Popular between the two world wars, American barn dance radio evoked comforting images
of a nostalgic and stable past for listeners beset by economic problems at home
and worried about totalitarian governments abroad. Sentimental images such as the mountain
mother and the chaste everybody's-little-sister "girl singer" helped to sell a new
consumer culture and move commercial country music from regional fare to national treasure.
Drawing on personal interviews and rich archival material from the Grand Ole Opry,
Kristine M. McCusker examines the gendered politics of these images through the lives
and careers of six women performers: Linda Parker, the Girls of the Golden West
(Milly and Dolly Good), Lily May Ledford, Minnie Pearl, and Rose Lee Maphis.
About the Author
Kristine M. McCusker is an associate professor of history at Middle Tennessee
State University. She is coeditor of A Boy Named Sue: Gender and Country Music.