh, What a Life a Mess Can Be": Uncle Tupelo, Bahktin,
and the Dialogue of Alternative Country Music
S. Renee Dechert
- Come Prepared to Stay. Bring Fiddle: The Story of
Sally Ann Forrester, the Original Bluegrass Girl
Murphy H. Henry
- There's a Little Bit of Everything in Texas:
The Texas Musical Roots of Ernest Tubb
- How a Salvation Army Hymn Became a Gospel Standard:
The Story of "The Great Judgment Morning"
Wayne W. Daniel
- Radio and the Blue Ridge
- The Carter Family's Rhythmic Asymmetry
Thomas Carl Townsend
- Country Music's Confederate Grandfather:
Henry C. Gilliland
Kevin S. Fontenot
James E. Akenson, professor of curriculum and instruction at Tennessee
Technological University, is founder of the International Country Music Conference.
Charles K. Wolfe, professor of English and folklore at Middle Tennessee State
University, is the author of numerous books, including A Good-Natured Riot:
The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry.